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Judi Homewood 1 , John Willison 2 , Niree Kraushaar 1 , Julia Irwin 1 and Nasreen Yasin 1 PowerPoint Presentation
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Judi Homewood 1 , John Willison 2 , Niree Kraushaar 1 , Julia Irwin 1 and Nasreen Yasin 1

Judi Homewood 1 , John Willison 2 , Niree Kraushaar 1 , Julia Irwin 1 and Nasreen Yasin 1

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Judi Homewood 1 , John Willison 2 , Niree Kraushaar 1 , Julia Irwin 1 and Nasreen Yasin 1

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  1. Entry level psychology students’ conceptualisation of research: an analysis using the Research Skill Development Framework Judi Homewood1 , John Willison2, Niree Kraushaar1, Julia Irwin1 and Nasreen Yasin1 1Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, 2109 Sydney Australia 2 Centre for Learning and Professional Development, University of Adelaide, Adelaide 5055 Australia

  2. Undergraduate education now explicitly addresses graduate capabilities as well as discipline-specific skill and knowledge • A common theme in graduate capabilities statements is knowledge and imagination, graduates should be able to know now to acquire knowledge for personal development or for career opportunities, and to be able to use critical thinking and imagination to solve problems • “To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science” quote attributed to Einstein

  3. The Boyer Commission (on undergraduate education in the US, published in 1998) reports urged that academics should break out “the tired old debate” of teaching vs research “Why does every University have to offer all things to all people…. Why does every University, thirty-eight of them, why do they all have to be doing research, teaching and scholarship and struggling to do it in so many areas? Why can't we have Universities that make a conscious decision to specialise in outstanding teaching and scholarship but do very little research? “ Dr Brendan Nelson, then Minister for Education and now Leader of the Opposition, in a speech to the National Press Club Tuesday 8 March, 2005

  4. The first recommendation of the Boyer report was to make “research-based learning” the standard such that “every course in the undergraduate curriculum should provide an opportunity for a student to succeed through discovery- based methods” Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates (1998) Reinventing Undergraduate Education: a Blueprint for America’s Research Universities” p17

  5. What do students think research is ? • Anecdotal evidence suggests that many institutions survey their students asking about awareness of research activities (grants, seminars, publications) and asking directly “what do you think research is” • Robertson and Blacker (2006) reported strong differences between undergraduates in Physics and English in the way they described research and their perceived connections. • Physics students saw research as something others do, the province of an elite, and “We [the students] don’t have the skills or the knowledge to understand what they are saying” • students in English position research differently “ I feel that, even though I am a first semester student…that I am working along side people…as though we are all discovering something and that they [the lecturers] are just doing it at a different level”

  6. A. Students embark on an enquiry and so determine the need for understanding B. Students find/generate needed information/data using appropriate methodology Students critically evaluate information/data and the process used to find/generate the information/data Students organise the information collected/generated Students synthesise and analyse new knowledge Students communicate knowledge and understanding and the processes used to generate them. The six facets in Willison and O’Keefe’s (2007) Research Skill Development Framework

  7. The RSDF also has a continuum related to the degree of “unknowness” of the topic under research and the extent of student autonomy in the research activity.

  8. Participants • Participants were 541 students who attended the initial tutorial for the first psychology subject at Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia) • For 85%, this was the beginning of their university studies • Completed a questionnaire asking about perceived potential barriers to university success and were asked “what do you think research is ?’

  9. Responding by Facet 4% 10% 35% 43%

  10. “The study of matter either living or not” “It is very hard” “Doing a search again for whatever you’ve lost” Unclassifiable

  11. “A noble attempt to see what is affecting the youth of Australia and more importantly a thinly veiled attempt to garner my autograph on the permission form. Nice try guys, just don’t put in on e-Bay” “Copying one person's work is plagiarism, copying lots of peoples work is research”

  12. Responding by Facet 4% 10% 35% 43%

  13. What is research: Facet A(Embarking on enquiry) 3% 18% 78%

  14. “A method by which a researcher aims to discover more about a predetermined idea/concept” “Projects designed to prove or disprove a theory” ”Preparation for assignments, discovery of facts’ Examples of Facet A “ embarking on enquiry” responses

  15. Facet B: 43% note the need to generate information or data 30% 66%

  16. “Gathering data” “ Gathering information from different varied sources’ “ Research is looking for primary and secondary resources to assist in answering questions “ “Reading academic articles and journals, looking at websites and books to gain further information on a topic “ Examples of facet B

  17. Facet C: critically evaluate data or processes used to collect it , mentioned by 2% 13% 17% 70%

  18. “ Reading, listening, analysing material, comparing it to different sources and seeing how it relates to the question being posed“ “ The gathering of information in large portions before breaking it down into only significantly relevant material. Judging the worthiness of source etc before applying the information “ Facet C: critically evaluate the data/information or the processes used to collect it was mentioned by only 2% of respondents

  19. “ Sifting through various forms of information to extract relevant and well constructed information and opinions. This then helps you construct your own arguments and opinions “ “ research is searching and finding different aspects of a topic and draw the conclusions. It needs critical thinking and problem solving as well “ Facet E :10% of participants recognised the need to synthesise or analyse the information/data

  20. 4% of the respondents mentioned the need to communicate their findings to an audience of some type. “ Collecting data/info to collate and present” Facet F: Students communicate knowledge and understanding and the processes used to generate them

  21. “Interpreting and understanding information from a variety of sources to use in an essay” “ Investigating and exploring a topic (preferably of interest) and being able to identify and report a conclusion of that topic or a need/desire for further investigation “ Facet F: Students communicate knowledge and understanding and the processes used to generate them

  22. “ Research is the investigation of different resources in different forms (TV, computer, books, journals, recording etc.) that is put together and assessed to come up with the right and appropriate facts and allow the person to answer their question/discuss their topic with excellent knowledge of their topic and also come up with their own ideas “ Facet F: Students communicate knowledge and understanding and the processes used to generate them

  23. Our entry level students know that knowledge is constructed; few (10%) recognise that knowledge is contestable (Facet C and Facet E) ; surprisingly few (4%) noted the need to communicate knowledge The few responses at the higher orders of the facets suggest that most seem to think that knowledge is created by others No one mentioned ethics Entry level psychology students and research:

  24. References: Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates (1998) Reinventing Undergraduate Education: a Blueprint for America’s Research Universities downloaded from http://naples.cc.sunysb.edu/Pres/boyer.nsf 21 June 2008 Robertson, J and Blacker, G (2006) Students’ experiences of learning in a research environment. Higher Education Research & Development 25(3) 215-229 Willison, J and O’Reagan, K (2007) Commonly known, commonly not known, totally unknown: a framework for students becoming researchers. Higher Education Research & Development 26(4) 393-409 Entry level psychology students and research:

  25. We can use the responses to tap in to the language that students use to describe research New third year level research methods unit based on enquiry-learning model where students design a project, collect the data and write up the report Plans to make ethics proposal an assessment task ‘To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science” quote attributed to Einstein

  26. Thank you for attending !