This week I have mostly been:
Attending the RDP course ‘Taking a critical approach to research’. The session was led by Melanie Petch and Jason Eyre from the Centre for Learning and Study Support (CLaSS) and covered critical reading, writing and thinking. The session focused around our own research which I found particularly useful – having to explain my research to others made me realise that I have a greater grasp on what I want to achieve than I had previously thought. I thoroughly enjoyed the session and have taken away a number of useful tools/tips.
Familiarising myself with guidance from the University on the application processes for Registration and Ethical Approval. This has also helped me in:
Identifying aspects of Grounded Theory in which I need to strengthen my understanding. This is my first experience of Grounded Theory and so certain elements, such as Theoretical sampling, are new to me and I would like to ensure that I understand the different aspects fully before attempting to implement them.
Collecting literature in two key strands: methodology-related and literature review/context-related. As I am undertaking a grounded theory approach to my research, the literature review I carry out will not be with the intention of developing preconceptions or initial codes but instead to provide context to my study.
Reading on the use of Grounded Theory (using the critical mapping approach that I learnt in Monday’s RDP course). An article that has particularly struck me this week is ‘The use of Grounded Theory in PhD research in knowledge management‘ by Idrees et al (2011), which introduces a four-stage method for research design. The method provides a simplified model of theory development which remains true to the key principles of Grounded Theory, making it well-suited to PhD research. Grounded Theory by its nature is a difficult style of study to plan, and for someone like myself who thrives on organisation, this can be a daunting concept. I’m very keen to challenge myself through the PhD (why else would you do one?), and I believe that Grounded Theory is the best methodology for the research that I wish to undertake, so frameworks and tools such as this four-stage model can help me to better structure my thinking around my research design, without compromising on the quality and rigour of the approach.
Next week I will be continuing my reading around Grounded Theory and collecting further literature review materials, as well as attempting my first draft of both the registration and ethical approval forms.
Idress, I., Vasconcelos, A.C. and Cox, A.M. (2011) The use of Grounded Theory in PhD research in knowledge management: a model four-stage research design. New Information Perspectives, vol.63 (2/3), pp. 188-203.