In the United States, the majority of teachers have a master’s degree or higher. However, there exist concerns in the literature that having an advanced degree does not make teachers better. There thus needs to be a way to improve the outcome of a master’s degree in education so that teachers do advance their practice and bring change to their classrooms as a direct result of their experience in a master’s degree program. By focusing on the use of action research in a learning community, the intent of the present phenomenological study was to discover changes that occurred in teachers involved in action research in a learning community setting while obtaining their master’s degree. The sample consisted of teachers that have attained their master’s degree from a program involving both action research and the learning community setting offered at the same comprehensive regional university in the Upper Midwest. Based on the extant literature, it was expected that the changes experienced by the teachers may include variations in their teaching practice, professional development, collegial relationships, and leadership roles. The results of the study confirmed these changes and highlighted the development of personal control as an essential quality of effective teachers. The teachers involved in the study considered their perceived improvement as transformative and a direct result of their experience in the master’s degree program.


Jason Kaufman

Committee Member

Candace Raskin

Committee Member

Tanya McCoss-Yerigan

Date of Degree




Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership



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Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.



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