Phases of Research and Engagement
Note: the order of the phases below may vary according to the opportunities
that arise, and in any case these phases are overlapping and iterative. That
means you revisit the different phases in light of
a) other people's responses to what you share with them, &
At the same time, you will be developing as a reflective practitioner, in and
through relationships (q.v.).
b) what you learn in other phases.
A. Overall vision
Goal: "I can convey who I want to influence/affect concerning what (Subject,
B. Background information
Processes: Freewriting and journalling (using workbook).
Compose and revise initial description and Thesis Question
Iteration: Sharing initial description and thesis question with others ->
revise A, and angles of inquiry for B. (Note: Sharing runs through the entire
process -- see also C, D, G, H)
Goal: "I know what others have done before, either in the form of writing or
action, that informs and connects with my project, and I know what others are
C. Possible directions and priorities
Processes: Identify possible informants to guide your inquiries in their early
Learn or refresh bibliographic searching skills on and off the internet.
Establish internet link-ups, and bibliographic and note-taking systems.
Compile bibliography, filtered and annotated with respect to how what the
reading/interview connects with your project
Phase B -> revise A, and provides grist for C.
Goal: "I have teased out my vision, so as to expand my view of issues
associated with the project, expose possible new directions, clarify
direction/scope within the larger set of issues, decide most important
direction expressed in revised Thesis Question."
D. Propositions, Counter-Propositions, Counter-Counter-Propositions...
Processes: Mapping, prepared then presented to & probed by others
Discussion with professors and peers.
Phase C -> revise Subject, Audience, Purpose in A, more/ different work on
Goal: "I have identified the premises and propositions that my project depends
on, and can state counter-propositions. I have taken stock of the thinking and
research I need to do to counter those counter-propositions or to revise my own
E. Design of (further) research and engagement
Processes: Analysis of Ps, C-Ps, C-C-Ps for the different aspects of your
issue, prepared then presented to & probed by others.
Discussion with professors and peers.
Phase D -> more work on B, revising A & C, and to questions that need
first hand information in E.
Goal: "I have clear objectives with respect to product, both written and
practice, and process, including personal development as a reflective
practitioner. I have arranged my work in a sequence to realize these
F. Direct information, models & experience
Processes: Compose a realistic timetable with a thought-out sequence of steps,
Strategic personal planning (proceeding through 4 stages: Vision->
Obstacles-> Strategic Directions-> Action plans)
Phase E -> revisit/revise A - D, especially Thesis Question.
Goal: "I have gained direct information, models, and experience not readily
available from other sources."
G. Clarification through communication
Processes: Identifying practitioners who can be informants, instructors,
Arrange the necessary interviews, participant observation, evaluations, and
Prepare interview guide, practice mock interviews using equipment, conduct
interviews and digest recordings or notes, or
Prepare evaluations, conduct them, and analyze the data, or
Conduct a pilot survey or intervention and then design and undertake a revised
Attend workshops or demonstrations on practices that might be incorporated in
Establish contacts with practitioners and specialists who can interpret the
technical issues and identify where you might pursue studies in greater
Establish contacts with and interview practitioners or activists who can help
you interpret the controversies and politics around your issue.
Phase F -> revise D, and also revise/ revisit A-C (especially Thesis Q.)
& possibly E.
Goal: "I have clarified the overall progression or argument underlying my
research and the written reports I am starting to prepare."
H. Compelling communication
Processes: Work-in-progress presentations--preparing text and visual aids,
delivering, digesting feedback.
Phase G -> revise E, D, Thesis Question in C, and also revise A, more work
on B & F.
Goal: "My writing and other products Grab the attention of the
readers/audience, Orient them, move them along in Steps, so they appreciate the
Position I've led them to."
I. Engagement with others
Processes: Drafts, commented on by readers
Phase H -> revise outline G, and revise H, with possibility of further
research B, E & F for this project or future projects (see C -> new A),
and even revisit/revise A, C & D.
Goal: "I have facilitated new avenues of classroom, workplace, and public
J. Taking stock
Processes: Run-through of activities and other group processes, commented on by
Plan for future development of activities or group processes in light of
Plan future written and spoken presentations.
Begin to explore avenues of public participation and define proposals for
Phase I -> more I, and possibly E-H.
Goal: " To feed into my future learning and other work, I have taken stock of
what has been working well and what needs changing."
Processes: Process review cover note & annotations.
Discussion with peers.
Written evaluation of processes.
Begin to plan future extensions of your research.
Phase J -> future A-I.
An overlapping list of process goals
The course aims to cultivate research and action processes that you will
continue to use, including:
- Integrate perspectives from previous courses into your own research and
action. Connect knowledge and skills to an interest in social and educational
- Organize time, research materials, computer access, bibliographies, etc.
- Self-discover and self-clarify direction to take.
- Not to get blocked by obstacles, but turn them into opportunities to move
into unfamiliar or uncomfortable territory.
- Develop your own criteria for doing work, criteria other than "the professor
is setting the hoops that I jump through to get a good grade."
- Get support and advice from peers, professors and outsiders. Initiate and
develop a supportive community for your development during this semester.
- Experiment with new tools, even if not every one becomes part of your
toolkit as a learner and as a teacher/facilitator of others.