Masters in Pedagogy and Practice: Sessions

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Module A - Diploma part I
Module A2 - What is research?

MA(PP) – Study Weekend 1 – Saturday, February 10th, 2018

1. Why do we want to do the course what do we hope to get out of it?

2. The course and ways of working

The course is mostly self-directed with tutor support, in the first instance with me (Paul) and then, later on, you might be allocated a support tutor who is directly linked to your subject / research area depending on what this is. A key part of your experience will be blogging, writing about your own thoughts and reflecting on what you have read and commenting on the thoughts of your colleagues.

Underpinning all that we will do with our research are the core ideas about teaching and learning that situate all of our work. There are a number of core ideas around behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism and connectivism as well as other ideas about teaching and learning thinking about established ideas and also newer ideas. You can find more about some of the key people at:

3. The nature of writing @ M level (reminder and reinforcement)

Writing at Masters Level is a "step up" from writing at Batchelor's level. The key change is the focus on criticality. That is to consider the nature and quality of the research and also to how the research impacts on your own practice as well as to balance the range of research on a topic - do they support or contradict each other? Is there a consensus and if so what is it?

4. Axioms, Paradigms and Methodologies

There are some key axioms about research the positions that researchers take when thinking about the world. Some of the key positions are Positivism, Interpretivism and Critical Realism? Having a broad understanding of these is important before we start to consider our own research position and how we are going to gather and use data. This will inform the entire research process:

There are a couple key publications that might be of interest - these are available in the Library

  • Newby, P (2014) Research Methods for Education (2nd Edition), Routledge: London - access on-line [Hull library] - buy on Amazon
  • Cohen, L et al (2017) Research Methods in Education (8th Edition), Routledge: London - access as book [Hull library] - buy on Amazon

5. Teachers as Researchers

The role of the teacher-researcher is one that can be a conflict of interests as we have to juggle being both a researcher on practiceand also a researcher in practice. You will have to explore both of these roles as you undertake your research. At this point in time you may, or may not, have an idea about the direction that you want to take with your research - this is not vital at this time as it may emerge as you start to read.

6. Positionality and Ethics

One of the key questions as a teacher-researcher is that of positionality (Perryman, 2011). This refers to how we are positioned (by ourselves, by others, by particular discourses) in relation to multiple, relational social processes of difference (gender, class, race, ethnicity, age, sexuality, etc.), which also means we are differently positioned in hierarchies of power and privilege. This will have to be seriously considered as we carry out our research both by us and in conversation with others - especially if the research we are going to carry out is perceived as threatening or disruptive.

At this point we do not need to consider the formal ethical approval - which we will come back to later but if you are thinking about research that will be using data with children that will NOT be gathered in the normal process of the school day then you will have to get permission from their parents/guardians and this may influence your sample.

7. Literature: Finding it and Searching for it

In these first few weeks you need to be reading about a range of topic - see Module A3 for more details on the areas you should be reading. You should also be using the search databases that the library provides including PROQUESTEBSCO and the CATALOGUE. The Library also has an entry portal for Education and Childhood Studies

As well as this you might also like to look at the following page which will give you an idea of key general education journals:

8. The Assignment

At this time do not be too worried about the assignment as we will cover this in more detail in the next face-to-face session (see below). What you should be doing is reading both about research in general (see the section on literature, about teaching and learning and also thinking about your own interests, perhaps in conversation with colleagues and/or your line managers in school.

Hoiwever, so you are aware - here is the outline of the presentation

9. Next session, tutorials and tutorial times

The next "weekend" session has been fixed for Saturday 24th March, details on the venue will come soon as will the timetable.

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