All entries for Friday 06 November 2015

November 06, 2015

Weekly Ramblings Part Two: Literature Review and Literature Reading

Welcome to the second part! You ready? Previous blog post didn’t put you off? Excellent! The other major activity that I have been involved with this week is thinking about the literature review and reading through the literature that I have been collecting.

The literature review

As the regular readers (if there are any, hello out there!) shall probably know by now (I’ve been going on and on about it and shall do for the time being) I’ve been thinking about the literature review for a while: its structure, content, and general approach to it. I had been thinking earlier the previous year about adopting a Critical Interpretive Analysis approach to constructing a literature review but I have now realised this is not going to work. This is because the Critical Interpretive Approach from what I can understand is not compatible with the Grounded Theory approach that I have now decided to use as the general research methodology.

What has to be remembered when writing the Ph.D. thesis is that the construction of the literature review must be compatible with whatever research methodological approach is utalised. You cannot write a meta analysis literature review (which is a quantitative approach to analysing literature) if your research methodology is qualitative as it just would not work and would be incompatible, from my current understanding. The Critical Interpretive Analysis would have resulted in a theoretical or conceptual framework developed from the findings of existing literature, which could have been used to lead the research directions and subsequent discussions; however, Grounded Theory opposes the use of a theoretical framework in this way because it advocates an inductive, theory building approach and not a deductive approach or an approach where some sort of preexisting theoretical framework is used to drive analysis of the data.

The approach to and purpose of the literature review must therefore change, and I do have ideas that I am developing with regards to this but shall have to read more literature on Grounded Theory and its application within existing Ph.Ds. for further assistance and examples.

Literature Reading

Excellent progress during the week and I have worked out now what learning models referring to various learning processes that shall be analysed, critiqued, compared and contrasted in order to find similarities and differences. The critiques and reflections shall be used then to provide reasoning as to why the foundations of all of these models have been incorrectly built and why they do not really capture the full and true essence of the learning processes they are attempting to model or theorise about. Indeed, I’ve come across literature that has applied some of these models and they concur that some of these models really don’t capture that full essence. Obviously there is still lots to read and search as I have to show evidence that I have exhausted the literature as much as possible until I reach literature saturation point, which is the point where I can reasonably conclude that findings across literature demonstrates particular patterns across the different areas of investigation interests.

Along with all the reading I’ve also written extensive notes, and this is a brilliant idea to do so because as reading progresses there shall always be opportunities and possibilities to develop ideas so it is always best to write everything down and not discard anything. 

In all it’s been an interesting week with that discussion about Social Justice and the ideas that have been continuously developed as a result of continuous reading. ‘Till next time, make sure you check your bonfires for animals, and try not to get too close to fireworks, and if you are attending any events this weekend do be safe and have fun!

Weeky Ramblings Part one: Social Justice

I had an interesting conversation during the week that involved the concepts of Social Justice and Social Action, and the way in which these play a part in the role of the outreach programs offered by churches and in the way that churches can reach out to the wider community and promote an equal, tolerant, and just society. Yes, ok, that’s Theology and you’re probably reading my research blog wondering why I am talking about Theology when my Ph.D. is all about Education. It’s all relative, people, you just have to be open minded enough to view the connections: I can take the concepts discussed at that meeting and apply it to my Ph.D. This blog post shall focus on Social Justice. I shall talk about Social Action another time when I have formed initial thinking around that.

Social Justice can be and is discussed in the context of Education’s role in providing an equal and just society. Former Labour leader, Prime Minister and Labour Chancellor Gordon Brown remarked at a speech at the University of Greenwich in 2007 that “Education is the greatest Liberator mankind has ever known and the greatest for social progress.” The now current Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron remarked in the same year that, “without good Education, there can be no social justice.” However, when it comes to politicians and Education, what is defined as a “good Education” and its link to social Justice differ among political parties and no doubt members within each party.

So what does all that mean exactly for my research? This is very early in my thinking as it’s only in the past week that I have been thinking about this, but essentially I could use Social Justice as a means of evidencing the need and usefulness of my research. In what way could technology enhance Education’s role in Social Justice? What has the impact been so far? In what way could the specific learning processes that I am investigating be further considered and developed to enhance Education’s role in Social Justice? What benefits would a new theory or a new perspective of learning processes enhance Education’s role in Social Justice? In what way could my research move forward in the future beyond the Ph.D. to develop Education's role in providing an equal and just society? This is quite an important consideration given that countries should be united in this approach of developing a just and equal society, through effective Education. But what does this all mean, and in what way can this really be achieved?

Whatever is the case, the idea is to explain the way in which that my research could be considered as improving Education’s role in Social Justice and ensuring that we have individuals who are liberated from any restricted confines of learning barriers and therefore promoting a more just and equal society.

Ok that’s just some brief ideas and thinking that I have been considering very recently and obviously these ideas need to be further developed and deemed appropriate, but it is quite interesting to view my research and Education in general from this perspective!

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