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Reflective Tools for Researchers

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Overview of reflective tools and their benefits

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Reflective Tools for Researchers

  1. 1. Reflective Tools for Researchers Prof Susi Geiger UCD Dublin Business School This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 676201 www.chessitn.eu
  2. 2. Why are you doing a PhD? www.chessitn.eu This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 676201
  3. 3. Reflective Practice • • Reflective Practice is "the capacity to reflect on action so as to engage in a process of continuous learning“ (Schoen 1983) • No-one can develop as a researcher without engaging in reflective practice, but… • “I try to observe my own experience And discover that the more I look the more I see But I do not know how to learn from what I see” (Joanna Field 1952)
  4. 4. Exercise • In pairs: Taking the position of an outside ‘analyst’ • Please take 5 minutes each and think of an issue that is of importance in your research at the moment or that creates particular difficulty for you. • Describe this issue in broad terms to your partner and then discuss, in turn: – My stance toward the issue – Alternative perspectives to the problem at hand – Potential action plans arising. • Some pointers…
  5. 5. Some Qs that may help you 1. What is my concern? 2. Why am I concerned? 3. How do I see the situation as it is and as it develops as I take action? 4. What can I do? What will I do? 5. What is the evidence for my conclusions? What are the alternative explanations? 6. How do I check that any conclusions I come to are reasonably fair and accurate? 7. How do I modify my ideas and practices in light of my evaluation? (Whitehead and McNiff 2006)
  6. 6. The Purpose of a Reflective Diary Why keep a diary? • To keep a detailed history of your research process as it unfolds; • To track the development of your research skills and understanding; • To provide a context for reflecting on your research and the problems it throws up; • To have a track record of key decisions and why they were made; • To provide a reference point for what happened when in the process. www.chessitn.eu This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 676201
  7. 7. What’s the use? It will help you to: • facilitate learning from experience and develop critical analysis skills • transfer learnings from one research context to the next • To help the development of a questioning attitude • To enhance data analysis • To facilitate your methods write-up • To start a life-long reflective practice as a researcher (and beyond) www.chessitn.eu This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 676201
  8. 8. Types of reflective diaries • Project diary—record your goals, assumptions and key decisions in your research process. Update it regularly and include links to the significant research themes and data sources. • Fieldwork diary —summarize the learnings and impressions of a period of fieldwork and personal reflections. Make note of contradictions, surprises or early hunches. Include ideas about the themes you need to pursue. Include photos or descriptive information about the fieldwork setting, but also more personal elements/feelings Be reflective of your own person in the situation. • Event diary – very useful for a conference, workshop of summer school. Catch learning ‘on the fly’. What did I hear today, how is this new, how does it fit with what I know, how does this challenge me as a researcher. • Analysis diary –reflect on how you work with your data, why you think a theme is significant, and how your understanding evolves. Add to the diary as your thinking evolves and include links to the related literature. • “End of period” diaries – monthly or quarterly summaries, next steps This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 676201 www.chessitn.eu
  9. 9. Key Elements of a Reflective Diary Description: What you learned,; when; why; where; how; people or media involved. Reflection: Your aims; feelings; behaviour; personal observations Application: (How) can you relate this learning and observations to your research project/questions? “Learning to learn”: What else do you need to know; how can you build on this knowledge? Transforming action: (How) will this flow back into your research? How are you changing as a researcher?
  10. 10. What to put in your diary • Things that you did, people you met and what they said, books or papers that you read, lectures or conferences you went to; • Notes from discussions or useful conversations; • VISUALS: Pictures, drawings, doodles, clips, mindmaps …. • Ideas that you might want to remember or follow up; • Questions that you might want to explore, discuss or find out more about; • Suggestions about reading, contacts, ways forward on problems; • Reports of observations, experiments, events; • ‘Think pieces’ – discursive notes about ideas or directions; brainstorming notes or diagrams; • Personal reflections and feelings; • Problem analysis; • ‘To do’ lists or action plans. www.chessitn.eu This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 676201
  11. 11. Writing a RD • Find a format that works for you: Ipad, laptop, nice note book, mobile app… • Try to write these as soon as possible after the research encounter/conference/ training session  PLAN & MAKE TIME!! • RDs don’t have to be overly ‘academic’; write in the first person and true to your personality. No right or wrong style. • You can refer to academic literature and theoretical models to support your thinking. • Useful for all of these types: a ‘double entry journal’ – only write on one page and leave the other blank for further notes and meta-reflections • Think of it as a blog where the audience is mainly yourself!
  12. 12. Some examples (from Nadin and Cassell 2006) … not sure template analysis is going to be enough in terms of doing justice to the uniqueness of each case. So, with the two dentists' whilst on paper they are very similar, (size of practice, number of employees, age of practice, etc.) they couldn't be more different in how they are managed and run – basically, Andrew is very hands‐on and enthusiastic and Ian couldn't really care less. Whilst the template will pick up common themes it won't do justice to the contrasts between them, perhaps creating an illusion of similarity, when in fact they are very, very different… www.chessitn.eu This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 676201
  13. 13. Some examples (from Nadin and Cassell 2006) Aaaaggghhh!!..... Arrogant pig. Who'd work for him???!!! Sexist bigot. Felt really uncomfortable … like a little girl who was being told how it was in the world of the small business MAN!!! Liked the sound of his own voice. NB: Confidentiality issue www.chessitn.eu This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 676201
  14. 14. WRITING WITH NO VOICE IS DEAD, MECHANICAL, FACELESS. IT LACKS ANY SOUND. (ELBOW, 1981:2867) FINDING YOUR VOICE IS ONE OF THE MOST POSITIVE OUTCOMES OF KEEPING A REFLECTIVE DIARY (NB: WE ALL HAVE MULTIPLE VOICES) Exercise: Speed write for 10 minutes on the question of ‘who am I’ in my research www.chessitn.eu This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 676201
  15. 15. Homework time! • Write a reflective diary entry (1-2 pages – or more!) on each day of the CHESS summer school and send to susi.geiger@ucd.ie, cc-ing Gemma, by June 30. • Homework 2: Practice other opportunities to find your voice (Twitter, blogs, diaries…) www.chessitn.eu This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 676201

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