[LD-SIG Discussion List] writing research as you go?
carroll at andrew.ac.jp
Thu Aug 16 08:26:16 CDT 2007
Bit of a delay in response time here, but anyway ...
I found the insistence that I decide on a frame before I begin was
irritating in a way, but at the same time it's been refreshing too.
Most people on this list, I imagine, I think of ourselves as teacher-
researchers, and regularly write and think about our classrooms. This
kind of research often begins with an observation or an pressing
problem, and our approach is pragmatic: what might I do to address
this problem? We may try one thing or another, and when we come to
write up what we did we work backwards from the situation itself to
look for some kind of theory to help us make sense of it as Amanda
said earlier in this discussion. . This is the nature of teaching, I
think: even those of us lucky enough to work in universities don't
have the time or space to sit back and take in the whole picture.
(Whatever that is.)
You mention that narratives make the research product an interesting
read. That can be a double-edged sword can't it. It can be easy to
get carried away with the story and forget about the analysis. And
from that point of view it's a good discipline to start by at least
planning a framework, even if you later change it.
On 2007/07/31, at 19:22, Stephen Davies wrote:
> I've been following this discussion with some interest. My own advisor
> seems to think that the main thing is to settle on an approach and
> then -
> perhaps more importantly - be prepared to defend it.
> As for narratives,I agree that they make the research product (also a
> narrative) an interesting read. One issue, though, is how to
> represent a
> narrative in text. Your words or theirs?? A bit of both?? And, more
> perplexingly, which mode of interpretation to go for: eg., pycho-
> theory that uses Freud's stuff, Jungian archetypes etc., and sees
> narrative as driven by the subconscious; cultural interpretations
> that see
> stories as reflective of cultural myth;or - yet another variation -
> narratives as co-contstructed realities, in which the researcher
> necessarily looms large.
> In my case, I've explored using grounded theory in which the key
> is 'emergence'- I rather like the style of research in which the
> are not known in advance; rather, they pop out during the writing
> Keep at it, and let me know how it goes. .
> Steve Davies
> I've bee
> Andy wrote,
>>> I think writing narratives about (researching) autonomous learning
>>> may also offer similar challenges -- I'm curious as to whether you
>>> must negotiate the way your thesis will be written before you start
>>> doing the research or does this negotiation happen as part of the
>>> process of doing your research? I wonder too about how much
>>> emphasis your supervisors expect you to put on writing about
>>> your research and writing your story/ies as you go -- and have
>>> they themselves done this kind of narrative-based work
>> Hi Andy,
>> Good point. I'm wondering about that too! Ideally the way of writing
>> up should come out of the data - which we don't know until we're
>> doing the research. But the research degree system requires that you
>> spell out what you're going to do at the outset. As for writing
>> about the research process, I think that's much more important in any
>> qualitative research than it would be in more conventional paradigms.
>> That's partly through the need to demonstrate that qualitative
>> inquiry is as rigorous as (the default) quantitative model, but also
>> because the basis of qualitative inquiry is the rejection of the
>> contrived separation of observer and observed.
>> One of my supervisors, Mary Klein, has done this kind of work, but
>> actually the thing that really got me thinking about it was Alison
>> Stewart's thesis on teacher identity. (Are you on this list Alison?
>> If so I'm really indebted to you - thanks!)
>>> Hope others post about their interests too!
>>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>>> From: Michael Carroll < carroll at andrew.ac.jp>
>>> To: Discussion list for JALT ld-sig members <discuss at ld-sig.org>
>>> Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2007 15:21:11 +1000
>>> Subject: Re: [LD-SIG Discussion List] discuss Digest, Vol 6, Issue 2
>>> Hi Andy, Amanda,
>>> Amanda, you may have left and not receive this for some time, but
>>> anyway thanks for the reference to Scholarship of T&L. I hadn't
>>> of it, but looking at the Carnegie Foundation (CASTL) website
>>> key=21&subkey=72&topkey=21) I found some really interesting stuff.
>>> Andy, I'm afraid I haven't any practical suggestions to offer in
>>> response to your initial question, but like Amanda I'd like to thank
>>> you for posting it. I'm just getting together my confirmation
>>> proposal at the moment. My topic has gone through several
>>> and I've now pretty much decided that I'll structure my thesis as a
>>> narrative, or collection of narratives. Basically I want to look at
>>> how autonomy/ownership of learning/self direction/self-regulation/
>>> awareness of learning ..... both support and constrain ideas of
>>> accountability and common curricula. I want to do this by
>>> interviewing a very small number teachers and learners, and setting
>>> up focus groups and maybe email discussions over the course of a
>>> or so. I've just come across the notion of active interviewing and
>>> like you am wondering about how to go about it, and how my
>>> choices of
>>> 'methods' will dictate whatever I 'find'.
>>> Your quotation from H&G (and Amanda's comment about humanizing
>>> educational research) reminds me of a book I've been reading,
>>> 'Narratives and Fictions in Education Research' by Peter Clough (OUP
>>> 2002). He uses narratives (based on data but to greater or lesser
>>> extents fictionalised) to paint pictures of individual people and
>>> events in crisis. The stories are fascinating - I couldn't put it
>>> down once I started - but what interests me most is his
>>> discussion of
>>> why he writes like this, how this stance contributes to the reader's
>>> understanding, and also whether it is fair to the people he writes
>>> about. He mentions all the familiar criticisms of social science
>>> (especially qualitative) research - parochial, fragmented, not
>>> rigorous enough - but characterises his response in an interesting
>>> way. He sees two contrary directions in education research, one
>>> takes its terms and instruments for granted and collects data that
>>> fits within those terms and instruments, and another that focusses
>>> first on the researcher him or herself, and which problematises
>>> and instruments. If I'm reading him right, I think he's saying that
>>> the traditional hypothesis - data collection - analysis model, if we
>>> have already picked a theoretical framework 'off the shelf', leads
>>> mostly to dead ends: we might add in a small way to the existing
>>> of data but there's no way for our understanding to progress. But if
>>> we recognise that any understanding we may make claim to is a
>>> function of the way we 'theorise' as we interact with the 'data',
>>> then that theorising itself becomes as much the subject of the
>>> research as the ostensible data. It's just struck me,
>>> incidentally, that Mike's chapter, and Hugh's too, in the
>>> Reconstructing Autonomy book were doing exactly this.
>>> I'm waffling a bit - writing as much to sort my ideas out as for
>>> anything else - but here's one quotation that I'm about to follow up
>>> on, apropos the 'natural' in research writing:
>>> ' ... the writer is never more present in the text than when she
>>> seems to be absent, and the subject seldom less audible than when he
>>> seems to be speaking for himself .... The appearance of artlessness
>>> is a rather artful business.'
>>> Stronach and MacClure 1998 Educational Research Undone Routledge
>>> It'd be great to hear from others about their take on this stuff.
>>> Best wishes from the coolest Queensland winter in years. It got down
>>> to 14 degrees the other night
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