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COUN 508 Fall 2009 The Problem Formulation Report (PFR)

Each team completes a 15-20 page Problem Formulation Report (PFR) based on steps taken in preparation for conducting a collaborative action research project. The PFR formally establishes that your team has a clear direction for the project. The process of completing the PFR unfolds over several weeks of the fall semester as your team begins to interact with your assigned practitioner partner or partners, observes the practice of school counseling or related aspects of education in the field, continues learning the steps in research and action research. The sections and criteria for success in completing the PFR are described below. Follow them and you should be successful with this assignment. In addition to carefully reading the descriptions below, you also should review the rubric for evaluating PFRs. This will break down for you how each section will be scored.

Sections in the PFR The Report should be 15-20 pages (including appendices) based on the following outline: a. Introduction – provides the overview and background for the project. How did this project take shape? The introduction provides local background and places the problem the team is investigating into a context of practice that is relevant to the local site or district. The introduction also describes the tentative research problem and the rationale for the project. – 3-4 pages b. Background – provides the link to theory and places the problem the team is investigating into a larger context of school counseling practice. The Background draws on a minimum of 6-8 peer-reviewed sources. The sources used should be journal articles based on empirical research conducted within the past 5-8 years. References are to be cited using APA format (current edition). The background section demonstrates the team’s understanding that the problem being investigated fits into the larger domain of research in counseling and, in particular, research in school counseling. This section also demonstrates the team’s understanding of the relationship between action research and theory - 5-6 pages c.

Research question(s) – clearly written research question or questions that reflect an understanding of formulating questions for research. The question may be tentative at this


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COUN 508 Fall 2009 point, but do the best you can to clearly express the research area you are working in and the particular question(s) you will examine - 1 page d. Methodology – describes the procedures you anticipate following in examining the research question(s). Will this be a quantitative, qualitative, or mixed research methods project? Who are the participants? What procedures will be followed to examine the question or questions that have been posed? How will data be analyzed? – 3-4 pages e. Graphic/Diagrammatic representation – provides a graphic or diagrammatic representation of the conceptual framework that will guide your team’s inquiry and action. Posters from past projects are available for viewing in CS3: each poster includes a graphic representation of what the project is all about. The graphic lets us know both how this project fits into the context of practice that you introduced in the introduction and background sections of the PFR and what the team sees as the flow of the action research process that you are engaged with. Although challenging to complete (as it involves at least some sense of both graphic design and organizational flow), the graphic representation is an essential part of framing your work and sharing with others how this particular project fits into the larger tapestry of action research in school counseling or education in general. f. Appendices - PFR includes at least three appendices: (a) Agenda for the reflective interview; (b) List of questions used in the interview; (c) a description and summary of the reflective interview event. Label each appendix at the top of the page, centered (e.g. Appendix A, Appendix B, etc.). Under the label, centered on the page, place the title of the Appendix (such as Reflective Interview Questions, etc.). Other appendices may be added based on the judgment of the team.


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