This week I am writing particularly for people on Module Three, although I think it is important for everyone to think about … analysis. According to the Addendum page on Libguides in week six
“Students send adviser 1-2 paragraphs as a sample of your inquiry analysis. Formative feedback will be given on the structure, the quality of the arguments and the quality of the supporting evidence discussed”
I was talking to one of my students about this and we thought that some of our conversation would be good to share on the blog. So here is my take on how to address this. First this is not about writing the whole analysis section of the Critical Review Think of the analysis as an actual activity and you need sometime to do it. What you are meant to be sending is something that explains how you are addressing the activity of analysing your data. This is to check that you are actually doing it and not just writing-up an ‘incident report’ type piece of writing instead of a Critical Review.
So here is how I would do it. Summarize the following:
1) What kind of data is it that you gathered? – you may have intended to get one thing and in fact when you did your data collection you got something else. So although you said what you wanted to do in your project plan (and you will also explain this starting point in your introduction in the Critical Review) it is important to show you know what it is you got. For instance in my last research project my data was:
i) The narratives of eight people about what it feels like to learn to dance.
ii) Literature by dance academics that discusses what it feels like to dance, I particularly use McFee.
iii) My own observational data from watching the eight people in dance classes, and from doing the dance classes myself
What is important here is that I know the kind of data I gathered and I can put into categories of like kind – narratives, literature, observational. What did you gather?
2) What are you doing with it? This is hopefully some kind of triangulation (if you don’t know this word you should by now). But how are you triangulating – for example I am:
• comparing what the people said with what I felt within the classes
• comparing what the people said with watching them in the classes
• comparing what the people said with what the literature says
• comparing what the literature says with what I observed of the people in the classes
• comparing what the literature said with what it felt like in class
• comparing what I observed with what the people said
• comparing what it felt like in class with what the people said
3) What themes are emerging from the data? From doing this I keep noticing certain things, ideas, theories. Some ideas reoccur to me or some questions keep coming up. Organising these I can group them into themes. So this step is
4) What you are doing next? These themes are where you do the activity of analysis in that you start to look deeper into them. For each theme you might need to read more of the literature focusing on the aspect of one of the themes. You might want to go back to the place you collected the data and look at things again with a theme in mind. You are starting to inquire into how the themes that have emerge relate to the initial research question that you started out from. You will need to ask yourself questions like why do you think you (yourself) noticed this in the data. Is it unexpected? Etc…
Then you need to look at what relationship the themes have with each other and with the research question. So lastly in your summary you need to state what ‘more’ you are doing which of the themes you are looking at more deeply.
So a summary of your analysis would be:
What kind of data you have
What you are doing with it
How you are doing this.
What themes have been emerging.
What more you need to know and/ or what questions have they raised
Any ideas you have at this point in terms of how this relates to your initial research question.
This should be short and clear for your own clarity and direction. In terms of what supporting evidence is, this not to build an argument yet. You need to do the above. Think of the use of the word ‘evidence as ‘illustration’. See my blog on my MAPP site March 8th
Now in week 10 you are asked to:
“Students send to advisers the last two sections of your Critical Review (Analysis and Critical Reflection) in draft for written feedback”
at that point you should have done the activity of the above and be able to start to put it into the words you are going to use to explain it in the Critical Review. But the words themselves are not the activity of analysis; analysis is the activity of thinking!!!
Before that in week 8 you are asked to have a draft of the first two sections of the Critical Review.
“Students send adviser the first two sections of your critical review in draft form (Introduction, Evaluation) …..”
Much of the ‘knowledge’ for this is already known by you. It is the outline of what you planned to do which is all in the work you did in Module two. It is just that in module two you planned it now you write have done it. The introduction would be to say why your interested, where you are carrying out the research, a bit a about you as the Researcher etc… the evaluation is saying what happen if any of the data collection activity changed from the plan, if the you used a different methodology than you had planned etc… This should not be a problem to write because you already know it all. Getting this bit written is just helpful because psychologically (and actually) it feels like you have a chunk of the work done. OF COURSE you will need to go back to this draft at the writing-up period and work through the text incorporating a little bit about what you found (your analysis) which will not be complete at week 8 so that why you will have to go back to this draft.
Does that make sense what do you think?