Learning Research & Change Methods

… for your learning: +830 posts

Learning Change Project

Written by learningchange

15/06/2012 at 12:32

Posted in Learning

Tagged with

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

leave a comment »

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.

Read

Written by learningchange

01/04/2014 at 11:01

Best Practices in the Reporting of Participatory Action Research

leave a comment »

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.

Read

Written by learningchange

01/04/2014 at 09:26

Action research in developing knowledge networks

leave a comment »

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.

Read

Written by learningchange

31/03/2014 at 14:15

Action Research – A Learning tool that engages Complexity

leave a comment »

Innovative micro-teaching to enhance student teaching/learning is increasingly using the concept of Action Research. In action research the particular focus is on the subject of the research also being a learner from the research outcome. The Kemmis Model (Cyclical Model of Action Research) introduced the notion that ‘all teachers are learners’ and ‘all learners can be teachers’. Action research emphasises the notion of self-observation and self-reflection. However, observation and self-reflection are challenging methods that value the personal nature of learning. The outcome of this micro teaching action research exercise demonstrates the complexity of self perception and self learning. It highlights that the action reflection methodology has to be very aware ofcomplexity in learning. When that complexity is recognised and valued then action research can be an inclusive research process that encourages reflection as praxis. This experiment also suggests that group involvement in person reflection can increase complexity. The outcome of this experience shows that the recording of presentations for self reflection can encourage deeper levels of learning, and can enhance learning particularly in higher education.

Read

Written by learningchange

31/03/2014 at 11:27

Method and its Culture – An Historical Approach

leave a comment »

Imposing an alleged uniform general method upon everybody breeds mediocrity” – Dewey.

In the above quote, John Dewey, like others such as his contemporary A.N. Whitehead, worries about imposing an uniform general method––much akin to what educators do in “methods courses.”  Whitehead worried about this universalization of practical habits so much that he even railed against “good teaching”;  for such teaching, carrying with it the concept that “this and this are the right things to know,” rigidifies learning and creates “thought [that] is dead”. Building upon the quote already given, Dewey states that “to suppose that students … can be supplied with models of method to be followed … is to fall into a self-deception that has lamentable consequences”. And these consequences are those of “imposing intellectual blinders upon pupils––restricting their vision to the one path the teacher’s mind happens to approve”.

Read

Written by learningchange

30/03/2014 at 13:32

Wittgenstein’s Philosophy and Action Research

leave a comment »

Davyyd Greenwood explores the nature of academic social sciences, as “primarily internally regulated, university based, professional activities”, that “privilege ‘theory’ and ‘method’ over all else, though what theory and method mean in this context is quite out of step with the meanings of these terms in the physical and natural sciences”. He then goes on to discuss a series of important difference between these ‘sciences’ and action research, and concludes that: “From what I have written, it seems that action research should dominate the social sciences. It has methods that are far more ‘scientific in the sense of knowledge tested and refined in action. It mobilizes relevant knowledge from people in a position to know their condition far better than conventional research can with its extractive approach… And it is driven by strongly-held democratic values”. Why doesn’t it in fact do so? Greenwood suggests two reasons: “suppression by the social sciences and political elites and the sloppiness and negligence of action researchers themselves”.

In my brief contribution to this discussion, I want to suggest that an understanding of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy, and the recognition of its striking differences from any previous philosophical works, can make some important contributions to all the issues mentioned above. Let me begin by noting, that while Wittgenstein is not critical of scientific investigations as such (in their own proper context), the whole scientific approach is in fact inimical to the character of his investigations. His investigations are of a grammatical kind. His remarks are thus not at all aimed at arguing for what is in fact the case. They are to do with “giving prominence to distinctions which our ordinary forms of language easily make us overlook”, withdrawing our attention to “what is possible before all new discoveries and inventions”  – they are expressions of a concern with what already lies “seen but unnoticed” in the background to all our everyday (and professional) communicative activities.

Read

Written by learningchange

30/03/2014 at 13:10

Getting Started as a Researcher

leave a comment »

In this theme you will work through a series of texts and activities and reflect on your view of research as well as the skills you are developing. Most activities are supported by textual or audio material and are there to stimulate your thinking in a given area. Through this theme you will have a broad understanding of what is expected of you, the skills you will be developing, the different approaches to research and the importance of developing a clear and mutually understood relationship with your supervisor. In this theme you will learn how to:

  • Recognise your own motivation for carrying out research;
  • Identify your belief system that underpins your view of knowledge;
  • Appreciate the broad nature of the research process within a research community;
  • Recognise the critical nature of the supervisor-student relationship in the research process.

Read

Written by learningchange

29/03/2014 at 19:38

Posted in Research, Researcher

Tagged with ,

Handbook of Critical and Indigenous Methodologies

leave a comment »

The Handbook of Critical and Indigenous Methodologies is the only handbook to make connections regarding many of the perspectives of the “new” critical theorists and emerging indigenous methodologies. Built on the foundation of the landmark SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research, the Handbook of Critical and Indigenous Methodologies extends beyond the investigation of qualitative inquiry itself to explore the indigenous and nonindigenous voices that inform research, policy, politics, and social justice. Editors Norman K. Denzin, Yvonna S. Lincoln, and Linda Tuhiwai Smith explore in depth some of the newer formulations of critical theories and many indigenous perspectives, and seek to make transparent the linkages between the two. Key Features:

  1. Contains global examples including South African, Hawaiian, Maori, Central African and Islamic ones.
  2. Includes a “Who’s Who” of educators and researchers in critical methodologies.
  3. Provides a comprehensive body of work that represents the state of the art for critical methodologies and indigenous discourses.
  4. Covers the history of critical and indigenous theory and how it came to inform and impact qualitative research
  5. Offers a historical representation of critical theory, critical pedagogy, and indigenous discourse.
  6. Explores critical theory and action theory, and their hybrid discourses: PAR, feminism, action research, social constructivism, ethnodrama, community action research, poetics.
  7. Presents a candid conversation between indigenous and nonindigenous discourses.

This Handbook serves as a guide to help Western researchers understand the new and reconfigured territories they might wish to explore.

Read

Written by learningchange

29/03/2014 at 16:13

Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples

leave a comment »

From the vantage point of the colonized, the term “research” is inextricably linked with European colonialism; the ways in which scientific research has been implicated in the worst excesses of imperialism remains a powerful remembered history for many of the world’s colonized peoples. Here, an indigenous researcher issues a clarion call for the decolonization of research methods. The book is divided into two parts. In the first, the author critically examines the historical and philosophical base of Western research. Extending the work of Foucault, she explores the intersections of imperialism, knowledge and research, and the different ways in which imperialism is embedded in disciplines of knowledge and methodologies as “regimes of truth“.  Providing a history of knowledge from the Enlightenment to Postcoloniality, she also discusses the fate of concepts such as “discovery“, “claiming“, and “naming” through which the west has incorporated and continues to incorporate the indigenous world within its own web. The second part of the book meets the urgent need for people who are carrying out their own research projects, for literature which validates their frustrations in dealing with various western paradigms, academic traditions and methodologies, which continue to position the indigenous as “Other”. In setting an agenda for planning and implementing indigenous research, the author shows how such programmes are part of the wider project of reclaiming control over indigenous ways of knowing and being. Exploring the broad range of issues which have confronted, and continue to confront, indigenous peoples, in their encounters with western knowledge, this book also sets a standard for truly emancipatory research. It brilliantly demonstrates that “when indigenous peoples become the researchers and not merely the researched, the activity of research is transformed.”

Read

Written by learningchange

29/03/2014 at 15:45

Inspirational Writing for Academic Publication

leave a comment »

Do you feel under increasing pressure to produce high quality publications, or struggle to translate your great ideas into inspirational – and engaging – writing? Gillie Bolton introduces her three ‘key phases’ method (Write for Myself, Redraft for my Reader, Edit for Posterity) to make the writing process less daunting, and offers support and advice on how to develop your own writing voice to use this to engage readers in your research. ‘Characters’ at different career stages help you to identify your own writing level, and before and after examples of work from a range of disciplines clearly illustrate the key writing techniques. Drawing on case studies, as well as their own extensive writing experience, the authors suggest strategies for dealing with common difficulties such as:

  • Time and energy management
  • Restoring flagging enthusiasm
  • Maintaining inspiration
  • Dealing with potential burnout and writer’s block.

Each chapter concludes with a set of constructive exercises which develop these critical skills and inspire you to improve and enjoy your own academic writing. Ideal for upper level students and early career researchers.

Read

Written by learningchange

28/03/2014 at 09:10

Posted in Academic, Writing

Tagged with ,