Background and Purpose: This study examined the self-perceived competence in action research components of basic education teachers in Cebu City as one form of identifying their challenges in doing AR. The results aimed to provide baseline information for the planned professional development program.


Methodology: It employed a sequential explanatory design (QUAN→qual). It is characterized by collecting and analyzing quantitative data in the primary phase and then by collecting and analyzing qualitative data. There were 166 teachers who participated in the online survey. These teachers previously underwent professional development programs in designing AR projects, and two-thirds did an AR. Using their responses, they were grouped through a hierarchical clustering technique to create distinct groups of teachers sharing the similarity of competence or needs in the AR components. The cluster analysis yields four groups. Eventually, eight teachers were interviewed regarding their responses, which means two teachers represented each cluster.


Findings: For very few teachers in cluster one (n=4), they regard selecting AR topic, planning the project, analyzing and presenting data, and integrating ethics as areas of non-difficulty while integrating technology, reflecting on AR, and communicating results as areas of difficulty. For the majority of the teachers belonging in cluster 2 (n=76), cluster 3 (n=37), and cluster 4 (n=49), all AR components are regarded as difficult, indicating all are critical areas for professional development.

Contributions: A conventional way of conducting needs assessment of teachers’ competence in AR as a basis for professional development program is done through calculating the mean and standard deviation per AR competence or skills of all teachers participating in a survey. However, this method disregards the individual professional needs of teachers as it presents the general level of competence in each skill set. The professional needs may vary from one teacher to another. Thus, this study presents a novel way of examining teachers’ needs in AR by using cluster analysis to homogenously group participants according to the similarity of their responses or professional needs. This gives key reference points on which AR skills need to be improved for teachers belonging to the same group when planning a teacher development program in AR.


Keywords: Action research, competence, in-service teacher, professional development, teacher research.


Cite as: Cortes, S. T., Pineda, H. A., & Geverola, I. J. R. (2021). Examining competence in action research of basic education teachers in Cebu city, Philippines.  Journal of Nusantara Studies, 6(2), 202-230. http://dx.doi.org/10.24200/jonus.vol6iss2pp202-230

Author Biographies

Sylvester Tan Cortes, Pure Sciences Department, College of Arts and Sciences, Cebu Technological University – Main Campus Cebu City, Philippines

Sylvester T. Cortes is a resident faculty of Cebu Technological University. He is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Science Education majoring in Biology at the University of San Carlos in Cebu City. He has a wide range of research interests including action research, teacher training, science education, microplastics, and food security.

Hedeliza Arcenal Pineda, Pure Sciences Department, College of Arts and Sciences, Cebu Technological University – Main Campus Cebu City, Philippines

Hedeliza A. Pineda is a resident faculty of Cebu Technological University. She is the University Director for Instruction designate and holds an Associate Professor V rank. Her research interests include chemistry education, environmental chemistry, and action research.

Immar Jun Robledo Geverola, Alaska Night High School, Cebu City Division, Department of Education, Philippines

Immar Jun R. Geverola is a basic education teacher at the Alaska Night High School in Cebu City. Currently, he is pursuing a doctorate degree in science education at the Cebu Normal University.


Álvarez, C. Á. (2015). Can teachers bridge the theory-practice gap? An ethnographic study of a teacher. US-China Education Review B, 5(4), 233-244.

Anh, V. T. (2017). Evaluating the implementation of action research course in an in-service teacher training program in Vietnam. Journal of Nusantara Studies, 2(2), 88-97.

Anzaldo, G. D., & Cudiamat, M. A. (2019). Teachers' perception in writing action research in a public elementary school in the Philippines. International Educational Research, 2(3), 15-22.

Banegas, D. L., & Villacañas de Castro, L. S. (2015). A look at ethical issues in action research in education. Argentinian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 3(1), 58-67.

Broekkamp, H., & Wolters, B. v. (2007). The gap between educational research and practice: A literature review, symposium, and questionnaire. Educational Research and Evaluation, 13(3), 203 – 220.

Burns, A. (2010). Doing action research – What’s in it for teachers and institutions? International House Journal of Education and Development, 29(1), 3-6.

Commission on Higher Education. (2017a). CHED Memorandum Order No. 74 s. 2017. Policies, Standards, and Guidelines for Bachelor of Elementary Education. https://ched.gov.ph/cmo-74-s-2017/

Commission on Higher Education. (2017b). CHED Memorandum Order No. 75 s. 2017. Policies, Standards, and Guidelines for Bachelor of Secondary Education. https://ched.gov.ph/cmo-75-s-2017/

Cortes, S. (2019). Needs assessment on action research competencies of teacher-researchers in Surigao del Sur, Philippines. Journal of Education Naresuan University, 21(4), 1-19.

Cortes, S. (2020). Flexible learning as an instructional modality in environmental science course during COVID-19. Aquademia, 4(2), 1-9.

Cortes, S., Pineda, H., & Geverola, I. J. (2020). Development and validation of a scale on teacher’s competence in action research. International Journal of Research Studies in Education, 9(6), 77-85.

Cortes, S., Pineda, H., Lorca, A. S., Gador, S. C., Mangompit, R. M. M., & Pacaldo, F. J. B. (2021). Examining perception on action research of basic education teachers. Malaysian Online Journal of Educational Sciences, 9(2), 1-11.

Creswell, J. W. (2005). Educational research: Planning, coducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research. Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Department of Education (2007). Department Order No.42 s. 2007. The Revised Guidelines on Selction, Promotion and Designation of School Heads. https://www.deped.gov.ph/2017/03/20/do-16-s-2017-research-management-guidelines/

Department of Education (2017). Department Order No. 16 s. 2017. Research Management Guidelines. https://www.deped.gov.ph/2017/03/20/do-16-s-2017-research-management-guidelines/

Ellis, N., & Loughland, T. (2016). The challenges of practitioner research: A comparative study of Singapore and NSW. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 41(2), 122-136.

Esztergár-Kiss, D., & Caesar, B. (2017). Definition of user groups applying Ward's method. In 19th EURO Working Group on Transportation Meeting (pp. 25–34). Transportation Research Procedia.

Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1994). Competing paradigms in qualitative research. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 105–117). Sage.

Hathorn, C., & Dillon, A. M. (2018). Action research as professional development: Its role in education reform in the United Arab Emirates. Issues in Educational Research, 28(1), 99-119.

Hine, G. S. (2013). The importance of action research in teacher education programs. Issues in Educational Research, 23(2), 151-163.

Johnson, A. P. (2008). A short guide to action research (3rd ed.). Allyn and Bacon.

Johnson, B. (2001). Toward a new classification of nonexperimental quantitative research. Educational Researcher, 30(1), 3–13.

Kutlay, N. (2013). A survey of English language teachers’ views of research. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 70(1), 188–206.

Leys, C., Klein, O., Dominicy, Y., & Ley, C. (2018). Detecting multivariate outliers: Use a robust variant of the Mahalanobis distance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 74(1), 150-156.

Manfra, M. M. (2019). Action research and systematic, intentional change in eaching ractice. Review of Research in Education, 43(1), 163-196.

Meerah, T. S., & Osman, K. (2013). What is ‘action’ in action research: A Malaysian exposure. Asian Social Science, 9(16), 148-153.

Morales, M. P., Abulon, E. L., Soriano, P. R., David, A. P., Hermosisima, M. V., & Gerundio, M. G. (2016). Examining teachers’ conception of and needs on action research. Issues in Educational Research, 26(3), 464-489.

Othman, N., & Chia, S. Y. (2016). The challenges of action research implementation in Malaysian schools. Pertanika Journals of Social Sciences and Humanities, 24(1), 43-52.

Slevitch, L. (2011). Qualitative and quantitative methodologies compared: Ontological and epistemological perspectives. Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality & Tourism, 12(1), 73-81.

Tindowen, D. J., Guzman, J., & Macanang, D. (2019). Teachers' conception and difficulties in doing action research. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 7(8), 1787-1794.

Ulla, M. B. (2018). Benefits and challenges of doing research: Experiences from Philippine public school teachers. Issues in Educational Research, 28(3), 797-810.

Ulla, M. B., Barrera, K. I., & Acompanado, M. B. (2017). Philippine classroom teachers as researchers: Teachers’ perceptions, motivations, and challenges. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 42(11), 52-64.

Zeni, J. (2006). A guide to ethical issues and action research. Educational Action Research, 6(1), 9-19.
How to Cite
Tan Cortes, S., Pineda, H. A., & Geverola, I. J. R. (2021). EXAMINING COMPETENCE IN ACTION RESEARCH OF BASIC EDUCATION TEACHERS IN CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES. Journal of Nusantara Studies (JONUS), 6(2), 202-230. https://doi.org/10.24200/jonus.vol6iss2pp202-230