Stumbling block…

So, I set aside today to visit the library and write the background lit part of my research proposal and what I discovered was that I am not at all sure what I want to research. I found a few readings in motivation and that was fine but nothing to fuel my own fire or motivate me to keep looking or write anything.
On the plus side it looks like the university has not yet closed down my login details and I still have full access to the online data base (thank you very much!) it has been 10 months since I finished my masters but whatever.

So, now I have a few readings to go through, a bunch of books on the Reggio Emilia approach lent to me by a friend and a strong desire to refocus myself and start again (not that I have actually done anything yet… Study is hard!). To that end I drew up a mind map/ brain storm of all the educational things that are important to me (I missed out physicality… Whoops!). Anyway I am hoping this will be another way of braking into my research topic… Fingers crossed. Does anyone out there have any kind of experience with picking a research topic? I am finding the lack of boundaries impossible! I really could study anything! (As long as it is somehow related to the field of education). Any help, feedback, suggestions, expressions of sympathy/solidarity welcome. 😉

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4 thoughts on “Stumbling block…

  1. Your map of terms is a good start… I just posted this: http://drdeveril.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/simple-tools-for-phd-proposals/ the other day, and use these to help people focus their research question — you might not have got that far yet, but aiming towards filling in some blanks and playing with ideas might help.

    Find a theoretical approach and then a methodological approach and the key gap in understanding that you have identified from your lit survey… I would suggest a case study approach, or some kind of intervention — if possible, because this gives you a nice lot of data to analyse. Going into a classroom, observing, and trying out new ideas under controlled conditions is one way of doing this, or otherwise identifying a group to study can be useful in the first instance, and see what comes out of talking to them.

    Just a couple of articles I’ve read recently that refer to social justice and education: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/000001106.htm
    http://ojs.vre.upei.ca/index.php/cje-rce/article/view/1159/1467

  2. What are the questions that matter to you most? I suggest taking those ideas about and formulating questions about issues that you find most important, compelling, etc. You can start with general questions and then try to make them more specific. If this is for a dissertation, it’s important to really care deeply about your topic b/c it will take years of hard work, and you will need that passion and commitment to sustain you. I think the concerns about methodology should come later. The most important thing initially is to find something that really drives your interest.

    In my case, I have been interested in epistemology my whole life. It’s what drives my curiosity, so it’s no surprise that I wrote on epistemology in literature for my work.

    Hope this helps, and good luck!

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