Narrative Inquiry Paper Revision – Module 2

I am nearly finished revising my narrative inquiry paper for my Module 2 class, which is due tonight. The more I am processing and reprocessing the Analysis and Presentation section of the paper, the more I am beginning to appreciate narrative inquiry.

Learning to use it here for the first time (or rather, this is the first time I have used it, after having learned about it over the years), I realize how much more I want to explore some of its possibilities.

Has anybody out there used narrative inquiry and want to share what the found useful about it, especially regarding how they navigated the various methodological issues?

Learning Journal Postings for PhD, #2

learning-journalI started considering some of the things I learned in yesterday’s posting, and want to continue this work a little more today, this time considering our guiding question, “What really matters in my professional practice?” from a different perspective. I want to consider a bit about what I learned that has changed the way I approach my practice, mindful that my practice involves educational research, adult learning, and project management.

Word and Meaning (Transcription)

I recorded and transcribed my interviews. What I learned in the process is that what people say and what they mean may at times be different. Related, of course, but often what we begin to say and where we ultimately end up may in fact be different. To record and work only with the literal means that the result may appear clunky, awkward, and at times confusing. This then requires some interpretation, or polishing, not so much to push my own desire, but armed with strategies for trustworthiness and those methods that seek to support believability will enhance the findings and make them not only useful, but an interesting read as well.

New Methods to Stretch the Boundaries

Why always do the same forms of research? Comfort and continual improvement for sure, but that fire that excites me as I seek to study similar issues from different perspectives means that I have to stretch and use methods that are new to me. Using other methods to expand my research horizons, I find that I can gather, understand, and expand upon my findings in ways that help me enlarge my worldview. I see some issues in a more complicated and comprehensive way, so that those things I initially saw as monolithic, I now see more in the light of their own complexities. I definately want to expand on my toolkit of methods. If some aspects of life were sufficiently understandable, we would no longer need to research them!  

Reliance on Community (CoP)

I have learned that I am not struggling alone on my doctoral studies, as there are others out there engaged in the same process who are often quite helpful in offering feedback and encouragement. Likewise, there are those who seem interested in my research who are also very supportive of my work. The more I share what I am doing with my online community, and the more I offer feedback and suggestions to other colleagues who share and engage in their own work, the more my own online community of practice around some of these research issues is formed and strengthened.


The more I share my research, perspectives, and struggles with colleagues, the more I get great suggestions and useful insights. Nothing surprising here, but the difference that I am learning is that I do not have to pretend I understand it all, give the impression that I have a handle on my work, or wait to post until everything is clearly formed and finished. Since I am enjoying the process itself, I find that sharing that along the way is most valuable. Being transparent with my own research and meaning-making process often provides as much learning as the formal research itself.

With all this, I am interested to read what my small learning set (a subset of my cohort) has to offer when they comment on these concepts when I share them within our university Moodle Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Now that I think of it, the learning that occurs within there, just as the learning that occurs within the Foundations workshop VLE, ultimately finds its way into everything else I do.

Interesting how my life and my research are somewhat connected.

Learning Journal Postings for PhD

reflection.jpgWhile I am busily revising my paper to meet my deadline on Wednesday, there is another assignment that begins on Thursday, one that has been an undercurrent through my work over the past 2 months — my Learning Journal. We were invited to begin consiering the question “What really matters in my professional practice?” by spending 5-10 minutes a day writing about it.

I journaled and reflected on this question with everything I write here on my blog, my public journal I share with a few colleagues and friends who are king enough to stop by and offering some thoughts from time to time.

So, after working through this paper, and thinking about our readings, I will try to draw some of these things together hereas the first step in pulling together some of what I will discuss with my cohort colleagues:

  • the excerpts we read of Donald Schon’s work were not terribly helpful for me–it seems that either people refer to Schon in ways he did not discuss, or I really need to read him more thoroughly and closely.
  • Wenger’s work with communities of practice seem to be a theoretical framework that can be applicable in a wide variety of works. I wonder, though, how organizations really use these without being manipulative (to get more work from people without more expenditures). I suppose I am wondering how these can be used and cultivated within organizations, since I have not really seen many that are organic, rather than organizationally-sponsored.
  • Laurel Richardson’s work really surprised me with how rich it is. It seems that some of my colleagues also found it and Ellis / Bochner’s work valuable, while others did not seem to be able to make heads or tails out of it. I am finding that my thesis (the UK term for dissertation) seems headed down that direction . . .
  • I am beginning to find more value in sharing and collaborating online than I ever have before. It seems my slowly-growing informal network of doctoral support is becoming increasingly valuable to me. As our current module is entitled The Development of Professional Practice, this seems ironically (and completely unexpectedly) fitting.

I am going to review some of our readings, and comment on this a bit more throughout this week.

Foundations of CoP, Week 2

This week in CPsquare’s Foundations of Communities of Practice (CoP) workshop, Etienne Wenger will be facilitating our work around various domain issues, as we break down into smaller communities within the context of our larger community that comprises the workshop.We have already had a whirlwind week with hundreds of community postings. So many of our workshop participants seem so much mre outgoing and extroverted than I am, and while this may not be the case (just like many of our perceptions do not hold the entire story), I do feel a bit overwhelmed with so much activity.

cpsquare-with-bylineThis workshop is compised of a fascinating group of people, many of whom I hope to learn more about over the remaining 6 weeks, and I am very glad we will narrow things down a bit to begin working on whatever tasks we devise. With so many interesting backgrounds and such passion among the participants, I am now more intrigued about where we are going than when I started.

I wonder how many of them will ultimately plan to attend the Networked Learning Conference 2010, as a number of them already seem to be closer to Europe and Denmark than I am?

Networked Learning Conference 2010 ~ Preconference Online Hot Seats

Anybody out there planning to attend the Networked Learning Conference in May of 2010 in Aalborg, Denmark? If so, you may find the Hot Seats that just began an interesting way to engage in discussion and get the juices flowing prior to the conference. The first one, facilitated by Caroline Haythornthwaite on Learning Networks, is about to begin.

networked learning conference

BTW, the call for papers is available here. Yes, I am planning to submit!