This week Quaco led the lecture session with a cracking account of the real purpose of research – making connections with your Research Project – and especially with the Research Report that everybody had to write to finish off this part of the analytical process. This Report and this process is not a pointless assessment hoop to jump through!
The point of research is to investigate an aspect of our world and then to tell people about what we did, why we did it – what we discovered – what it might mean – and what practical applications it has in the world.
There’s no point in keeping research to yourself!
In Education particularly it helps us all if research relates to our real experiences – it all makes much more sense when we know what is happening and why – if we can see a practical purpose to the work. And that is the point of this Research Project. You were asked to investigate an issue or an aspect of teaching and learning that you found interesting. You are supposed to use your interest to help you do the work. You are supposed to use that interest to help you make sense of your findings: you should know WHY you were investigating what you did – so you should know WHAT you want to tell the world about what you have discovered.
So – one last time: The Report
The Report part of this Project is where you report your findings – you discuss what the raw data might mean – you draw conclusions as to their relevance to *this* context (for you were analysing an aspect of HE study) – and where applicable you make Recommendation for Practice, that is, suggestions for how to improve the learning for University students, based on your analysis of your research data:
Recommendations for Practice
Try to stop worrying about this as ACADEMIC WRITING – try to stop worrying about this as an ASSESSMENT – try to think about it as having something to SAY to REAL PEOPLE.
Of your RESEARCH PROPOSAL that would have been asking:
So what are you going to investigate? - INTRODUCTION
Why are you interested in that topic? – BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
What have other academics already discovered about that topic? – LITERATURE REVIEW
How will you carry out your own research? - METHOD
Why have you chosen to carry out the research in that way? - METHOD
Of your RESEARCH REPORT they will be asking:
So what happened when you conducted your research? What are the key highlights? – FINDINGS
What do your findings mean? – DISCUSSION
What overall conclusions do you draw about University teaching/learning? – CONCLUSION
What should we do differently because of what you have found out? – RECOMMENDATIONS
Okay – so it is all in just 1000 words! So no room for a lot of description – but quite a lot of *concise* analysis and discussion required.
AND – if you are still struggling with this – talk to other people in the class – what is baffling when we are alone with our worries becomes sensible and do-able when we work with other people!!
BUT if you do not want to talk to anyone – read some educational research and see how other people write it up. As we have mentioned before – the free online journal: Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education covers exactly the sort of research that you are doing – and will offer excellent models for how you should write up your work: http://www.aldinhe.ac.uk/ojs/index.php?journal=jldhe
This week in the Workshop time, students had the option of continuing to work on their assignments or attending a session where we shared our Conference presentation. This year we presented at the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education Conference upon the topic of blogging your learning – with a particular focus on the blogging that we have asked you to do here in the Becoming module.
The workshop was a chance for us to show you what a formal academic conference presentation might look like – and to show you the sort of research that we engage in as educationalists ourselves. If you missed the Workshop – or would like to find out a bit more about the conference itself – please go to our Least Refuge blog: http://lastrefugelmu.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/aldinhe-conference-2014-learning.html. It would be great if you popped in a Comment or some feedback!