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The simplicity of research > keep it simple

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 20 Nov 2020, 15:56


Ask yourself some questions. Narrow the topic. 

Then go out and ask your respondents. One or two will do to start with. Take the view that you may interview two or 50. Sit them down. Record it. Ask questions and keep asking as long as they are willing to respond. Some of the greatest insight will come when they think it is over; something will come to them. A throw away thought, recollection or metaphor will put a smile on your face. THAT is what this research is about. And if you are their tutor/teacher too, that is fine. Don't let it get in the way. It shouldn't. Afterall, don't you listen actively to feedback from your students in any case? 

And to justify my approach I can provide a list of papers and quotes: 

In action research, the educator is both researcher and teacher (Kuhn & Quigley, 1997).

And try different approaches, say 'informed observation' - The Human Lab at the Institute of Education at the Open University have made a business of this. You put learners into a space designed to look like an office, or home, even a student's bedroom. Then you give them a device and ask them to fulfil various research and study tasks. By watching closely what they do, and recording it, you get an insight that might otherwise be impossible, on how people use the technology.

We don't follow our guinea-pigs into bed or the bathroom though. Yet, these are places where people 'work' too. 

'Ethnographic fieldwork' makes up part of this research process too. All this requires is that while teaching you make notes that go beyond the teaching framework in order to understand the context of what the students are doing. 

Victor Lally calls it a 'participatory and iterative approach'. (Lally et al. 2012 : 02) Something he undertook to understand how students interacted in the virtual world Second Life. 

‘Different methodologies can be taken to embody different views of the nature of meaning’. (Snyder, 1995)

Indeed according to Patton (1982), a framework should be created whereby "respondents can express their understandings in their own terms". 

A wide literature review is necessary. 

Not only does it give credibility, but it also finds out what has been done by whom already. If research such as this has been done before and elsewhere, in all likelihood it has, let's see it. 

"It should be extensively and systematically woven into the paper to provide background and balance and even trying hard to offer contrasting perspectives so setting out clearly the pros and cons of the methodology and past experiences with these techniques in this kind of setting." (I believe I am quoting myself from 2013). 

This is worth looking into:

Oxford Research: Department of Education 

Digital youth and learning

This area examines how young people are using new technologies in their everyday lives and the potential learning that occurs as a result of this use. Work in this area includes the Learner and their Context study – a 3-year study that explores how and why young people learn outside formal educational settings using technology. Previous projects include the ESRC seminar series The educational and social impact of new technologies on young people in Britain that was jointly run by the Department of Education and LSE.

From > Sage Publishing 



Research Methods in Education 

REFERENCE

Kuhn, G., & Quigley, A. (1997). Understanding and using action research in practice settings. In A. Quigley & G. Kuhne (Eds.), Creating practical knowledge through action research (pp. 23–40). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Looi, C.-K., Chen, W. the 9th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (Vol. 2). International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Lally, V; Sharples, M; Tracey, F; Bertram, N and Masters, S. (2012). Researching the ethical dimensions of mobile, ubiquitous,and immersive technology enhanced learning (MUITEL) in informal settings: a thematic review and dialogue. Interactive Learning Environments, 20(3), pp. 217–238.

Patton, M.Q. 1983, (p. 205). Qualitative Evaluation Methods 

Snyder, I. (1995) Multiple perspectives in literacy research: Integrating the quantitative and qualitative. Language and Education 9 (1).

Wiggins, B J (2011) 'Confronting the dilemma of mixed methods', Journal Of Theoretical And Philosophical Psychology, 31, 1, pp. 44-60, PsycARTICLES, EBSCOhost, viewed 13 February 2013.

Wittel, Andreas (2000, January). Ethnography on the move: From field to net to Internet [23 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research [Online Journal], 1(1). Available at: http://www.qualitative- research.net/fqs-texte/1-00/1-00wittel-e.htm [Date of Access: June, 26, 2008,].
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Design Museum

On keeping a notebook, diary or learning journal. On paper.

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Anything you might use. Think of yourself as an artist before the era of the portable camera. If you don’t sketch something now you’ll forget it. So with words and ways of expressing what you see, feel, do and think. Get those ideas and descriptions down as soon as you can.

Try to work them up that evening, that day. Within a couple of days. Think of this as nurturing a seedling that will have to be transplanted in a day, week, even in a year or five years time. It’ll wait for you, but only if you have made it robust.

Write, and rewrite, toy with it and layer it. Have you recreated a sense of the moment as it was experienced the first time? Maybe. This effort to recall the moment creates a multitude of connections in your brain, some logical, many not, some becoming fixed, some floating, all transformed every nanosecond more that you live. There is no stability in it, not on the page and never in your head.

Then use these ideas somewhere. In a short story, or in a character or context description. It’ll come in time. It’ll become easier.

No automatic recording device can do this for you. A gadget works in absolutes, in numbers. What it takes for you is fixed. Write it down.

Like many of us, I'm sure, I wordpress and go online. I conceive and store ideas on these things. None yet gets close to offering the emotional power of what I said, and where I said it forty years ago: in a school kid diary, in a letter to my grandfather, even typed up with the portable typewriter I got one Christmas. Boxed up and stored I know have a way back into the child's head, that young teenager's hopes and observations. I even printed out filed and boxed stuff from the Amstrad in the 1980s and the various MACs I had in the 1990s and that originated on the Psion in 2000. Anything I thought would be safe on a floppy disc, or Zip drive is probably lost. I can't figure out to read them on a modern device. A box full of paper is another thing.

At 53 my life has been short. At 89 my father-in-law is going through his 'archive' - an academic and educator his house has over the years become a physical expression of the contents of his brain. There are books three columns deep to the ceiling, there are bedrooms stacked with boxes of papers and newspapers. As most of his faculties fail he now has a PhD student at his side to give some order to his archive, and to his life. Sharing it with one, on paper, at this stage, has to be more rewarding and effective than doing it digitally in a blog with wiki-like affordances. 

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Dreams

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 3 Oct 2014, 09:15
From 2BlogI

I rarely write about these, though feel obliged when they are so telling. I had another double bill of movie like dreams. I won't bore you with the detail but I challenge any of these new 'memory' apps to account for them. What is my head up to? It's very probably because I am, after six or seven years of not having done so, thinking about storytelling: character, plot and narrative arcs. Where's that in a mini series such as 'The Borgias'. Some of these series, however often there is a murder or sex act after a while become as interesting as standing at a bus stop and starting to recognise the same faces every day. 

Nabakov said something about 'loving a memory to make it real'.

Can an App love something as abstract as a memory? It strikes me that memories can never be digitised, that as the construct, at that moment, of a chemical process, that they will be forever analogue. Can you digitise a chemical process?

Memory is not a photograph, or recording, not even something you have written down, rather a memory is what your brain at that moment chooses to construct for you drawing upon sources in various, and differing corners and recesses of your brain. It takes very little to alter this mix. Nothing you recall can ever be the way you remember it before, far from being frozen in time, as a digital form would do, it erupts like gas from a swamp.

In my early teens I had one of those 'Five Year Diaries' that offer four or five lines per day. After five years you have what you did on that day for five years. It took a long while for me to move on from these. What I did was try to write something about that day that would provide recall of some kind. I don't need the video of the day. Or an assortment of photographs. All it takes is a phrase, a place, person or event. Something you ate or saw on TV. Oh dear. I just saw that I thought my new girlfriend's breath was bad. She read this by chance a few years later. Together for five years we finally left each other in tatters a decade later. I can see where we were standing. Her Dad had come to pick her up. Neither of us could drive. She was 16, I was nearly 18. Do I need a gadget to replace my mind's eye?

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