Research Interest Clarification, 2009

phenomenologyI recently had to re- introduce myself to a colleague regarding where my current research interests are, and I thought it may be interesting to share with a wider audience, as I do get asked to explain what I am interested in (since I cannot oversimplify this, however hard I try).

One of the things I learned about myself in the module at Lancaster I just finished is just how much I love qualitative methods. Not just qualitative studies in my own content areas, but the rich methodological particulars in themselves. Yes, I couldn’t believe it when I first said that a few weeks ago – I knew I was interested in application to practice, but now find myself loving the complexities and issues around selecting, using, and assessing various qualitative methods. I can see myself really exploring this more in itself . . .

Since my background is adult education, I tend to think of myself as an adult educator. I like critical theory and constructivist frameworks, and am fond of Wenger’s Community of Practice model, as well as Jack Mezirow’s Transformative Learning framework. I am a proponent of postmodernity, and as such am interested in identity development, especially in online blogs and other forms of social media where narrative inquiry and autoethnography can be used.

Now, to see how all this can develop toward a thesis direction . . .

Constructivistic Instructional Design

A colleague of mine, Catherine, had a wonderful blog post this week entitled ADDIE Deconstructed, which is somewhat related with my own recent posting on this topic, and is nicely juxtaposed with the work my students are doing with my online PPOCCID course.

Constructivist Instructional DesignThis area around ADDIE (Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate), which is an instructional design model I use all the time, constantly reminds me of issues of power and positionality that arise when we determine how others have to learn this or that. In many ways, this reminds me of a blog post that really stopped me to think about these issues, Why you want to focus on actions, not learning objectives. For those of us in the learning field, it is easy to either get so wrapped up in learning objectives that we neglect the learners as people, or to get so vague with our objectives that we can never really measure (or determine) if anything is learned at all.

All of this consideration of whose objectives we have to consider, and how that balance works within organizational dynamics, leads me to the text that Catherine pointed out and I just ordered, Constructivist Instructional Design (C-ID). This looks like just the right text to help consider some of these issues around ADDIE, which increasingly seems to be a simple model with grate implications.

More to follow . . .

Pragmatism as an Episode of Constructivism

I am chatting with some colleagues right now, and explaining what I meant when earlier this week I referred to pragmatism as an episode of constructivism.

Pragmatism is a worldview or philosophy that is concerned with the application of what works in this or that context. If pragmatism is a paradigm that Creswell, in his Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, has separated out from the others (like positivism or critical theory), then it occurred to me that pragmatism is doing something based completely on the context. In other words, it is constructing a method or approach to an issue as needed. This sounds surprisingly like constructivism, just reconstructed in time as needed and when needed.

Thus, pragmatism is an episode of constructivism.

Ortega y Gasset and Pragmatism as an Episode of Constructivism

Still reading the Cook and Brown (1999) Bridging epistemologies article from yeseterday. Would have gotten it completed today (even though I taught at Pace University in the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program today, where I am co-teaching NURS 840: Teaching and Learning in Advanced Practice Nursing), but I had a request for more revisions for an article that is scheduled to be published later this year. The problem—the revisions are a RUSH, and due by Sunday.

Farewell weekend 🙁

Anyway, one of the items in Cook and Brown is their assessment of interaction with the social and physical worlds comes from Jose Ortega y Gasset, one of many great thinkers I have never read (though I did just order his book of essays, History as a System, after the authors made several references to it). I was particularly touched with this:

Ortega abandoned the frame of the abstracted, analytic thinking self and throughout his work approached questions of epistemology, action, etc. from the perspective of ‘myself within this context.” For Ortega,  what we can know and what we can do are not discoverable through an abstract Cartesian though experiment, but are products of ongoing concrete interaction between “myself” (or “ourselves”) and the specifics of the social and physical “context” or “circumstances” we are in at any given time (p. 389).

I really like the emphasis on the individual bringing meaning to this or that experience based on the context, and while this is generally considered American Pragmatism, I am now wondering if pragmatism is merely another frame of constructivism, just captured in time? In another way, is pragmatism an episode of constructivism?

Quote interesting this writing about my doctoral studies each day . . .

Next Research Project Ideas

This is my first foray into sharing my doctoral journey, specifically through my decision to share my 5-10 minutes a day of writing about my process and thinking as per my program’s recommendations in our current module (and which I discussed here and here). I hope that reflecting aloud may be helpful for others who are considering this for themselves—either as a model for what can be done, or as a suggestion for what to avoid (the challenges or the process of sharing here itself).

I have to begin thinking about my research ideas for this module, which is entitled Development of Professional Practice. I really like this concept, and think it is more than fitting that I am developing this practice, and exploring it in my own life, here, where my colleagues (both current and future) can join me on the journey.

As I am beginning to formulate my ideas for this mini-project (around 3800 words, +/- 10%), I am going to consider some of the concepts that interest me, as I think some brainstorming is in order:

  • identity and learning
  • autoethnographic inquiry (both as a researcher and as studied in others who engage in this)
  • exploring various personal identities, and the transition from one to another
  • transformative learning
  • reflective practice related to constructivist / critical frameworks
  • individual identity development and self-definition within communities of practice
  • juggling of identities as a process of personal learning

Will have to play around with these, and see what feedback my cohort offers.