All entries for Sunday 25 February 2018

February 25, 2018

MILESTONE: Completed The First Literature Review Chapter Draft; Commence Full Chapter Rewrite!

Achieved Milestone!

It’s been a while since I posted an update, but I am happy to say that recently I have completed the first draft of the first literature review chapter of the thesis! The structure of the chapter, as has been discussed throughout some of the postings this year so far, has faced challenges and changes particularly when addressing the concepts of society and culture and their relationship to Education. But I think I am now settled on a structure that emerged as I wrote the chapter, and the structure is not likely to change although the content probably shall do as the editing and rewriting continues. Currently, the word count is standing at around ten thousand words but this is due for strong edits and the shifting of blocks of texts to other thesis chapters or to be discarded.

Remember, when I say discarded I don’t mean literally thrown away but placed in another text file so that sections of text can be recalled as necessary if or when they are deemed relevant for a particular chapter.

The content of the chapter consists of explanations of my ever changing understanding and interpretations of the concepts Society, Culture, Education and Social Technology and their relation to each other. Additionally, the content also consists of critiques and evaluations of these relationships as a result of critically engaging with and critical analysis of published debates and discussions, and the continuously developing evaluative arguments based on these critical engagements. What we have then is a continuous grounding and, through rewriting and editing, regrounding of critical engagements and the developing arguments built from these critical engagements.

Through editing and rewriting, these debates and discussions are being extended upon with new directions and observations being made and grounded in existing discussions and debates. Everything being discussed is situated and bounded by the research context including research problem and research questions.

The aim of the first literature review chapter, as I have previous mentioned in a blog post, is to present a case or a justification for the use and exploration of specific social learning technologies, and the use and exploration of specific learning processes and patterns within these social learning technologies. And, therefore, to explain and argue what has given rise to their importance in recent decades. It is aimed to achieve this goal through not only exploring the relationship between society, culture and Education, but also through discussing relevant pedagogical approaches and different social learning theories that enable particular learning patterns and processes of research interest.

Current Thesis Writing Task

The current task is to strongly, comprehensively, substantially, and with great detail rewrite and reedit the content of the first literature review chapter. This process involves rechecking or revalidating claims and arguments I have made and are in development, and to ensure that they are grounded in the critiques of existing published discussions or relevant findings.

You cannot claim anything without fundamentally grounding the argument in existing published arguments and discussions because without such grounding, any existing arguments would lack philosophical and / or empirical basis and would not stand up to scrutiny in any VIVA assessment. Even in the literature review you must begin to develop arguments. A literature review is much more than just a review of literature: it’s a separate research project in its own right and therefore is its own project of argument and critique building. This demonstrates your understanding of current literature and current discussions, and demonstrates your ability to critically engage with existing literature and to build arguments and counter arguments, etc. from these critiques.

In order to reach a comprehensive level of editing and rewriting, I am adopting a line-by-line analysis method. This method enables me to go through each page on a line by line basis, scrutinising every sentence, every word, every thought, every idea, and every debate and discussion that I am developing and therefore reground in existing literature, and to verify and validate references that I am using to assist with argument building particularly in the context of new understanding and new thoughts that I have documented since I began originally writing the literature review.

This is an extensive and at times intensive exercise, but is something that I think is beneficial in the long term because since I started this reediting and rewriting process of the first draft, I have made observations in the literature that I had not previously observed, and have developed and continue to develop further thoughts and amendments to debates and discussions.

I come across some people in particular quarters who oppose the idea of what they consider to be an “over thinking” of reading and writing processes and the way in which we engage with the processes psychologically and mentally. But I argue that to class or to consider such as “over thinking” is an admittance of only having the desire to think at a level of convenience rather than the level of what is actually possible in reality. Trust me, when you are engaging with a Ph.D. and dealing with challenging concepts and their challenging relationships, there is no such thing as overthinking!

When you have taken your thinking and your mind to what you think is your limit, go beyond!

‘till next time!

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