Friday, March 27, 2009

Assessment Task 1- Blog 3:Your research process

Reflection on my research process to date. March 28th 2009.

I must admit to being at times a little perplexed by the research process and as a result I have had to spend a bit more time and effort in to getting a handle on things than I had originally envisaged.
I cannot believe that I researched and published two books, albeit not academic writings, without having any idea of the research process let alone that anything actually existed along the lines that we have explored over recent weeks!

What I’ve learnt and had reinforced so far:

· Defining the project’s idea from the outset but be open to redefining as the project progresses-
a)either because of a information or a
b)better pathway has been identified.

· Don’t form any opinion or conclusions until you have verified facts with sufficient references and reports to support your claims.

· Information gathering
From my personal projects I have learnt that you cannot have too much information. How and if you use it is another matter and this has been reinforced in our learning to date.
Do things right by following appropriate referencing and research guidelines and in as much detail as possible from the outset. It’s easier to edit (well most of the time) than have to expand at a later date.( editing is not that easy but it is a useful tool fo rdeveloping clear and logical arguments). Go from broad to finite.

· Scope of resources
Evaluating material can be misleading unless you learn to identify and align your key points.
After our latest elluminate session exercise in which we identified key words and phrases, I learnt that the scope of possible resource material is much greater than I ever envisaged.

· Credibility of dated information
In my previous research I have tried to obtain 2 sources for any stated facts. But then there are variables within that as two different people (experts) can hold vastly differing views on the same subject.
You also have to take into consideration the age (or date of information) and the subject’s perspective from that particular era- in relation to trends. In my previous projects this has been with regard to the age of the informant, the age they were when they formed the memory- was it theirs or what they had been led to believe or told by others. Sometimes this was difficult to state this information so I had to make a informed generalization rather than a factual statement.
In any research inaccurate or "shady" reporting is called specualtion and will immedialty put you back into the assumptions/bias bucket. The skill in research is very much about accuracy/ reliability/truth etc and at alll stages you are expected to be able to rationalise into logivcal and referenced/ supported research. If you do not know something, do not guess and do not report inaccuratley. State your "not knowingness". You cannot generalise unless your study proves the same.

The position they were in the family eg: eldest or youngest each have different perspectives of family life, experiences etc.
This has proved to be no different in academic writing for research. This kind of information establishes whether or not you will do quantative or qualitative research. The role and positions of each family member will become the variable( quantative) or the phenomena/ signifcant difference( qualitative) under investigation.

· Referencing
It is so important to accurately record references, so that if revisiting is required at a later stage the reference is readily accessible. This can become confusing so good organized recording methods are necessary. Due credit must be given to quotes or material used from research- i.e.: Comprehensive reference and in text referencing.

· Unfamiliar terms:
There are a lot of unfamiliar terms and processes to learn understand and carry out
e.g.: Qualitative, quantitative, methodology, data analyse, memos and triangulation.

All of these reinforce the credibility of any research project. So, as the old adage goes, if something is worth doing it is worth doing properly- whether it be a research process or undertaking a form of study or reading instructions. For example you would want to be treated by a surgeon who doesn’t fully understand the whole process he is going to undertake on you now do you!

I had thought that undertaking a research project, relating to massage, some time in the future would have been a possibility, now I’m not so sure it is within my capabilities!

Key points to remember:
*be meticulous in all facets of the project.
*avoid abbreviated words.
*used specific wording.
*editing is part of the research process.

Collaborative research project

In our collaborative research project we have discussed possible subjects, revised and further discussed and revised ideas, followed by even more revision and definition of our idea with our lecturer to:
“Does massage support the rituals an athlete goes through before an event, to address anxiety levels”?

Our first task was to define key words, (rituals, athlete, anxiety, support), and record them in our glossary.

We are now in the process of:
i) devising a questionnaire for athletes to establish whether or not they have a ritual, anxiety and whether or not they use massage in their ritual to help overcome their anxiety, and at what stage of their preparation they use it.
ii) Exploring, from our own resources, the known effects of massage on the human body system.

Further explore any work on the topic.
Relate findings to an athlete’s anxieties.

We know that massage has positive enhancing effects on most of the human body systems, and as athletes are human then it would be more than reasonable to expect that massage would have a positive effect on an athletes anxieties. Theoretically every athlete who suffers from any form of anxiety pre competition should use massage as part of his or her ritual.
However, we need to keep in mind that certain amounts and kinds of anxieties can enhance an athlete’s performance in the short term- so we have to ensure that the massage does not impinge on this area.

Thoughts to ponder & discuss with the group:
Perhaps our question should be further refined along the lines of:
“Does massage support the rituals and athlete goes through before an event, to address anxieties that have a negative impact/ physical debilitating effect?”

When athletes are seen to shake them selves (arms & legs) immediately prior to competing (eg: sprinters, swimmers) are they performing a ritual, and is it a form of (unknowingly) massage ritual?

Research methods overall.
High point: enthusiasm of participants top get the group project done
Low point: the thought of spending too much time on undertaking blogs in the context of the course paper credits.

At this point I’m looking to the successful competent completion of assignments.


Collaborative group notes.

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