Oh LIt Review Oh LIt Review Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory waits on you.
Oh, Lit Review Oh, Lit Review, where do I begin?
Oh, Lit Review Oh, Lit Review, when will you ever be done?
...doctoral reflections on course studies
I am still struggling with the research on race, position, and privilege by McCorkel and Myers (2003) in relation to our doctoral classes because I am confused about what I am now expected to think and feel as a researcher. Though well-written, being labeled as a white, privileged researcher of position is difficult to read, accept, or believe. In some ways, I feel accused personally of racism, though I know I am not responsible for the actions of others or of the past that I had no control over, nor am I racist. This is disturbing to me because I have experienced this claim all my life, and this article is just one more instance reminding me that somehow my objectivity and reflexivity are still absent and I am to be blamed.
As I read the personal biography of the researcher as she detailed page after page of her own self-examination, I walked alongside her reflexively in comparing my own experiences, attitudes, and beliefs in relation to hers for evidences of bias and objectivity towards race. My concern will be, must I too include my own private biography in a public way in future research to ensure my conceptualizations of race and my "whiteness" are revealed for the reader?
The answer for me lies somewhere in the future as I try to accomplish the same thing as McCorkel as she asked, "How does the researcher attenuate the influence of the master narrative and, concomitantly, her position?" As I understand this reading, "the researcher's positionality cannot be erased" and is an ever present backdrop in research. This will be the continuing challenge to recognize and nalyze how my own "positionality facilitates specific forms of understanding and impedes others."
This weeks' research readings introduced lore citations and citation issues. Lore is secondary citations often used by researchers who do not read the primary document but quote what another researcher says in the article about that primary research. This clarifies when to incorporate this type of research and answers my previous research questions if you can include a citation you have not read.
When I was conducting my original masters research on career education and how this could help reduce the drop out rate for my at-risk students, I noticed that some researchers were citing secondary sources and I wondered if it was appropriate or standard protocol. I did not understand how to cite a secondary source because the APA manual was not quite clear and there were not enough examples online for me to conclude that it is acceptable practice. I was not able to share my questions on this until I started teaching APA style in the masters program and found other students with the same concern. We wondered if this was good research to rely on another researchers opinion.
Our readings this week shed light on the use of lore and other citation issues raised by Kennedy (2007). Kennedy became interested in conducting forensic research on citations that made a strong argument concerning teacher qualifications by comparing TQQT citation database and similar research by Walsh (2001). She investigated their rules for exclusion and inclusion in source citation. Kennedy pointed out three issues. One, if only peer-reviewed journals were the criteria, a whole population of research that might offer opposing views may be missed. Two, Kennedy found that a single source might be cited multiple times and that is just not good research because it creates a stronger arguement. Third, she looked at lore citations and showed what is acceptable use and what using it might bring to the argument table. Kennedy argued for judicious use of lore by examining primary sources, when possible, to avoid miscitations.
So where does this leave me? Am I realistically going to be able to read 453 research articles to ensure I have an unbiased study? I think the key is judiciously select what research to include or exclude, and it depends on the purpose, if it is an article or research. Miller's (2011) research analysis on student homelessness gives me a clean example of how to set up future methodology with detailed keyword parameters and research databases used to cite correctly.
Kennedy, M. M. (2007). Defining a literature. Educational Researcher, 36(3), 139-147.
Miller, P. M. (2011). A Critical analysis of the reserch on student homelessness. Review of Educational Research, Vol. 81(3), 308–337. doi: 10.3102/0034654311415120
Walsh, K. (2001). Teacher education reconsidered: Stumbling for quality. Baltimore, MD: Abell Foundation. (ED 460 100)
APA Citations http://libguides.radford.edu/content.php?pid=219451&sid=1822450
Not being one to swear regularly and that even occasionally, I still found myself grinning at the title of a recent homework assignment using the S-word in the title. Go ahead and try taking out crummy in my title, and substitute the above mentioned word, not leaving out the "y" and you will get the title. Our class busted up laughing when we discussed this piece. I found myself chuckling as well even though I do not normally speak like that, let alone write like that. To top it off Yolanda said, "all first drafts are shitty." For this I had to really join the class and enjoy throwing that word around.
Through the discussion on writing, it came out that a lot of the cohort does not feel comfortable with their writing. This is good as it shows our trust is building enough for us to let our hair down. Ronn, Dr. Hallet, shared lots of ideas on getting started by setting timers for writing for 30 minutes with five minute breaks or 45 minute writing with 15 minute breaks. Ronn, encouraged us to try to write a minimum of 30 minutes a day, but better to try to write an hour daily. Ideally, write two hours a day at a dedicated set time every day. I think I can do this. I have seen a lot of blogs by doctoral students and wonder where they get the time, now I know why, for practice.
I started doing a lot of reflective writing in a Coursera MOOC course this summer, Tinkering Fundamentals, offered by The Exploratorium this summer. I think this helped hone up my writing on demand, and I am better able to get started, especially if you give me something controversial, boring, or funny to critique. I am at a pont in my life that I am going to take my own advice that I give to my high school students, "go ahead and slam it if you do not agree." It is kind of fun to cut lose this way.
I am not as worried about starting writing now as I am about writing too much. I tend to over think and not want to leave out minute detail, and this wastes time for other work. Though I am great at editing and APA style, my biggest concern is organizing my thoughts into an outline that leads the reader through a well-written study. It is hard for me to be linear and I want to do my very best.
The funny part of class was when Ronn said, "do not try to sound like some sort of an English professor in your writing" and "do not forget your voice because that is what they want to hear in your writing" so there was a nice bit of levity in class tonight, and we needed that to draw us closer to each other.
I came across an article about "imposter syndrome" last spring while I was having one of my many "should I or should I not enter the doctoral program?" discussions with myself. I cannot tell you how many times I have flipped back and forth after making several final decisions. A letter from my masters advisor Diane Carnahan convinced me to push ahead. How else will I know if I could do it?
I thought imposter syndrome was funny, in that I enjoyed the idea of an imposter and investigating if I felt or experienced any of the symptoms and at the same time it revived some fears of am I adequately prepared. A friend who was my favorite sub for two years ago just started her first year of teaching, and after a rough week told me she feels like an imposter. I think I understand where she is coming from. We are hard ourselves when we think we have not done our best but this is a strength to improve.
Am I alone in wondering about this, and if I am ready? Apparently not, for many in my cohort shared concerns about feeling smart enough to be in this cohort. I think it is good to get what we really think out on the table and I do not particularly care if I am the one who opens the door, because it helps others express what they need to know about. I sense there may be a fear of appearing out of one's league with being a doctoral student from so many of the comments, but also see such support to help us through our first semester.
Dr. Nelson said, "What do you want to become smart at?" and I think this is what we need to focus on. We may not have felt smart enough to be here at first, but our aim is to learn and to become smarter. A good educdator is reflexive, even if we used to call it being reflective. These two terms seem interchangable to me. We are reflexive so we can better our practice and that is why we are in the program. I do not pretend to be something other than an ordinary science and technology teacher who loves to learn with her students. I know my students need to handle and apply science and technology to make learning meaningful. It is how I learn too. Comparing myself to others has never been productive. I prefer to compare my earlier self to my present self and I see growth and that is what truly matters.
What will the challenges be? Last fall, I was thinking to myself before Teachers College of San Joaquin announced the joint UOP doctoral program of how much I enjoyed my masters statistics class with Dr. Gunsten-Parks. I wanted to sit in just to hear all the wonderful ideas and how to deepen my understanding of quantitative data. Now I have my chance in a different way with different statistics and quantitative teachers, though I prefer the qualitative experience.
For now, I feel I am smart enough to be here.