My thoughts on the quip, “do your research” (Guest post: Astrid Kendrick)

April 23, 2021

I don’t normally have guest posts on my blog, but after reading this piece posted by my friend and colleague, Astrid Kendrick, PhD, a fellow faculty member at the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, I reached out to her to see if she would allow me to amplify her message by sharing it on my blog. Here is Dr. Kendrick’s post, shared with her permission.

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My thoughts on the quip, “do your research”

Astrid Kendrick,EdD

Astrid Kendrick, EdDFacebook Status Update originally posted on April 22, 2021

I have the good fortune to be a funded (meaning paid) researcher over the past couple of years, which means I actually do my own research. It’s actually quite complicated, so here’s a brief (okay, lengthy) summary of how I “do my own research”.

Firstly, and most importantly, I have to do a comprehensive literature review on my research subject. This involves reading a ton of primary sources (e.g., peer-reviewed research articles, philosophical books). Normally, I don’t read secondary sources (e.g., news articles, websites) as those authors are only reporting on what they think primary researchers have said. If I do read about a study from a secondary source, I seek out the primary source and read that too. Often, the secondary reporting misses out on or misrepresents crucial details from the primary source.

This stage takes about 6-8 months and involves reading, understanding, and processing a lot of information. If you look at a citation page for any one of my papers, you’ll see that I usually cite about 20-50 sources. I have usually read twice the number of articles or books that I cite to figure out which actually relate to my research subject. Reading everything includes reading critique of the field to limit my bias.

Once I have read all the things – yes, all of them, including new stuff that’s published while I’m reading the old stuff – then I can apply for ethics approval to do a research study. Getting ethics takes 1-4 months, depending on how busy all my colleagues in that department are. I have to prove, as a part of this process, that my research will do no harm, I will mitigate all risks to human participants, and that I actually have read all the things about my topic. Without ethics approval, my research can’t go forward.

Once everything is read and ethics is approved, then I can do unique research, which necessitates keeping an open and flexible mind about my research subject, finding suitable participants, and collecting related policy or other documents, a stage known as collecting data. This part takes 4-5 months. In the case of my current podcasting study, data collection will take a year and for my compassion fatigue study, data collection has taken nearly 16 months.

Once the data is collected (usually by a research assistant which is why funding is great), I have to read, understand, and connect all of it (interviews, surveys, documents) and determine if what my participants have said or written lines up with all the reading I’ve already done. Not only do I have to know enough about the field to recognize when my findings reinforce already known information, but I also need enough knowledge to recognize unique or ground-breaking findings.

I then get to write about what my specific study has to say in relation to the rest of the known field, and decide if my findings are worth publishing. If I think so (in consultation with my research partners and collaborators), then I submit my writing for publication.

Being published in a quality peer-reviewed journal can take 1-2 years. The journal editors and other scholars in the field read through how my research study was constructed, how I collected ethical data, and they (also having read all the things on the topic) decide if indeed, my findings were either unique or further knowledge in the field. Normally, 2-3 reviewers read and decide if my article is well articulated, my study is valid, and then they force me to re-write it a couple more times so that it fits the standards of the publication journal.

Even those short Conversation Canada articles I’ve written are editorially reviewed and take about 1-2 months of re-writing after the initial submission to the editor. Sidebar: The Conversation only publishes articles by scholars speaking to their own unique research, so before my article is accepted, I have to demonstrate to their editors that I am writing about unique research and not simply writing an opinion.

So, “doing my research” is an exceptionally time-consuming process and tends to last several years. It rarely involves using Google, although I admit that Google Scholar can be helpful in finding newer open access articles not available through my university library.

Therefore, if you ask me about my topics of research (currently compassion fatigue, burnout, emotional labour, preservice teacher education, literacy instruction, and podcasting), you can be pretty certain that I know a lot about them, and you can trust my responses. You can even trust that if I say, “you need to read these 10 articles and three books”, it’s because I’ve read everything else, and those readings are the significant ones in the field. I’m actually saving you time from reading the hundreds of other articles that I’ve read on the subject that were irrelevant, difficult to read, or have similar findings.

If you ask me for my opinion on a hundred other topics, you’re getting just that. I’ve probably read some secondary sources on the topic, and likely even talked to some of my expert colleagues on their research and read the 10 articles they recommended, but my depth of knowledge is not the same as what I know about my research topics. I have not “done my research”, I have simply constructed an informed opinion that I’m willing to change based on new information from expert sources.

Thanks for reading, and to Sarah for posting, because now my husband, John doesn’t have to listen to my “What doing real research means!” rants on our daily walks anymore.

Follow Astrid Kendrick on Twitter.

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD, is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, and the Educational Leader in Residence, Academic Integrity, University of Calgary, Canada.

Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the University of Calgary or anyone else.

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Summer 2020 Course – EDER 705: Doctoral Seminar in Educational Leadership

June 18, 2020

EDER 705 L01 2020I am excited to be teaching two summer courses starting at the end of June. One of them is this course:

EDER 705: Doctoral Seminar in Educational Leadership

Course Description:

Provides doctoral students with a contemporary Canadian focus on significant issues in educational leadership.

Extended Course Description:

This course is an introduction to educational leadership as a specialized field of scholarship and professional practice. It provides a historical overview of the study of educational leadership to develop understandings of significant perspectives, concepts, and theories as they pertain to current educational organizations.

Learner Outcomes:

The course readings, topics, and learning tasks have been chosen to help students to:

  • familiarize themselves with diverse historical and contemporary theoretical perspectives/paradigms in educational administration and leadership;
  • critically examine educational issues using current research literature to understand differing assumptions, values, and methods that are used to study and understand education; and
  • develop an in-depth understanding of their own assumptions and beliefs about the value and role of leadership practice in public education.

Course Design and Delivery: 

This course will be offered fully online, using D2L and Zoom.

This course is only available to students enrolled in the Doctor of Education program. If you are interested in learning more about our graduate program offerings, check out the Werklund School of Education web page.

Applications for next year open in September 2020. It’s not too early to start planning for 2021!

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD, is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, and the Educational Leader in Residence, Academic Integrity, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the University of Calgary.


MEd Certificate in Academic Integrity

October 2, 2019

MEd Cert - Academic IntegrityThis program is situated as one component of a course-based Master of Education (MEd) Interdisciplinary. Students will undertake a 4-course topic in Academic Integrity to earn a Master’s level certificate qualification.

Program Overview: The Academic Integrity four-course topic fosters an understanding of theories of knowledge, knowledge sharing, attribution, as situated within an educational leadership context. Students will engage in research-intensive courses to understand how academic integrity is understood from the perspectives of theory and professional practice. Students will apply their knowledge in the exploration, critique and design of institutional, teaching, learning and assessment practices as they relate to academic integrity. This 4-course topic serves to develop professional autonomy and capacity at both K-12 and post-secondary contexts.

Program Goals:

  • Develop research-informed understanding of academic integrity, situated within current problems, as well as emerging trends in the field.
  • Develop and extend concepts relating to ethical decision-making, policy, academic misconduct case management.
  • Develop and extend methodological and theoretical competence in the field of academic integrity.

Format: Fully online

Program dates: July 2020 to April 2021

Applications open: November 1, 2019  Applications close: March 15, 2020

For more information about the Master of Education (MEd) Interdisciplinary: http://werklund.ucalgary.ca/gpe/

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, and the Educational Leader in Residence, Academic Integrity, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the University of Calgary.


Language Learning and Technology (EDER 669.73): Summer 2019 course

July 2, 2019

Couse banner 2019-07I am excited to be teaching one of my favourite courses this summer: Language Learning and Technology (EDER 669.73). This is a fully online course for students registered in the Master of Education (MEd) program at the Werklund School of Education.

Course Description:

This course has been designed for students who want to learn how to effectively incorporate technology in their present and future careers as language teachers. The course will cover both theoretical and practical issues in teaching second language and the use of new technology to support and enhance the learning process.

A special emphasis will be on combining both face-to-face and the use of technologies in and beyond the classroom walls to enhance the second language learning process. Although the course may address the different types technologies such as Web 2.0 technologies (e.g., blogs, wikis; audio and video podcasting; online videos; mobile tools); mobile technology (e.g., mobile phones; MP3 players; digital cameras; camcorders), and other type of interactive technologies, the focus of the course is on the pedagogical and practical aspects of integrating new technology to face-to-face language teaching.

The course is open to second language present and future teachers at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary level. The course also invites language teachers with limited knowledge of the target language to learn how to enhance their language teaching by integrating blended teaching into their practice.

Learner Outcomes:

The intent of this course is to explore the integration of technology to enhance language learning, particularly in in blended or distance environments.

Specific objectives include:

  • understand different learning theories informing pedagogical practices, and in particular the TPACK and SAMR models, as they apply to language learning;
  • review current research on the learning of additional languages enhanced by digital technologies;
  • explore digital mediated communication methods that can be used effectively in distance and blended language learning programs;
  • examine current and emerging trends in educational technology as they apply to language learning; and
  • design and evaluate language-learning modules integrating digital technology for online or blended environments.

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.


Seeking early-stage feedback about proposed MEd Certificate in Academic Integrity

June 21, 2019

Note: This is an early-stage concept draft intended for sharing for developmental feedback.

Direct questions about this proposal to Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton – seaton (at) ucalgary.ca.

Background

The MEd certificate in Academic Integrity is an opportunity for those interested in this topic to develop as scholars of the profession in a learning community of like-minded students. Situated within the Leadership specialization, students will explore academic integrity through a leadership, policy and governance lens, while also developing an evidence-informed approach to the pragmatic aspects of academic integrity such as case management. Students will examine their personal and professional notions of academic integrity, as situated concepts within institutional and systemic contexts, deepening their understanding of how professional practice related to academic integrity is nested within institutional policies and procedures and how these are related to quality assurance from a systemic perspective, such as ministries of education and/or higher education.

MEd Certificate

The MEd (Master of Education) is a course-based pathway which provides students with a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study or area of professional practice in two topic areas, plus additional research methods courses.

Each certificate is based on a topic area comprised for four (4) courses. The MEd Certificate is a pathway to a Master of Education (MEd), Interdisciplinary route, but a graduate level certificate is awarded upon the successful completion of a 4-course certificate, so even if participants choose only to undertake the 4-course topic, they can still be awarded a graduate-level certificate.

Learning Goals and Expected Outcomes

There are three overarching learning goals of this proposed certificate:

  1. This certificate will increase awareness of the role of academic integrity in educational contexts.
  2. It will assist those who have academic integrity as a component of their professional portfolio in furthering discussion and learning about integrity, ethical decision-making, case management and policy.
  3. It will assist current and future educational leaders to envision and develop a personal theory of integrity that enhances the learning experiences of students, while remaining cognizant of institutional policies and procedures, as well as larger systemic realities.

The four (4) courses for this certificate will be developed in consultation with internal and external stakeholders.

Possible formats

Option 1: Completely online format – All four (4) courses offered online using asynchronous (D2L) and synchronous (Zoom) learning technologies. Students could be physically located anywhere in the world and would not be required to come to the University of Calgary for any component of the certificate.

Option 2: Blended – Two (2) courses offered on-campus during an intensive two-week residency in July. This would require students to physically be in Calgary during the mandatory two-week residency. The residency would be followed by two (2) additional courses offered online in the subsequent fall and winter terms.

Anticipated timeline

We do not have an exact timeline for the launch of this program yet, as it would need to receive approval at a number of levels. However, given the amount of interest and support we have at this early stage, it is reasonable to anticipate that it may be available by September 2020.

Feedback Questions

At this point, we are seeking feedback from various stakeholders on these particular points:

  1. Which of the two possible formats (online or blended) is most appealing? Why?
  2. What are some key topics or courses you would like to see included in this program? Why?
  3. What resources (books, articles, etc.) do you see as being foundational for courses offered in this certificate?

For questions about this proposal or to add your name to the mailing list contact:

Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, seaton (at) ucalgary.ca

Further information about the Master of Education: https://werklund.ucalgary.ca/gpe/med-interdisciplinary

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.


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