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Reflexive Diary Introduction


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Reflexive Diary Introduction

  1. 1. Sustainability in Practice
  2. 2. <ul><li>“ This module is centrally concerned with individual, personal action to promote sustainable development, and how appropriate behavioural change might be encouraged – an important policy agenda in fields as diverse as transport, energy use, consumption and democratic politics. </li></ul><ul><li>“ It begins by placing the current emphasis on individual responsibility for sustainable development in its wider theoretical, political and historical context, and introduces a range of debates that illuminate different aspects of society-environment relations. These include environmental ethics, rational choice theory, identity, citizenship and the role of the mass media. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>“ Running through the module is a concern for novel, qualitative research methods in the social sciences, focused on individual and group reflection about environmental behaviour. This reflection is informed by the use of carbon footprint calculating devices. It is supported by methodological training in the use of reflective field diaries, and students will be able to participate in – and run - focus groups. This research will contribute to students’ own learning and build up a corpus of data for analysis by subsequent cohorts of students. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Autoethnography: research, writing, story, and method that connect the autobiographical and personal to the cultural, social, and political. </li></ul><ul><li>Autoethnographic forms feature concrete action, emotion, embodiment, self-consciousness, and introspection... (Ellis, 2004: XIX). </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Small blocks of traditional lecturing </li></ul><ul><li>Issue readings or other items for study between sessions; e.g. Carbon Gym software, readings, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Use of focus groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>to discuss, debate and critique issues raised by these engagements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>provide material for Blackboard discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>provide the basis for reflective diary entries </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>“ Students must produce a journal which reflects on their experiences, thoughts, attitudes and feelings about environmentally sustainable behaviour. It should include reflections on actual decisions (or indecision) you have faced, and respond to ideas from the taught sessions, the use of the carbon footprint counter (whether the thoughts taken are positive or negative), the background reading, and feelings about the methodologies used to explore these issues (such as the focus groups). </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>“ In structure, the journal should be no more than 3000 words. It should consist of six entries, each of approximately 500 words, with each entry having a coherent theme or subject. Thus students need not pen a response for every week. Moreover, we would expect students to use the journal to communicate how their understanding or and response to issues has changed over the semester. </li></ul><ul><li>The key to this task is not description – what you did, what you heard – but reflection . This means thinking about the issues you have encountered, the factors that might explain or interpret your behaviour or response, those elements of taught material that are relevant, and where your feelings about an issue, or propensity to take action, may have changed, or be firmly resistant to change. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Aims (hopes!?) for this module <ul><li>generate material for current students to access on individual behavioural change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>for reflective diaries, potential MScs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>to create an archive of student discussion for forthcoming students </li></ul><ul><li>create material that can be potentially used as tuition for how to run focus groups for qualitative methodology classes </li></ul><ul><li>but perhaps most interestingly, along with the reflective diary pieces, can form the basis of research papers on the role of the individual in sustainable practice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. Hayes-Conroy, J. Vanderbeck. R. 2005 Ecological Identity Work in Higher Education. Ethics, Place and Environment. 8. 3. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Ethical Issues <ul><li>Students not marked on how green they are. It is possible for them to be really unsustainable in their actions – that is not way to get a good or bad grade in this module, how green you are is up to the individual – what is important is how they reflect, critique, identify problems that are encountered, or solutions arrived at </li></ul><ul><li>All this premised on informed consent. Ask them for permission to be filmed, and for the material to be used in this way. Reflective diary entries to be anonymised. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>“ some kind of record to how the research progresses, day by day, and to chart how the researcher comes to certain (mis)understandings. Diaries should represent the doubts, fears, concerns, feelings, and so on that the researcher has at all stages of her/his work” (from Cook & Crang, 1995:29). </li></ul><ul><li>“ What have you ‘learned’ from reading it [my auto-ethnographic diary]? Not much about ‘me’, I hope. Its not a me-me-me-me-me-me-me-type narrative. Is it? I think it’s an it-me-them-you-here-me-that-you-there-her-us-then-so- … narrative. It’s an ‘expanded field’ thing. And you’re in it too. Aren’t you?” (Cook, in Moss, 2001:120) </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>“ It's amazingly difficult. It's certainly not something that most people can do well. Social scientists usually don't write well enough. Or they are not sufficiently introspective about their feelings or motives, or the contradictions they experience. Ironically, many are not observant enough of the world around them. The self questioning autoethnography demands is extremely difficult. Often you confront things about yourself that are less than flattering” (Ellis, 2004:XVIII) </li></ul>