an ethics of analysis and writing

How do you work ethically with material generated in an interview? I’ve been pondering this question recently as part of a more general think about ethical research practice*. Research ethics are c…

Source: an ethics of analysis and writing

  • How do we record and then analyse the important sensory elements of interviews? What does it mean to leave them out?
  • Does our desire to find patterns (themes) lead us to skip over important tensions and individual idiosyncrasies? What does it mean to leave them out?
  • Does the use of particular forms of software accentuate our gaze on broad themes rather than emergent narratives and subtle underpinning metaphors? What does it mean to leave them out?
  • Do the ways in which we transcribe recordings pay sufficient attention to silences, stumbles, awkwardness, intonations, irony, sarcasm and so on? What does it mean to leave them out?

This post, in particular, the questions I have cited above, has helped my thinking process about the data analysis. I have been struggling to write what my interviewees have said in the focus groups in form of general themes. I haven’t found yet ‘themes’ that make justice to what they feel about the use of digital tools in the university. How they struggle, how they feel so upset with how this element has been addressed in the academic context. I think I fear, in words of Patt, to leave out important tensions, I don’t want to miss any ‘sensory elements of the interviews’.

I have analysed the data with such care, I have read through it so many times, but it is hard to find a sensible way, the right words to make justice to their feelings.

I think about this on a daily basis, I can not, not think about it, but every time I try to generate the themes I feel uncomfortable, not at ease with my participants and with myself, and I think it has to do with what Patt says in this post.

With this insight and the advice I recently got from a scholar to create my own categories, I will return to my data analysis, my transcriptions, the most precious bit of text I have in my whole thesis, and dare to be creative not feeling an impostor, and make justice to what I think is fundamental in any research, the inner world of the participants 🙂

The Gutenberg Parenthesis

 

Watching this video, made me think the value of having constructive and humble scholarly discussions. How Pettitt hears attentively and takes note of questions, he is asked, considering how the insights of others can shed light on his not fully formed ideas about what is writing and thinking. The penny fall when I saw how the crafting of an idea is an ongoing process and although we have some of those thoughts, some are just not fully formed. Having these scholarly conversations is such an important thing when one is forging one’s own ideas at the start of an academic career. Conversation with interested people that engage in your research is vital for one’s development. Humbleness and wisdom shall go together and guide us through a better understanding of our own idea.

I am writing up the things I will be sharing in South Africa in the OEGlobal conference and a seminar organised by the Global OER Graduate Network in the hope that the conversation I will have will shed some light on my still a-morphs ideas.

Things like performativity, what does intra-action means, what are the implications for practice, the role of language and technology in students’ development, the way to explain the relation between the subject and the object, how not to stay critical and open; reflecting on technological determinism. How can we separate language from the phenomena it is describing, is language an instrument that brings the phenomenon into existence, or is the event happening independent of the instrument we use to re-present it, and so many assumptions I am not yet able to explain. The keel is under construction hence the boat is still in the harbour not ready to depart.

 

We make the road by walking

The title of this book, which is taken from a poem of Albert Machado, for which Joan Manuel Serrat took inspiration to write his song ‘caminante no hay camino’ (walker there is not a path) is remarkably meaningful for me as it tells the story of the last 5 years of my life. I left my  home country looking for freedom and agency. Looking for my essence. In this long walk, there has certainly been no trail marked for me, I had to open my own. And as Machado says in his poem:

caminante son tus huellas el camino y nada mas, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar, y al andar se hace camino y al volver la vista atras se ve la senda que nunca se ha de volver a pisar. Caminante no hay camino, sino estelas en la mar

Saying, that the road is nothing else but your footprints. There is not such a thing as a footpath, one makes the road by walking, and in that walking, you make the road, and when you look back, you see that road that you will never walk again.

And yes, I believe we make a footpath while we walk searching for our essence, for who we are and more than that, we are the trailblazers of our destiny. This reading will be part of my path.

Ideas that have caught my attention:

  • Formal education prepares people to live in a system, the prevailed system, i.e. capitalism. Institutions block freedom creating this incredible contradiction of educating people that cannot move out of the system, perpetuating it and its pitfalls. I think this book is a conversation of alternatives to escape that. In the case of Hyghlander School, the idea of Myles was to make the experiences of their students the building blocks of the curriculum. This reminds me David Cromier’s idea of Rhizomatic learning, the community is the curriculum. Myles says: Students analyse their experience by storytelling and reflecting about an experience leads to change, or at least it is the beginning of change. Although they are talking here about adult education, I ask myself how can this idea be extrapolated to children or young people education.
  • The main goal for both, Freire and Horton, was supporting people in the process of finding their freedom. They had a radical democratic belief in the capacity and right of all people to achieve that freedom through self-emancipation. This has much in common with my idea of fostering agency, so students can pursue what they want and have the knowledge, skills and attitude to do so. The concept of freedom I am using in my work is the one by Sen and (here) and Marta Nussbaum. They have developed the human capability approach where freedom and agency are addressed in a holistic manner.
  • Both believed that participation is the means to freedom and educational practice ought to be seen as both liberatory and participatory. In a way, I think, it allows students to embody participation in education, and this way of learning could then be a means to participate in society involving the people themselves in the creation of their own knowledge. Much of this is argued when talking about the benefits of open practice.
  • These ideas grew from the struggle the authors had to connect theory and practice, which is still a struggle nowadays. All the brilliant ideas about OEP and OEP are a response to the unconnected theory and practice. We need to see how we can, through OEP, uncover and critically analyse the power structures that are once again doing their best to keep those structures that protect their power. This hopefully is among the aims of the OEGlobal conference in South Africa next year where I am presenting my ideas about how personal learning spaces are open context created by the learner but at the same time, they are part of open practices.
  • The main objective was linking participatory education to liberation and social change. Asking questions about the role of the student, the teacher and the organisation. How is education linked to mobilisation and culture to create a new society? Can society transform education or must education first be transformed?

I can see in their ideas much of the basic tenets of socio-cultural activity theory the theoretical approach I am using for my research.

What I see with this ‘movement’ of OEP is an attempt to transform education. My argument is that for that to happen, students need to have the skills, the knowledge and the attitude, an explorer mindset, I call it, so that they can harness the affordance of the digital revolution. Following Freire and Horton’s ideas, learning needs to happen through participation. How can we design learning for this digital participation to happen? The question of the microcosmos is important. Which is a suitable, ideal microcosmos where students can enact digital skills? It will be through satisfying that need that they will learn. This needs further elaboration, for now, I will leave it as it is because I will never hit the publish button.

How can we design learning experiences for this digital participation to happen? The question of the microcosmos is important. Which is a suitable, ideal microcosmos where students can enact digital skills through critical participation thus emancipation. This needs further elaboration, for now, I will leave it as it is because I will never hit the publish button.

finishing the phd – write a Tiny Text

Great advice for writing! Hopefully we’ll get there 🙂

patter

You’ve finally finished your data generation and analysis. What next? Oh, it’s the big text… but working out how to move now, working out how to structurethe thesis … well it can feel a bit like trying to fight your way out of a maze.

cardboardmaze_73400e_4628328

Here’s one strategy that can help.

Before you start planning your thesis chapters, it can be a very good idea tomap out the overall argument that you are going to make. Once you know the rough shape of the whole picture, the line you are taking and the point you are making, you can then think about the best way to stage the text. You can focus on the choreography, knowing where the argument is going.

You can get a grip on the big pictureby writing a Tiny Text – your first go at a thesis abstract.

Now, a thesis abstract is not the same…

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New Directions in Open Education

What an comprehensive post! It shows in a very didactic way the real power of open and how it does entail a shift in how we think about the world we are living in. Attention to diversity, cultural background…there is so much we need to think about. Thanks for sharing!!

Hapgood

Keynote given at Metropolitan State’s TLTS conference in Denver, CO. 

A Sense of Audience

I’m going to start by telling a story about how I got here. I’ve mentioned this on my blog once or twice, but this is the first time I’ve told this end to end in this way.

I got here because of a student.

In 1995, I was teaching English Composition at Northern Illinois University. I was a grad student. So you’re basically a 25 year old teaching 18 year-olds.

And the way you taught composition back then was all argumentative essays. So students would read a bunch of pro/con stuff on gun control, abortion, etc., and then they would do some research and write an argumentative essay. And you’d read – in-between your graduate classes – 60 or so essays on gun control. So fun stuff. But the program was really prescribed, all the graduate…

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five days five quotes challenge – #3

The way to describe a first and last sentence in a piece of writing is just.too much!!
Again, in awe to Patt Thomson and her magnificent advise. I am getting there!

patter

So far so good with the quotations then. This one may seem bitdifferent at first – but then maybe you are starting to see a bit of a theme in my choices...

First sentences are promissory notes. Whether they foreshadowplot, sketch in character, establish mood, or jump-start arguments, the road ahead of them stretches invitingly and all things are, at least for the moment, possible. Last sentences are more contained in their possibilities. They can sum up, refuse to sum up, change the subject, leave you satisfied, leave you wanting more, put everything into perspective, or explode perspectives. They do have one advantage: they become the heirs of the interest that isgenerated by everything that precedes them; they don’t have to start the engine, all they have to do is shut it down. This means they often come across as elegiac: the reader is leaving something he or she…

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five days five quotes challenge – #2

For me more difficult than doing the planning per se is sticking to each day! Hard work for me! Routine and routine! Hoe important it is for writing! Thanks Patt for this!

patter

This week I’m posting a favourite writing related quotation each day. Today’s quotation is about the importance of planning. 

I plan. I’m a planner. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it really is quite important – planning makes life easier and makes something as ridiculously large as a novel possible. We could just swim off into one without planning, of course we could – we could just stick our arms into wood-chippers, or paint ourselves with molten lead – there’s no end to the ludicrous and self-harming things we, as human beings, could get up to. But, honestly, really truly, novels provide all the ludicrous self-harm anyone could reasonably need. (In addition to all of the good bits.) Set out on a novel without adequate planning and I will bet you considerable sums, perhaps even of money, that you will then fall into a massive chasm, heaving with all…

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Write + flourish by Tara Gray

 

Excellent advice to start writing 🙂 The tittle is revealing and I think it is so true. We do flourish writing!

‘Big data’ in action: Linking 180 million tweets with 600,000 police records

New trends in social science research

ESRC blog

Professor Matthew Williams and Dr Pete Burnap are directors of the ESRC-funded Social Data Science Lab that continues the successful COSMOS programme of work. The Lab forms part of the Data Innovation Research Institute, which will be housed within the new Social Science Research Park at Cardiff University.

Together with colleagues (Dr Luke Sloan and Professor Omer Rana) they recently presented their intriguing findings about the power of pulling large sets of data from social media in front of 150 policymakers, academics and industry experts at the Data Science and Government ConferenceThe event, organised by the Behavioural Insights Team, looked at how emerging techniques in data science can best be used to support policy agendas in a range of areas.

Professor Matthew Williams and Dr Pete Burnap Professor Matthew Williams and Dr Pete Burnap

Many would say there has been a lot of hype about the promise of Big Data and…

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M-25 LTG meeting-comments and feedback

If you have any comments, please leave them in the section below.

The Storify of our afternoon meeting at University of Westminster