I sat in on the campus session for Module Two run by Rosemary. I am really interested in Ethical perspectives and I always enjoy this session. We talked about where people where in terms of their inquiry. Generally people talked about how hard it is to define a question and we discussed how the ‘question’ is more of an indication of an area you will be looking into NOT a definitive question with a clear indication of the sort of answer it requires. As always do not think of questions as inevitably locked into answers, rather these are questions that will lead to you better understanding the question itself. At the end of your inquiry (in Module Three) you will be able to ask a more informed, deeper question not have an ‘answer’. Thinking about how the question was not so closed, opened the idea up for some people who realised that they actually had enough of an idea of the area they wanted to inquire into to move forward into looking at ethical issues within that area.
TIP (1): do not use this inquiry to prove something you already feel you know, like something you passionately believe and want to convince others of. Use it to be better informed about your field; find out something new. If you can’t get away from the passion you feel about something then think in terms of better understanding the ideas that contradict what you think. It’s not a Miss Marple case to prove you are right. You’ve got all the support of the university to do this work don’t spend the time and support on just proving you are ‘right’!!!
TIP (2):Try to let go of feeling you want to finish one ‘task’ and move on to the next, this work is multi-layered as you learn more and have more experiences you will be thinking back and forth across the whole module. The question can’t be ‘perfect’ to move on to ethics because we are anticipating that thinking about the ethical implications in the area of your question will refine the question more. Instead think of the process through the whole course as a layering of ideas, or a stew which you add more and more to and each time you add a new thing you improve the quality of the stew and (but) also change all the elements in the stew which respond to the new ingredient.
So we moved on to thinking about ethics. I think ethics is about thinking about how you are experienced by others. It is about attempting to imagine what impact you could be having both your planned impact and any additional impacts that you would not have thought of unless you took the time to consider other ways of interpreting what you are doing. Because of this you can look at ethical considerations from a range of mechanisms. There are guide-lines and professional expectations, health and safety outlines etc… all of which are formalised instructions that address common experiences of people doing what you are doing. But there is also your own personal ethical outlook. We talked about how culture, social groups and close family can all shape how a person conducts themselves and there for that engage with ethical issues. In some ways everything is about ethics (how you are experienced) just as everything is about you (how you experience) they are two sides of the coin (they make you a three dimensional person). But what is really fun about considering ethical issues is that the actual nature or structure for how you carry out research is actually a response to the ethical framework from which you are working. For instance questions about how people experience being part of the data collection process impact on how you collect data. There is no right or wrong but there are societal expectations and government laws. As we talked we recognised that the idea of what is ‘right’ changes according to where you are and what time period you are in. Something’s that were considered OK to do are no longer and something’s that were considered ‘wrong’ are now perfectly normal.
We talked about the film the “Black Swan” which always brings up lots of interesting issues. In this session we talked about how a teacher should address the feeling that their student is not aesthetically appropriate for the style of dance they are studying (such as body size, colour of skin, use of wheel chairs.). We questioned where the teachers’ responsibilities lay. If they had the authority to decide what the industry would need when the student graduated. We also talked about how one addresses students – shouting or no shouting in the classroom??
Have a look at Rosemary’s blog for an overview of the whole session.