Month: October 2015

Verstehen – recognising the map.

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In this post EdD researcher @marycryan reflects on the first weekend of year two of the EdD.

I really enjoyed reading this and note the enthusiasm for what for Mary was a new concept: Max Weber’s Verstehen. New concepts are a good thing to write about. 

Over the last week I’ve been reflecting on the experience of the first weekend of the new study year and where my learning is going to take me over the next
few years. Being on the EdD bus with all my colleagues is an exciting ride, sometimes we travel slowly, sometimes at breakneck speed. At times. like our weekend together, the road feels smooth and for me as a second year a happy journey but for our new colleagues it may have felt like joining a journey where they did not feel sure of the road or the vehicle.The journey may have lots of twists and turns and the road could be very bumpy but if I stay on the bus with my colleagues all will be well.folk06
The feeling which has overwhelmed me this week is that of being led to a destination that I’m not yet fully aware of, that the learning is leading me ,not me controlling it, but I will know when I’m getting closer and that the destination will become clear in my head over time.

This journey is in search of knowledge, a strong feeling that I wish to understand the lived experience of the group of young women . In reading about Ethnography this week I came across a term that was new to me, ‘Verstehen’. I love new words and feel that this one describes the sort of journey I want my research to take me on.

The definition of verstehen is to “understand in a deep way’ it also refers to an approach within sociology. In this approach, when a researcher aims to understand another person’s experience, he can try to put himself in the other person’s shoes so hence gain an empathetic understanding. This was developed by late 19th-century sociologists Max Weber and Wilhelm Dilthey

Weber identified that to really understand the lives of others, the observer must relate to the human beings being studied rather than follow a positivist, quantitative data based method of research, that the feelings, actions and reactions of human beings are the important concerns of the researcher and those which will bring us to deeper understanding of human groups and cultures.

This concept of a deep understanding that comes from taking an empathetic position in regard to the participants of research raises lots of questions for me

How ‘close’ can I get without being biased?
How do I stop myself taking this position of an apologist for the group?
What are the ethical questions?
How do I prevent dependency on myself from my participants?
what will be my exit strategy?

The journey may not yet be clear or the destination fully identified but I now feel I am coming to at least recognise the map.


Sage Research Methods Online, what a brilliant resource #HullEdD

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SAGE Research Methods

In my view Sage Research Methods Online is a fantastic resource that I’d like to recommend to everyone. Everything you could possibly want to know about method and methodology in one place. 
October 24, 2015 by Lee Fallin, reblogged from here: 

I just wanted to write a quick blog post today about SAGE Research Methods (SRM).

I think this is a fantastic resource and wanted to share some details about it for my fellow #HullEdD students. Azumah did try to show this at the end of our weekend, but there were some technical issues on campus.

To paraphrase SAGE, SRM is a research methods tool to help researchers with their papers and students with their studies. SAGE particularly specialise in humanities and social sciences research giving them a large catalogue of resources that are pulled into SRM. This means in includes over 720 books, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks, the entire Little Green Book, and “Little Blue Book series, two Major Works collating a selection of journal articles, and specially commissioned videos, with truly advanced search and discovery tools. As the resource focuses on methodology and not discipline, it is widely applicable to lots of disciplines including us in education (SAGE, 2014).
As EdD students, the dictionary and encyclopaedia entries may not be something we would want to reference, but they do serve as a useful first place to check the definition of something. The text books within SRM can then be used to build on your initial understanding and the case studies and journal articles will show these methodologies and methods in action. As with any other journal articles, the articles accessed via SRM make a great addition to your bibliography, as may some of the books and case studies. For EndNote and RefWorks users, you will find SRM supports citation exports to make referencing just that little bit quicker! I should add it supports Zotero for anyone going off piste with their choice of bibliographic manager 😉

As SRM is an online resource, everything is available digitally which is a big plus for any of our international peers!

A few thoughts about starting a Doctorate from a #HullEdD Doctoral Researcher

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In this post, positive visionary and Doctoral Researcher Roan Williams considers what it means to undertake an EdD

First EdD blog Raona Williams: what is it like starting/doing a doctorate?

Finishing the first Professional Ed D weekend as a member of the new cohort and picking up on advice from my new network of aspiring doctoral research students and accomplished Doctoral lecturers I am posting this first blog. I have been inspired by a post from a lecturer that I read in a discussion page from ItunesU on my new EdD iPad (what a perk!): What is it like starting/doing a doctorate?
First and foremost it is in an incredible feeling of achievement – absolutely priceless for me and off the scale of ‘material wealth’. Coming from an aspirational background and living my mantra of ‘always push on to the highest point in life’….don’t be deterred by the ‘isms’ in life…I feel a phenomenal and gushing sense of success – and it’s only the beginning of the course! I am a very positive ‘cup is always half full’ ‘what doesn’t break you makes you stronger’ kind of person and I live the life of critical, argumentative, reflective practice.

Being a creative professional leader and manager, innovating and developing and inspiring new knowledge is fundamental for me and my ‘purpose’ in life and I think this is what it will be like doing a doctorate! Being in a constant state of higher order thinking, researching, analysing, evaluating, creating, which no doubt may feel uncomfortable at times but will shape and develop my ‘life path’ in so many more ways than just my professional development! Secondly starting a doctorate has shown me how much my vocabulary will increase! The first weekend was like an episode of Countdown on a whole new level! I’m going to have to search for one of the most comprehensive digital app dictionaries I can find. But at the same time I will be making a conscious effort to simplify ‘things’ ‘situations’ and ‘issues’ – mainly to reduce potential increased stress levels but also to help with the concept of scaffolding and explaining my ideas. Thirdly starting the doctorate this weekend reminded me how so very important and rewarding in life it is to network, get to know, talk, share and laugh with new, like minded people! Seek and have good people around you and ‘ditch’ the negative naysayers! It also highlighted how, in some ways, the digital age we are living in is enhancing but it is also limiting verbal discourse.

Starting this doctorate in education – a social science by its very nature; will foster (for me) an even greater desire to talk, laugh, and keep in touch with people who share a similar ‘energy’ not linked to ‘academics’ Finally, I think doing a doctorate is exciting! My journey will create a ‘stamp’ for those I came/come into contact with (in our huge yet tiny world) to share an aspect of what I stand for and how my ‘minute’ contribution in a global sense could potentially have ‘one day’ a colossal impact in the passage of time (told you I was a positive person…along with being a visionary lol!)
I aim to blog often to reflect, develop, create, enhance, share with those minds that want to read about my thoughts in their own time, destress, invigorate, laugh in writing, and remind myself of the passion and true love I have for educating and what I believe in- after all..EVERYONE on Earth is an educator, some just decide to make it more of their life focus:)

ThIs first blog post is for me (and anyone else) to look back on for that retrospective ‘Back to the future – Oct 2015’ analysis…especially for when the draft feedbacks, work demands, life demands, put me into that mindset of: ‘Ooh no did I make the right decision starting all this!?’

So I think, starting/doing a Doctorate in Education will be like all of the above (and lots more but I am keeping my blog short) along with absolutely positive and lots of reading with active/dedicated writing! An amazing investment in your ‘self’ and your loved/liked ones around you.

Roana’s tweets are protected but you may request to follow her at @REFITClass