The workshop is targeted at people who are either contemplating commencing a thesis or have recently started their thesis preparation work. The workshop will be limited to a maximum of twelve places (although supervisors are invited to accompany their protégés at no cost providing that they are primarily focused on guiding their student throughout the day).
The workshop will be held on Saturday 2nd March, from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. at the Woodhill Park Research Retreat. The day will cost $175.00 (plus GST) per person with morning and afternoon tea, and lunch included. Participants will be required to pre-pay.
Your workshop facilitators
· Dr Jens J. Hansen is a Director of the Woodhill Park Research Retreat. He is a prolific writer who has assisted more than fifty postgraduate candidates achieve successful completion, many at masters level and an ever-expanding number at doctoral level. He is an experienced social researcher and supervisor and his mantra centres on develop researchers by teaching them thinking, writing and appropriate computing strategies. He knows from experience that such skills can inform research design, data gathering and analysis and reporting.
· Anna Jo Perry is a senior lecturer in education at Manukau Institute of Technology and she was awarded the MIT Supreme Teacher of the Year award in 2012. She has recently submitted her doctoral thesis and has worked with Jens for many years. She is especially interested in auto-ethnography and the use of visual methods for data gathering and research. Jo has previously co-facilitated workshops at the Retreat.
· Dr Chris Jenkin has also worked with Jens for many years and has first-hand experience in making the work-study nexus work effectively. Chris is a senior lecturer in education at AUT and as a part of her doctorate she devised a ‘fresh’ approach to research called Action Development which synthesises Appreciative Inquiry and Action Research.
During the workshop:
1. Participants will consider what is required for the formulation of a thesis topic and what is involved in the thesis preparation process. Participants will learn about the nature of examination criteria and about what level of working partnership they should develop with their supervisor/s.
2. Participants will be introduced to a specialised range of useful software applications which can help them to work smarter. They will also begin to learn about strategies for the effective use of software for thesis data management and thesis preparation and they’ll learn about options for further developing their computer skills;
3. They will learn about approaches to writing clearly and concisely; they will learn about reviewing and presenting a thesis so that the probability of success becomes heightened. Factors such as ensuring validity, reporting reliably and linking work to theory will be considered.
4. They will receive handouts and ideas about where to access further information, help and support. Useful websites will be listed for their information.
5. Finally, participants will discover the importance of having a strong supportive network so that their thesis journey becomes smoother and beneficial for other members of their personal and professional whānau.
What to bring and what to tell us:
You should bring your laptop and you may even want to bring your supervisor (for free) but please let us know first so that we can cater appropriately. We’ll confirm your enrolment by email and we’ll also ask you to tell us about your learning needs so that we can be sure to work at accommodating those needs throughout the day. We also ask you to let us know about any special dietary requirements you may have. Coffee will be served on the day from 8.30 a.m. and there is plenty of free parking at the retreat. (For details about how to get there, go to www.woodhillpark.com and visit the home page. There’s a link to a printable set of instructions on how to get to the Retreat. FYI, it’s about 25 minutes from Auckland central in non-peak hour traffic and you travel against the commuter tide.)
9.00 – 10.30 a.m. The thesis process and what to expect:
· How to get started and handy hints for capturing your thinking;
· What really is the difference between a masters and a doctoral thesis;
· Examination Criteria;
· Supervision expectations and more.
10.30 – 10.50 Morning tea
10.50 – 11.45 What is a thesis? It’s at once the formulation of an argument for disputation and a product for examination and inclusion on the family bookshelf. But is it more than that?
· How do you generate a proposal?
· The cocktail party approach to summing up your study;
· How do you tell significant others about your contemplated study?
· Some practical activities – speed
11.45 – 12.30 Technology Part One:
· From Inspiration to Word, to EndNote, Mendeley, EverNote and beyond;
· Mastering your toolkit of software for working smarter;
· Managing your information and files;
· Considering the use of Inspiration and introducing some MS Word strategies.
12.30 – 1.15 Lunch
2.00 Technology Part Two:
· Powerful stuff to use that will almost certainly move you ahead of your supervisors in mastering the digital divide;
· Introducing QSR NVivo;
· Introducing MindManager.
2.45 Quality Writing:
· Devising and occupying a distinctive research niche;
· Assembling an examinable thesis;
· Writing it;
· Proofing it;
· Presenting it.
2.45 – 3.00 Compulsory Walk/short break
3.00 – 3.45 The Journey and How to Survive it:
· Supportive Whānau are absolutely crucial to your success,
· Growing candidate supervisor relationships;
· Tapping into resources within your institution;
· Developing collegial, professional and familial support;
· The Woodhill Park Research Retreat and its Community of Scholars.
3.45 – 4.00 Poroporoaki
We’re unashamedly using viral marketing techniques and that means we’d like you to tell others about this workshop. We’d like them to let others know too. Remember that thesis candidates can bring their supervisor for free providing we’re told about it beforehand.
Dr Jens J. Hansen, Anna Jo Perry and Dr Chris Jenkin are joining forces in facilitating a workshop for beginning thesis candidates. The one-day workshop is for people who are beginning their thesis journey and it’s geared towards helping new candidates. It’s about teaching them how best they can make their complex trip towards successful completion remain enjoyable, easier and hugely rewarding. The workshop will be held on Monday 21st January, from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. at the Woodhill Park Research Retreat and will be limited to a maximum of twelve places. However, supervisors are invited to accompany their protégés providing they primarily focus on guiding their student throughout the day.
Dr Jens J. Hansen is a Director at Woodhill Park Research Retreat and is a prolific writer who has assisted more than fifty postgraduate candidates achieve successful completion. An experienced social researcher and supervisor, his mantra centres on develop researchers by teaching them thinking, writing and appropriate computing strategies. “I know from experience that such skills can inform research design, data gathering and analysis and reporting” says Dr Hansen.
One of Dr Hansen’s students, Anna Jo Perry will have submitted her doctoral thesis by the time this workshop is offered. Jo is a senior lecturer in education at Manukau Institute of Technology and was awarded the MIT Supreme Teacher of the Year award in 2012. She has worked with Jens for many years and is especially interested in auto-ethnography and the use of visual methods for data gathering and research. She has previously co-facilitated workshops at the Retreat.
Dr Chris Jenkin has also worked with Jens for many years and has first-hand experience in making the work-study nexus work effectively. She is a senior lecturer in education at AUT and as a part of her doctorate she devised a ‘fresh’ approach to research called Action Development which synthesises Appreciative Inquiry and Action Research.
This practical workshop will focus on the thesis process, what is involved and what to expect. Workshop activities will introduce participants to methods of generating a proposal and how best to sum up their contemplated study simply. Because successful thesis completion is very reliant upon relationships, participants will consider how to make sure that family and collegial support is achieved. They will also learn how to foster and maintain effective candidate/supervisor relationships. “Too many candidates withdraw from their thesis journey because, for one reason or another, their relationships with significant others become fragile. Whānau can help candidates to succeed but the researcher also has to remain grounded with their supervisors so that win-win outcomes occur” said Dr Hansen. “There’s too much money at stake – so failure because of relationship breakdowns is not an option” he added.
An important aspect of the workshop concerns how to harness a range of technologies for thesis preparation and data management. Those taking part will examine how to ultimately achieve quality writing which means they will discover how to devise, develop and engage with a distinctive research niche. They will also consider what is required in an examinable thesis and how best to write, proof and present their work.
Dr Hansen said this workshop has intentionally been timetabled for the beginning of the years and it will be the first time that these three academics have presented as a team. “It will be an important event for those just starting their thesis journey and it’s a great opportunity to tap into the experiences of three people who have been through the journey already and who have not only survived it, but have also learned a great deal from it” concluded Dr Hansen.› Read More
People who know me are well aware of my enthusiasm for helping others to undertake and complete research either as a standalone activity or as an integral facet of attaining a higher education qualification. They will also appreciate that I am very much in favour of applied research because outputs from such research can lead to outcomes which will benefit communities within our society.
But researchers need to have resources allocated to them along with a set of demands that they perform research work as a part of their overall work schedule. What that means is that they need to have resources specifically committed to them so that they can successfully achieve negotiated deliverables. In the helter-skelter climate that typifies the modern tertiary environment, resources inevitably become expressed as (understated) cash figures. But even though monetary sums are the common denominator, there are other considerations to bear in mind when resources earmarked for research are managed and distributed to staff:
1. From the outset, resources for research can and should include time allocations which will enable investigators to learn necessary skills not only on the job but also on a ’need-to-know’ and ‘just-in-time’ basis. Although continuing professional development time allocations are especially important for beginning researchers, even experienced researchers need to continue to learn so that they can deliver more effectively and efficiently. Researchers, therefore, need to be encouraged (and permitted) to intentionally access peers who can teach them whatever skills they need to acquire.
2. Investing in resources for research benefits government, business and service sectors as well as learners. However investments need to be allocated as realistic time-tabled work slots. Too often research is perceived as work that is undertaken only when all the other stuff has been completed. That approach undermines investment in our future.
3. Individuals who are employed by tertiary agencies may, under the banner of their organization, achieve external resources for conducting research. When this happens, employing authorities should enable those investigators to access portions of those funds for ’academic pursuits’. Translated into everyday language, that means that an agreed-upon proportion of research funding should be held as credit by the employing authority for researchers to access. With checks and balances built in, these resources can then be used for justifiable academic pursuits. Academic pursuits funding might, for example, enable a researcher to upgrade a laptop, fund attendance at a conference, or assist in the purchase of equipment or textbooks.
But as the book by Richard Smith and Joce Jesson argued, the various disciplines who contribute to the research environment within Aotearoa New Zealand are being punished rather than rewarded. And, as this attached article proposes (click here to download) there is merit in questioning what is going on.
Three events being facilitated by Dr Jens Hansen are scheduled to happen in quick succession over the next few weeks. First, there will be a public lunch-time seminar at MIT on Friday 31st August run in conjunction with the Faculty of Nursing and Health Studies. Dr Hansen will be working with staff from MIY and the focus will be on how to use EndNote, EverNote and NVivo for ensuring a more effective and rigourous torturing of literature for thesis work. Click here for details about that free lunch-time seminar.
Then, on Saturday 15th September at the Woodhill Park Retreat, there will be a half-day workshop to help researchers to kick-start their use of NVivo for qualitative analysis. This workshop will be open to beginning researchers who want to learn about getting started with NVivo 10 for thesis and qualitative research and further details can be seen by clicking here. Finally, on the following Saturday, September 22nd, there'll be a half day workshop on using NVivo for critiquing reviewed literature. To learn more about that workshop, click here.
"The three events are independent but are also clearly linked" said Dr Hansen. "The public seminar at MIT involves a show-casing of how one of the staff at MIT has been working at using NVivo to interrogate her literature on critical thinking. She is working on advancing her masters thesis and by importing materials into NVivo from EndNote, data management of literature has become much easier."
Dr Hansen noted that literature review materials have to be exported from EndNote in an XML form before they can be imported into NVivo for further analysis. "The same applies for EverNote materials," he said, "before EverNote captures can be imported into NVivo, they have to be exported from the base programme, that is, from EverNote." He added that once exporting had been completed, a range of captured data were then able to be interrogated within NVivo.
The two half-day workshops are closely linked to the work to be shown at MIT. The first workshop has been scheduled for Saturday September 15 and it will be a hands-on half-day introduction to getting started with NVivo 10. "People will learn to develop a project, introduce a variety of data and begin to code those data. It's a short, sharp experience that's intended to kick-start their endeavours," said Dr Hansen.
The half-day workshop scheduled for the following Saturday will be exclusively concerned with using NVivo to interrogate reviewed literature. "It's very much hands-on and I want to see participants learning how to import literature data from EndNote or Zotera so that they can populate their arguments with relevant discursive evidence".
To find out more about these workshops, call Dr Jens Hansen at 09 411 7703.
Anna Jo Perry and I were amongst the 78 beta testers from around the planet who recently were given a sneak pre-play with the new version of NVivo. For me, I have to say that beta-testing NVivo 10 was a little bit like test driving a new version of an already familiar car: I knew what to look for but was also very happy to see new features which QSR had introduced. And now, just a few days ago, I took possession of a copy of the new market-ready version of this software.
My first impressions when I downloaded the software was that it's quite a bit quicker than it's predecessors. The downloading time for both the beta and the final version was certainly quicker than it has been in the past and the software is faster at processing data than earlier versions. I had difficulties registering the software but the help-desk at QSR have sent me an email about how to rectify that. Having earlier versions of the same software on the one computer is not at all uncommon if you're a teacher of computer assisted qualitative research but this can lead to minor quirks such as registration difficulties.
Quite clearly, this software has a whole lot of data-handling grunt in that it can import the usual word documents, photos, audio-clips, videos, and PDFs in total clone format. But, and here's the good bit, the software can also import EndNote (or similar) bibliographic data which means that primary data can again be cross-tabulated with literature.
Moreover, NVivo 10 can also import data from Evernote and social media pages. It's that capacity which makes things utterly contemporary: importing Evernote capture and importing tweets or Facebook entries is a new feature. Enabling them to be imported as a data-set for auto-coding creates a brand-new dimension to qualitative research. I've yet to thoroughly test-drive the version I received but first impressions are pretty good.
I'm especially interested in how well visual data can be handled and have to say that thus far, I don't see any improvements in that domain. Also, I've yet to see if the bibliographic management capacities have improved because, to my way of thinking, the earlier solutions for handing bibliographic data didn't quite make the grade. But we've talked to QSR about this and we'll have to wait and see about whether or not suggestions we made have become a feature of the software.
I'll certainly be testing those factors out and I'll let people know about what I find. In the meantime, this version probably sits at a B+ passing grade which in Australian terms means it receives a Distinction. I may, of course, revise that grade upwards or downwards after more rigorous scrutiny. Time will tell.
I'm going to be offering one day workshops very soon in order to introduce researchers to this package. Watch this space or contact me directly telling me of your expression of interest.
To begin your explorations about what you have to do to construct your literature review, have a look at this resource by clicking here.
Following the letter uploaded as written by Jo Perry to students about ethics, a group of us have collaborated to produce to a very brief learning guide that can, we hope, help beginning scholars/researchers to zero in on the specifics of assembling specifically selected literature for examination and review. Assembling carefully targeted material is, after all, a necessary predicate to being able to critique those items of literature you've selected for perusal.
In this short guide, we have, in effect, introduced the idea of using (some) Boolean operators. We've done this by crafting simple directions for beginners so they might learn how to begin to focus their examination of relevant literature effectively instead of canvassing material blindly, widely and wildly. To access the three page learning guide we've developed, either click here or click on the heading above but do finish reading this first.
As a matter of interest, we've noticed over the years that many people seem to launch unthinkingly into the preparation of a literature review simply because they believe they have to! After all, nearly all journal articles, theses, books, and even reports which students and researchers examine seem to traverse literature. And if that's the case, then surely it follows that the novice researcher/writer should also tell everyone about the literature - right? Wrong actually.
What ought to happen is that a strategy should be developed for gathering relevant materials that relate to a focused or clearly defined topic. There really ought to be a point to a written commentary on literature and equally, there really should be a point to any research being undertaken. If there's an absence of focus, the novice is quite likely to splash about helplessly, gripped by strong currents of uncertainty.
You see, what happens (far too frequently) is that novices (and those who haven't really planned their strategies) dive enthusiastically into an expansive ocean of literature. They more often than do so without thinking (first) about where they will leap. The result is that they drown in it all!
They end up with so much material that they flail about pointlessly and tragically, they have practically no idea about what to do with their information overload. Certainly, they seem unable to determine which direction they should paddle towards in order to reach a considered conclusion! But they do not have to drown in a sea of mainly irrelevant and often worthless information. They can slip on a life-jacket and survive.
So here is that life-jacket. You can save yourself from drowning in readings if you simply remember that all literature reviews really must have a very specific and clearly determined purpose. Put another way - anyone about to craft a literature review (complete with critique) should be able to answer this question:
What is it that you (the writer of the literature review) want your reader to understand as a result of having read your work; what is it that you want to tell them and what do you positively, totally and absolutely need them to understand?
It's really as easy as that. Put another way:
Working out the core purpose, the central intention, the absolute reason of the literature review together with the message/s you absolutely want to convey to your reader is an important first step for ensuring you keep afloat in a vast sea of words, bewildering ideas and arguments. You need to work out these things because if you don't, the material you work with will provide you, the novice, with multiple opportunities to become terribly confused and sadly despondent. By contrast, if you do take the time to work out your core mission and message, we're very certain that you'll be able to set out confidently, swimming in any direction you wish, in order to surf your chosen knowledge wave.
Enough of these metaphors!
The point that we want to stress is that in order to work out what you want your literature review to convey to your readers, you will first need to have worked out what it is that your research is intended to be about. Put very simply, this means that if you work out what your research is about, you'll more easily be able to determine the focus of your literature searches, reviews and critique. (Reviews and critiques are different, by the way, but they do overlap!) At the same time, we're quite sure that if you do complete your work with literature thoroughly, critically and engagingly, you'll clarify your research goals far beyond those aims you thought of at the outset of your endeavours.
We need to tell you that what we've prepared is exploratory at this stage - it's a work in progress - another letter to beginning students and novice researchers through which we try to guide them towards focusing their literature scavenging and processing more pointedly. Because it's a work in progress, an evolving word-canvas, we welcome your feedback. So keep your comments coming in folks.
We also suggest also that you have a look at the materials produced some years ago by Drs Hansen and Smith (see Scholarship Resources in the Free Resources box or click here to go to that resource as a PDF with slides and notes or here to access the slides alone as a PDF ). More than 20,000 individual hits have been made to that resource alone so there's got to be something good going on!
Focus well with happy reading and insightful thinking.
Dr Jens J. Hansen,
Anna Jo Perry
In early October, I enjoyed the privilege and honour of being the inaugural key-note speaker at the inaugural National Hui of the Community Houses of Aotearoa New
Interestingly, some of the essence of just what a community house might be was traversed at a panel discussion during the morning session. At the time I summarised the threads of the very wide ranging discussion by seeking to extract the very kernel of what the panellists were saying and after having shared it with the conference attendees, I promised I’d put it onto this website. Accordingly, I've reproduced that summary here and I have to say that despite revision, I'm not yet sure that I've done justice to what the contributors had to say. However, I think that what the panel said has substantial value so all I've tried to do is to capture, condense and concentrate their collective messages - with integrity! Fundamentally, it seemed to me the people on the panel proposed that...
Community Houses are diversely responsive not-for-profit agencies which variously deliver three key dimensions of service to their communities of interest:
Importantly, Community Houses seek to ensure that the developmental futures of the numerous communities of practice with which they are connected are assured. Community houses seek to enable individuals and groups to flourish with independence and integrity. These groups and individuals must be allowed to do so at their pace and in their own time. They must be able to prosper not only in places and spaces governed by community house members, but equally, they must be helped to operate within spaces which are more familiar to client settings. This means that the remit of those working from community houses ideally extends beyond the walls of the house into all of the community.
I especially enjoyed what the panel had to say because, in many ways, it blends well with the ideas about Etienne Wenger's communities of practice I introduced during my presentation. So if you have a closer look at the final slides of the powerpoint show that follows, you'll see some congruences between the two sessions.
When I prepared the key-note, I created a power-point show within which were displayed a number of hyperlinks. These hyperlinks were internal links to WebPages which I'd saved to the hard drive on my laptop. (I'd done that in case there'd been no capacity to hook up to the Internet.) In the spirit of enabling, which is another hallmark of community houses, I've uploaded the slideshow onto this site. But because the hyperlinks which were embedded within the slides have been removed, the slides don't link to anything external. If you want to have a look at what was produced, though, click here. And as always, feedback is very welcome.
Dr. Jens J. Hansen,
Dr. Richard J. M. Smith, Senior Lecturer in Education,
Adequate government research and development funding within the tertiary sector may seem to be an oxymoron. In part, research funding is elusive and scarce because government coffers do not unfurl largess. Hence entrepreneurial tertiary leaders necessarily explore alternative funding sources. They increasingly seek support from benevolent agencies (trusts, endowments, Iwi Authorities, etc.). They unhesitatingly broker partnerships with industry and/or the not-for-profit sector and/or with government departments. And sometimes, triadic arrangements between government, industry and consortia of tertiary agencies are formed to capture mighty research dollars! This presentation explores the catch-22 nature of the contemporary tertiary research funding pursuits across two tertiary institutions. The imperatives of staff being research active, increasing layers of managerial costs, bourgeoning demands on staff time and a comparative absence of comprehensive research skills by academics, are issues with which tertiary leaders need to grapple. We tentatively conclude that ways in which research funds are currently pursued and priced disadvantages tertiary institutions by inflating costs whilst undermining potential for quality scholarship. In-depth scholarly research seems to have become replaced by quick-fix solutions or alternatively, projects become farmed out to commercial agencies who can do it cheaper but, we venture, not necessarily better. We, therefore, propose some possible strategies for consideration. There is a slide show that can be accessed by clicking here but please note that because the augmentative AVs are not embedded, they are unlikely to activate.