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Finding support for your research writing Jenny Barnett School of Education, April, 2009

Finding support for your research writing Jenny Barnett School of Education, April, 2009

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Finding support for your research writing Jenny Barnett School of Education, April, 2009

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  1. Finding support for your research writingJenny BarnettSchool of Education,April, 2009

  2. Experiences of research writing support in DEASS (2007-2008) • how do HDR students and ECRs experience research writing? • how do they and their mentors experience support for research writing? • what outcomes do they identify for research writing support experiences? • what factors shape these experiences and outcomes?

  3. Participants: • HDR students in EASS • Early career researchers on staff • EASS supervisors and mentors • Learning Unit staff Data generation • focus groups • interviews • observations of support interactions

  4. Research writing – What is it? Academic communication (Other-oriented) • a research article • a thesis proposal • a thesis or thesis chapter • a research grant application Academic reflection (Self-oriented) • notes from reading • field notes • memos on data analysis • a research journal

  5. Research writing support: What are the key sources? The field: Literature on research/thesis writing University, eg Library, Learning Unit, RESA Division, eg Presentation forums School and Discipline Academic peers Supervisors Self

  6. The self as a source of research writing support • Knowing the possible sources of support • Knowing yourself as a research writer • Engaging with writing for a range of purposes • Developing personal writing strategies • Accessing diverse sources of help and drawing out what you need • Using and refining your learning from the different sources

  7. Knowing yourself as a research writer • A certain kind of writing I find really easy, but not the stuff for the thesis. I don’t find that easy to do. • Normally I can write only when I have pressure, or when I feel like writing. I feel like writing when I have something from inside coming up and out, and I don’t have many instances of this.

  8. You’re writing on the edge of what you don’t know all the time, and so it’s really hard. • The hardest thing at first – you must have something to write. And to have something, you must read something; we need to have input for our writing. • Part of my struggle with writing is that I was thinking I had to be at that endpoint before I could start writing.

  9. What are your main difficulties in research writing at the moment?Where do you struggle? 8 minutes in pairs.

  10. Engaging with writing for different purposes: Other-oriented • Writing-to-communicate (expository writing, academic writing) • Thesis proposal • Thesis chapters • Research articles • Conference presentations • Forum presentations • Abstracts

  11. Engaging with writing for different purposes: Self-oriented • Writing-to-think (generative writing, reflective writing) • Research journal • Notes on reading • Notes on data, eg Nvivo memos • Responding to data, eg drafting up a series of ideas • Chapter outlining

  12. Writing-to-think: reflective or generative writing I’m writing my way into understanding, so I’m drafting. I just wrote for 12 months on a whole range of things that were related to my thesis but have not been directly part of any sequence. I wasn’t writing the literature review or I wasn’t writing the data analysis, but I was responding to my research in a whole range of ways.

  13. Research writing for oneself • I do a lot of writing not necessarily for an audience. I will write stuff that I don’t expect to give to my supervisor. It’s just writing out my ideas and my thoughts, and of course my experiences as I was doing my data collection. • When I’m not specifically writing for an audience, I’m writing to vent or to express or to explore an idea; and sometimes very emotional and sometimes very idea orientated.

  14. Developing personal writing strategies • Dealing with writing avoidance • Knowing oneself as writer • Organising one’s writing processes • Talking • Wording • Writing-to-think

  15. What strategies for research writing do you have?What strategies would you like to try out? 10 minutes in pairs.

  16. Accessing diverse sources of help and drawing out what you need • Turning generic information into information relevant to your interests • Initiating and/or contributing to mutual help among academic peers • Knowing where to go for a particular kind of help • Asking for the kind of help you want

  17. Sources of support for research writing The field: Literature on research/thesis writing University, eg Library, Learning Unit, RESA Division, eg Presentation forums School and Discipline Academic peers Supervisors Self

  18. The supervisor/mentor as a source of research writing support • For your writing-to-think • For your writing-to-communicate

  19. Adult education for Irish settlers through a particular method of preaching based on apologetics. The ‘Cathedral’ as the centre of catholic life. • Mass and instruction within the homes of families in rural South Australia. An instructional approach based on practice and pastoral care. The home as church and school. • The building of churches and classrooms. Religious education based in the school but incorporating the liturgical celebrations (Mass and Sacraments) of the parish church.

  20. Using personal writing strategies in the supervisory relationship • Dealing with writing avoidance • Knowing oneself as writer • Organising one’s writing processes • Structuring ideas • Talking-to-write • Wording • Writing-to-think

  21. At this point in time, what do you most want from your supervisor to support your research writing? • Discuss with your partner. • Role play asking for what you want. 10 minutes in pairs

  22. Sources of support for research writing The field: Literature on research/thesis writing University, eg Library, Learning Unit, RESA Division, eg Presentation forums School and Discipline Academic peers Supervisors Self

  23. Academic peers as a source of research writing support • Critical friends • Reading groups • Writing-and-discussion groups

  24. Writing-and-discussion groups • Functions • Frequency of meeting • Managing group interactions, eg control of air space • Group size • Forming and maintaining a group

  25. Stated functions were to: • work through ideas • obtain feedback on drafts • provide a deadline • prepare to hand up writing to the supervisor • validate self as writer • share ideas and resources • experience collegiality • help people to move themselves along in their work • provide emotional support

  26. Possible processes in a writing-and-discussion group • Asking for a particular kind of reading • Reading and responding to the manuscript • Critiquing • Being Critiqued • Discussing

  27. Freire’s democratic participation Participants as active creators of the group culture • Listening for participant concerns, for cross-cultural misunderstandings, for blocks and openings • Dialogue initiated by participants, raising issues, eliciting voices, making choices • Action beyond the moment, participants changing their ways of becoming a research writer

  28. Factors in the functioning of a learning community • Participation • Quality of relationships • Perspectives and assumptions • Structure and context • Climate for operation. • Accommodation of diverse purposes • Control (Cassidy, Christie, Coutts, Dunn, Sinclair, Skinner & Wilson, 2007)

  29. Imagine your small group as forming a new writing-and-discussion group. What will it be like? • Purposes? • Frequency of meetings? • Open or closed membership? • Meeting processes? • Electronic linking process? • Strengths and potential weaknesses? 5 minutes in pairs