May 31, 2011

Researcher's Bais; Putting Critical Thinking into Pratice

Follow-up to Critical Thinking – Meta Skills Portfolio from Sam's blog

                                                       Researcher's Bais; Putting Critical Thinking into Pratice

Tutor's name: Austin Griffths

For the last couple of weeks I faced a huge challenge manifested in choosing empirical research articles and critique them in a way that contributes to the development of my MA study. Although I had a rough idea of what articles to choose, I was quite clueless to the way I should approach and tackle them. Therefore, I started to apply the action plan that resulted in a sequential development as the following:

1- I did the reading on two-phases. One might think that I did the reading of the whole article twice and wasted a substantial amount of time. On the contrary, I followed an approach of skimming through a section or an entire part of an article to get a rough idea. Then, instead of highlighting the important words or ideas, I devised a critical approach.

Now I read each experiment or phase of an experiment with an scrutinising observant's eye. I ask and apply the background and expertise of the researhcer on his or her study. By doing so, I gain an insightful view of how the study was conducted and the ulterior motives for the researcher to do it. This helped me not only to understand the underlying reasons for the study, but also to define refine my own research proposal.

2- After revealing the researcher bias, if it had existed, I would objectively wiegh different variables against each other and compare the existing literature against the study itself in order to perform some sort of personal validation for myself saying '' If this study holds water to me, it must do to other academics. This step empowered me and boosted my  self-confidence because I am now more ''academically capable'' person and my ultimate purpose that drove me to come to warwick is coming to life which is ''becoming research-oriented''

3- One more area of development I would have never imagined to reach to is being finally to deliver the knowledge I acquired in front of my colleagues and supervisors. Last week, I suceeded in critiquing three articles that have carried out an empirical study. I made A4 copies of my critiquing plan to all the attendees and suprisingly, neither me or them needed to go back to them because I managed to present my arguments in a lucid way that called my colleagues to wonder to make notes and asking my questions after the critiquing session.

Although one might think that critiquing is all about finding flaws or gaps in studies, it involves carrying out a comprehensive assessment of the method of research whether qualitative, quantitative or both, size of the subjects, the sampling process, the way the data was analysed and interpreted. Honestly, it is overwhelming to be able to do all these steps at the same time, but a deep belief that this is a skill that is apt to improving is empowering. I do not claim to be a deft at doing all the steps, but I am directing all my efforts towards polishing these skills by enough practice.

4- To recapitulate, by applying the skills linked to critical thinking, I have become a more multi-disciplinary person honing my personal and professional development towards a better sense of achivement.

Lastly, by knowing more about research proposals, I gained the confidence to apply for a PhD scholarship in Cambridge....Cross your fingers for me.



- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Austin Griffiths

    I really wish you the best of luck with the PhD scholarship. I think you comments are extremely positive. They way you have thought about your own skills and thought processes, and the added confidence it has given you as an academic, is excellent. As you say, Critical Thinking is a mutli-disciplinary model, a meta-skill that is as much an apporach as it is a set of specific rules. Key to the process of becoming a Critical Thinker is developing personal approaches to things, and you seem to be doing that very well.

    I will email Celine Moore to let her know that you have comleted your final blog.

    02 Jun 2011, 22:49

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