All 2 entries tagged Maxdan

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August 16, 2007

Nearing the End

Max’s saturation of the URSS blog has made me feel slightly inadequate, which has prompted me to write a follow up as to where we are in our research. We have finished the first stage (analysing the conceptions of higher education in Britain and Germany), read the biennial Bologna documents and are trying to see to what extent the first has influenced the second. We have written reports and an annotated bibliography for the first stage, so at least we have something to show for our research, and seem to be on track. However, I believe the next stage will be difficult insofar as it will be impossible to conclusively say from where, for instance, the focus on quality assurance comes from.

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve also managed to go to the British library, which was probably more fruitful for Max, record a podcast in the RAW studio and get a decent overview of our project so far with meetings with our supervisor and discussions about our relative findings.

However, we do not have long left so hopefully we can find a conclusion of some sort that is worthy of being put on a poster.

Dan Davies

August 03, 2007

Why is it so difficult to write

Why is it so difficult to write? At least for me this was not only the most challenging part of my first year, but also proofs to be a major burden of my URSS project. Today, I targeted to simply finish of my research on the historic background of higher education reform and to write a scholarly essay on the matter. Well, I did not; despite three folders of extensive notes, advanced MindMaping software and a lot of good ideas. Instead, I found plenty of excuses to reopen my research, work on my annotated Bibliography and I even found myself downloading commentaries on the book Exodus from J-Store. But where does this apparent incapability to summarise the work I have done originate from.
I guess, one element of it is a fear of bullet points. Having read a lot of essays on my topic, believing to have understood them makes me very self conscious. Indeed, I am very much inclined to judge the my own work by the same standards as the published work that I have been using as resources for my information. Not surprisingly, I always loose in this comparison, feeling inferior, or even like someone who is simply using other peoples ideas. Since I know where I have drawn my ideas from it feels like cheating not simply to refer others to these works.
The second problem is structure. My notes follow the structure of the works which I consulted, but of course these differ and opposed to first year classes there are no lecture notes which provide a general just of how things are. Yesterdays entry briefly considered this problem, even though it did not go into sufficient depth. It is not a clear cut decision whether to take a chronological or a thematic structure in the first place; moreover, arranging ones thoughts around the structure chosen seems even more challenging. Especially after the first 200 words written it is incredibly tempting simply to dismiss everything and to construct a whole new plan. This leads to nothing but frustration.
For my last report I used the constructive option of simply forcing myself to write. I do not claim that the outcome was the most pleasant experience for my supervisor, not did it satisfy PAIS referencing standards, but it left myself with a sense of accomplishment. What I will try tomorrow is to use this experience, free writing a semi structured report. However, I will be a little bit more disciplined compared to my last report, aiming for a fully referenced work. This is very much possible because I have a full day to do this. And once it is done Dan and I will finally able to focus on our main topic of enquiry: The Bologna Process.

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