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Down the rabbit hole

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Edited by Annie Storkey, Friday, 12 Jun 2020, 12:02

Last week I was completing the module on the context of research. What a rabbit hole the macro section turned out to be! I was aware of my need to discuss government frameworks and policy in my research, most specifically the emphasis on value for money and student outcomes but actually trawling through government websites trying to find it seems an endless task. I did find some useful documents on government aims, though these were usually on higher education as a whole rather than distance learning. But there were a few helpful ones on mental health provision and I was especially pleased to find a reference to the social model of disability as that will link well to my discussion on the context of disability in society. That was something I found missing in the module materials on context, that as well as professional and government frameworks there might also be societal ones. I intend to put my research into the experiences of students with mental health challenges within the emerging emancipatory model of disability and it was useful to note how government policy was influenced by disability theory.

I was also surprised to read that many education researchers neglect the meso context and I wonder if it because they consider their work environment to be a generic situation. Working for the OU means that I see my higher education institution as very different to others available, in structure, ethos and cohort. Perhaps it is because its values are very much apparent, even in its name, and in alignment with my own that I have a strong sense of identity with it? This ‘institutional bias’ will be something for me to stay aware of in my research.

Annie

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