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Researching the teaching of advanced research methods: challenges for pedagogy and inclusive research Melanie Nind

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Title: Researching the teaching of advanced research methods: challenges for pedagogy and inclusive research Melanie Nind


1
Researching the teaching of advanced research
methods challenges for pedagogy and inclusive
research Melanie Nind
  • 1st REUNID International Symposium
  • 11 October 2013, University of Barcelona

2
Focus
  • This symposium originates from the need to
    support the dissemination, exchange and debate of
    the contributions and results of educational
    research, and its implications concerning
    educational improvement.
  • Research about how advanced and innovative social
    research methods are taught and learned
  • To inform and develop the pedagogical culture
    surrounding research methods teaching

3
Origins
  • NCRMs overall mission is to provide a strategic
    focal point for the identification, development
    and delivery of an integrated national research
    and training programme aimed at promoting a step
    change in the quality and range of methodological
    skills and techniques used by the UK social
    science community and providing support for, and
    dissemination of, methodological innovation and
    excellence within the UK.

4
The social science perspective
  • Problem Need for a step change in the quality
    and range of methodological skills and techniques
    used by social researchers
  • Solution Training in advanced and innovative
    research methods lots of it face-to-face,
    VLEs in context of quality research by top
    methodologists

5
The educational perspective
  • Problem Need to understand the distinctive
    pedagogical challenges that arise in teaching
    advanced/ innovative social science research
    methods
  • Solution Qualitative research, conducted with
    methods teachers and learners, on their
    perspectives, experiences and practices

6
Research questions
  • What are the distinctive pedagogical challenges?
  • How do teachers learners respond?
  • What is the nature of methods teachers
    pedagogical content knowledge?

7
Plus
  • What is driving any innovation in teaching and
    learning methods
  • What innovations are unfolding?
  • Does innovation in research methods demand
    innovation in teaching and learning methods?

8
Research design
9
Methodological challenges
  • Who are the experts for an expert panel method?
  • Facilitating dialogue and reflection teachers as
    learners and learners as teachers making the
    implicit explicit
  • Technicalities online forum unobtrusive video
    of teachers and learners ready for immediate
    video-stimulated recall and reflection sessions

10
The big challenge research with
  • Communicating that we are not seeking to make
    judgements on others
  • Instead that we are seeking to foster reflection
    and co-construction of knowledge within a
    community of stakeholders
  • As methods teachers, learners and researchers
    ourselves we are inherently part of what we are
    studying

11
Concerns in the literature
  • Particular needs of social workers, nurses,
    geographers, teachers etc
  • Teaching research methods at undergraduate and
    postgraduate level in degree programmes
  • Challenges of teaching mixed methods or
    particular methods/methodologies
  • Most effective mode of delivery
  • Motivating learners learner diversity

12
Concerns in the research councils
  • Quantitative skills deficit, even with
    statistical literacy (MacInnes, 2012)
  • Pipeline of competent people to meet demands of
    competitive global knowledge economy
  • Efficiency affordances of VLEs

13
Educational concerns
  • Although there is a substantial body of
    literature at the disposal of teachers addressing
    the how to of research methods it does not
    adequately inform the teaching of methods
    (Wagner et al, 2011 75)
  • Limited attention given to pedagogical culture
    in research methods
  • Strategies are needed that empower students in
    their own learning and make the connection
    between conceptual and procedural knowledge
    (Strayhorn 2009 120)

14
Emerging discourse
  • Surrounding 3 substantive themes in the
    literature
  • active learning
  • experiential learning
  • reflexive learning

15
Pedagogical knowledge based on
  • Being self-taught
  • Action research re new approaches
  • Evaluation
  • Single/ reflective/ exploratory/ descriptive/
    comparative case studies
  • Satisfaction survey data and occasional
    comparisons

16
The content issue
  • The task of teaching research methods is not
    the transmission of a body of knowledge, or the
    drilling of students in the use of techniques,
    but rather a matter of helping them to build up
    relevant knowledge and capabilities, and to
    develop the necessary intellectual virtues.
  • (Hammersley 2012 2)

17
The innovation issue
  • Innovations in teaching driven by
  • need diverse groups, low motivation
  • new opportunities offered by technology
  • innovations in methods?

18
  • While it is reasonable to assume that new and
    innovative strategies are available, all too
    often research methods instructors teach the way
    they were taught. This approach to teaching
    preserves the normative paradigm in which the
    teacher is all knowing and the student is an
    empty vessel waiting to be filled. (Strayhorn
    2009 120)

19
Emerging areas being probed
  • Differences in approach between experienced
    novice teachers/researchers
  • Qualitative quantitative differences (failure
    avoidance, active learning or experiential real
    world learning variation in dataset use)
  • Evidence of authentic problem-based learning
  • Theoretical, training and experiential influences
    on teaching approaches

20
Part of the challenge
  • Research like teaching is about doing (Delyser
    2008) - research as praxis
  • there is no better manner of mastering the
    fundamental principles of a practice the
    practice of scientific research is no exception
    here than by practicing it alongside a kind of
    guide or coach who provides assurance and
    reassurance, who sets an example and who corrects
    you by putting forth, in situation, precepts
    applied directly to the particular case at hand
    (Bourdieu 1992, 222 original emphasis)

21
Our argument
  • Enhancing methodological skills cannot be
    addressed without educational research, otherwise
    the solution is always more training rather
    than finely tuned learning experiences
  • Educational research can help develop a
    pedagogical culture for teaching research methods
    and contribute to policy and practices in the
    social science research arena

22
  • There remains little evidence of a pedagogic
    culture for methods teaching (if the indicator is
    systematic debate through the literature or
    dialogue across disciplinary or methodological
    contexts, or if the indicator is a substantial
    research base) (Wagner et al., 2011, 85)
  • But interest and awareness is increasing, and
    dialogue and research evidence is emerging.
  • Discrete PCK should be the outcome of this.

23
Acknowledgements
  • This research is funded by NCRM
  • The research is being conducted with Rose Wiles
    and Daniel Kilburn
  • The advisory group and NCRM hub at the University
    of Southampton have provided valuable input

24
  • Bourdieu, P. 1992. "The Practice of Reflexive
    Sociology (The Paris Workshop)." In An Invitation
    to Reflexive Sociology, edited by P. Bourdieu and
    L. Wacquant. Chicago London The University of
    Chicago Press.
  • Delyser, D. 2008. "Teaching Qualitative
    Research." Journal of Geography in Higher
    Education 32, no. 2233-244.
  • Hammersley, M. 2012. Is it possible to teach
    social research methods well today? Discussion
    paper presented at HEA Social Sciences teaching
    and learning summit Teaching research methods,
    University of Warwick, 21- 22 June 2012.
  • MacInnes, J. 2012. Quantitative Methods teaching
    in UK Higher Education The state of the field
    and how it might be improved HEA Social Sciences
    teaching and learning summit Teaching research
    methods, University of Warwick, 21- 22 June 2012.
  • Strayhorn, T.L. 2009. The (in)effectiveness of
    various approaches to teaching research methods.
    In Teaching Research Methods in the Social
    Sciences, ed. Garner, Wagner Kawulich. Farnham
    Ashgate Publishing.
  • Wagner, C., M. Garner, B. Kawulich. 2011. "The
    state of the art of teaching research methods in
    the social sciences towards a pedagogical
    culture." Studies in Higher Education 36, no.
    175-88.
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