Motivation and momentum

We’ve had three face-to-face sessions now on the EdD (in addition to the induction day), and I’m finding that I lose motivation for a few days afterwards… which is weird! I assumed I would get enthused by seeing the rest of the group, but – especially this last time – I just felt boggled and exhausted afterwards (I wasn’t even hungover this last time either). Could just be the winter blues…

A specific problem I have now is that I’d really got into the groove of working with the specified reading to prepare for or follow up from the taught sessions, and now that’s come to an end with the RRW unit and I have to prepare a draft assignment. So I need to change my habits. Accessing the required reading was easy… it was all online. Now I need to get involved with some of the further reading before I start drafting, which is a problem because 1) they’re all books (how do people find time to read books?! It takes me five hours to read one chapter) 2) they’re all books (I am going to have to find and visit a proper library) and 3) they’re all books (photocopying is a very dull way of spending money). Damn you, books.

One plan of action might be to map out a synopsis of my assignment – purpose, key topics and arguments – and then select 3-4 readings based on that. This sounds a bit *too* strategic. Another option would be to look at the map of research methods I made in the first week and read around the areas I’m less sure about. For example… subjectivist epistemology and related theoretical perspectives; postmodernism, poststructuralism, etc. I’m not expecting these to resonate with my own position, but I think it would be nice to have something else to push against… Also, Ian was talking about being a phenomenologist, and it would be fun to read more about that… and hermeneutics, perhaps – I found that quite interesting.

There were a couple of references mentioned in the sample assignment I read that sounded worthwhile:

Lather, P. (2006). Paradigm proliferation as a good thing to think with: teaching research in education as a wild profusion.  International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 19 (1): 35 – 57.

Robson, C. (2002). Real World Research. Oxford, Blackwell.

Phillips, D. (1993). Subjectivity and objectivity: an objective inquiry. In:  Educational Research: Current issues. M. Hammersley (Ed). London, Open University.

…and maybe I should check out something on relativism… just for a giggle?

Smith, J. and Deemer, D. (2000). The Problem of Criteria in the Age of Relativism. In : Handbook of Qualitative Research. N. Denzin and Y. Lincoln. (Eds) London, Sage.

I’ve almost finished polishing my notes on the Bhaskar paper David recommended – that was a bit of a tangent but potentially a valuable one – and I think I could do with a deeper look at the Floyd & Arthur paper… plus the post-positivism resource Nicoleta gave us on Saturday. All that should keep me quite literally out of trouble over New Year.

Regarding the assignment… A lot of my own teaching is about assessment, constructive alignment etc, and so my first instinct is always to examine the assignment task and think about what it’s designed to test. But I didn’t have to examine it too hard… the learning outcomes are explicit in the task; our tutors will be looking for evidence of:

  • My knowledge of research paradigms
  • Critical analysis of research classifications in response to my own position
  • Awareness of my identity as a researcher and professional and any tensions therein

There are three suggested approaches listed, which is problematic for me as I am a rather sluggish decision-maker. I may have to either stick a pin in the list or go a different way entirely. It would be nice to write an assignment that interests and excites me, while demonstrating the learning outcomes sufficiently to pass. I would love to try the biographical journey approach but am concerned that my memory isn’t that reliable… however that may be an interesting focus for discussion around variable interpretations & perspectives!


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