The EdD experience: minding my Qs & Ps

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Blogged by Raona Williams @REFITClass 

I am returning from a fabulous few days of being stimulated and stimulating a great network of doctoral researchers, supervisors and lecturers. Being firmly established now onto my Doctorate journey, I have prepared a manifesto of seven ‘magical number’ points around the topic ‘Why and how to persevere through the journey of being an Educational Doctorate (EdD) researcher?’ …who says manifesto’s should only be linked to Politicians?

Not P’s and Q’s ….Q’s and P’s

In being a doctoral EdD researcher, many researchers and different ideas/views will set your minds wandering…this is an important opening manifesto point.

NO, not being polite and minding your ‘Please and Thank-you’s’.

Q’s and P’s refer to QUESTIONS in your research that must be underpinned by 3 over arching POSITIONS: PERSONALITY, PROFESSIONALISM, PRACTICALITY.

As an EdD researcher, a vital component of what you choose to research is that ‘You must love what you do in life’. Concurrently, being professional within the critique of your personal passion is equally important. Reflecting the professional views of your personal positions should then enable you to discover practical and current relevance pertaining to your work.

So as a doctoral researcher gain an understanding of your personal focus, provide your theoretic underpinning/positionality and the practical value that you will be adding to the society around you.. as you develop your thoughts and ideas and mind your Q’s and P’s in every step – this should keep you grounded.

  • Enjoy Complex Simplicity
    Questioning and critiquing almost everything you do when you begin doctoral research is liberating and pretty simple really….enjoy it. Find the light hearted elements in the heavily worded documents….there are definitely ‘no sh*$ Sherlock’ moments through what you read and discover, celebrate them and find how to laugh through the complex simplicity.
  • Uncover your obvious
    You will most likely be facilitated on your doctoral programme through tasks and questions that are posed to you by different individuals. As you answer them, put yourself in the world of an alien from another dimension. What may seem obvious to you may be totally unknown to those around you. The aim of your doctoral research is to contribute NEW theoretical knowledge so unless they are telopathic they will never be able to read your mind of the new knowledge you plan to uncover. The more you reveal and unfold the easier you will gain clarity yourself through the questions that may be answered along the way.
  • Everything is research so…Contextually critique
    There is critique; then there is contextual critique. As a doctoral researcher you will evaluate at a higher level. You will find that you will be enlightened when reviewing books, journal articles, any selection of words, people, colours, history, shapes, places, smells, sounds, influencers, naysayers, technologies, economies, politics…pretty much ANY element related to your research. Depending on what your context is (the ‘circumstances and reasons’ behind your research) will determine your critical view and how you will review it. Consider the less obvious in your critical evaluation, this will add to you being able to contextually critique.

Find positivity amidst your muddy walk. Pace yourself with tenacity and collaboration
You will hit some severe ‘tough mudder’ days that would give any elite athlete or special forces soldier a mental challenge. Some days you will feel like it’s an impossible slug amidst a range of obstacles. As an EdD researcher you will have your mental potential tested. Keep your physical health up through exercise and keep your mental health in check by developing personal strategies for positivity and tenacity. Work with others going through similar paths – a colleague in your doctoral group, link with a group forum online, network through conferences.

I believe that the fusion of physical fitness goes hand in hand with mental fitness. I am proud of the comments that colleagues have given me regarding my own positive outlook and never seeming to give up. My immediate response is a smiling and assuring gesture of thanks. I do it as a strategy to convey ‘If I can do it..so can you!’ Everyone welcomes a smiling face and negative thoughts are a state of mind! So I advocate: Dedicate acts that are positive to you as you structure your EdD time management timetable networking with others where possible ….and keep mentally and physically fit, you will definitely find it helps.

  • Act on the impulse-make a memory record of it

Don’t put off anything by saying or thinking: I will do it later. Start it there and then! Allow your research to become innate in your life and noting a working memory of it becoming automatic. Document on paper, by smartphone, by digital device, by computer, by dictaphone….by any means possible.. Even if it’s for a few seconds! You will find that in one way or another your ‘record’ will help in your doctoral research road. No matter how hard you try to fully complete your record you will never ‘finish’ – and that is OK because in reality there will always be amendments to make! You will constantly evolve through the process of your ‘acting on impulse’ and the fact of providing a memory of it will enable the next stage to be developed one step closer to your idea of perfection.

  • 7 R.E.S.T – Relax, Enjoy, Share/Shape (the)Topical

I started my manifesto with minding your Q’s and P’s. I moved onto transparency with critical, positive action and paced discoveries and I end this manifesto with REST. Your doctorate research road is your new life chapter. Relax and let it become your life not take over your life. Enjoy your discoveries like a tourist encountering new landscapes. Enjoy the development of skills for how they help you and others around you to grow and shape aspects of life. Share your doctoral research world with others through talking, illustrating, drawing, making, writing, tweeting, blogging, videos any verbal or non verbal communication media you feel comfortable with. Topical interests will emerge and keep you motivated to discover more ….So REST will invigorate you and keep you on the Educational Doctorate research cycle – which from what I hear…is just the beginning of a wider professional post doctoral expedition.

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The EdD experience: liberating, rewarding and exhilarating

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It’s one of those points that I always come back to.

All research is autobiographical. By that what I mean is, not that the research is about the researcher in an egotistical self-centred way but rather that any written (other media apply) research report is a narrative of how and why you came to a series of conclusions about a the world. As such, when you present what you have learnt from your research, there are always three interwoven narratives:

  • the personal
  • the professional and
  • the epistemic
  • (the political is not a distinct strand; it is threaded through all three)

The professional and the epistemic are frequently told, the personal often ignored – laundered out of existence.

I found it so interesting listening to our year two EdD students presenting their EdD thesis proposals at the weekend. All presented three narrative strands.  They seem to have adopted a position that I am only just beginning to  articulate – a position expressed by Thomas (2010)

Thomson, P., & Walker, M. (Eds.). (2010). Ch 32 Last words: why doctoral study?  The Routledge Doctoral Student’s Companion: Getting to grips with research in education and the social sciences. Routledge.

In this chapter Thomas outlines three myths of doctoral study. Myth One: Learning to do research is about the acquisition of a set of tools and techniques.  

We ended the day with colleagues drafting a single paragraph of what with more time might have become a Professional Doctoral Researcher’s Manifesto.

(inspired by Back, L., & Puwar, N. (2012). A manifesto for live methods: provocations and capacities. The Sociological Review, 60(S1), 6-17.)

There was a stunned silence when Mike Parker  (aka Mr Post-it Note) read his piece

The Doctoral Researchers’ Manifesto:

As a doctoral researcher it is important that the student prepares  for submersion in an unknown area – and allow the waves to wash over you. There will be times when you feel like you are drowning – and the surface seems distant – there are also times when you will feel like to have been marooned; but trust in the ship to take you to your destination. You will know when you have arrived as the natives will speak your language and share your currency – the meeting of minds will be liberating, rewarding and exhilarating. Remember no man is an island… Every journey has to start somewhere – enjoy the ride!

 

 

“The purpose of a writer is to make revolution irresistible.” Toni Cade Bambara

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Just a few of my favourite books about writing. Not a comprehensive literature – only what I could find on my bookshelves and fit it a photo. More than a few are missing. 

Thomson, P., & Walker, M. (Eds.). (2010). The Routledge Doctoral Student’s Companion: Getting to grips with research in education and the social sciences. Routledge.

Aitchison, C., & Guerin, C. (2014). Writing groups for doctoral education and beyond: Innovations in practice and theory. Routledge.

Kamler, B., & Thomson, P. (2014). Helping doctoral students write: Pedagogies for supervision. Routledge.

Johnson, Celia Blue (2013) Odd Type Writers, from Joyce to Wharton and Welty, the obsessive habits and quirky techniques of great authors, Perigee Books

Lillis, T. M., & Curry, M. J. (2010). Academic writing in global context. London: Routledge.

Barton, D., & Lee, C. (2013). Language online: investigating digital texts and practices. Routledge.

Oliver, P. (2012). Succeeding with your literature review: A handbook for students. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

Murray, R. (2013). Writing for academic journals. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

Casanave, C. P., Li, X., Casanave, P., & Underst, X. L. (2008). Learning the literacy practices of graduate school: Insiders’ reflections on academic enculturation.

Lillis, T. (2013). The sociolinguistics of writing. Edinburgh University Press.

Scollon, R., & Scollon, S. W. (2003). Discourses in place: Language in the material world. Routledge.

Block, D., & Cameron, D. (Eds.). (2002). Globalization and language teaching. Routledge.

Barton, D. (2007). Literacy: An introduction to the ecology of written language (No. 2nd). Wiley-Blackwell.

I couldn’t fit

Gee, J. (2015). Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in discourses. Routledge.

on the shelf without too much rearranging. But a beautiful, lovely book about a little girl and a sentence, ‘My puppy he always be following me.’

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Thanks to https://twitter.com/VintageAnchor for the quote and image of Toni Cade Bambara.

Procrastinators rejoice!

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Ten Standard Objections to the Qualitative Research Interview

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Kvale, S. (1994). Ten standard objections to qualitative research interviews. Journal of phenomenological psychology, 25(2), 147-173

I seem to be in a nostalgic mood. Which means I am thinking about vinyl records and research papers published years ago.

I was struck by two comments recently. One: a colleague pointed out that an interview might be anything from a questionnaire spoken face to face with answers recorded in on a pre-coded template to an individual standing in a room. Two: another colleague responded to the guffaws at the idea of the educational researcher standing in a room and calling it an interview by pointing out the etymology of inter (between) view (see) – “to see each other”.

The interview may well be the most popular data generation technique for the qualitative educational researcher, but it is not necessarily well defined. It can map onto any and all other approaches to research. After all, what data generating activity does not involve a researcher standing in a room?

It’s worth then being reminded of Kvale’s discussion of the 10 standard objections to qualitative research interviews.

  1. is not scientific, but only common sense
  2. is not objective, but subjective
  3. is not trustworthy, but biased
  4. is not reliable, but rests upon leading questions
  5. is not intersubjective; different interpreters find different meanings
  6. is not a formalized method; it is too person-dependent
  7. is not scientific hypothesis-testing; it is only explorative
  8. is not quantitative, only qualitative
  9. is not yielding generalizable results; there are too few subjects
  10. is not valid, but rests on subjective impressions.

Koala’s text is dated. Hence my feelings of nostalgia. Even though he was writing more than 20 years ago … imagine that, before the election of Tony Blair in the bad old days of John Major’s non-government, he describes the debate then as polarised and based on stereotyped objections.

He also points out – all those years ago – that these “standardized responses can be traced to a positivist philosophy of science, which, while philosophically obsolete, still survives in many social-science departments.”

Kvale was not the first to declare positivism philosophically obsolete. And his paper is not a pre-emptive celebration of its demise of (his 10 objections might sound this way)  but actually a refutation of these hackneyed points of critique – each of which still resonate. It’s a worthwhile paper, not only because there’s nothing wrong with nostalgia but also because – well, you might not have been there at the time so perhaps what’s old hat to someone, might be a new exciting penny dropping thing to someone else. What was an all out declared war in the 80s has softened into a dialogue at the turn of the century, but Denzin, the High Priest of qualitative research has recently (2008) issued a call to arms:

Let us engage in the paradigm wars. Let us defend ourselves against those who would impose their modern notions of science on us by exposing the flaws in what they call scientifically-based research. Let us mount a strong offence by generating qualitative studies that are so powerful they cannot be dismissed (Hatch, 2006, p. 407).

References

Denzin, N. K. (2008). The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 21(4), 315-325.

Hatch, Amos. 2006. “Qualitative Studies in the Era of Scientifically-based Research: Musings of a Former QSE Editor.” International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 19, 4 (July-August): 403-409.

 

 

Zora Neale Hurston

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The 12 EdD Days of Christmas

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I like poetry but have a deep mistrust of academic poetry. None-the-less, Mary Cryan made me LOL with this blog post. Is someone celebrating after having met a deadline?  Sing it to a familiar tune.

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Albert Camus Dancing


Posted on December 31, 2015 by marycryan2013

https://marycryan2013.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/the-12-edd-days-of-christmas/
On the first day of Christmas the EdD team recommended to me

  • Endnote on a PC.

On the second day of Christmas the EdD team recommended to me

  • Two online blogs and Endnote on a PC.

On the third day of Christmas the EdD team recommended to me

  • PensThree new pens, two online blogs and Endnote on a PC.

On the fourth day of Christmas the EdD team recommended to me

  • Four library books, BooksThree new pens , two online blogs and Endnote on a PC.

On the fifth day of Christmas the EdD team recommended to me

  • Five paradigms, Four library books, Three new pens , two online blogs and Endnote on a PC.

On the sixth day of Christmas the EdD team recommended to me

  • Six points to work on, Five paradigms, Four library books, Three new pens, two online blogs and Endnote on a PC.

On the seventh day of Christmas the EdD team recommended to me

  • Seven keynote speakers, six points to work on, Five paradigms, Four library books, Three new pens , two online blogs and Endnote on a PC.

On the eighth day of Christmas the EdD team recommended to me

  • Eight methods of research,Seven keynote speakers, six points to work on, Five paradigms, Four library books, Three new pens , two online blogs and Endnote on a PC.

On the ninth day of Christmas the EdD team recommended to me

  • Nine new journals,
  • Eight methods of research,Seven keynote speakers, six points to work on, Five paradigms, Four library books, Three new pens , two online blogs and Endnote on a PC.

On the tenth day of Christmas the EdD team recommended to me

  • Ten websites to bookmark,Nine new journals,Eight methods of research,Seven keynote speakers, six points to work on, Five paradigms, Four library books, Three new pens , two online blogs and Endnote on a PC.

On the eleventh day of Christmas the EdD team recommended to me

  • Eleven minutes procrastinating,clockTen websites to bookmark,Nine new journals,Eight methods of research,Seven keynote speakers, six points to work on, Five paradigms, Four library books, Three new pens , two online blogs and Endnote on a PC.

On the Twelfth day of Christmas the EdD team recommended to me

  • Twelve tweeters tweeting, Eleven minutes procrastinating, Ten websites to bookmark, Nine new journals, Eight methods of research, Seven keynote speakers, six points to work on, Five paradigms, Four library books, Three new pens , two online blogs and Endnote on a PC.

Happy New Year!