Here we are in week two. First modulers have been putting up their C.V.s, youtube films and flickr pictures. There is some great work, often people using the tools for the first time. It’s a great opportunity to get to know new ways to communicate BUT also to observe yourself: see how you learn new skills or build on ones you already knew. You can draw on the memory of this in a week or two when you start the reflection session of the first module. If you’re not on the 1st module don’t forget the communication tools, still blog and share ideas, make ‘things’ about your thoughts and process, up-date your flickr and think about how the tools can be useful to you in general across the whole course.
Module two-ers and threes are working with questions (!). task 4a is thinking about questions relevant to your practice. The thing about questions is whether you can engage with them as questions or whether you are engaged with them in terms of answers. I don’t believe in answers per say. Rather than looking at questions in terms of what the answer will be or how you think they should be answered, look at them in terms of better understanding the question. So instead of a goal of an answer have a goal of better understanding the question, better understanding the question gives you an answer of a sort.
This is a fundamental issue about where you see ‘truth’ residing. Is it out there to be found. That is it’s fixed and needs to be discovered. This is a positivist view that things are there whether you are there or not, whether you understand them or not. Or do you think that truth is not fixed but depends on how you perceive things.
Dewey talks about a frightening sound on a window, on investigation it turns out to be a branch knocking against the window. His view is that it is not that a mistaken truth has given way to a real truth. It is that it is true there was a frightening sound and it is true that was a branch. As your perception changes so does the answer. This is more of a non-positivist view: things are changed by your perception of them. So you can see how looking for a fixed answer to a question would mean that you are assuming you totally understand the question and that there is some fixed answer out there to discover.
Of course some questions are easier to find a fixed answer to. These are usually ones that involve quantitative data; like “how many fingers does your grandmother have?”, questions that involve numbers. From the popular media we are most used to research being presented this way. But many of your questions are qualitative – about how people feel, or what they think, this is not something you can count it is about the quality not the quantity of something. So can you see my point… that questions can be thought about outside of the context of what their answer will be and more about the inquiry into the question itself. What do you think??
Have a look at the funny video on my blog post:
THURSDAY, 24 SEPTEMBER 2009: Why research analysis is so important; it's not all data collection! - http://adesolaa.blogspot.com/2009/09/why-research-analysis-is-so-important.html
Module three-ers have you thought about writing rough drafts of some of the parts of your critical reflection NOW!!!! For instance your ‘Introduction’ (section/chapter); it is about what you planned to do, the context of the work and the original idea. You could write that down now even if you know things are changing… the change is part of the process of inquiry. If you’ve got it down than when you come back to it in November you’ll have your starting point. It might also help you to have a clearer focus as you move forward into field work (data collection) your own notes and reflections are also data remember. You could also think about a draft of lit. review section too. Again it might help you consolidate your ideas as your thinking might be changing quite fast. It is also psychologically nice to feel you have something to work off of when you come to your final writing-up period.
What do you think?
Using interviews anyone?? Do you have / have you made your consent forms for the people you are interviewing?
A really good book to look at is
“Learning from Strangers: the art and method of qualitative interview studies’ – Robert S. Weiss
Anyone recommend any other good books on interviews?
What do you think about all this – please comment