October 23, 2015

Weekly Ramblings: making progress with reading the literature; proof of uniqueness!


“Literature, Literature, Literature, Literature!” No, that’s not a new Tony Blair mantra; that’s the mantra of the early aspects of the Ph.D., quite possibly the most important mantra! With that, I have been swift to follow up on the positive feedback that my supervisor provided regarding the set of literature that I explored and critiqued and offered a unique perspective of as part of the second assignment of the Advanced Research Methods course. Within that, I explored a set of literature referring to learner perceptions of a particular construct, critiqued the literature regarding the lack of conceptual definitions and what has yet to be explored, and therefore began showing the need for the questionnaire that is being developed. Again as I have said in previous blog posts, this was risky territory and it could have gone either way but with a sigh of relief the feedback was positive.


During the week therefore I have explored more literature in an attempt to determine the extent to which questionnaires have been used to explore learner perceptions of particular learning constructs. I have been amazed to find out that there is a lack of such research available according to the set of literature that has been explored so far although obviously I have not exhausted the literature within this area, and therefore the reading of the literature shall be continuous, but so far the findings suggest a serious lack of such research.


The existing findings of literature evidences the methodological need of the questionnaire that I am developing. The reading is beginning to shape the foundations of different parts of chapters of the Thesis including, and particularly, the literature review along with the methodology chapter, and, importantly for the shorter term goals, beginning to shape the foundations of the conference paper to be presented at next year’s Warwick Postgraduate Conference and then turned into a research paper. Obviously, this will be based on the findings of future, continuous reading, advice from the supervisor, and the way the conference paper shall be received at the conference.


It has not been easy though to get this far. No vision of research is developed immediately; this direction that I am going with the questionnaire is a result of months (months!) of continuous reading and understanding of what is being read, and a careful analysis of my own ideas and the relationship between those ideas and the context of existing literature. This is an ongoing process. This reading will be continuous and will no doubt lead to redeveloping the questionnaire to match what has been read since submitting it as part of the second assignment of the Advanced Research Methods course, as well as what shall be read in the future.


However, I am starting to develop that clear vision and direction of where the questionnaire is leading. Essentially, the first public tasting of this questionnaire will be the research conference, followed possibly by a further pilot study followed by presenting the questionnaire (and other aspects of the research and research design) at the upgrade presentation sometime possibly during the third year.


Plenty to be getting on with then!


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