Becoming educational W16: Critical Analysis – and the Project

The lecture started with analysis of another artefact produced by our ‘Tell us the secret of your success’ project. This time it was not a physical 3D object like the maze – but we looked at The Z-A of University https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mnZ1vfzgMI

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This film was produced by a History graduate – the first in his family to go to University.

Again – the implicit question was: How would we analyse this if it was the artefact produced as part of our own research?

We were asked to really SEE what was there – and then to analyse it in terms of the words, yes, but also the visuals – the images used – the cuts and juxtapositions – and the sounds and music…

Sameera’s Confessions blog captures this session very well: http://sameerasconfessions.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/wednesday-january-29th-2014-900am-100pm-week-16-3/

After the video analysis, she continues to consider the rest of the morning where we were asked to sit and either plan or ‘reverse engineer’ our projects. That is – we all had A3 paper – and were asked to put our potential project title in the centre of the page – and draw out: Background/context: why am I interested in this topic? Why is this topic interesting? Literature Review: What I might read to take the project forward. Method: What method I’m thinking of using and why… With an arrow – back to the Lit Review – reminding us to read up on our Method so we can justify that.

People who had already made great progress with their Projects were invited to still engage in this process to make their structure and intent more conscious to themselves – as a form of post hoc theorising.

The session was busy – with lots of discussion of the great ideas that people had for their research: Student attitudes to reading – and what we can do about that; Student attitudes to writing…; Responses to Group Work – and implications for practice; Auto-ethnographic explorations of writing – with a focus on the researcher’s own class blog; Implications of the loss of personal networks in University; The role of collage-making in the learning process…

As always I feel really impressed with what our students are interested in – and what they want to achieve.

Towards the end of the session we realised that there was confusion as to the what/why/how of the Literature Review, so we tried to address that. We said that when undertaking research we do not start at ground zero – people have already researched our topic – practice is already influenced by that research… So the point of the Lit Review is to take a temperature reading of the most relevant research – and to synthesise that in an essay-like piece of writing. This helps us to understand the field as it already is – and to know what we are trying to find out/achieve in our own piece.

Of course the person interested in exploring resistance to Academic Reading was pretty unimpressed that they’d actually have to read about that! Plus ca change – plus ca meme chose!

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