As I have generally received positive feedback for the “ambitious” direction I am headed (regarding the research project that I have been designing here over the past few weeks), I now want to think a bit about the method I am considering for this work, especially before I tighten up the problem and research question.
I was initially planning to use phenomenography, though think that may not work due to the size limitations of the expected 3 participants, the limitations to the semi-structured interview questions I need to use (as phenomenography would require me to rigidly use the same questions with everybody–leading to the eventual categories), and given that I am not sure I will be able to categorize much as this is an exploratory study.
I am now thinking about using some form of ethnography, something that blends the ethnography of Wittel with that of Hines and Efimova, perhaps in a more Focused manner, similar to that detailed by Knoblauch. I expect to conduct interviews and possibly review blogs or other social media as examples of the participants’ work, as needed. I will get more specific here as a next step, after I (hopefully) get some feedback first.
I have been plugging away at this, and think it is finally in a condition to be shared. While undoubtedly still in need of tightening, I can no longer see it clearly as I have been wordsmithing it since Sunday. Thoughts and suggestions are really appreciated. How can I tighten this research project proposal for my class?
The ways people develop as researchers has been studied, though there is limited understanding of how this occurs through the use of social media. With the rise of virtual ethnography and content analysis, more of what is written and communicated online can be studied, though this often appears in final form, and does not necessarily help understand the steps and thresholds achieved during the course of study. Even through studying the blogs or microblogs of those who track and develop their research in process, it can be challenging to understand the moments when some transformational experience and its subsequent understanding occurs in the academic growth of those engaged in graduate or doctoral research studies. Educational researchers need to better understand the experiences of adult learners who recognize when they have made significant perspective or paradignmatic shifts in their academic thinking, as this may help in designing learning experiences to assist future learners who will continue to use social media in their academic work.
What is the experience of adult learners who develop their academic research understanding through the use of social media, such as blogging or microblogging?
The purpose of this research is to understand how adult learners navigate through their growth in understanding research through using social media as tools for reflectivity, self-expression, feedback, and collaboration. Using the frameworks of threshold concepts and transformative learning, I want to explore how they are processed by those who use engage in their work in a public space where identity development takes place in a more transparent manner than learning has done before.