All I want for Christmas….


Santa’s been really kind this year and presented a box folder packed full of articles to read which relate to my dissertation. I’ve been squirrelling documents since we started back this year and it’s time that I took my trusty highlighter out and pick the wheat from the chaff!

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Insider Research

Had a breakfast meeting recently where we mainly discussed insider research and the problems and potentials this can cause a researcher. Working within the institution I’m wanting to conduct my study has both benefits and pitfalls, as part of my dissertation I need to document the fact that I’m an insider researcher.

Although the context of my project feels like it’s coming from a grounded theory angle the fact that I work with people within my institution means the work I do will be from a action research perspective and I will have to note these insider tendencies as part of my final write up.

I’ve found four articles which discuss different perspectives on insider research which I hope will shape the way I approach choosing a sample from my participants. A couple of these articles are specific to higher education research projects and should make an interesting and relevant read.

EDU170 Session

Looking forward to meeting up with some of the others from the course this week for a morning session. We haven’t all met up for a while and it will be good discuss how we’re all getting on. At the moment I believe this weeks session will cover design of questionnaires, something I’m yet to start on. We’re also going to be having a look at coding answers from questionnaires and other qualitative feedback.

Emotions and teaching

I’ve been revisiting a book that I’ve previously looked at by Andy Hargreaves called Learning to Change. The book itself is aimed around school reform and in particular how teachers are supported in the change process. Themes of emotional understanding and misunderstanding have kept cropping up when looking at supporting change and it’s pointed me in the direction of some other works by Hargreaves; “Educational change takes ages: Life, career and generational factors in teachers’ emotional responses to educational change” and “The emotional politics of teaching and teacher development: with implications for educational leadership”.

A book also by Hargreaves which looks like it could also be of great interest is titled: Teaching in the Knowledge Society although this isn’t a book I see myself using as part of my current project.

I’m quite an advocate of facilitative support within my role and so I feel these articles will really help identify other factors when thinking of academic support in changing environments. I’m still finding it quite difficult to narrow down the ever broadening area of research this project is presenting so hoping that things will start linking and slotting into place soon!

Shaping Informed Consent Forms

As part of our recent revised research proposal submission we were also asked to include samples of the informed consent forms and information sheets that we would use as part of our project.

The forms I submitted as part of the revised proposal were a combination of what I ideally wanted to include and elements of forms I had seen used previously. This included specific tick boxes next to short statements which contributors would need to complete. I had also used these forms as an opportunity to let participants know that interviews would be recorded for ease of transcribing at a later date, and that these recordings would be subsequently deleted after documentation.

Working in an area which specialises in user experience means I’m quite aware of the right ways to inform and include people within my research. We’re receiving feedback for this submission shortly so would be good to know if I’m on the right track.