Some policy links
What does a Research Project look like?
We looked at this academic article on Academic Writing to explore the structure of a write up of academic research – and to see the sorts of research that can be undertaken in the area of University teaching- and student study practices and habits. This paper looked at Academic Writing in particular and explored the forms of writing set – and how to promote student success with them. It was quantitative in approach – in that it gained numerical data – but the overall structure is the same that we shall be aiming at – and that is:
The Project Structure:
Introduction: Context/background/reasons for interest
Implications for Practice/Recommendations
Appendices – including reference to ARTEFACT.
The title and sub-title give the overall aim of the project – and the specific focus. So in the paper that we looked at we could see that the overall aim was to quantify the sorts of written assignments that students were set (Written assignment types) – with the premise that modes had proliferated somewhat since the 1980s. The focus was the variety of written formats required – beyond the essay and the exam (a varied and healthy diet). Was there variety – was that variety healthy? The paper itself then discussed how ‘health’ could be maintained by different ways of teaching students how to be successful in the different writing that they undertook.
The ‘literature review’ part of the paper was divided in two: The primacy of written tasks in academic literacy and The diversity in written assignments. Thus the first part argued that though the primary mode of assessing student achievement is still through writing, more formats than the essay and the exam are now offered. The second part argued that if there is more variety in the types of written assignments set, students need guidance in how to succeed in them.
This indicated how we can move through our short literature reviews: first focus on one aspect of our research and then focus on another. If we were exploring notemaking for example we might consider first: The argument(s) for making notes – followed by: Different notemaking strategies.
The LearnHigher CETL conducted Literature Reviews upon many aspects of study. We were members of LearnHigher in the active research phase – our focus was notemaking and academic reading. Check out: http://www.learnhigher.ac.uk/learning-development-research/#literature reviews – there will be much information here to seed new Projects.
We discussed Method some more. The practical aspects of a short term project suggest that we will use some form of qualitative approach. In our seminar we were encouraged not just to think of a topic that would interest and engage us – but to also think about the sort of method that would intrigue us and keep us motivated to do our project with energy and enthusiasm. We were definitely encouraged to think about the different visual strategies we might employ – or the more creative collaborative writing strategies that could reveal interesting insights.
We were reminded that whilst the Research Project has the structure outlined above – we will be submitting ours in two stages:
The Proposal part – W19 – 1000words:
Introduction: Context/background/reasons for interest
The Report part – W30 – 1000words:
Appendices with ARTEFACT
A good tip for writing up a research project is to remember to refer back to the literature review when discussing your findings. Even though our write up will be presented in two parts – we were reminded to refer back to aspects of our own literature review when discussing our findings…
Brookes eJournal of teaching and learning: http://bejlt.brookes.ac.uk/
Tactile Academia: http://tactileacademia.com/
IPSE is our own Institute for Policy Studies in Education and we were taken through some of the old papers that had been delivered in IPSE seminars in the University.
Last week we talked about Policy and how it permeates behaviour and practice in institutions – even if invisibly. This is a largely unseen, tacit or implicit part of institutional life – but for some people it can become fascinating… So we were informed of some of the policies that exist at our University. It will be interesting to see if anyone decides to research this aspect of the uni.
Some policies in play
- engage with the London Met community of learning in a respectful, honest and constructive manner
- be aware of and abide by the University’s regulations and codes of conduct
- be prepared for classes, participate actively and respect the learning rights of other students…
“to be treated with dignity and respect…”
Student Conduct: http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/universitysecretary/studentconduct.cfm
“… Promote a respectful working, social and study environment where staff and students understand their rights and responsibilities to each other under equality and diversity policies and procedures…”
See, in particular:-
- “Crisis incidents” and responses – pages 23 & 24
- APPENDIX B particularly staff responsibilities (para 2) and good practice in Learning & Teaching (para 4b)
We did not get to talk about the details of this in the lecture or the workshops – but we night note how all the policies insist that it is the students responsibility for knowing their responsibilities under these policies – when most students would not even know that such policies exist – let alone that they have to abide by them. Yes – that could be a research project in itself!
JLDHE is the Journal for Learning Development in Higher Education. All the papers and articles in that Journal are on the topic of promoting student successful study – so that is definitely a source of information for our Literature reviews – and may even model how we might research our chosen topics – and how we might write up and present our own findings. It could be that if we choose to investigate something really innovative or interesting that we think about offering our projects for publication in that journal!
There was an activity suggested for the seminar/workshop time – but not all of the groups managed to undertake it.
Activity – in triads:
- One – is to talk about project
- Two – draws out ideas by interviewing ‘one’: what is it, why, how, when, where, who…
- Three – observes – feeds back on the interview and the research project… (and could literally draw the dynamics viewed).
NB: If interested in researching TRIADS as a method for engaging students in meaningful discussion see: Partnerships working to quality enhance mentor updates
“In ‘Real live learning’ John hilsdon, founder of the Association for learning … tion of interactive learning practices, particularly group work and triads. John sees …”
After all that we all gathered in one room, joined by the Peer mentors, and had our Christmas Party! I don’t think I have seen so much cake consumed by so many happy people…