Research Diary #3: Progress

Progress is being made. I have completed the IoE research ethics application consent forms and participant information sheet and submitted them to UCL to get a data protection number. With this I can get research ethics approval through my supervisor. I’ve also got the blessing for my research with Senior Management at my own institution. I’m still behind schedule, but less behind schedule then I was. Next steps will be to complete the parallel research ethics approval at my own institution, and to start talking to ‘gatekeepers’ who can help me secure access to research participants.

The other big challenge that I have at the moment is working out how I’ve going to analyse the data. As part of my ‘100 papers in 100 days’ challenge I’ve been reading a lot about content analysis. As such, I know that I have a lot of choices. Unfortunately, I don’t know enough to know which choices to make. Too much choice is a terrible thing.

I’ve taken a scattershot approach to my reading so far, which I’ve enjoyed. I’m hoping as I progress through the 100 days I get a little bit more focused, if only to stop me continually rethinking the focus of my thesis project. I have around half a dozen half-formed ideas that probably wouldn’t survive long if I exposed them to the world. Perhaps I should reserve some of my research diaries to doing just that. Better to identify the dead ends now, rather than hit them full in the face later.

I’ve also starting a short IoE course on ‘Researching Beyond the University’ that looks at how research engages with people and policy in different settings. I refuse the use the term ‘real world’ because it assumes that the world is divided into ivory towers and barren badlands. Equally, I’m not sure that activities as diverse as parenting, banking, volunteering, farming and wrestling should be defined in opposition to academia. I’m only one workshop in, so there’s plenty more to think about. There’s always more to think about.

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