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Triads, Posters and Postgrads: inquiry-based learning, research methods and dissertation support - January 2009
Triads, Posters and Postgrads: inquiry-based learning, research methods and dissertation support - January 2009
Triads, Posters and Postgrads: inquiry-based learning, research methods and dissertation support - January 2009
Triads, Posters and Postgrads: inquiry-based learning, research methods and dissertation support - January 2009
Triads, Posters and Postgrads: inquiry-based learning, research methods and dissertation support - January 2009
Triads, Posters and Postgrads: inquiry-based learning, research methods and dissertation support - January 2009
Triads, Posters and Postgrads: inquiry-based learning, research methods and dissertation support - January 2009
Triads, Posters and Postgrads: inquiry-based learning, research methods and dissertation support - January 2009
Triads, Posters and Postgrads: inquiry-based learning, research methods and dissertation support - January 2009
Triads, Posters and Postgrads: inquiry-based learning, research methods and dissertation support - January 2009
Triads, Posters and Postgrads: inquiry-based learning, research methods and dissertation support - January 2009
Triads, Posters and Postgrads: inquiry-based learning, research methods and dissertation support - January 2009
Triads, Posters and Postgrads: inquiry-based learning, research methods and dissertation support - January 2009
Triads, Posters and Postgrads: inquiry-based learning, research methods and dissertation support - January 2009
Triads, Posters and Postgrads: inquiry-based learning, research methods and dissertation support - January 2009
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Triads, Posters and Postgrads: inquiry-based learning, research methods and dissertation support - January 2009

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Ana Vasconcelos, Jamie Wood, Kendra Albright, Bob Petrulis (Information Studies; CILASS). Presentation given at the University of Sheffield Learning and Teaching Conference in January 2009.

Ana Vasconcelos, Jamie Wood, Kendra Albright, Bob Petrulis (Information Studies; CILASS). Presentation given at the University of Sheffield Learning and Teaching Conference in January 2009.

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  • 1. Triads, Posters and Postgrads: inquiry-based learning, research methods and dissertation support Ana Vasconcelos, Jamie Wood Kendra Albright, Bob Petrulis (Information Studies; CILASS)
  • 2. Content of the presentation
    • Rationale
    • The IBL approach
    • The context of the module
    • Discussion triads
    • Poster session
    • Evaluation data
    • Reflection, discussion
  • 3. Rationale
    • DIS student body displays a huge diversity of research interests, experiences, and levels of understanding
    • Results in different levels of understanding regarding research
    • Previous student evaluations emphasized the need to build in more detailed support for research preparation in smaller groups
    • Focus group discussions
      • Lack of exposure to research
      • Choosing a topic
      • How to scope
      • Choosing an appropriate methodology
      • Access to organisations
  • 4. CILASS context
    • Phase 1 project, Inquiry in Information Management , L1 UG module
        • In small groups, students choose research question and then undertake and report an original investigation. Inquiry process supported by workshops and online resources.
    • Phase 4 projects to develop L3 UG and PGT research skills in research methods modules
    • So, a key idea was to build progression in IBL into the Information Studies curriculum
  • 5. The IBL approach
    • "Modelling the process of research within the student learning experience“ (CILASS website)
    • IBL: “self-directed inquiry or research. Students conduct small or large-scale inquiries that enable them to engage actively and creatively with the questions and problems of their discipline, often in collaboration with others.” (CILASS website)
  • 6.
    • Research methods in DIS appeared to be an ideal area for the application of IBL as both are about
      • Supporting research process
      • Understanding research process
      • Developing research skills/ methods
      • Connected to disciplinary research/ inquiry
    IBL and research methods
  • 7. Objectives
    • Reconceptualise the module to develop relevant research skills and support students through research process (e.g. Conrad, 2003; Cryer, 1998);
    • Establish link between IBL conceptual design and research practice that culminates in a successful dissertation experience;
    • Provide opportunities for research evaluation and critique among the students by providing each other with research feedback during discussion triads and a poster session;
    • Increase awareness of and opportunities for DIS to partner with businesses within the Sheffield community.
  • 8. The context of the module
    • Re-design of the module into:
      • A common block introducing key and basic concepts and principles (first part of semester);
      • IBL seminars exploring in greater depth more specific aspects of qualitative and quantitative research (second part of semester);
      • Two key events geared towards informal but relatively structured feedback: discussion triads (week 6) and poster session (week 12).
    • Assessment of the module was maintained: dissertation critique and research proposal + literature review.
  • 9. Discussion triads
    • A structured approach to brainstorming;
    • Some prior preparation – an A4/flipchart/poster on:
      • what the research is about (objectives)
      • why it should be undertaken (rationale)
      • how you are going to undertake it (methodological approach)
    • Roles:
      • The subject discusses his/ her project in order to deepen the understanding of the scope of the research.
      • The interviewer deploys interviewing skills to probe the why, what and how questions - to try to sensitise the subject to any hidden and blind areas.
      • The monitor observes the process, but must NOT intervene. Will provide feedback to both the subject and the interviewer.
    • Key points: falling into role and group dynamics; socialisation and learning in interaction; seeing through multiple lenses; deliverables; transferability; time efficiency.
  • 10. Poster session ‘Champagne & dessert’ end of year event
    • Development of posters with the extended ‘what, why and how’ of the research;
    • Posters were displayed at a session open to both the University community as well as the Sheffield business community;
    • Display arrangements deliberately mixed students from different cohorts and using different approaches;
    • Informal discussion groups;
    • Enhancement of the visibility of the work of individual students and of the department.
  • 11. Evaluation
  • 12. Evaluation (cont.)
  • 13. Some comments from participating students
    • “ A good opportunity to gain feedback and opinions about my research topic, methodology and literature review.”
    • “ It’s the best poster session I’ve ever had!!! Thank you very much.
    • It was a good experience.”
    • “ Great!”
    • “ In the grand scheme of things, the timing of the event was not ideal (in terms of dissertation development) but it was nonetheless good.”
    • “ I hope events like that will be open to me/us as alumni in the future.”
    • “ Really good – found loads of useful resources for other people that I had not discovered. Thanks. “
    • “ It would be nice say in 2 years to come to one of these to say hi. I’d pay too (say £2).”
  • 14. Key learning points
    • Learning in interaction and aspects of socialisation;
    • Establishing clear links to concrete deliverables;
    • Transferability of approach;
    • Overcoming logistic challenges.
  • 15. References
    • Conrad, L. (2003). ‘ Five ways of enhancing the postgraduate community: Student perceptions of effective supervision and support’. Learning for an Unknown Future: 26th Annual HERDSA Conference. Available online at: http://surveys.canterbury.ac.nz/herdsa03/pdfsref/Y1033.pdf ; accessed 23/10/2008.
    • Cryer, P. (1998). ‘Improving the Experience of Postgraduate Research: a survey of the UK support provision for staff and students’. Journal of Further and Higher Education , 22 (3), 267-274.

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