Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Dump and run

As part of the research write up, which we are focusing on at the moment, I thought I would include a note on how to start a methods chapter. as I think when we write, we can lose confidence in ourselves, or we need to find our 'way in', so we may ground ourselves by including a quote from someone to whom we admire. This can work really well, providing we also ground the quote in the context it is offered.

Where the trouble creeps in is where we do not ground the quote in the context. Instead we offer a one word sentence containing a quote, but do not explain WHY we have included it. We do not connect our writing with what we go on to say. I call this a 'dump and run'. For example, to begin their methods chapter, the first paragraph of one student's work read:

Ferkins and Fleming state that “Action learning tackles problems through a process of first asking questions to clarify the exact nature of the problem, reflecting and identifying possible solutions, and moving… towards consideration of strategies and possible action” (2007, p. 2).

Aside from any other stylistic issues, there was no explanation as to why this paragraph was important. There was no explanation of how or why this quote was going to be put to work by the student, to add value to their work. It needs a purpose. It is currently an undriven nail in the writing. Or a dropped stitch.

This could go a few ways. We could write about how the statement fits with our project. We could write about the theory. We could do both. So for this example, we have done both. The theory is explained in more detail in this paragraph, with a short contextualising sentence to lead in, and a minor rewrite:

This co-operative learning project has utilised action learning. The method of “[a]ction learning tackles problems through a process of first asking questions to clarify the exact nature of the problem, reflecting and identifying possible solutions, and moving […] towards consideration of strategies and possible action” (Ferkins & Fleming, 2007, p. 2). The process of action learning comprises five elements, those of: identifying a problem; integrating theory; determining action; implementing; and then evaluating that action (Ferkins & Fleming, 2007).  Within the implementation and evaluation sections, mini cycles or pilots can be used to test ideas for workability, scaling to build successful work into a larger project (Dallison, 2021). 

This works well enough. And there is no 'dump and run'.


Sam

References:

  • Dallison, C. (2021). SPOR710: Co-operative Learning [Course materials]. Health Sciences, AUT.
  • Ferkins, L., & Fleming, J. (2007). Action learning in sport cooperative education. Journal of Cooperative Education and Internships, 2(41), 45-51.

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