The Viva – a live presentation of your thesis to examiners – is not common in Australia. Our thesis examination is a blind peer review process, which has its own fears, but nothing like the anxiety that a viva can provoke. Horror stories tend to circulate, which is why I was happy to be sent this post by a student who preferred to remain anonymous.
“I had my doctoral viva. And I enjoyed it.”
Yes, what you are reading is indeed true. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my 3 3/4 hour viva voce. But it wasn’t just me. Both of my examiners also enjoyed the experience.
Why was this the case and what lessons does it hold?
From handing in my thesis until my viva, I was overcome by a crippling state of anxiety. I had heard all of the horror stories: people having their work rubbished, examiners proclaiming…
The majority of research in social science is carried out via a Qualitative approach, where the key research method is either the collection of multiple interviews or focus groups. These interviews are the most essential aspect of your data collection, they help you to understand the phenomenon you are studying in depth. Thus, I am often surprised to see how often researchers go into this crucial data collection process blind. Blind, in that they do very little interview rehearsals, very little time is spent running over different scenarios that may occur in an interview and finally, probably, the most crucial they spend very little time developing their interview skills.
Phenomenology, a word that strikes “fear” into the heart of every qualitative researcher. A lot of this fear is born out of a misunderstanding, a lack of knowledge and in many cases a lack of application. The direct link between phenomenology and experience however cannot be denied.
It is important at this stage to acknowledge that phenomenology is just one mechanism on the “long road” to completion, it may not be the best or the most appropriate viewpoint but as a qualitative researcher you may want to think about how it can be utilised to frame your view of the world.
There are many many different ways to develop your sampling strategy. In the past I have spoken about some of these in detail, for example I mention and discuss from a holistic perspective what is sampling, and why as a concept it is extremely important. In my time as an academic I have come across many proposals, articles, workshop papers and seminars which feel incomplete due to a inappropriate sampling strategy.
In a previous related blog post, I discuss a specific but popular approach of sampling know as purposive sampling, a methodological approach which develops sampling based on specific defined criteria. Judging by the numbers of views these two posts have accumulated it is clear that there is a demand for this type of discussion in a clear and concise manner. It is to this end that today I discuss another very popular method of sampling, known as snowball sampling.
“The Journals of Thaddeaus Shockpocket – ALBION 77”
To blog or not to blog? My publisher says that it is imperative to blog. Much like the ‘publish or perish’ maxim in the academic world, the modern world of the author apparently requires a blog in order to maximize exposure. I wonder what it is that makes blogs so important or, more to the point, so popular in our current culture. Well, blogs that focus on specific topics like the latest cooking trends are a great source of practical information such as new recipes and ways to prepare dishes that otherwise are simply old and tired. Movie review blogs steer me to pictures that suit my particular interests and book review blogs do similar for my reading selections.
But what about all those other blogs? Those that simply chronicle someone’s activities or their random thoughts on arbitrary topics with no rhyme or…
First of all I would like to send everyone my very best wishes for 2017.
I blogged a few months ago about a book chapter that I wrote for a book called“Culturally Responsive Pedagogy: Working towards Decolonization, Indigeneity and Interculturalism”. As previously mentioned I am very excited that the book will be available from January 20th 2017, you can find it on Amazon and Springer. In light of this a formal launch is being organised by the editors at a seminar in England on March 10th-11th 2017.
Please find attached a flyer with all details. If you are not able to come along but would like to be kept informed about the event and any activities that flow from it please follow the hashtag #decolonizingteachered on twitter.
One of the most daunting tasks for any budding researcher is the data collection process as part of your study. For many researchers this is a part of your work that will test you to the limit and take you far out of your comfort zone. However as with all things there are methods and mechanisms which you can use to make your process as easy, efficient and painless as possible. How I hear you ask? Why mobile devices off course!
Finding the right people at the right time is crucial in collecting data that is usable, viable and valuable. In this post I want to discuss the importance of developing a clear sampling strategy, and why understanding and articulating the decisions you make at this early stage are essential for any research papers, book chapters, articles and dissertations you may wish to write in the future. This paper is a brief continuation of my previous article on what is sampling?
I don’t normally do this, and something I hope to do more of in the future. If I find a interesting or curious article then I would like to write a short blog post on my thoughts, and hopefully share with the wider community.
The article I came across the other day is very timely, written by my colleague on “Costs, efficiency, and economies of scale and scope in the English higher education sector“. To me this comes at an excellent time for many Universities who are facing so many pressures on so many different fronts. It feels like one of those articles that can help many institutions develop the fabled “competitive advantage”. In the sector as a whole there is still a lot of work to be done in this area, and this very much feels like a step in the right direction.
Conducting research and writing is always a labour of love and dedication. Thus, I was very happy to see that a book chapter I wrote a couple of months ago will soon be available on Amazon within a book called “Culturally Responsive Pedagogy: Working towards Decolonization, Indigeneity and Interculturalism”. The book is initially designated for a Hardcover release on 20 Jan 2017. You can check it by clicking here.
The book is about Culturally Responsive pedagogy and the importance of academics and teachers reflecting on themselves and on their pedagogy.
My work is on Chapter 2, please do check it out. There is no book cover yet but hopefully once that is live I will update this post.