This week we were mostly preparing for our research projects. We wanted to use the time to clarify the task through exploring the PROPOSAL and the REPORT. In the process we were hoping to get people thinking about the issue that they want to investigate – and we wanted to enthuse people about using more creative research METHODS than the questionnaire.
- Investigate something about University life or study or success that really interests you – and
- Think: about having something to SAY to REAL PEOPLE.
With that in mind – let us see if we can use an exploration of the WRITING that will be involved to help make sense of the project overall.
Of your RESEARCH PROPOSAL readers will be asking:
- So what are you going to investigate?
- Why would that be relevant to this Module/Course?
- = INTRODUCTION
- Why are you interested in that topic?
- What use is this study to you as an educationalist?
- = BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
- What have other academics already discovered about that topic?
- = LITERATURE REVIEW
- Tip – search: http://www.aldinhe.ac.uk/ojs/index.php?journal=jldhe
- How will you carry out your own research?
- Why have you chosen to carry out the research in that way?
- = METHOD
- Tip: Look at the Methodology section in the Kandiko Howson report – from p17: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/learningteaching/kli/research/student-experience/QAAReport.pdf
- How will you safeguard your participants?
- How will you make sure they give informed consent and that their identities are protected?
- = ETHICS STATEMENT
- Tip: BERA https://www.bera.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/BERA-Ethical-Guidelines-pdf
And all in only 1000 words! This means you have to develop really concise and effective writing. NB: Your research project overall is worth 30% of the marks for this module – but as the Proposal is handed in W19 (when your writing/thinking is in an earlier stage of development) – this part gets 10% of the marks whilst the Report – which is handed in W29 (when you have had a chance for the writing/thinking to mature a bit more) – is worth 20% of the marks.
Analysing the OBJECT
To get us thinking more deeply about research methods – we studied some raw research data – specifically a 3D Maze that had been produced by a Graduate in answer to the question: can you make something that represents your university experience.
We spent quite a lot of time with the maze – thinking not just about the ‘thinginess’ of the maze itself – but about how we deduct and induct meaning from research data.
We noted that something like a 3D object offers a series of complex things to analyse: the shape and size of the thing – the colours – all the different materials used – the textures – the words – the additional images – the inside and the outside…
On the one hand this can be seen as tiresomely difficult – on the other – this offers an opportunity to wrestle with something complex and thus to produce sophisticated analysis of its many potential meanings.
Obviously our hope was that this process inspired some creative thinking about research methods!
Reflection point: Why might we be disappointed if #becomingeducational students produced such an artefact as their comment on the module?
If you’re struggling to answer that question – have a look at the video on this #ccourses website (#ccourses involved the exploration of the co-creation of knowledge in a connected world): http://connectedcourses.net/thecourse/why-we-need-a-why/
AND FOR PEOPLE ALREADY THINKING ABOUT THE REPORT:
Of your RESEARCH REPORT readers will be asking:
- So what happened when you conducted your research? What are the key highlights?
- = FINDINGS
- What do your findings mean?
- = DISCUSSION
- Tip: link your findings back to the research you discussed in your LITERATURE REVIEW
- What overall conclusions do you draw about University teaching/learning?
- = CONCLUSION
- What should we do differently because of what you have found out?
- = RECOMMENDATIONS
Good luck everybody!
- Talkto other people – the peer mentors, students in this class… What is baffling when we are alone with our worries becomes sensible and do-able when we work with other people!!
- Read and Model: http://www.aldinhe.ac.uk/ojs/index.php?journal=jldhe