Learning Research & Change Methods

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Is Maximizing the Impact of Research Desirable?

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Currently, there are considerable demands made upon social science to demonstrate its ‘impact.’ These are institutionalized in the requirements laid down by funding bodies and in attempts strategically to manage research within universities. Moreover, as part of campaigns designed to protect the funding of social science there have been efforts to provide evidence of its impact and thereby of its value. Underpinning all this is the generally accepted assumption that it is desirable to maximize the impact of research on policymaking and practice. But is this true?

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Written by learningchange

June 5, 2014 at 10:59 am

Posted in Research

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Engaging Adolescent Participants in Academic Research

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This article examines the use of photo-elicitation interviews as a qualitative research method when studying aspects of adolescent behaviour. In particular, it describes and evaluates the use of photo-elicitation interviews to investigate the outdoor education experiences of a group of 34 (12 male, 22 female) New Zealand secondary school students (aged 14–15 years old) who attended a school-based outdoor education programme, referred to throughout as ‘school camp’. Results indicate that the use of cameras, and hence photographs, are attractive features of the technique that render it suitable for engaging young people in academic research and exploring social experiences. While the inclusion of cameras also presents some methodological limitations and ethical considerations, photo-elicitation interviewing is a useful addition to the suite of qualitative research methods employed in outdoor education research.

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Written by learningchange

May 23, 2014 at 11:13 am

On Writing Academic Research Papers

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The research paper is a popular academic assignment. Forms of it are also used in various professional fields. The research paper gives you the opportunity to think seriously about some issue. Building on the research of others, you have the opportunity to contribute your own research and insights to a particular question of interest to you. It also gives you practice in important academic skills such as:

  • formulating research questions
  • conducting research
  • managing time
  • organizing information into coherent ideas
  • substantiating arguments with research in the field. and
  • presenting insights about the research

Disciplines vary in their ways of conducting research, in writing research papers, and in the form of the final copy. View sample papers and guides for documenting sources in the four major styles (humanities, social sciences, history, and sciences).

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Read also: Prewriting Strategies

The Writing Process

Inspirational Writing for Academic Publication

Written by learningchange

May 6, 2014 at 11:32 am

Posted in Research, Writing

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A poetic, critical realist approach to documenting the voices of homeless immigrant women

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Methodological debates concerning  feminist research design tend to focus more on the process of data collection than on the process of data representation. Nevertheless, data representation is fraught with difficulties, especially in communicating research findings concerning vulnerable populations to diverse individuals and groups. How do feminist social work researchers represent the voice of the research participants to community and service organizations while simultaneously meeting the expectations of the academic or political institutions soliciting the research? In this article, we discuss how we approached this dilemma with data collected through a research study on immigrant women experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity. Guided by feminist methodological principles, we drew on the tenets of critical realist theory, integrating this analysis with poetic inquiry to reconstruct the women’s voices in the representations of research data. We discuss these modalities and provide two case examples to illustrate their application.

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Written by learningchange

April 1, 2014 at 11:01 am

Best Practices in the Reporting of Participatory Action Research

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In this article, the authors present best-practices suggestions for writing about PAR based on an analysis of PAR articles published between 2000 and 2008. PAR does not necessarily conform to established report-writing conventions, including the organization of an article with familiar sections such as procedures, instruments, data analysis, and results. PAR authors, then, are left largely up to their own devices with regard to how to guide readers through their discussion. This is absolutely not to suggest that PAR write-ups should be forced into a strict sequence of topics. One of the appealing aspects of the PAR literature is the creativity and passion of its authors and the rich narrative quality that many of them bring to their writing, which also allows community voices to emerge more authentically. Nevertheless, it is obviously more helpful when the report is organized in some fashion that allows readers to follow along without getting lost and when authors present enough facts to convey the essential parameters of the project. As we reviewed this literature, we began to look ahead to the day when some of us might want to write about our own projects, and we decided to identify those characteristics that, for us, distinguished the best writing about PAR. Under the final heading, organization of the write-up, we profiled the approach taken by the authors to the presentation of the project.

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Written by learningchange

April 1, 2014 at 9:26 am

Action research in developing knowledge networks

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This paper describes the experiences of the Eastern Head Injury Study in creating a strategic regional head injury service framework using a collaborative action research methodology. The types of data, information and knowledge required to develop and support such a framework for both development and successful implementation are identified. This includes the identification of existing knowledge/information systems, the variability and gaps in these, and how the systems fit together, using a number of evidence-gathering and knowledge-sharing methods. The discussion debates the value of the action research approach and what principles are necessary in developing and maintaining knowledge networks. The project demonstrates that an understanding of the social learning cycle can help in understanding how the pieces fit together, and how the information systems need to be in place to provide the information (or data or knowledge) in the appropriate format to make the learning possible.

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Written by learningchange

March 31, 2014 at 2:15 pm