July 22, 2012

Further Follow up on Developing Your Critical Thinking at Masters Level

Here's a summary of how I've been getting on with my action points

1. To increase the amount of material I read whilst balancing my time by using the filtering techniques described.

As I am now finished with the formal lectures of my masters course, I have a lot more time to dedicate towards reading and writing for my dissertation. As well as a lot more experience to reflect on since my last blog on this workshop, now a while back, in February. Since then, I have definitely managed to increase the amount of material I read as reflected in my reference lists which are now more extensive. My next concern is to remain motivated to continue doing the same as I finish my last assignment and keep up to date with my dissertation.

2. To not take data for granted as fact and try to critically engage with it, always ask why?

Taking the previous comments on board, as time constraints concern everyone, I continue to seek out peer reviewed articles and engage with material by determining which is most relevant to me. Another idea I also picked up from the reading and note making workshop was to look at the acknowledgement sections of articles to highlight potential bias based on an institutions research preference or source of funding, which could make drawing some conclusions more attractive than others.

3. To remember that there is always more than one side to any argument and this continuum is important to understand and can be applied to strengthen the position of my own arguments in work and life.

In terms of my dissertation on vaccines, the science behind the immunology involved is often already agreed on. And to avoid my dissertation becoming too superficial and "flowery" (according to my supervisor) I will be avoiding the societal arguments for and against the use of vaccines (which could be a dissertation in itself) to focus more on the advances in the science, manufacturing and the regulatory reform needed to improve vaccine commercialisation. This will inevitably involve cost-benefit analysis and consideration of societal needs, highlighting the fact that developing countries invest more in disease such as cancer as apposed to disease present in developing countries. Ultimately, giving me the best opportunity to present both sides of the argument and strengthen the position of my own opinions.

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  1. Austin Griffiths

    Hi Gwyn,
    I think it is always a good idea to have a tight focus for a dissertation. It means you can really critically engage with areas you are studying rarther than covering a lot of ground in a general way. You comments on bias are interesting, particiularly given your subject and the funding sources that influence research and development.
    Good luck with the dissertation.

    06 Aug 2012, 10:46

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