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MN7200/D

Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills

The cover and text of this study module are printed on recycled board and paper

Module MN7200/D Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills Edition 1 First published in Great Britain by Learning Resources 292 High St, Cheltenham, GL50 3HQ

Studying at a Distance, second edition, by Christine Talbot published by Open University Press (McGraw-Hill Education) in 2007 Christine
Talbot 2007

Module University of Leicester 2008


All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written consent of the University of Leicester.

Readings McGraw-Hill 2008 on behalf of the author and Open University Press
Permission to use the Readings has been granted by McGraw-Hill and is acknowledged on the appropriate pages. Any errors made in acknowledging copyright are accidental and will be put right at the earliest opportunity if notified to the University.

Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills

Contents
Preface
How to use this module iii

Section 1 The Learning Environment


The virtual campus Using Blackboard [Reading 2] Chapter 5 (E-learning) from Studying at a Distance by Christine Talbot 4 5

Section 2 Learning Styles


Sociable, responsible, distance learning Previous approaches to learning Contemporary approaches to learning A purpose for learning Motivation, Herzberg and Maslow Different approaches to learning and the Self Managing your time Setting up your home office AccessAbility [Reading 3] Chapter 1 (Preparing for Distance Learning) from Studying at a Distance by Christine Talbot [Reading 4] Chapter 2 (Know Yourself as a Learner) from Studying at a Distance by Christine Talbot 18 18 19 21 22 24 25 27 29

[Reading 5] Chapter 3 (Practicalities of Studying) from Studying at a Distance by Christine Talbot

Section 3 Critical Thinking and Learning Resources


Deep learning Critical thinking Learning resources [Reading 6] Chapter 6 (Resources for Studying) from Studying at a Distance by Christine Talbot 42 45 49

Section 4 Assessment Reading, Writing and Referencing


The role of the assignment Pre-planning Brainstorming Note-taking Developing an outline Critical thinking and essay writing Referencing Academic honesty [Reading 7] Chapter 7 (Reading and Note-making) from Studying at a Distance by Christine Talbot [Reading 8] Chapter 8 (Essays and Written Examinations) from Studying at a Distance by Christine Talbot 64 65 66 69 78 80 82 91

Section 5 Representation Paradigms, Models and Theory


Revealing the assumptions of your world-view Employing metaphors as a way of thinking and seeing Using models Using and building theory Philosophical underpinning of hypothesis testing Dialectical reasoning 108 109 114 121 127 128

Section 6 Social Science, Philosophy and Management


Management as a disputed social science Philosophy of science Positivism Social constructivism Other perspectives 140 140 144 154 163

Section 7 Research Methods


What is research? Quantitative and qualitative methods Quantitative methods Distinguishing between and balancing quantitative and qualitative methods Qualitative methods Choosing a method A quick aside about the use of secondary data Sampling Designing research schedules Research ethics Tensions and ambiguities in research ethics 176 177 178 180 183 186 190 191 194 196 201

Section 8 Quantitative Data Analysis


The terminology of statistics Scales of measurement Approaching descriptive statistics Statistical inference 212 214 215 226

Section 9 Analysing Qualitative Data


Difficulties in analysis Contrasting quantitative and qualitative data Strategies for analysing qualitative data Inductivism in quantitative research The quantities of qualities, and the qualities of quantities Presenting qualitative data 235 238 239 247 248 251

Section 10 Concluding Comments on the Module Appendix A


Writing an Article Review

Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills

Preface
Welcome to the University of Leicester School of Management (ULSM) module, Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills. This preface will provide you with an overview of the subject matter within this module. It is also designed to provide you with a guide on how to make the best use of the resources available to you. Do take the time to read the preface because it will help to put the module into context and may help you to avoid basic mistakes when approaching its assessment. This is the first module on your programme of study. You have joined an established and top-ranked British university. Your faculty, the School of Management, has provided distance learning (DL) programmes since the 1980s. Over this time, thousands of students have studied for, and have been awarded, a Masters qualification from the University of Leicester School of Management. Today, you are one of over 6000 students studying with the School of Management in Leicester. Our students are located all over the world, providing a truly global network of learners.

Learning Objectives
For the vast majority of students this is will be their first taste of post-graduate study. Some students will not have been subject to the British higher education system before, and many are starting to feel their way in this seemingly new world of distance learning. Like all new experiences there will naturally be an element of concern, a questioning of decisions. This module is provided to allay some of those fears. It has been written to ensure you progress through the programme

Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills

of study effectively, armed with the pre-requisite skills for sound scholarship. The learning objectives of the module are as follows: to develop the requisite quantitative awareness to enable the analysis and understanding of those quantitatively-oriented publications that you will encounter as part of your programme of study, to demonstrate the ways in which views on the nature of reality and the essence of being influence the production of knowledge in your specialist field, and to enable appropriate reflection on your own commitments in this regard as well as those of other students, staff and the authors of the material that you will confront in your programme of study, and to appreciate that there are different educational cultures across the world and learn how to operate successfully within the one at work in the UK and, more specifically, the University of Leicester School of Management. To phrase these objectives in a more familiar language, the modules goal is to prepare you for post-graduate study with ULSM. It will do this by providing you with guidance on approaches to learning and study. In the process it will encourage you to reflect upon yourself, the role of management education, your claims of knowledge and your motivations for pursuing a qualification.

Some students may find material within this module challenging. If you are one of those students do not worry, the module has been designed to be a resource that can be used throughout your studies, and some of the issues (e.g. debates on knowledge claims and the philosophy of science) will reoccur. You will find that as you encounter these ideas from different perspectives in later modules, you will gradually become increasingly familiar and conversant with the materials and debates. In the first instance simply being aware that there is a debate on the nature of social science and forms of knowledge is sufficient. In completing this module, your tutors certainly do not expect you to be fully-fledged researchers, competent statisticians, or sufficiently informed to debate the merits of philosophical positions within management thinking. We do, however, expect that you will appreciate the value placed by the University in promoting scholarship and have some sense of what good scholarship entails. To this end students should see this module as a

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means of preparing themselves for their study. The module should assist you with developing writing and reading skills, understanding the purpose and format of referencing, and the significance of analytical thinking at a post-graduate level of study. The assessment for this module is formative in nature, this means that it is designed to help you to develop your skills of scholarship in preparation for the remainder of the programme. In the majority of cases the assessment will involve you reading and analysing an academic article with a view to evaluating the approach taken by an author to reach and substantiate their conclusions in the paper. You will be provided with examples of student work and marker feedback so that you can learn from others before you attempt this yourself. Once you have submitted the assessment, the feedback that you will be provided with will help you to identify areas where you need to concentrate your efforts for future work.

How to use this module


In designing and writing this study book, we are aware that students will approach the module from a range of different backgrounds and will bring into their study a varied assortment of prior knowledge and expectations. To help you to realise the learning objectives, this module comprises the following components: (1) (2) (3) this study book (including the directed reading), the companion textbooks, and the virtual learning environment (Blackboard).

To successfully navigate the module and to get a thorough grasp on the subject matter you will need to use the study book, companion textbooks and Blackboard. The study book consists of an account of study skills, providing guidance on how to approach your studies. It also introduces you to some foundational issues of scholarship and research in studying management as a social science. The module is divided into ten main sections and the authors are ULSM academics with considerable experience of distance learning education. Within the study book you will find a series of tasks at the end of each section, and you are encouraged to undertake these tasks to help you with comprehending the module material.

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The study book narrative will lead you through the module and will invite you to read key readings (which are provided). Further readings will also be specified in the study book where appropriate. The key readings for this module are taken from the following two companion texts: Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2007) Business Research Methods , second edition, Oxford University Press Talbot, C. (2007) Studying at a Distance, second edition, Open University Press The key readings from Christine Talbots book are inserted after the appropriate sections of this study book; Bryman and Bells text is provided as a book. Finally, there is an online component to this module, namely Blackboard. Blackboard adds a social dimension to learning and it is a place where students can interact with tutors and fellow students. On Blackboard you can expect to find further readings, materials, streamed lectures and a discussion forum. The discussion forum will be organised so that you can discuss the tasks in this module with others. You will also find that the tutor on Blackboard is available to discuss the module assessment and any general queries you have about the module. So to summarise, in addition to the narrative in the study book there are two types of readings with this module: the key readings these are provided in or with the study book and build upon or from the material in the study book, and the further readings these are sources that the University feels you may wish to read to further your knowledge. It is envisaged that most students will find that reading the study book section first and then combining this with the readings within the companion texts will provide them with a sound grounding in the subject matter. Students are then strongly encouraged to explore the further readings. You will find that there is more further reading available with this module than you can feasibly read, so you will need to be selective in your choice of further reading. Please also do not feel restricted to the readings suggested reading around the subject area and finding your way around the discipline is encouraged. If you do find readings that you feel others would benefit from, share them online by providing the hyperlink and/or citation.

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We do hope you enjoy this module and we look forward to discussing the ideas and concepts with you on Blackboard or at the workshops.

Key Reading
You should now read the following before carrying on with the module: [Reading 1] if you have not done so already, we ask that you read your Programme Handbook

Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills

MN7200/D SECTION 1

The Learning Environment

Section 1

The Learning Environment


Learning Objectives
For many people distance learning still conjures up old images of correspondence courses where programmes are studied at arms length from the University via the post and telephone. Within the last decade, however, technology and the development of distance learning pedagogy have combined to radically alter the experience of distance learning for both tutors and students. Modern distance learning programmes have benefited from developments in communications technology and consequently are far less impeded by geographical distance. Tutors now provide support online as well as in person in the classroom; materials once reserved for full-time students on campus are now available to all students irrespective of their mode of study. The changing nature of the University is not without challenges for the contemporary student. You are expected to use the resources available to you, and your assessments will assume proficiency with the learning environment. One of the key skills that you will need to develop very quickly is a familiarity with the online study environment. This will be one of the main venues where your learning takes place. It is your library, your lecture theatre, your classroom and your personal study area.

Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills

By the end of this section you should be able to: log on to Blackboard and view your programme sites, appreciate the benefits of using the Blackboard learning environment, address any problems you may have with log-in or site navigation, and view, post and reply to discussion forum messages.

The virtual campus


Studying at a distance often means that you do not have easy physical access to the facilities at Leicester. Blackboard is the ULSM virtual learning environment, and it is used for both full-time and distance learning programmes. Blackboard is your campus; the following are some of the key benefits we feel you will obtain by using it: be part of the University community it is your daily link to the University, be connected Blackboard is staffed by ULSM academics allowing you to discuss module material and assignments with them, network you are on a course with students from around the world, all sharing the same classroom, convenience the Blackboard campus is open every day all day, providing the full range of University services at your fingertips, learn in addition to the discussions with fellow students and tutors, you can download lectures and further materials, and enhance your grades from experience we know that students who use Blackboard on a regular basis are more likely to attain higher grades.

Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills

Blackboard is a web-based interface and it can be accessed anywhere in the world via the Internet. To make the most of Blackboard you will need a broadband connection. You can check whether your computer and software is suitable by clicking the Test Browser link on the following website https://blackboard.le.ac.uk/

Using Blackboard
The easiest way to find out the benefits of Blackboard is to use it. It is simple to use, but it will take you some time to navigate around the site due to the large quantity of resources available. We have provided a step-by-step guide below to help you with your first steps in your new learning environment.

Step One
Once you are formally enrolled on your programme and have a student number, you can apply for a CFS username and password. If you do not yet have your CFS username and password you need to visit the following website address and follow the instructions there, http://www.le.ac.uk/its/registration/ Now open up your internet browser and go to https://blackboard.le.ac.uk/entry.html

Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills

Click the Login button and enter your CFS username and password in the box provided. Once you have logged on you should see the following screen,

Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills

This screen lists the modules on which you are registered. Every student should see the following module listed: MBA (Foundations) This is the Blackboard site that you will need to start the programme. In addition to this site you will also gain access to the following sites as you progress through the programme: ULSM Electives Dissertation (MBA & MSc) Support

Step Two
Now click on MBA (Foundations) under My Courses. You should now see the following page,

All School of Management distance learning pages open to an Announcements page. This is where the School puts important information relevant to your programme of study. Take a minute to read the messages. Use the tabs to see all messages or just the messages for the day. You will see a menu bar on the left-hand side of the screen. Clicking on any of these buttons sends you to a different part of your Blackboard. All ULSM DL programmes are structured in a similar way.

Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills

You will find the following main menu options on all of the Blackboard sites for core and elective modules: Prog. Information contains your programme handbook and relevant forms, The Modules contains streamed lectures, soft copies of study books and further resources; it also provides access to the student support forums, The Library the Leicester digital library, which includes access to e-books, journal material and information sources. Spend a few minutes navigating around the site to get a sense of the resources available. In particular you need to visit Getting Started. Within that folder you will find guidance on using Blackboard and you can read the Blackboard Charter which is a statement on the values and expectations for students and staff using Blackboard. Once you have read that document we will then proceed to undertake three key tasks that you will need to undertake on a regular basis during your studies.

Step Three
Monitoring and engaging within discussion forums is an essential activity for each module. It is a helpful way of checking that you are on the right track with assignments and in your comprehension of the materials. On Blackboard each module has a support forum or discussion board. All of these can be accessed by clicking The Modules from the menu and then opening up the modules learning unit and clicking on Guidance on Studying this Unit. Please read the instructions on this page and follow the link. The resulting page is presented below,

Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills

What you are now going to be asked to do is to send a message to the Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills forum. To do this click on Module 1: Foundations of Knowledge and click on the Welcome thread. You will see a message from the module tutor and, providing you are not the first participant, messages from other students,

Click on the Welcome thread. To read a message simply click on it. Read these messages and click on the last message posted,

Click Reply and you will be taken to a screen where you can compose your own message. The content of the message is up to you, but do remember that it will be read by your fellow students and the tutor and what you write now will be other peoples first impression of you. Remember to add your name to the bottom of the message. Once you are happy with the message, click Submit. Your new message should appear on the Welcome discussion thread on the Foundations of Knowledge discussion board. Your colleagues will also be posting new messages respond to these positively. Frequently students form networks of study pals off Blackboard which can operate through email contact and/or face to face.

Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills

Once you feel comfortable with sending, reading and responding to messages, you are ready to begin exploring your learning environment for yourself. Do note that there is a Help button at the top of the screen on Blackboard should you require further assistance. The length of time you will need to spend on your exploration of Blackboard will depend upon how comfortable you are with the technology. Some students rarely use the computer and the Internet, and for them the online learning environment will feel foreign and they may feel a little awkward whilst they find their feet. In contrast, some students may be online all day every day, using chat rooms, having a presence in Second Life, and buying and selling via the Internet for example. These students are already familiar with the environment. Both sets of groups, however, share one hurdle which is using the online environment to develop their learning. Section 2 will begin to encourage you to reflect on your learning style. Before you proceed to it, please do the key reading and then consider and debate on Blackboard Tasks 1.1 to 1.3.

Key Reading
You should now read the following before carrying on with the module: [Reading 2] Chapter 5 (E-learning) from Studying at a Distance by Christine Talbot Reading 2 is at the end of this section.

Tasks
A scene from the Senior Staff Common Room, the University of Leicester. It is early October and some academic staff have returned from their Summer sojourn. Prof. George Dreadful being back. After three months in Tuscany writing about Trade and Currency in Medieval Islam I feel loath to return to Leicester and those sprightly postgraduates.

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Prof. Tressle Im sure it must be difficult for you Professor George, you must be missing the food and wine already. Prof. George Indeed I am and my flight only landed last night! Leicester just doesnt have the right climate for my bones. My students expect me to be in the lecture theatre in the Ken Edwards Building at five past nine on a Monday morning. They listen to me speak for two hours on my latest work, making occasional notes on their laptops and then leave to go to the next lecture. Prof. Tressle Im sure you put on a good show!

Prof. George The best. My lectures have been honed over twenty years. I can now repeat them verbatim and my timing for the jokes is excellent. Prof. Tressle Im glad to hear it. Dont you sometimes wonder what the audience actually heard? Prof. George They have heard a leading scholar wax lyrical for two hours, that is what they have heard, and that is what they want. Prof. Tressle the students? Of course, but do you think it actually registered with

Prof. George Well, I have no questions from the floor, everyone must have been satisfied. We will soon find out when the examination scripts come in wont we! Prof. Tressle That is true there is no substitute to the good old lecture format of teaching is there! 1.1 1.2 1.3 What do you feel are the benefits and limitations of the lecture and seminar format of University education? What do you feel are the benefits and limitations of the distance learning format of University education? How will you personally seek to address these limitations in your studies?

Take a look at what other students have said on the Blackboard discussion forum and contribute to the debate with your views on these issues.

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MN7200/D Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills

Key Reading 2
Christine Talbot (2007), Studying at a Distance, E-learning

Reproduced with permission of McGraw-Hill

5
E-learning
Introduction What do we mean by e-learning? Accessibility of e-learning materials What skills are needed for e-learning? Glossary of terms Online learning Email and mailing lists Virtual learning environments (VLEs) Discussion rooms / conference boards / bulletin boards Selfassessment questions (SAQs) Streaming video, PC demonstrations and podcasts Video / teleconferencing Blogs Wikis RSS feeds or news feeds Viruses and backing up work Summary of Chapter 5

The most important factor get a computer and learn how to email and use [the] Internet.

Introduction
Although access to and the use of personal computers (PCs) at home and at work is rapidly increasing, still not everyone makes regular use of a computer. For study purposes, many valuable learning resources are distributed as printed materials or as radio or television broadcasts. There are increasingly, however, elements of e-learning, or learning electronically, in most programmes of study in higher education. In this chapter you will explore the implications of that for your studies. Even if you dont have access to a PC at home, it is possible that you could arrange to use one at a local learning centre or library.

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5.1 What do we mean by e-learning?


Activity Seventeen
List those things that you consider come under the heading of e-learning.

Commentary
You may well have included some of the following: Using computers for learning Online learning Learning on the Internet Web-based learning Learning using web pages www (the World Wide Web, or the web) The virtual (not real) classroom Learning via a virtual learning environment (VLE) CD-ROM or DVD learning Computer-based learning Emailing Using mailing lists Conferencing boards Discussion rooms One-to-one chat Podcasting

All of the above (and more!) are elements of e-learning. You will see from the list that online learning is one type of e-learning. However, not all e-learning is online learning, that is, you do not need to be connected live to the Internet for all e-learning you may receive CD-ROMs or DVDs with les or programs on them, which you can use on your own PC.

You are increasingly likely to be expected to engage in some aspect of e-learning during your distance learning course, if only to communicate with your tutor by email occasionally. The information provided by your department before you registered as a student should have indicated if there would be any elements of e-learning on your course. More detailed information is likely to be provided as the course progresses. You should also receive information about the specication for hardware (that is, computer / printer / modem and so on) required, and about which versions of software (that is, computer programs / version of Windows and so on) you will need to install on your computer to enable you to access the materials provided.

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Activity Eighteen
It is very frustrating once the course has started to nd that you do not have the required hardware or software to use les sent to you on disc or to access information on the web when asked to do so. It is recommended that at this point you nd any documentation already received about this and check that your hardware and software are up to the required standards. A university or college helpdesk is usually available to provide advice on how to access new software, much of which is free to download from the Internet.

5.2 Accessibility of e-learning materials


Legislation in the UK and elsewhere makes it illegal to refuse to serve, offer a lower standard of service or offer a service on worse terms to a disabled student. This means that if a disabled student nds it unreasonably difcult to use a service, an educational institution has to make reasonable changes to that service. Examples of these services (in addition to making physical places / buildings accessible) include departmental, faculty and institutional websites, intranets, virtual learning environments (such as Blackboard or WebCT ) and other resources not just electronic / digital. This means that learning materials (in whatever form) must be provided in a suitable format to be accessible to all students. Many institutions now use the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) for help in making e-learning materials accessible. WAI is run by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and works with people around the world to help make the web accessible to everyone, irrespective of any disabilities they might have. Please contact your programme leader if you need any of the course materials in a different format from that provided as standard.

5.3 What skills are needed for e-learning?


In many ways e-learning uses the same methods of learning as traditional forms of learning; it is the tools that are used that are very different. The key difference about e-learning is that you, the student, have far more control over the resources that can be accessed and the order in which those materials are

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used. This is generally a positive thing, but it can also lead to feelings of being lost out there in cyberspace and in need of some form of guidance. This guidance is provided, in part, on the course website by your module tutor, particularly through the use of navigation aids. Increasingly though the responsibility for learning is being shifted towards the learner learning, rather than the teacher teaching. Online learning is playing a signicant part in this shift and many learners are now expected to work with others online to learn collaboratively via discussion rooms and other electronic means (see Sections 5.8, 5.12 and 5.13). The skills that you will need for e-learning (in addition to IT skills needed to use your particular computer and the software installed on it) are essentially those needed for conventional learning reading, note-making and writing they simply have to be used in different contexts. Perhaps one of the most obvious additional skills (but one that is often overlooked) is the ability to touch-type, since so much work is done via the computer keyboard. The other signicant area where care is needed is communication (one-to-one and in a group) with other students and your tutors. You will look in more detail at email and group discussion in Sections 5.6 and 5.8 and in Chapter 9, where you will also explore working with others, together with other forms of learning and assessment that are likely to become increasingly common in distance education. Increasingly, students are asked to submit (or are given the option of submitting) assignments written in hypertext and presented as a series of web pages, rather than in a word-processed document. Clearly not all of you will possess the skills needed to do this at the start of your course and you will need to familiarize yourself with the appropriate software well in advance of the time for the assignment (Macdonald 2006: 1467). For those of you wanting to know more about e-learning skills, especially if the course you are following is being delivered entirely online, I would recommend more specialist books such as Alan Clarkes e-Learning Skills (2004) and IT Skills for Successful Study (2005) (see the Further Resources section at the end of this book for details).

5.4 Glossary of terms


Many of you will already be very familiar with much of the terminology used when working with computers, but if youre not it would be worth reading through the terms in Figure 5.1 to ensure that you are clear about their meanings. No doubt within the next year or two there will be several more terms in common use. Some of the types of e-learning will be explored in more detail in the pages following the glossary.

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FIGURE 5.1 Glossary of terms used in e-learning (continued . . .)

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FIGURE 5.1 (. . . continued) Glossary of terms used in e-learning

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5.5 Online learning


An increasing number of course leaders are providing information and learning materials online, in the form of course websites. Access to these is likely to be restricted and you will need a username and password from your course leader to use them. Materials are often available within the VLE for the course. These sites will typically have some or all of the following information / features: Programme and module information Learning outcomes for each unit of study Assessment details, including dates for submission of assignments The facility to submit assignments for marking Schedule of learning Interactive learning materials Opportunities for self-assessment questions (SAQs) and feedback (see Section 5.9) University / college staff information and contact details Links to lots of other resources, both internal and external to your college / university, including electronic library resources (see Chapter 6 for more details) Some of the above may be an additional version of information provided in paper-based format, but some elements may well be available in the online version only. In some instances e-learning will be used to supplement traditional forms of face-to-face learning or paper-based distance learning, in other cases e-learning replaces other forms of learning. This means that a student with access to the Internet can enrol on some courses from anywhere in the world without attending their university in person.

Tutor comment: The most satisfying conclusion is that the online learning is being successful. Many students tell me that they are taking what they have learned and are applying this to their in-house projects.

5.6 Email and mailing lists


Email is perhaps the most common form of e-learning used. It provides a very fast and relatively cheap way in which students can receive support and

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information both from their tutors and from other students on their course their peers. It is the electronic equivalent of calling in to see your tutor in their ofce or chatting to a fellow student before, after or even during class. In order to use email you will need, as well as having the necessary hardware and software, to register with an email provider, many of whom provide their service at no charge. Emails can usually be downloaded from the service provider very quickly via a broadband connection to which you subscribe, or at the cost (to you) of a short local phone call via a modem. In some countries local calls are provided at no charge by the telephone companies. Many people can also access their email by going to the website maintained by the service provider. This means that emails can be accessed from any networked computer around the world very convenient if you are travelling as part of your job. Of course email is unable to transmit the verbal and non-verbal signals from one person to another that are present in, respectively, telephone and face-to-face communication and this can be detrimental to the process. (For guidance on this and other aspects of emailing see Section 9.1).

Email is a great invention. As [an international] distance learning student I found Internet and email a helpful tool. It is the only way to communicate with the other students and professors.

Mailing lists can be used to share information via email with people who have a common interest. An electronic mailing list is quite similar to a postal mailing list in that it is a method of distributing the same information to lots of different people. Mailing lists are typically used to discuss work with colleagues / students at other institutions, share news, collaborate on projects and publications, announce jobs and conferences, and keep in touch with current developments in your subject area. In order to get information from a mailing list you need to subscribe that is, you need to ask that your name and email address be added to the list. Other people can then send information to you and others on the mailing list simply by posting a message to a single email address. These messages are then forwarded to all members of the list. There are a number of different services you can use for nding out about what mailing lists exist and how to join them. JiscMail hosts a wide number of different mailing lists for the academic community in the UK. You can search their website (www.jiscmail.ac.uk) for mailing lists on a subject of interest to you, but you will need to keep your search term fairly broad, for example, literature, rather than Dickens. You will nd instructions for joining and leaving lists. There is also a link from their website to lots of other directories of lists.

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5.7 Virtual learning environments (VLEs)


Student handbook: The programme is delivered within a password-protected Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Support for students is provided through the use of email, bulletin boards and text-based computer conferencing within the VLE. Deadlines are posted to the course calendar, also within the VLE.

There are several commercially available VLEs: WebCT and Blackboard are two examples, although the companies have recently merged. Some universities have developed their own in-house virtual learning environments. Put simply, VLEs are electronic equivalents of the resources available in real university or college buildings. You are likely to be asked to access information and / or study materials and to contribute to discussions within one. Most VLEs can be accessed from anywhere in the world via the Internet, using a web browser such as Netscape or Internet Explorer. Most VLEs, including WebCT and Blackboard, have the following facilities: Access to web-based learning materials Structured gateways to other internal and external electronic resources Discussion rooms of dened membership Self-assessment multiple-choice questions with feedback Short answer tests Secure delivery of essay material Satisfaction (evaluation) questionnaires

You will need a username and password to access specic materials for your course. As a registered student at your institution you may well have already received information on how to obtain your username and password for this resource.

5.8 Discussion rooms / conference boards / bulletin boards


These are a useful way of holding discussions with tutors and other students when regular face-to-face tutorials or seminars are not feasible. There are facilities for some form of electronic discussion within the virtual learning environments mentioned above. They provide a variety of synchronous and asynchronous systems. In addition, FirstClass is a conferencing system used by

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some course providers. It integrates email with group conferencing in a graphical bulletin board style. It also supports synchronous real-time chat with other users.

Student handbook: The synchronous tutorials take place at times posted in the course calendar and last for one hour. Two sessions are normally offered during a week to allow participants in different time zones to log-in at the time most convenient to them. The tutorial logs are saved and added to the course as additional web pages, thus allowing those unable to join at the specied time to catch up on the discussion.

Electronic discussions can provide a very valuable and stimulating forum for intellectual debate. Sometimes a large cohort of students on one course is subdivided into groups of six or eight students / learners / participants who co-operate electronically in some form of group task. Some tutors provide two types of electronic rooms for a particular cohort of students one for the academic work and a second one for more informal chat. The tutor is likely to act as a moderator of the discussion in the academic room, but may not necessarily intervene or make any contribution to the discussion. In some cases the tutors do not have access to the second, informal room, and these rooms become very much the electronic equivalent of the common room or bar (students have to provide their own beverages!). However, the university or college will reserve the right to monitor all electronic communication to ensure that the regulations are not being broken. You are likely to nd some sort of conditions for use of computer systems in your student handbook.

Tutor comment: Our virtual seminar discussions . . . are best characterized as an exchange among equals and do not resemble the traditional lecturerstudent hierarchy. I have learnt a lot from the online debates with my students.

All systems use some form of threading for particular themes in the discussion so that users and moderators can keep track of different elements or themes that arise. Many systems enable tutors and students to upload documents, for example Word or PowerPoint les that are appropriate to share with other members of the group. It is possible to read the contributions of others to such a discussion without actually making a contribution yourself commonly known as being a lurker (but also as a browser or vicarious learner / participant). However, the manager or moderator of a group (and sometimes all members of the group) will be able to see who has been reading the messages but not contributing.

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Tutor comment: The tutors role is to encourage, facilitate and support online interactions between students to create an online community, which we feel is an essential component to a successful distance learning cohort.

Sometimes an element of your course may be assessed by your contribution to a discussion room. If this is the case at some stage in your course, you need to check what the criteria for assessment are and ensure that you meet them. It is not usually simply a case of making a contribution, but rather you are assessed by the quality of that contribution. In some higher level courses everyone in the group may be provided with questions for discussion that are based on readings that you have been given earlier. Your contribution may well be judged, not just on what you post to the discussion room, but on how effective you are in prompting contributions from others. (See also guidance on group discussions in Section 9.1).

At the start of the course I wondered what it would be like to not only not be in a classroom with other students, but not all be in the same time zone, so not be able to exchange back and forth concurrently. I found that the time zone differences were not a problem. The amount of participation by each student in the discussion rooms was a bigger factor. If students provide input to the discussion rooms then the class is so much richer and the timing isnt an issue.

5.9 Self-assessment questions (SAQs)


SAQs (referred to in Section 2.6) are often provided by electronic means. They may be found either within the VLE or on a web page linked from within the VLE or from another website provided for your course. They can also be made available on a CD-ROM, so that you dont have to work online. Online assessments are quick and easy to complete and they provide you with virtually instant feedback about your progress. They are not intended primarily to judge you, but rather to provide you with the opportunity to recognize where more help or work is needed and with ideas for appropriate further study.

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5.10 Streaming video, PC demonstrations and podcasts


Some module materials include an element of online video, for example a few minutes of a prerecorded video clip accessed from within the module website. Some materials may have been created with software that has the facility for you to see video with sound and accompanying text of the sound script on screen at the same time. Some materials also include additional PowerPoint slides, such as might be used during a face-to-face lecture. Other software can be used by your tutors to create teaching demonstrations or simulations by capturing what happens on the screen of their own PC, for example, working out a mathematical calculation or using a database or other software, and providing an accompanying audio commentary. In order to access any of these materials your computer needs to be equipped with the appropriate additional hardware and software, that is speakers, video and sound cards, and some form of media player software. Such learning materials are still relatively rare, but are increasing in popularity; if your module does include them your module leader should give you detailed information on how to set up your computer. Some course providers are beginning to use podcasts to deliver course content, in line with the increasing availability of podcasts that can be downloaded from the large news and media organizations. However, good quality podcasts are still very time-consuming and expensive for educational institutions to produce. They are more likely to be created for use by lots of students, for example an induction tour of the library, rather than for specic subject learning materials for a small number of students.

5.11 Video / teleconferencing


Technology also exists that enables digital broadcasting and receipt of video / television. Some programmes of study include an element of this in the form of a lecturer at an institution giving a live lecture to students at various remote computer clusters or individual PCs around the world. Such technology is currently used more often to bring a lecturer, remote from an institution, to students on campus, since the equipment needed is still extremely expensive. However, the increasing use of digital monitor-top camcorders by individuals makes the use of this method of delivery more likely in the not too distant future.

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5.12 Blogs
Blogs or web logs are the record of an individuals thoughts / ideas / comments written on the web on a regular basis, rather like a journal or diary, with the latest entries appearing at the top of the blog. They are mainly made up of text, but some people add audio or video les and many people include a photograph of themselves or other images. Some peoples blogs can be read by anyone and everyone who locates them (that is, they are in the public domain), while others are limited to those people to whom the writer gives a password. Although a blog is owned by one person, there is the facility for others to add comments on the content of the blog. For study purposes, you may be asked to keep a log of your learning experience (see Learning by reection in Section 2.6), which is marked as part of the assessment for the course, or you may be asked to contribute to your log on a regular basis about a particular topic that you are researching, as a contribution to a group work exercise (see Working with others in Section 9.1), or to comment on the blog of someone else in your group. Your tutor may keep a blog that you are expected to access on a regular basis, so that they can keep you upto-date with announcements about the course or about developments in your subject area. There is an RSS feed (see Section 5.14) on most blogs, so you can get a message on your PC screen when someone else updates their blog and others will get a message when you update yours. For a personal blog or one that is to be accessed by a relatively small number of people (for example, your study group) it is probably better to password protect it to ensure privacy. As a blog is arranged in reverse chronological order, it is not always easy to follow a particular thread in the development of the writers ideas, especially if a blog is wide-ranging in its subject matter. For some purposes, it might be more appropriate to produce a wiki (see Section 5.13) or contribute to an online (threaded) discussion group (see Section 5.8). If you nd information on someones blog that you wish to refer to or even quote in one of your assignments, you need to reference it as you would any other source, including the author and title of the blog, the date of entry of the particular excerpt, and the date you accessed it on the web. You should only cite other peoples blogs if you can be sure of the authenticity of the authorship. As with any other website you need to evaluate a blog for quality (see Section 6.7). Many blogs are not suitable for academic work as they are simply the personal views of an individual. Be aware that it can be very time consuming to read through the blogs of other people, and the value of doing so in many cases might be questionable, in terms of the volume and quality of information you might retrieve (other than in the blogs of those in your study groups). Your institution may provide a blogging tool with which to set up your blog, or you may need to use one of the free blogging tools available, such as LiveJournal (www.livejournal.com), Myspace (www.myspace.com) or Blogger

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(www.blogger.com), or one of the many proprietary brands of software. You can use Google (or one of the many other blog search engines) to search for blogs written by other people in particular subject areas (http:// blogsearch.google.com).

5.13 Wikis
Whereas a blog facilitates the adding of thoughts and comments in chronological order by one person, a wiki enables collaborative authoring of factual content arranged by subject or topic. It is a useful tool for group work (see Working with others in Section 9.1), especially for thought-storming at the beginning of group work and for the group to produce a joint report or web content at the end of a project. It is also useful if members of a study group want to jointly create agendas for, and then record what happens at, face-toface meetings. Your module tutor may set a piece of coursework where all members of the group have to contribute to a wiki on a particular topic. With some software you can create private wikis. There are potential problems when wikis are on open access, as anyone from outside of the group could access and edit them (including deleting content) inappropriately. It is advisable for one individual to take responsibility for regularly checking and re-editing content where necessary. As with blogs, you may nd useful information in other peoples wikis that you might want to cite, but once again you need to be careful about the validity of the content. Wikis should only contain veriable information, but some people may add content that is mainly their own opinion on a topic, rather than fact. It is possible that there is misinformation in more recently added articles, until the moderator has had a chance to check content. (Always look to see if the writer of an article has included references to validate the content.) However, wikis are potentially an extremely useful source of up-to-date information on a wide range of subjects. Because of the arrangement of wikis it should be easier to search and use them as source material than it is with blogs. For an example of a major wiki project see Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia maintained by the Wikipedia Foundation, a non-prot making organization. It was started in 2001 and has around 1.5 million articles. Your institution may provide a wiki tool with which to set up your wiki or you can set up your own wiki using one of the free software packages, such as MediaWiki (www.mediawiki.org) or a proprietary brand of software. You can search for content in wikis using a search engine such as Qwika (www.qwika.com), which searches millions of articles in wikis in a dozen different languages.

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5.14 RSS feeds or news feeds


RSS is a method of being kept informed when a web page is updated. Using software for the purpose (a feed or news reader) you can receive notication about updates on lots of different web pages to one place on your computer. While you are working in any program on your PC, a brief message alert pops up on screen when an update on any of your chosen web pages is received. You can then go to the reader at a time of your choice and read all of the new web pages from within the reader. You have to download the software to be able to receive RSS feeds. You need to subscribe to some software, but there is some free software available, for example SharpReader (www.sharpreader.net). You have to add into the reader the URL for each web page about which you wish to receive notication of updates. This can usually be done by dragging and dropping the RSS icon from the relevant web page into the reader. You need to be sure that it is important to your studies to be kept up-to-date about each of the web pages that you ag up in the reader, otherwise you can waste a lot of time reading irrelevant information. That said, using RSS feeds can save a lot of time rather than having to go to each of your favourite web pages on a very regular basis, only to nd that most of them have not been updated since the last time that you visited.

Activity Nineteen
Although you are unlikely to encounter all of the above elements of e-learning on your course, you will probably be expected to use one or two of them. If you have already received the course documentation, use this to make a list of e-learning methods due to be used on each of your modules and, if possible, try to familiarize yourself with them at this stage. If you already have the necessary hardware and software to access the Internet, go to your course website and explore. There may be a link from that website into the VLE that you will be using.

5.15 Viruses and backing up work


With increased access to electronic resources comes the increased risk of receiving a computer virus, especially if you are downloading les from other people. Some of these can be devastating, destroying your work in seconds. Other less serious ones can still be really annoying and difcult to eliminate.

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The rst thing is to ensure that you have anti-virus software on the computer(s) you are using at home, work or the study centre. The software will warn you if you do receive a virus and give instructions on how to deal with it. You need to regularly update the software. Second, and important for many reasons, not just with regard to viruses, is to keep a backup of all of your work. Hours of work can be lost in seconds if something goes wrong with your software and your computer hangs on you. Experts might be able to help you retrieve lost data les, but most of us dont have such sophisticated skills best to use a USB pen or a writable CD-ROM to make copies of all your les at very frequent intervals.

A computer with Internet [connection] or access to one easily is vital. It will become your best friend and your worst enemy. Keep backup discs of all work. This sounds so obvious and yet several people lost whole assignments and I lost three transcripts which took me three further days to retranscribe.

Summary of Chapter 5
In this chapter you have: Considered the various types of e-learning that you are likely to encounter while registered as a student and the skills that you need to make the most of the experience Had the opportunity to familiarize yourself with some of the e-methods you will need to use on your course Had the opportunity to explore your course website and possibly your VLE

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MN7200/D SECTION 2

Learning Styles

Section 2

Learning Styles
Learning Objectives
In the first section you were introduced to the ULSM learning environment; specifically you were provided with a tour of Blackboard. We now turn our attentions to you and the way in which you approach learning. For many students the act of learning is reduced to repetition and memory. In Sections 2 and 3 we will begin to explore the problems of approaching learning in this manner. Importantly, we ask the question of where responsibility lies in the learning experience. By the end of this section you should be able to: understand the difference between traditional full-time campus-based studies and distance learning, evaluate your reasons for becoming a distance learner, understand goals and how they can help you as a learner, and identify approaches to managing your time effectively.

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Sociable, responsible, distance learning


As you begin the distance learning experience, your openness to understanding yourself and your environment is crucial. As a member of the distance learning community, you need to be proactive and ready to interact with other students, and share your experiences on Blackboard and with your module tutors openness to sharing your experiences online with tutors and other students are important qualities. These qualities can transform the distance learning classroom into an education-friendly environment where the learner is constantly expanding their community of educational contacts. You need to begin by being ready to deepen your ties to both your module tutor and to other students. You have entered an environment where, unlike the traditional academic classroom, you are not going to have the familiar contact that is provided in a traditional university through classroom lectures and weekly seminars. However, through frequent check-ins on Blackboard, you will make contact with other students on your programme. You will also develop relationships through Blackboard with both students and your module tutors. These contacts can provide you with the ongoing support you would normally have in a traditional classroom setting. Online support can provide you with a seminar-like setting to work in. Once you have become comfortable with Blackboard this should assist your learning process.

Previous approaches to learning


Learners and the assumptions about learning are changing (Moyer 2007). In the past when students attended university, they were expected to listen quietly while their professor delivered lectures in what we would today call the Socratic teaching method (Paraskevas and Wickens 2003). It is also called the question and answer approach to teaching. In this model, the teacher or professor possessed all the knowledge and experience. The student was expected to frame appropriate and relevant questions following the lecture. This traditional view of education is shown in Platos The Republic (see for example Richards 1966) which was written over 2000 years ago in Ancient Greece. In The Republic, the teacher, Socrates, appears as a central character in a series of dialogues on different philosophical questions. Socrates students were young, male, intellectually curious, wealthy and

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privileged (Rud 1997). Their one-to-one relationship with their philosopher/teacher has been held up as the Socratic ideal of education. This education, however, was very much a product of its time. It was meant to prepare young Athenian men become full citizens in the (Athenian) democratic state. In contrast, women had a limited role in Greek or Athenian society, usually remaining strictly in the home sphere (Gould 1980). Moreover, like many other societies of the time, Athenians owned slaves. These people had virtually no political rights and shouldered much of the burden of the hard, physical toil that was necessary in what we perceive to be pre-industrial or pre-technological societies. Education was restricted to a small, privileged group. In more recent times in the UK, education was considered a tool to round out the life of an upper class man before marriage and the assumption of family duties. After all, it was not until the passage of the Representation of the People Act of 1884, that suffrage was extended to average working men in England. For a long time Socratic teaching, which emphasises a close proximity between the professor and student, made sense in a society that was rife with privileges for the few. For the first part of the 20th century, this model of education prevailed for the UK. Higher education was viewed as part of late adolescence and early adulthood. Professors and educators were older and more experienced than their students; students were young and perceived to be pliable. However, by the 1960s this model of education was questioned by educators such as Illich (1973) and Goodman (1975), who saw basic education as both impractical and anachronistic. They called for an approach to education that examined the relevance of subject, modules and assignments. As open universities made education accessible to a larger number of people from a wider socio-economic base, educators were called upon to bridge the gap between them and their students and find common ground in working together to form new educational models. Today, teacherstudent relationships in distance learning have been formulated with these new models in mind (e.g. Brookfield 1986).

Contemporary approaches to learning


The needs of todays students are changing. No longer is the teacher in a hallowed and unapproachable position. No longer is learning seen as a one-way interaction between an expert who knows everything about a subject and a small group of individuals who must reproduce what the expert tells them. Instead, teaching is seen as a process in which both teacher and student have responsibilities that are central to learning (Salmon 2004).

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Consider Diagram 2.1 contrasting traditional teacher-oriented learning and student-centred learning. You can see that in student-centred learning the student is as much a part of the learning process as the teacher. The student takes responsibility for learning and the teacher facilitates this learning. Distance learning, with its emphasis on individual student participation, is much closer to this approach to learning than to traditional learning methods.

Traditional learning The teacher is an expert who makes the right decisions and judgments about your learning. The teacher has all the information. The teacher must transmit knowledge.

Student-centred learning The student must take responsibility for their learning. The syllabus, the exam and the information are there for all to share. The student may find knowledge in a variety of ways (online, library, experts in field, other students, and so on). The student must decide when and how to work. The student is responsible for learning.

The teacher must make the student work. The teacher is responsible for learning.

Diagram 2.1 Models of learning (adapted from Scharle and Szab 2000).

Student-centred learning places responsibilities on both the learner and the institution facilitating that learning. The learner is expected to manage their learning, and a key part of the learning process is reflecting on the approach to learning that you are taking. Learning can be a little bit of a roller-coaster ride due to this continual self-reflection. You will need to assess yourself honestly and this is raised in the readings for this module. The assessment is not a process of promoting criticism, the assessment should lead to praise and reward when you achieve, and open up questions when things have not turned out too well. Managing your learning also means considering how the learning impacts your life. You may need to approach your employer to get extra time for assignments or exams. You will need to be responsible for arranging your time, for balancing your social and family life with your studies. Developing a good relationship with your module tutor in distance learning is also ultimately your responsibility. Unlike Socrates, your module tutor will be responsible for a much larger number of students; you need to make connections with other students and your module tutor through Blackboard at the University of Leicester.

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The tutor for the module will act as a moderator. Their role is to build the community of learners, helping students to join and contribute to that community. The key skills of the tutor, in addition to subject knowledge, are the ability to facilitate discussion of tasks, promote consideration of key issues and, crucially, encourage further learning and collaboration. It is the responsibility of the tutor and the students to maintain the discussions and to develop a safe and trusting environment in which errors and mistakes can be made without the loss of face. It is important to check in regularly with Blackboard and follow the discussions as they take place. As you watch other students struggling with many of the same concepts in finance, marketing or management, questions will arise in your mind. You will see different approaches to the same problem, and if you are part of the daily dialogues your module tutor will be able to distinguish your voice in the continuing discussions. Keeping in touch also gives you time to reflect and think, an important and often neglected part of the learning process. Daily contact with both fellow students and your tutor deepens and strengths the learning process, in the same way that reviewing and good note-taking habits help to strengthen recall and knowledge before tests and exams. Additionally, continuous contact makes learning into a lifestyle experience, rather than simply a choice to get a degree or diploma. You have, after all, committed a great amount of time and money to getting this degree. You should get the most from your fellow students and tutor to make the experience worthwhile, and incorporate a new pattern of lifelong learning. The next couple of years are going to be a challenging time. Take some time to examine why you are here, why you are attending this programme, and what you hope to gain from it. Some students write down their career aspirations and personal ambitions. They pin notes to a noticeboard or area of study so that they can reflect on their reasons for attending this programme. You should reflect from time to time on your progress, and see whether (and how) your reasons for pursuing your programme alter over time.

A purpose for learning


Goals are not abstract concepts. They are tangible markers that will help get you through your programme. Educational goals can be classified in four different ways. First, we have academic goals that are set by the University itself. These are goals that are necessary to obtain a given degree or finish a programme.

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Second, we have vocational (career) goals. These are goals that often extrinsic that is external to the student. An organisation or group often sets them. These can vary from upgrading basic English and maths skills to an actual Masters or diploma programme. Next, personal goals are goals that are personal to the student, and fulfill a need for self-improvement and the acquisition of knowledge. They may viewed as being on the path to self-actualisation or self-fulfillment. Finally, there are social goals that are completely external to the student. Although these goals, such as playing on a football team at work, are completely extrinsic to the student, they can also become powerful tools for achievement in a group. Unsurprisingly, students perform better when their goals are vocational and intrinsic (Strang 1987: 29). That is to say, although your employer may be involved in some way in your decision to get a diploma or Masters degree, ultimately it is you who must want that degree. Learning must, therefore, be personally important to the individual. It has also been seen that students with the greatest variety of reasons for taking up a course (Strang 1987: 30) do better as well. Therefore, the more reasons you have for wanting this degree, the better it is for your chances of success. A pilot study at the Open University, cited by Strang (1987), illustrates in concrete terms the success rates of students with vocational/intrinsic goals as opposed to those with vocational/extrinsic goals.

Motivation, Herzberg and Maslow


Two approaches to understanding motivation are helpful in figuring out what will help you to stay motivated throughout your programme. The first was developed by psychologist Frederick Irving Herzberg (19232000), who studied the psychology of job motivation and performance (Herzberg 1968). He found the following factors (which he labelled hygiene factors) were responsible for poor performance and employee dissatisfaction: pay, fringe benefits, relationships with other workers,

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the physical environment, and supervisor/employee relations. These factors are also called external factors, because they come from outside the employee. They were not responsible for employee satisfaction, but simply for helping to ensure that employees were not dissatisfied. For example, good pay was not, by itself, enough to motivate employees, although poor pay was a source of dissatisfaction in the job. Motivational factors (reasons for employee satisfaction) were quite different. He identified these as: achievement, recognition, work identity, responsibility, promotion, and growth. These factors are different to the ones above they relate to internal feelings that are generated in an employee as a result of their work. So, a sense of achievement or responsibility that comes from the job was often a source of satisfaction for employees. The second approach was developed by Abraham Maslow (19081970) who saw human motivation as tied to five universal needs (Maslow 1943). He developed what he called a hierarchy of needs, theorising that each of us looks for ways to meet each of these needs in strict order from the most basic to the most complex. According to Maslow, we must first meet one need before we can move on to the next. The five needs are usually depicted in a pyramid shape in order to illustrate the sequential nature of our progression through them (see Diagram 2.2). Maslows hierarchy of needs places self-actualisation or the establishment of creativity, morality and spontaneity at the top of the pyramid. When we combine this with the insights provided by Herzbergs work, we can see that although students can perform their jobs or do adequately in a course without what Herzberg termed motivational factors, they are not in fact performing to the fullest of their abilities. Self-actualisation the state where creativity and morality are achieved happens when the student has been able to find a motivating factor such as those Herzberg identified.

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most advanced selfactualisation esteem needs

satisfy last

belongingness and love needs safety and security needs most basic physiological needs satisfy first

Diagram 2.2 Maslows hierarchy of needs.

Adopting a positive disposition towards your studies and reinforcing your successes, no matter how small, is essential. This is particularly important in a distance learning programme where your main pushes are from your tutor, discussions on Blackboard, and your own inner resolve to get through your problems. Making connections with other students through Blackboard should become an inspirational experience for you. You can see the efforts and experiences of other students in your course as helpful information you can use to perform to your optimum ability.

Different approaches to learning and the Self


There are many approaches to characterising personality and learning styles. We will look at two here and use some of their ideas to help you discover what kind of learner you are and how you can support your learning style. The Myers-Briggs personality inventory (Briggs Myers 1995) is based in large part on Jungian psychological theory (Walker and Schnwetter 2003). It examines the basic functions of the individual, and how the individual interacts with the world and takes in information. A professional assessment of the answers to the inventory can provide the individual with valuable information about how they interact with the world and which jobs might best suit them. Some students may have experienced a Myers-Briggs assessment as part of a job application.

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Honey and Mumfords (1985) manual of learning styles is also a good way to examine learning styles. They based their work on Kolbs cycle of learning. Kolb (1984) saw the individuals cycle of learning as a cyclical process (see Diagram 2.3), in which the learner is always at one of four stages: doing, which is the actual learning activity; feeling, which is what happens as a result of the concrete experience; observing, which happens after you reflect on the experience; and conceptualisation , which happens after thinking through the meaning of the experience.

Concrete Experience

Reflective Observation

Active Experimentation

Abstract Conceptualisation

Diagram 2.3 Kolbs learning cycle.

The most important thing to understand about all the above systems is that they are guidelines meant to assist you to maximise your learning potential. Myers-Briggs is a complex inventory, and it is usual for an expert in psychometrics to administer this test. However, no test, no matter how complex and detailed, can replace your own honest assessment and understanding of your skills. It is also important to appreciate that Kolbs work and the Myers-Briggs inventory are not without their critics; you will find a series of readings on Blackboard which explores the relationship between learning, reflection and change.

Managing your time


Along with academic goals and objectives, it is important to consider how you will manage your time and workload. This is not possible without

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effective time management skills. Time management is important to all students, both those who have extensive family, social or work obligations and those who have fewer scheduling difficulties. Most students are familiar with to-do lists or lists of tasks that they put down on a small piece of paper. Some students will use a planning schedule of some kind or automated scheduling system such as a PDA calendar or Microsoft Outlook. Planning is an essential part of being organised for study. It involves predicting your future commitments and setting aside enough time to meet them. Successful planning gives you confidence and purpose and will also minimise the times you miss deadlines! To plan effectively, you need to look ahead at future commitments these might be workshops and assignments for example. You need to establish the deadlines for these activities and, importantly, ascertain how long each activity will take. This last point is difficult, especially when you are new to the programme. The following is a basic guide which may help you to think about your time commitments. Each core and elective module is organised over a three-month period, and each module is calculated to be worth 15 credits. The University expect a student to spend at least 112 hours on a 15-credit module, which roughly equates to 10 hours per week. Once you have a sense of your commitments you need to log these on your calendar. Wallcharts are quite a useful way of displaying these commitments because they allow you to see the year ahead quickly and the relationship between different deadlines. Take time to plan and be aware of any tendency to procrastinate. It is important to break down the activities into discrete tasks and to allocate time to each of these tasks. For example, in writing an essay, allow yourself five days to identify the literature in the library and two weeks to read the literature. Plan your activities by the hour, by the week, and by the month. Be aware of gaps in your schedule which could be used profitably. For example, you may have a two-hour break between workshops and can use this time to visit the library. Remember to prioritise your tasks some things can wait without significant consequences, whilst other deadlines are final. Avoid the situation where all tasks are perceived to be urgent carefully consider your time targets and prioritise accordingly. Within the plan needs to be an acknowledgement that unforeseen circumstances can arise and so contingency planning is required. Try to fit the right tasks to the right time slots. Dont try to write an essay at the end of the day if you know you will be tired. Move this activity to a more suitable time when you will have the energy to complete the task to

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your best abilities. Use tired time for more mechanical tasks such as organising notes. Try to aim for variety in your work to keep your brain active and interested. Take breaks frequently and reward yourself when tasks are achieved. As each new day approaches, review your plan of the week to make sure that it is up to date. Make a to-do list for each day if this will help focus your activities. Try to avoid setting yourself too many tasks for one day. Failing to meet unrealistic goals will simply lead to frustration and can encourage you to abandon planning all together. Keep a note of those tasks that are complete and those which are still pending.

Setting up your home office


One of the most important components of studying is your home office or study space. This is particularly critical for distance learning students because this home office is the literal equivalent of your classroom environment, and like a classroom it needs to be a place where you can learn and concentrate on the tasks at hand. First, you must consider the materials at hand and your available space. Housekeeping should be done daily. That is, notes for one particular module should be placed together in the same location every day and should be available for work the next time you need them. Second, you must find a place where you can concentrate with the least difficulty. You will require privacy, quiet and time to think over the work that you need to do. A busy area used by lots of people, such as a lounge or living room with a television that is on constantly, is probably not the best place to choose to work. Many students work in such spaces and constantly wonder why their grades do not reflect the amount of time they spent working. Remember, module materials and the programme are taking a sizeable chunk of time and money, and it is up to you to make the most of them. You need a desk at home that is dedicated to your work with a storage unit containing your course materials close at hand. Ask yourself whether you can truly dedicate yourself to your studies in the space you have chosen. If not, you must consider alternatives. Can you create a study space elsewhere in or around your home? Sometimes, a little-used space can be converted into a study area, for example above a garage, in a utility room, or in a loft attic. Common areas

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can become study areas if your family understands the need for finding a study area for you. Television, radio or other music can be watched elsewhere and/or turned off or down. Headphones can be provided to lessen the noise in the home. Sometimes, you can find off-peak times when the family is not around to study in the home. Your employer may give you time during the weekday to study when the home is empty if you work long hours other days of the week, or conversely provide a study area at your workplace. You should also consider your health and welfare whilst you study. Having a computer desk, chair, and indeed all furniture that are ergonomically sound is important. Your study space needs to provide a comfortable and safe working posture for you, your back and your hands. If your keyboard is too high and your wrists are not appropriately supported, you can get repetitive stress injury from spending too much time in front of your computer. This can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful compression of the median nerve at the wrist, which can lead to severe pain. In addition, when seated, your chair should have five legs for stability. Your chair should have an adjustable height (35 to 55cm covers the majority of users). You should sit back completely in the chair with the lumbar (lower back) region of the back making contact with the seat back, which supports it well. The backrest, too, should be adjustable. Ideally you should have a natural S curve in your spine. It is believed that the ideal posture is upright posture with your the hips at a ninety-degree angle to the legs. Along with regular breaks in your work schedule, you should consider that your work space needs to be properly lighted. Get lighting that is bright enough for reading and studying. A reading lamp is different from the diffuse light you will need in the room in general while you are working at your computer. You should not work at your computer in a dark room because that will produce eyestrain. Clean air is important while you work smoky, stale, smelly or over-warm air is not good for your concentration as you work. When you cannot work at home, try a library or reference room to do your work. Some students will need to use an Internet cafe or hotel for instance to access the virtual learning environment, and so it is quite common for students to have multiple places of study. In the early days of study, experimentation to identify what arrangement works most effectively for you will be necessary.

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AccessAbility
The AccessAbility Centre (AAC) is part of the Student Support and Development Service (SSDS) at the University of Leicester; the SSDS provides an integrated development and support service for University of Leicester students with dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties and disabilities. The AAC is committed to: offering services to disabled students that will assist them to achieve access to their course, become independent learners and fulfil their potential within the University environment, and providing information, advice and training for University staff to help them enhance their professional interactions with disabled students. The AAC offers a range of provision to students, prospective students and staff. The services offered to students are tailored to their individual requirements and the nature of their disability and/or specific learning difficulty. Students can self-refer, or be referred to the Centre by University staff or by outside agencies. The Centre includes an open access user area available for use by all students with disabilities and specific learning difficulties. This provides a place to work and rest, and is equipped with networked computers with specialist software, printers, a minicom, and a low-level photocopier. There is also a range of books, leaflets and other printed resources for loan, for consultation within the Centre, or to take away. The staff of the Centre will work with students to establish the services and facilities that will best meet their individual requirements; for example, this may include the administration of a Dyslexia Adult Screening Test and, if appropriate, referral for a formal assessment of their specific learning difficulty and a review of the resulting report. Support offered to campus-based students can be offered, in one way or another, to distance learners. Those distance learners who can visit the Centre in person are welcome. Others who cannot do this can be supported with some services directly from the Centre by e-mail and telephone. With regard to one to one support, it can often be set up with a local tutor via an external provider or at a university near the distance learner.

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Further information on the work of the AccessAbility Centre can be found at http://www.le.ac.uk/ssds/accessability/

Concluding Comments
In this section we have focused on you and your perception of and approach to learning. Entering distance learning and post-graduate education can be a shock for some students, especially when they are accustomed to a more teacher-driven approach to learning. In some instances students have erroneously seen this facilitating role of a tutor as an abdication of teaching responsibilities. It can take some time to explain to these individuals that learning is a joint responsibility, that spoon feeding approaches to teaching are not in their long-term best interests.

Key Readings
You should now read the following before carrying on with the module: [Reading 3] Chapter 1 (Preparing for Distance Learning) from Studying at a Distance by Christine Talbot [Reading 4] Chapter 2 (Know Yourself as a Learner) from Studying at a Distance by Christine Talbot [Reading 5] Chapter 3 (Practicalities of Studying) from Studying at a Distance by Christine Talbot Readings 3, 4 and 5 are at the end of this section.

Task
2.1 It is useful at this stage in your studies to reflect on your learning style. The VARK learning styles survey is available online. A direct link is

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provided on Blackboard, or you can type the following address into your web browser http://www.vark-learn.com/ Once you have completed the survey, consider how this information will impact upon how you study via distance learning.

References
The following sources were used in writing this section. The references are correct at the time of writing, but note that Internet addresses, editions, publishers and so on are apt to change. We will note changes where we are aware of them on Blackboard: Brookfield, S.D. (1986) Understanding and Facilitating Adult Learning, Milton Keynes: Open University Press Briggs Myers, I. (1995) Gifts Differing: Understanding personality type, Mountain View, CA: Davies-Black Goodman, P. (1971) Compulsory Miseducation, London: Penguin Gould, J.P. (1980) Law, custom, and myth: aspects of the social position of women in classical Athens, The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Vol. 100, pp. 3859 Herzberg, F. (1968) One more time: how do you motivate employees? Harvard Business Review, Jan.-Feb., pp. 5362 Honey, P. and Mumford, A. (1985) Manual of Learning of Learning Styles, second edition, London: Peter Honey Illich, I. (1973) Deschooling Society, Harmondsworth: Penguin Kolb, D. A. (1984) Experiential Learning: Experience as the source of learning and development, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Maslow, A.H. (1943) A theory of human motivation, Psychological Review, Vol. 50, pp. 370396 Moyer, D. (2007) The stages of learning, Harvard Business Review, 85 (5), May, p. 148

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Paraskevas, A. and Wickens, E. (2003) Andragogy and the Socratic Method: the adult learner perspective, Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism Education, 2 (2), pp. 414 Richards, I. A. (ed./trans.) (1966) Platos Republic, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Rud, A. (1997) The use and abuse of Socrates in present day teaching, Education Policy Analysis Archives, 5 (20), available at http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v5n20.html Salmon, G. (2004) E-moderating: The key to teaching and learning online, second edition, London: Routledge Falmer Scharle, A. and Szab, A. (2000) Learner Autonomy: A guide to developing learner responsibility, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Strang, A. (1987) The hidden barriers, in V. Hodgson et al (eds), Beyond Distance Teaching Towards open learning, Buckingham: SRHE and Open University Press Walker, L. J. S. and Schnwetter, D.J. (2002) Success Secrets of University Students, Toronto: Prentice Hall Canada

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MN7200/D Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills

Key Reading 3
Christine Talbot (2007), Studying at a Distance, Preparing for Distance Learning

Reproduced with permission of McGraw-Hill

1
Preparing for distance learning
Introduction Why are you studying? Motivation / goal-setting What qualities do you need to be an effective distance learner? Potential pitfalls and how to avoid them Experience counts Summary of Chapter 1

Distance learning often requires of the student a degree of initiative and mental resilience not always associated with learning in a classroom with a peer group and a teacher in attendance . . . Learning alone can be difcult, despite encouragement from friendly tutors, especially if you are not accustomed to studying. (Philpot 1997)

Introduction
The above reality check notwithstanding, with the necessary drive and determination you will succeed in the task ahead, just as millions of others have before you. There are, however, many issues that it is good to consider before you actually start your course. Doing this helps you to get things clear in your head, be more organized and generally feel far more prepared to begin studying. In this chapter you will look at your own reasons for studying and at what your goals are for your course. You will then look in greater detail at how you can be an effective distance learner. You are very likely to have

PREPARING FOR DISTANCE LEARNING

already given some thought to some of these issues, but it is worth giving a little more thought to them now that you are about to embark upon your course.

. . . getting back into the academic world after years of earning a living . . . has been like a breath of fresh air . . . For anyone who went to university but, like me, wasted a lot of their time (even if they had a good time wasting it!), distance learning is a great opportunity to do the things I should have done, or forgot to do.

1.1 Why are you studying?


This might seem a strange question at rst, but it is important for you to be quite clear why you have made your commitment to study. When the going gets tough, it is helpful to remind yourself of your reasons for starting studying and why these reasons are important to you. Its not very wise to start a course because someone else wants you to do it you have to put in the hard work, not them, so you must want to do it for your own sake. Some of your reasons may relate specically to why you are studying by distance learning.

Be sure of the reasons why you are undertaking the course. I had to be sure that my motivation would last the two years the [course] took to complete.

Activity One
Note briey your reasons for wanting to begin (and complete!) your distance learning course.

Commentary
Clearly your answers are specic to you, but there are usually certain themes in the reasons people specify. For some people the reasons are related to their present job or their career aspirations, for others it is a personal ambition to study for a particular level of qualication, and for others it is a more general desire for personal development, including improving the mind. For many it

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is the exibility that distance learning brings that is the main attraction. This may be because you may prefer to be an autonomous learner or you may want to combine studying with work and/or other commitments in your life. Whatever your reasons, it is important to keep these in mind for those off days that we all have. Your reasons may well change as you progress in your studies but its important to be sure of what they are now, to give you the motivation that you need.

1.2 Motivation / goal-setting


Self-motivation isnt always easy you need to have goals to provide a driving force. As well as knowing why you want to study, effective learning also depends upon your knowing what it is you want to study. You are probably using this guide after enrolling on your course of study, but you may yet have to make decisions about which non-compulsory modules you are going to study. Although your ideas may only evolve as you work through the earlier parts of the course, you probably have a general idea of the knowledge and skills you would like to possess by the end of your studies.

Activity Two
Take a few minutes now to note down what knowledge and skills you want to develop by the end of the course.

Commentary
Returning to this list from time to time may help boost your motivation when it is agging, by refocusing on your goals and providing you with direction. It is also possible that you will need to reset your goals for studying on, say, a three- or six-monthly basis. You may also need to reset your broader lifestyle goals in the light of experience, especially with regard to the balance between work, study and relaxation. (We will consider this in more detail in Chapter 3.)

I enjoyed studying at a distance. I now have the condence to work independently and can explore my own subject matter in a systematic, logical way.

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11

1.3 What qualities do you need to be an effective distance learner?


Activity Three
Make a note of those personal attributes and skills that you think you need if you are successfully to complete your distance learning course. Two suggestions are: Motivation Initiative

I could go up to six weeks and not have to be physically present for lectures I found it hard to be disciplined enough to keep working in between taught sessions. I found that I was disciplined, as I knew I would be penalized for failing to meet deadlines.

Commentary
Many personal attributes and skills needed for studying at a distance are the same as those required by any other learner, but some take on greater signicance when learning at a distance. The following have been suggested by students who have studied at a distance: Self-condence Perseverance / resilience Determination Self-discipline Time management skills Forward planning Effective communication skills Ability to take responsibility for your learning A balanced learning style Critical reading and note-making skills IT skills Information literacy skills

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Effective record-keeping The ability to ask for help from the most appropriate source You may well have thought of others. As you work through this guide there is the opportunity for you to look at some of the attributes in the above list and to consider suggestions offered on how to acquire or develop any of those that you feel you do not yet have. It is worth noting at this stage that employers value the attributes that distance learning students bring to the workplace. They appreciate the dedication and hard work that is involved in studying in this way.

The light at the end of the tunnel is a great motivational factor (and the one that has kept me going), whether the course is for a job-related qualication which will achieve promotion, advancement or a pay rise! Or even just the personal satisfaction and pride that completion will bring. I feel self-directed learning also means asking for help when you need it, rather than working in isolation.

1.4 Potential pitfalls and how to avoid them


This section is, in some ways, complementary to the previous one. Even with all or most of the qualities specied above it is likely that you will have obstacles to effective learning that need to be overcome. It might seem a rather negative approach to take, but unless you acknowledge potential problems you cannot take evasive action or prepare yourself to solve those problems that cannot be avoided. Almost everyone faces difculties in starting a distance learning course, so you are not alone. Some problems are common to lots of students, but some may be specic to you.

Activity Four
In the light of what you have read so far, what difculties do you expect to have to deal with if you are successfully to complete your distance learning course? Some of them are likely to relate to your personal / life circumstances (for example, domestic responsibilities) and others to the actual process of studying and learning (for example, writing essays).

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13

Before commencing on my distance learning course with the university, I had a number of unfounded fears (now I look back on the experience). I wondered if I would t in, think quickly enough, and whether the breadth of my experience would be wide enough to contribute to the topics being studied. I wondered if I would nd the tutors would talk in an academic language I would not understand. Other fears I had included my ability to be organized and keep to a study programme and have my assignment in on time.

Commentary
You may have included some of the following:

Personal / life circumstances


Coping with the conicting demands of studying, work and home life Getting away from home / work for the residentials Not being supported practically or emotionally by family / friends / work colleagues Cost of travel and overnight accommodation

Studying and learning


Finding time to study Having the condence to start studying again after many years Writing essays again Coping with stress at the time of the examinations Being motivated enough to persevere when not attending university or college on a regular basis Feeling isolated because of not seeing fellow students regularly Feeling disheartened or unsure of progress because of not seeing the tutor regularly Keeping a balance between the work required for the face-to-face and distance learning elements of the course (if on a mixed-mode course) Not having the self-discipline to get down to doing the work Finding somewhere quiet to work Finding the level of the course too high to be able to complete it Coping with learning a whole new vocabulary relevant to the course Using the internet to communicate with others and submit assignments Working / learning according to the rules of a different academic / educational culture

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Just concentrate on one thing at a time. Distance learning does not mean isolation. A small group of students exchanged telephone numbers, email addresses, and we did use them to contact each other regularly. At the height of the loneliness of the dissertation, I was in contact with one friend every day.

It is quite normal for students new to learning at a distance to have some anxiety about doing so. It could even be seen as a good thing, since the desire to overcome the anxiety might provide the motivation that you need to begin. It is good to acknowledge fears about learning if those fears (and often misconceptions about learning) are to be lessened. However, too much anxiety is not helpful to positive learning. If you have serious worries about the whole process it would be wise to get in touch with the course tutor to talk things through sooner rather than later. Hopefully though, you will feel better prepared for the experience once you have worked through this guide.

Take regular breaks, keep up physical activity and arrange to see friends and go out occasionally. It is important to look after yourself, but still retain a focus and determination to complete the study healthily and in one piece.

We will be looking at issues of time management and sources of support, in Section 3.6 and Chapter 4 respectively, to help overcome some of your anticipated difculties. Even when studying at a distance it is possible to put support mechanisms in place and many of these are likely to have been anticipated by your course tutor. Chapters 7, 8 and 9 provide you with a refresher in basic study skills and, as mentioned in the Introduction to this guide, there are some further excellent guides to the process of studying and completing assignments, sitting exams and so on, listed in Further Resources at the end of this book. By the time you use this guide you will have probably already been accepted onto a course. This means that your tutors believe that you will be able to succeed in your studies, so once again be encouraged.

Demands on you
I miss lectures where I can hear others comments and questions and realise that I am not alone in missing the point. I do not enjoy studying in a bubble.

No one nds it easy when they rst enter a new eld (in studying or at work) or move into a higher level in a familiar eld. Hopefully your course material will

PREPARING FOR DISTANCE LEARNING

15

ease you in gently and get the brain going again. Many course materials include a glossary of new terms and a list of abbreviations and acronyms, so that you can turn to these as many times as you need until new vocabulary has sunk in. If there isnt such a glossary it is probably a good idea to create your own, adding new terms and their denitions as you come across them. There is, however, no escaping the fact that studying is hard work and you need to be fully committed to the whole process. But you mustnt let it take over your whole life. What is potentially a rewarding and enjoyable experience can easily become only a chore if you dont maintain a healthy balance between studying and other aspects of your life. Difculty: Balancing work, home, family and studying commitments. Strategy: Prioritizing and planning, i.e. day for studying; day for time with family (important to keep everything in balance). If you decide that you are taking a few hours off (or even a whole day) with no studying and no work, then do it and dont feel guilty, otherwise you will not feel the benet. And dont feel that you have to ll your time off with doing things sometimes it is good just to be. Likewise, if you set aside a time for studying, worrying about domestic chores will be counter-productive. This might make it sound as though every day you plan as a study day will be a very positive experience and very productive but, of course, this isnt always the case. We all have our off days when no amount of perseverance will help us learn anything. Although you need the self-discipline, it might occasionally be as well to cut your losses and go off and do something completely different you will probably come back refreshed and ready to learn after all. Beware of too many off days though if this starts to happen too frequently, you may need to talk things over with your tutor.

Dont forget home / family / friends. They also need to be timetabled and dont feel guilty for giving them time.

Demands on others
You need a supportive partner who can listen to tales of hardship and woe. My wife had to get used to me disappearing upstairs to work. When we had days off together I often had to work at an essay. Distance learning can impose a strain on partners that may be unappreciated by the student who is worrying about an essay reference list.

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There is no doubt that any form of studying, and distance learning in particular, makes demands on those around you at home, at work and at play. Only you can judge how interested and supportive your family, colleagues and friends are likely to be, and the degree to which you should discuss your studies with them. Embarking on a new course of study might be very important to you at the moment, but others may see things differently. It is important to discuss with your friends and family that there will need to be a shift in the balance between your work, your studying and your time spent with them.

Tutor comment: Students need to balance their personal, work and study lives and this can be a difcult challenge.

Dont expect other people to automatically understand what you are doing the course for. It may even be difcult for you to explain it to them. I had an underlying conviction that this is what I wanted to do.

Practical issues such as a quiet place to study or time to do so have to be resolved by you and those you live and work with. Most people nd that if they set out what they are going to need and when they are going to need it clearly but rmly in advance, their demands are better received than if they make them aggressively and expect instant response. Asking for the TV to be switched off now so that you can have peace and quiet for studying, or wanting to take time off work for studying today, understandably wont make you popular with most people. The best advice is simply to keep the channels of communication open keep people informed.

1.5 Experience counts


Whether you have recently nished a course of study or are returning to study for the rst time in many years, you will already possess many skills needed to be a successful distance learner. Many of the skills outlined in the Commentary to Activity Three are acquired simply through lifes experiences. Your earlier studies and work situations will have been valuable training grounds. In addition to learning skills, as an adult learner you will bring other relevant skills, knowledge and experiences, opinions and ideas to your studies. Although there will be new knowledge, understanding and skills to acquire, your main task will be to t these into your existing ways of thinking. This will result in your reassessing and possibly revising some of your current views, but

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17

the learning process will be an enriching one for you. (You will explore the learning process more fully in Chapter 2.) Although studying at a distance is challenging, you almost certainly already possess what is needed to have a very positive learning experience.

Summary of Chapter 1
In this chapter you have: Considered why you are studying Thought about what it is you want to achieve by following this course Identied the qualities you need to be an effective distance learner Recognized that there will be difculties ahead Begun to consider what strategies to put in place to cope with the demands that studying is likely to make upon you and those around you Received reassurance that you can do this

The key to success is getting to know yourself as a learner, making the most of what you have and knowing how to acquire what you need. This, essentially, is what the whole of this guide is about. The process begins in the next chapter in which you are encouraged to get to know yourself better as a learner.

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MN7200/D Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills

Key Reading 4
Christine Talbot (2007), Studying at a Distance, Know Yourself as a Learner

Reproduced with permission of McGraw-Hill

2
Know yourself as a learner
Introduction What is studying? What is learning? How will you learn? Levels of learning What will you learn? Learning outcomes / objectives Characteristics of distance learning Sources of learning The learning process Approaches to learning How do you prefer to learn? Summary of Chapter 2

Distance education is based on the premise that students are at the center of the learning process, take responsibility for their own learning, and work at their own pace and in their own place. It is about ownership and autonomy. (Wheeler 1999)

Introduction
This chapter provides a structure by which you can carry out some selfreection about yourself as a learner. You will nd that taking time to work through the chapter will be time well spent. By understanding more about the learning process and about your own approaches to learning and preferences for learning styles you will be better equipped to make the most of your learning experience. You will also be able to make appropriate choices (where available) from the various kinds of learning on offer.

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19

(Guidance for developing specic skills for studying is provided in Chapters 7, 8 and 9.) First you will consider what learning actually is and the characteristics of distance learning. This will be followed by a consideration of what your sources of learning will be. You will then look, in some detail, at the learning process and at the different approaches people take to learning. Finally you will be encouraged to explore your own learning preferences.

2.1 What is studying?


This can simply be described as the process by which you learn. The aim of any studying must surely be that you, the student, are able to learn effectively. Although studying is hard work, you will hopefully also be able to enjoy your learning experience. Learning has its own intrinsic rewards, potentially bringing you enormous satisfaction. There are the extrinsic rewards too: perhaps a new job is on the horizon, or promotion within your present job.

2.2 What is learning?


Learning is essentially the acquisition of new skills, knowledge and attitudes, and the recognition of how they relate to the skills, knowledge and attitudes you already possess. But learning is also the process of understanding what has been acquired, and applying it to both familiar and new situations. As Karen Rawlins (1996) suggests learning is a process of self development (p. 21), and students learn most effectively by relating knowledge to previous and current experience (p. 20). Learning is not just about collecting information from your tutors, your course materials or library resources it is about your engaging with and making use of that information in a creative way. You cannot be a successful student if you expect to be passively taught you need to be prepared to actively learn. Your course will equip you with the means to do this by providing materials, yes, but also by giving you the opportunity to develop your own ideas by trying them out with your fellow students and your tutors. This will take place informally through discussion (face-to-face or virtually) and more formally by expressing your ideas in assignments and receiving feedback on them from your tutors. The learning process will take time. Dont expect to get great marks for assignments straight away. Do read the feedback from your tutors so that you can improve your performance in subsequent assignments.

12

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2.3 How will you learn?


If you are new to studying on a higher level course it may take time for you to adjust to the ways of learning that are expected of you. This will show itself especially by the fact that you have to take a lot more responsibility for your own learning than before, including having to nd a lot of your own sources of learning (see Section 2.7 below). The teaching and learning methods may be quite different from those you were used to in a school setting, but you will adapt in time. You may be expected to do a lot of work in small study groups, which can be a mixed blessing. We will look in detail in Section 2.6 (below) at how you are likely to learn as a distance learner, in Chapter 3 at the practicalities of studying, and in Chapters 7, 8 and 9 at specic study skills you may need to develop (for example, group work in Section 9.1). It is important to emphasize at this stage that different people have different ways of studying and learning. You need to discover the ways that are best for you and to be able to recognize if / when those ways are no longer working and to be ready to adjust your learning strategies. You will need to be able to demonstrate how successful you are at learning. This will be judged by your tutors (and sometimes by other students) through various kinds of assignments. They will use various means to assess how much you have learned by measuring your abilities against a set of intended learning outcomes for each part of your course.

2.4 Levels of learning


Some of you starting your distance learning course may be unfamiliar with the current setup in education and what is meant by academic terminology about levels of learning and degree type. You may have studied some time ago for a rst degree and things have changed or perhaps you have come into education via a professional route rather than an academic one. This short section should help you place your current course of study within the wider context. In many countries (for example, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and different parts of the UK) levels of learning and the qualications with which they are associated are increasingly being placed within a qualications framework (see, for example, the UKs Quality Assurance Agency website at www.qaa.ac.uk or the Australian Qualications Framework at www.aqf.edu.au/aqfqual.htm). The range of qualications within tertiary (after secondary school) or further education is too great to enumerate here, but in higher education something similar to the following ve (or sometimes six) levels seem to be common to many countries:

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21

Level 5 Level 4

Doctoral degree (for example PhD) (D level) Masters degree (for example MA or MSc) (M level) (Incorporating Postgraduate Certicate and Postgraduate Diploma) Bachelors degree with honours (for example BA or BSc) (H level) Diploma of Higher Education or Associate or Foundation degree or Bachelors degree ordinary (I or Intermediate level) Certicate of Higher Education (C level)

Level 3 Level 2

Level 1

Students studying on courses at levels 1, 2 and 3 (leading up to a rst or bachelors degree) are known as undergraduates. Those following level 4 courses and above are postgraduates. Many students do not wish to complete several modules and obtain a certicate, diploma or degree. Instead you may be following a short course to update your knowledge and skills in a subject relevant to your employment or potential employment. This is known as continuing professional development, and is particularly common at postgraduate level. The implications of different levels of qualications, in terms of what is expected of you, is dealt with in the next section about different levels of learning outcomes.

2.5 What will you learn? Learning outcomes / objectives


What you will learn will be determined by the syllabus for your particular course. A syllabus, however, while providing a useful list of topics to be covered within a course or a specic module of a course, does not spell out in detail exactly what a student should be capable of by the end of the course. In most educational institutions, in order for a course to gain ofcial approval, these capabilities have to be expressed in the form of a set of learning outcomes. This is not a new concept, but the use of learning outcomes has increased in recent years. Bloom et al. (1956) classied the outcomes of learning into three areas or domains: 1 Psychomotor to do with skills 2 Cognitive to do with thinking abilities: comprehending/understanding information, that is, what we know and what we do with what we know 3 Affective to do with attitudes and approaches

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Within each of these domains we can identify a number of stages of learning that can be viewed in a hierarchical way.

The cognitive domain


Since your learning will be largely to do with the cognitive domain we will look at that rst, in some detail. The outcomes of cognitive learning can be categorized under a number of headings, in terms of what the learner can do, from the lowest level (knowledge) to the highest level (evaluation): 1 Knowledge can recall what has been learned 2 Comprehension can recall what has been learned and it has signicance 3 Application can apply what has been learned in a familiar or a novel situation 4 Analysis can tease out the threads of meaning from a range of information 5 Synthesis can weave the threads together in a new way 6 Evaluation can judge the signicance and value of what has been learned

Whats expected of you?


In some countries and cultures it is common for direct word for word memorization and recall [to be] seen as an expression of ability and highly valued. However, In the British context it is often seen as intellectual immaturity (Introna et al. 2003: 42). Generally speaking, in the UK, USA and other western educational institutions the higher the level of course you are taking, the higher the level of learning outcome (as dened by Bloom et al. 1956) you will be expected to demonstrate, but any course will expect you to go well beyond memorizing facts and being able to recall them.

Assessment
Assessment on any course is essentially the measurement of the extent to which you have achieved the learning outcomes for that course. A minimum requirement in any assessment will be that you can demonstrate that you have understood the knowledge you have acquired (Levels 1 and 2), and most courses will expect you to be able to apply that understanding of knowledge to a situation that is new to you, or to your existing situation in new ways (Level 3). You will certainly be expected to demonstrate learning outcomes at Levels 4, 5 and 6 for a bachelors degree with honours or a masters degree. (At doctoral level you will be expected to move beyond Level 6 and actually contribute original material to the body of knowledge in your chosen subject area.)

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An example of assessment to measure learning outcomes on a masters degree in accounting might be: 1 Analyse a set of corporate accounts (if possible from your own workplace) and prepare a presentation to post into the online discussion room. The presentation should highlight those elements of the accounts relating to environmental accounting (Level 4 analysis). 2 Read the theoretical articles provided (items 12, 13 and 14 on the course website). Identify three common themes in the articles and at least two points of conict between the arguments put forward in the articles. Use these common themes and conicts as a framework to identify best practice in the set of accounts analysed in part 1 (Level 5 synthesis, and a bit of Level 3 application). 3 In the light of your answer to part 2, prepare a report outlining three possible courses of action open to the company to improve the environmental reporting. Justify which course of action would be the most appropriate (Level 6 evaluation). For other examples of questions at the six levels of learning (within the context of anthropology) see www.ion.uillinois.edu/resources/tutorials/ assessment/bloomtest.asp.

The university is more interested in analysis and synthesis than descriptive accounts that demonstrate a wide but supercial knowledge base.

The affective domain


Similarly, hierarchies can be constructed for the affective and psychomotor domains. For the affective domain the range would be from: 1 Not realising / being unaware of an attitude, approach or value, through 2 Being conscious of not having this attitude, approach or value, through to 3 Adopting the attitude, approach or value, and it eventually becoming a part of your everyday response The critical approach to reading or the problem-solving approach in science and medicine serve as useful examples. The affective domain can also be described as someones attitude or approach developing from being: 1 2 3 4 Unconscious incompetent to Conscious incompetent to Conscious competent to Unconscious competent

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In each instance the attitude of the student develops from one of total acceptance that facts are true, through the stage where uncertainty is beginning to creep in, until eventually everything is automatically questioned and alternatives are sought or created.

The psychomotor domain


For the psychomotor domain we can consider a spectrum of expertise for students. The range would be from: 1 2 3 4 Being unable to do something, through Doing something with a set of instructions, to Doing something without instructions, to Devising new ways of doing something and giving instructions to others

Although Bloom et al. (1956) dened these categories and levels nearly 50 years ago, they are still regarded by many, myself included, as a useful tool with which the objectives of learning can be made clear for teachers, students and examiners. Always check what the learning outcomes are for each part of your course before you start. Since assessment will be linked to the learning outcomes, knowing the learning outcomes will help you to know what you are working towards during your studies.

Tutor comment: I expect students to focus on the aims and learning outcomes and use these to guide their learning.

2.6 Characteristics of distance learning


At rst glance the characteristics listed in the subheadings in this section do not appear to be exclusive to distance learning, but will be present in all effective learning. However, as described in each paragraph, each characteristic takes on a greater signicance, and is made possible in a distinct way, in distance learning.

Learning by doing
Good distance learning involves active learning. You will be asked to complete activities or tasks that are built into the learning materials. These are the equivalent of activities or tasks completed in the classroom. You may also be asked to contribute to a web-based or online discussion group or forum.

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This is the equivalent of making a contribution to a group discussion in the classroom.

Tutor comment: Students should try to develop the skills necessary for the online learning and distance learning formats, with the support of their tutor, their department and their company sponsor (where relevant).

Learning by assessment
You may be asked to complete self-assessment questions (SAQs) (including multiple-choice questions MCQs) either on paper or via the Internet. These are the equivalent of doing short, regular tests in the classroom. The results of the tests dont count towards your nal mark for each module, the answers are usually provided for you and it is a way of checking on your own progress. They can also be used by a group of students in a local study group to share issues about progress on particular topics with their peers (fellow students). By completing SAQs, checking your progress and reading feedback, you are likely to perform much better on those assignments that do count towards your nal mark. It is a very pragmatic approach to learning. Other forms of so-called formative assessment may also be included. Formative assessment is assessment that occurs during learning to inform and direct learning. It provides feedback to you about progression towards a goal or standard. It may carry marks, but the principal purpose is development rather than judgement.

Having assignments on a regular basis helps me in studying and it gives me an idea of how I should be studying and what things I should be focusing on. Moreover its a great way of assessing how I am doing.

Learning by reading and responding to feedback


Feedback may be incorporated into the original learning materials, written by the author of the module in anticipation of your responses to activities or SAQs, or it may be written by your tutor in response to assignments you have submitted in the course of studying the module. The assignments may or may not count towards your nal mark for the module, but either way the feedback is provided to enhance your learning. Perhaps it will give you ideas about how you could have improved upon your answers, and perhaps it will give you pointers as to what you need to concentrate on before the nal assignment is due. Good feedback will include not just the right answers (indeed in many cases there is no such thing) but suggestions as to why certain responses would

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be appropriate and others would not. Feedback can also provide you with something very positive: what is good about your work and in what ways your work has improved.

Learning by attending study days


Some distance learning courses include compulsory days or weeks of attendance in person. In part, these will be to deliver those areas of the curriculum that are better suited to the face-to-face mode of teaching and learning, such as demonstrations or laboratory work. In addition, you may need to participate in group or individual tutorials either at your host institution or at a local study centre and / or attend to complete an assignment at the end of each module.

Tutor comment: Students [should] be prepared (having gone through modular text material that is provided), when attending the workshops, tutorials and lecture sessions.

Learner autonomy taking control of and responsibility for your learning


One of the most signicant differences between distance learning and conventional courses is that you have to take far more responsibility. Because distance learning is centred on you, the student, you have to make a lot more decisions. Although the course and module leaders will set targets (for example, assignments to complete or seminars to attend) you will be organizing your own study timetable between those, and balancing your study with the rest of your life. You will, to a large degree, have control over the time, place and pace of studying and, perhaps to a lesser degree, be able to choose the materials that you use to study. You may also have some say in the nature, frequency and timing of assessments and as to where the assessments are completed. But with this control comes responsibility. You will have to ensure that your work and assignments are completed according to the schedule you have set out. (See Section 3.6 for suggestions about a study schedule and a weekly planner.)

Learning by reection
You are more likely to take control of your learning if you build in time to regularly reect during your learning. Think about what you have read, what was discussed in a group tutorial, your own ideas as they develop, your achievement during a practical session and the progress (or lack of it) that you feel you are making.

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Keeping a reective diary was a lifesaver too, it helped with keeping a focus on the tutorials and kept a perspective overall to refer to for support and contemplation. Reecting on the contents [of the diary], a clear direction and sense of moving on emerged.

In some courses, the reective diary or log that is written about the learning experience or the experience of completing an assignment is, itself, part of the assessment for the course and awarded marks. This is especially common where the course is directly related to work. The log may be written and submitted as one complete document, or you may be asked to regularly submit entries to an online learning log, possibly situated within the virtual learning environment. Alternatively you may be asked to create and regularly contribute to a web log or blog (see Chapter 5 for more on blogs). It is an opportunity for you to reect in a critical manner on how you are coping with selfmanagement, stress, motivation, time management, external obstacles, communication and interpersonal difculties. At the end of the learning process you will be asked to identify what changes have taken place (for example, in your effectiveness, condence, beliefs, attitudes and values) and reect on these changes. As you will read in Section 2.8, reection is an important part of the Kolb (1984) Experiential Learning Cycle. (The concept of reection in professional practice had been developed in depth by Donald Schn in 1983.) Arguably (as in the learning cycle) you need to obtain feedback (from your tutors, peers or workplace mentor, for example) before the process of reection can take place. We will look at the support available from each of these groups of people in Chapter 4.

2.7 Sources of learning


You will employ a number of strategies to help yourself learn, but I suggest that you pause to consider at this point the ways in which you will access information from which to learn. In the face-to-face taught situation your tutor is largely responsible for providing access to information, through lecturing or demonstrating, but most students following a course on campus are also likely to have to nd sources for themselves at various stages in their studies. As a distance learner you are likely to have to take more of the responsibility for nding sources of information for yourself.

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Activity Five
List the various ways in which you, as a distance learner, are likely to access information for learning. Two suggestions are: By reading the learning materials provided in workbooks, study packs, online, etc. By observing someone at work, on the television or on video perform a task

Commentary
In addition to the two ways suggested above, you will probably have included some of the following: By reading books and articles found by searching library resources By accessing information on a CD-ROM or via the Internet (e-learning or online learning) By accessing information from professional associations By discussing subjects with other students, either face-to-face or via the Internet (online discussion groups) By discussing subjects with your tutors, either face-to-face or via email By examining a picture or diagram on paper By examining a painting, drawing or sculpture in an art gallery or exhibition By listening to someone in person, on the radio, on audiotape or CD explain various concepts or procedures, or speak a language you are learning By listening to music at a concert, on the TV / radio, or on a tape, CD or DVD By going to a play or ballet at the theatre By thinking something through and considering all of the options based on your present knowledge and making an educated guess about what might be the result of certain actions By attempting problem-solving, that is, trying something out to see if it works and revising the method in the light of the results By reading recommended textbooks, details of which are provided by your course or module tutor(s) Some of the above are clearly more relevant to some subjects than to others. As you will learn in Section 2.10, we all have preferences for the ways in which we like to learn, so you may not have included some of the above. We will look in more detail at resources for studying in Chapter 6.

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What about your own experience?


Some students, especially more mature students, may begin their course of study with a great deal of knowledge and experience of their own, based on many years working in one or more professional contexts. Clearly this is valuable to both you and your fellow students. However, the traditional pattern in academia is that information can only be added to the accepted body of knowledge in a particular eld after being reviewed by peers or acknowledged experts in the eld. This is usually done via the system of academic publishing (see Section 10.7 for more information on this) to ensure the accuracy and validity of the new contribution. Increasingly, though, knowledge is being constructed (especially at postgraduate level) within the context of group work, especially when using online discussion groups (see Section 9.1).

I found that a lot of the assumptions I make as a professional, self-employed person simply dont apply to academia. For example, personal experience counts for nothing citing lots of authorities other than yourself counts for everything. Bit shocking that one, at rst.

Authors note
The following three sections (2.8, 2.9 and 2.10) look further at the learning process, approaches to learning, and at learning preferences. The response by previous users of this guide to these sections has varied. Some people clearly take a greater interest in the process of learning than others do. If you do not wish to go into this depth of analysis about learning at this point, simply skip forward to Chapter 3. You may decide to return to the skipped sections later.

2.8 The learning process


The Experiential Learning Cycle
What you do with information once you have accessed it is crucial. Learning is a continual process and it is not a passive one. We remember 10 per cent of all we hear, 50 per cent of all we see and 90 per cent of all we do. The gures seem to vary in different versions of this brief maxim, but the message is always the same: we learn best by doing, by experience. Good distance learning materials will encourage active learning. Nor does learning happen in straight lines, that is, it is not just a simple process of going through a few stages from beginning to end and nishing,

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and hey presto the learning is complete. Rather, it has been likened to a cycle or a spiral. Kolb (1984) combined these two concepts of experiential learning and cyclical learning in his four-stage Experiential Learning Cycle. The cycle moves through active experimentation, concrete experience, reective observation and abstract conceptualization (p. 42). This cycle has been adapted many times by many people. My own interpretation of it, which I have found to be useful in a higher education setting, is shown in Figure 2.1. The stages are more clear-cut in a scientic experimental setting, but the process is equally applicable to the arts, humanities and social sciences. An abstract idea cannot be fully absorbed or internalized until it has been applied in some way and objective feedback received on its application. This will involve some sort of activity, even if only talking the idea through with a tutor or fellow student. Having obtained the feedback on your idea you are likely to reect on it, rene that idea and test it out again. Any reection will be affected by other learning experiences that are stored in your memory. The feedback will sometimes come via an internal process, for example, by your own reading it doesnt always depend upon receiving feedback directly from others. Learning may begin at any point in the cycle you might have thought a lot before participating in an activity, or you might just launch yourself straight into something and you are likely to go round the cycle many times before a particular concept or idea is fully learnt. Even then, you may return to that particular learning cycle at some point in the future and go round a few more times to rene or develop your learning. You may start at the reection stage, having heard about someone elses activity and its outcomes, or you may observe or be part of someone elses test and draw your own conclusions from that learning experience. These conclusions may lead you to formulate your own ideas that you then test out. The movement round the cycle may not be

FIGURE 2.1 Continuous Learning Cycle Source: loosely adapted from Kolb (1984)

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smooth and the length of time it takes to move from one stage to the next will vary considerably from one person to another and for the same person in different learning situations. What is important is that you complete the full cycle and do not simply stick at one particular point, having completed only one or two stages in the cycle. Honey and Mumford (1992) adapted Kolbs cycle to use as the basis for their Learning Styles Questionnaire, which we will look at in Section 2.10. Reection is an essential element of learning. If we make mistakes, or indeed if we succeed, we need to reect on that experience so that we know either how to avoid making the same mistakes again (where we have been unsuccessful) or to ensure that we repeat the process (where we have succeeded). Even before learning begins, it is possible to reect on the learning process itself (as outlined above), to consider what skills and attributes you already possess and can bring to the process and which ones you need to acquire. It is also worthwhile considering the potential problems you might face in learning at a distance. (You were encouraged to do both of these in Chapter 1.)

2.9 Approaches to learning


As well as recognizing that you need to complete the full learning cycle it will be useful for you to recognize that students adopt various approaches to learning. Although it is beyond the scope of this short guide to include a comprehensive survey of the research in this area, you might nd it useful to acknowledge the approach that you are inclined to take. You might want to attempt to adjust that approach if you consider that any change is necessary.

Surface and deep learning


Two approaches to learning that have long been recognized are termed surface and deep learning (Marton and Salj 1976). They represent the extremes of a continuum. At one end a students learning is orientated to rote learning: the intention is memorization and the focus is upon trying to learn elements of content off-by-heart. At the other extreme a students learning is orientated to comprehension: the intention is understanding and the focus is on the content as a whole, its structure and meaning, and on connections between different elements. The approach that you take will depend upon your concepts of learning, and the learning environment (the type of task, the workload, the intellectual demand, the quality and quantity of support from staff, and so on) that you are in. Clearly the approach that will lead to a better quality of learning is the deep approach. The danger of the surface approach is that you will not be able to use what you have learned because you have not really understood it, you

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will simply be able to restate it. Having a deeper approach to learning is more likely to make the subject more interesting and enjoyable and to make it of more use to you. That said, there might be times when you decide (knowingly) to take a surface approach to learning because it is more practical to do so. Such a decision could well be part of a third approach to learning.

Strategic learning
Entwistle and Ramsden (1983) identied the strategic (achieving orientation) approach to learning. The student taking this approach aims to gain the highest grades and looks for ways to achieve this. This student is also balancing the demands of all of his / her courses (and / or work and family / social life) and making choices about best use of time and effort. It depends how one interprets the characteristics of this approach as to whether one admires or deplores it. (It has to be said that, in order to get through my day I need to be strategic about my workload and prioritize those tasks that are going to be most productive / rewarding and / or that the boss is demanding!)

The course team sent us a lot of distance learning material. I only read what I had to in order to nd an essay title and complete the assignment. I did not have time to read it all. However, now I have nished the course, I have gone back to the material and used it at work.

The decision about your approach to learning (and the responsibility for that decision) has to be yours.

2.10 How do you prefer to learn?


Just as we differ in our approach to learning, we all have preferences about how we learn. There are several alternatives to analysing this: two that students have found helpful are detailed below.

Learning Styles Questionnaire


One is the Honey and Mumford (1992, 2006b) Learning Styles Questionnaire and the four learning styles the authors have identied: activist, reector, theorist and pragmatist. Their analysis is loosely based on Kolbs learning cycle. They suggest that the four styles of learning are associated with particular stages in the learning cycle. If, for example, your preferred style is that of activist, you are more likely to feel comfortable at Kolbs stage of concrete experience. In

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practice, most people show a preference for at least two of the styles. However, since the aim is to complete the full learning cycle it follows that we should also aim to develop all four styles of learning if we are to fully benet from all aspects of learning.

Activity Six
The Learning Styles Questionnaire and how to score it is available in Honey and Mumfords (1992) The Manual of Learning Styles and as the Learning Styles Questionnaire (2006b). It is also available for a fee on Peter Honeys website (see Study guides on the web in the Further Resources section at the end of this book for details). It is well worth completing it in order to get to know your preferred learning style. General descriptions of the four styles and suggestions for using the results to improve your learning are also included in the book and on the website.

Commentary
Very few people are all-round learners, so dont be surprised if you score high on one or other scale. The results will indicate those situations in which you will function best and those in which you are likely to perform less well. If you have any choice in the matter, you can select those learning experiences that suit you best, but there are also some suggestions included in Honey and Mumford (1995) as to how you might develop further those areas where you are less strong, so that you can benet from all kinds of learning.

The VARK Questionnaire


The VARK Questionnaire developed by Neil Fleming, New Zealand, and Charles Bonwell, USA (2006), enables you to discover (or conrm) your learning preferences: = visual graphic, i.e. pictures = aural/auditory = visual text, i.e. reading = kinesthetic, i.e. using all of the senses of sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing MM = multimodal V A R K A website has been developed from where it is possible to complete the VARK Questionnaire interactively. (For more details see Study guides on the web in Further Resources.)

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Summary of Chapter 2

In this chapter you have: Considered what learning is, what and how you will learn, and how some aspects of learning are particularly signicant in distance education Created your own list of sources of learning Looked at learning as a cyclical and experiential process Been introduced to different approaches to learning and to different learning styles Reected upon your own learning preferences

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MN7200/D Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills

Key Reading 5
Christine Talbot (2007), Studying at a Distance, Practicalities of Studying

Reproduced with permission of McGraw-Hill

3
Practicalities of studying
Introduction Place of study Getting organized Pace of study Time of study Periods of study Time management How will you use your time? Course-specic information A note on rules, regulations and complaints procedures A note on registration and payment of fees And nally . . . Summary of Chapter 3

Introduction
Thinking about the following practicalities at an early stage will help you begin to address some of the issues that are of concern to all students but are particularly important for you as a distance learner, as you are likely to do most of your studying at home. The chapter deals with the where, the when and the how of your studying. As you read through each of the following elements, make notes of the conclusions you come to about yourself. The chapter also provides a checklist of the information you need about your programme of study and looks at the expectations that you might have about others and that others might have about you.

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3.1 Place of study


Having two children and demands from the household I found that studying at home was a frustrating experience with constant interruption, unless it could be done early in the morning or late in the evening. The solution for me is simply to block out all day Saturday and go to my ofce to study and dont leave until the study I want to accomplish is completed . . . also during the week, sometimes I will stay late at work . . . to complete the assignments.

Finding the right place (and time) to study is crucial and preferences vary with the individual. Some people can pick up their materials anywhere (on the train or bus, in a busy staff room, in the lounge) and instantly start to concentrate. Most people, however, need a special space for study one where, when you sit down, you immediately move into study mode and where you are not distracted. Apart from anything else, it is helpful if you can leave your books undisturbed from one period of study to the next and you are then ready to start again straight away, rather than spending the rst 15 minutes sorting out where you were up to last time. The choice of working with or without music in the background is obviously yours, but there are some simple pointers to what will aid concentration and promote good health: A warm, comfortable room (or part of a room) A working area with a good supply of natural light A desk / table at a height within the range 6673 cm A comfortable (preferably swivel) chair at the right height for the table A computer screen (if using a PC) to which you drop your eyes (rather than straining your neck to look up to it) and which is ideally 50 cm in front of you and at a right angle to the window Room to spread out the books currently in use Room to store the materials not currently in use in an organized way, such as in labelled ring-binders or les Voicemail or an answerphone so that you are not distracted when studying Set times of day for reading and answering emails A boring view from the window, so that you dont spend your time watching the world go by!

Difculty: Identifying a study place outside the home [so] that as soon as I entered my mind was in a set to study. Strategy: I booked a room in a university library for lengths of time.

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Activity Seven
Make a note of the ideal place available to you to study. If such a place does not yet exist, note down any things you may need to do to nd / create somewhere approaching your ideal.

3.2 Getting organized


As well as sorting out where you are going to study, there are various other things to plan in advance. Things that you take for granted when you are a full-time student on campus are not always available at your local shop. A supply of stationery items that you may not have bought for a while, such as le paper and loose leaf binders, a hole punch and a stapler, might come in handy. Post-it notes are invaluable and you may want to buy index cards for noting details of references. A wall planner may help with time management, and a highlighter pen may prove an invaluable tool when reading through your learning materials and photocopied articles. You may have received a booklist when you registered for the course. You might need to order some of these in advance, especially if you dont have a local bookshop or library with a large stock. It can easily take six weeks for a new book to arrive. You may nd it quicker or more convenient to buy a book using one of an increasing number of online bookshops available on the web (see Section 6.4 for details).

Activity Eight
Make a shopping / borrowing list. Dont forget to include a new dictionary if you havent bought one in recent years. It is crucial that you look up words you havent encountered before. This will improve your understanding of the course materials and increase your vocabulary. A thesaurus is also useful when it comes to written assignments.

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3.3 Pace of study


Timing is everything. Make sure that you are aware of submission dates and do what it takes to meet them. The pressure of the course mounts up considerably if work is rushed and late. You have to feel that you are in control of the course. Extensions for one module just leave less time for the next.

The pace of study might be imposed on you by the course tutor, in so far as particular assignments are due in on specic days, or you have to prepare for a group seminar by a certain date. Alternatively, you may be able to choose your own pace at which to work through the programme of study. Either way you need to plan your study time (see Section 3.6). Some people do very little for weeks, then cram towards the end of a module, others work more evenly throughout the module. Clearly the second is the safer option and generally helps you to produce work of a higher quality. Either way, effective study requires a signicant amount of time.

Activity Nine
Make a note of your intended study pattern just your general approach, not the detail at this stage.

I found writing [the] title of [an] assignment and [the] objectives and submitting these by a deadline prior to commencing written work extremely valuable in that: i) you had to really focus your thoughts and get on with the literature search instead of leaving things to the last minute; and ii) once agreed with supervisor it prevented me from changing my mind. You . . . need to identify topics and start literature searching early so that you can get the information and complete the assignment.

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3.4 Time of study


It is important to set aside time every day, or nearly every day for study. A lot of little bits spread over a week is much better than the whole day every Saturday.

Whether the pace of study is decided by you or imposed externally, you still have the choice about when you study morning, afternoon or night. Some people are able to set aside full days or half days in which to study, others manage with evenings or snatched hours here and there. For some it is their choice, for others it is a case of using whatever time is available, when it is available. Ideally you should build into your week specic times in good-sized chunks when you intend to work, and stick to them.

Block out certain days for study only. Get into a routine. Allocate time specically at the same time each week for (a) allocated reading time (b) allocated writing time.

As the above comments from students show, there is no right way for everyone you have to discover what suits you.

Activity Ten
Make a quick note of those days of the week / times of the day when you think you are regularly going to be able to study. (You will be asked to look at this issue in more detail in Activity Fourteen.)

3.5 Periods of study


Most of us benet from short frequent breaks in the course of our studies: every 30 to 40 minutes seems to be the norm. Pushing yourself beyond this can lead to concentration lapsing and recall of what you have studied being

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much reduced. You dont have to have a cup of coffee every time of course: a bit of a stretch, a very short walk or a short meditation would be just as effective and much healthier! Others nd that a fairly long period of study followed by a long break suits them best. Only you can decide which suits you. Once you have decided honestly which suits you, try and stick to this and take breaks at the right time for the right reasons.

Activity Eleven
Make a note of the period of study that you know or think will suit you best.

If you are using a computer for a lot of your study activities it is advisable to take frequent short breaks rather than less frequent longer breaks. This helps prevent headaches, eyestrain and aches and pains in the hands, wrists, arms, neck, shoulders and back. Either formally build in other study activities at regular intervals or take informal breaks to stretch your arms and legs.

3.6 Time management


I consider the most important aspect to be time management, whether in nding time to do the work or in keeping up with the studies at an even rate of progress. All other considerations pale into insignicance and tend to fall into place if you can manage the time.

Having considered each of the issues in Sections 3.3 to 3.5 above, you are now in a strong position to get down to some serious consideration of how you are going to manage your time. Managing your time effectively and efciently is one of the most difcult things to achieve you need to become an expert at creating time. At the beginning of your studies the months may seem to stretch endlessly ahead of you but unless you make a plan and work to it you will nd that time goes by very fast.

Activity Twelve
Take a few minutes now to reect upon your attitude towards time and on how well you use time. Note down a sentence or two that encapsulates these thoughts.

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41

Tutor comment: Students need to be aware of time management and of putting the whole study programme in a balance that includes family life and other factors.

Whilst time management would seem to be a good plan, I found I had to be in the mood. However, when I was I didnt want to take a break if things were going well (i.e. absorbing written material or working on assignments). The conicting demands of studying, work and home life must be known to all. It is far harder than being a full-time student on campus and in my mind should always be recognized as such.

Commentary
Some people know that they are well organized and use their time effectively every day. Others will acknowledge that they are hopeless at planning the use of their time things just happen and they react as best they can, as soon as they can. Most of us are somewhere between these two points. Even when we try to discipline our use of time, other factors such as physical or mental tiredness or illness (our own or that of a member of our family) may come into play and we are thrown off course. This is inevitable and we need to build a degree of exibility into any plan of study that we make. If we get too anxious about not being on schedule, that anxiety will be counterproductive. Our minds need to be capable of concentration and creativity. You are likely to need to modify your plan as the work progresses. Indeed, a key component of time management is regularly reviewing and amending schedules. Most people would welcome the opportunity to have long periods of time to devote to their studies but that is a luxury enjoyed by the few. While it can be quite difcult to switch to study-related activities from doing other things, that is often the reality. Some people can combine the two, such as having ideas about your studies while doing household tasks or taking physical exercise. However, it is important to sometimes have a complete break from studying as well. You will be more productive if youre feeling mentally and physically refreshed. Digging in the garden for an hour or going for a brisk walk can work wonders.

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I found one of the problems . . . was reduced concentration after a busy working day. The coping strategies which I employed were to take exercise (to clear my head!), to have a break if ideas were not forthcoming and nally allowing myself not to study if I was over-tired.

There are many aspects to time management, but there are two that we need to look at in detail here. The rst is planning, as far as possible, the whole period of your study (one semester or one, two or three years or more?), dividing the years / semesters into parts (months?) and setting a timetable for yourself. The second is looking at a typical week within this period of time, and working out how you are to nd a specied number of hours per week in which to study.

Study schedule
Taking the above commentary and your own inclinations into account, you need to draw up a realistic schedule for the whole of your study period. Remember that you need to allow plenty of time for seminar preparation (if these are included) and for completing your assignments. The deadline for these will usually be imposed by external factors, such as the submission date of your assignment or a schedule for seminars these should be stated in the student handbook. (You might, at a later stage, have to build in dates agreed with a group of your fellow students for informal support groups as well.) Using these dates you can calculate how many months / weeks you have between now and your deadlines and design a study schedule. This might simply be a list of tasks with proposed completion dates against them, but in order to see the relationship between different tasks it is better to draw up some form of table or chart which is divided up into monthly, weekly or even daily sections on one axis and by a series of tasks on the other (this is known as a Gantt chart).

Strategy: Planning a timetable for study and stick[ing] to it easier said than done. Put built-in emergency time near to [the] assignment date there are always untoward situations which disrupt plans.

One example of what a study schedule might look like is given in Figure 3.1. This example is of a typical UK two-year part-time masters programme schedule but, of course, you can adapt it to the particular programme and time schedule you are working with. You will see that it includes several months for

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FIGURE 3.1 Course study schedule

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writing a research dissertation. In fact the planning of your research project (where one is included in your course) and the literature search and preparatory reading for it should ideally start as soon as possible after the start of your course, and certainly no later than the start of the second year of a two-year part-time course. Once you have decided on your research topic, you will need to devise a more detailed study schedule specically for your research project. Suggestions for what to include in that more detailed schedule, and a great deal more information about doing your research project, are provided in Chapter 10.

Tutor comment: Students should think ahead in the planning of major events. Thus, [they] have to plan study time prior to assessments, assignments and examinations, planning in preparation for project activity, planning for library and other information acquisition time and so on.

Activity Thirteen
Now create a rst draft of your own study schedule. You might want to add specic months or weeks (that is, dates) to your schedule or you may simply use the consecutive numbering as in the example in Figure 3.1. Although you will not be able to ll in the tasks in detail until you have nished working through this guide and perhaps received more information from your course tutor or fellow students, make a start on drafting your schedule now. You could even include the study of this guide as one of the tasks. You could also make an entry for talking to other students about how they are feeling about starting to study in this way, or a few months on, how they are coping. You could certainly include time for reading any recommended introductory texts and, of course, time for actually working through the learning materials. Clearly many of the tasks will overlap and will therefore appear in the same week or month of the schedule. Some tasks will have to be completed consecutively rather than concurrently, since you wont be able to start one until you have completed the other. Following up relevant readings for each module, including time for reection on what you have read, needs to be scheduled before beginning to write the assignments. You also need to build in some allowance for unexpected circumstances that slow you down. Dont forget to allow for holidays (yours and other peoples) and for any signicant holy days and national holidays when people you wish to contact may not be available or facilities you might wish to use may not be accessible.

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45

Trying to schedule myself and assign time for studying and planning ahead helped me a lot in both studying and doing my assignments. Planning ahead makes me feel secure and that I have things under control. Leave time for things to go wrong. Books may not be available, the computer might not work, a family problem may occur.

Commentary
You need to be exible within broad limits that are xed externally (such as the dates for a tutor-marked assignment or the nal examination) and regularly review your progress and amend your timetable. Once you start to add a lot of detail, you might be better buying a large, wall year planner so that you can t everything in. Remember dont let this activity / process become a substitute for real work!

Weekly planner
Although some weeks will vary from others (especially if your work involves different shifts in different weeks) most of us have some sort of pattern to each week. It is usually possible, therefore, to build in study time at the same time or times each week. If you are on a mixed-mode course of study you will, of course, have certain xed times when you need to attend your college or university for the face-to-face sessions.

No such thing as balancing time demands, some weeks do more of one [activity] than [an]other.

Activity Fourteen
You will probably nd it helpful to sketch out a grid as in Figure 3.2 showing a typical week in your life, including rst the things that you have to do each week, then those regular commitments that you would prefer not to have to drop while you are studying. Then try to add in time for studying in those places where you have free time. Sometimes it will be useful to have an extended period in which to study, but you could also make use of other shorter periods of time for doing a fairly short activity or going

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to the library on a regular basis, if one is within easy reach, to keep up to date by reading a journal in your subject area, for example. (Increasingly journals are available online, so you may not need to physically go to the library.) In practice you may nd your weeks turn out to be far from typical and you need to be exible in the number of hours you spend each week on your study. Sometimes study activity will be more intensive than others, especially as a deadline for an assignment approaches. It is difcult to suggest how long you will need to spend studying each week as the amount varies tremendously from one student to another and from one course to another. The particular type and level of course on which you are enrolled will affect the time you need to study (anything from, say, six hours for a level one short course up to, perhaps, 20 hours a week for an intensive masters level programme). Even where your course handbook suggests an amount of time per week, some students will need to spend longer than others studying for the same course, as we all study at different paces and it will, perhaps, vary from one part of the course to another.

Student handbook: . . . you will normally complete a module every 3 months, which involves approximately 150 hours of study time. It is suggested that students should spend 1013 hours per week (or approximately 50 hours per month) studying in order to full course requirements of completing one 15credit module every 3 months. Modules will normally run for 10 weeks and be followed by a 2-week gap (rest period) between each module. On occasion, modules may run for longer periods or have a slightly longer gap between the next module if there are public holidays.

I have found it best to plan to spend half to one hour a night regularly, with extra when possible. Most people can nd half an hour during the day / evening, even when the kids are screaming. It is absolutely essential to be disciplined about spending the time, and spreading [it] out in this way makes it much easier to keep up. For commuters like myself, the time on the train / bus / tube can be very usefully spent instead of reading the paper or the latest novel or sleeping!! If its too chaotic at home, stay at work for an extra half hour. Spending regular time is probably the most important thing you can do.

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FIGURE 3.2 Weekly planner Note: Since people begin and end their days at different times no details have been included in the Hour boxes. A 16-hour day has been assumed, but if you sleep for considerably more or less than 8 hours you could always add or delete rows / hours accordingly in your own version of this planner. Half-hours could be created by dividing the boxes.

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Commentary
It has to be said that what happens in reality often bears little resemblance to the neat timetable you have created. Many people have to learn to do more than one thing at a time. But when it comes to studying, most of us need to give it our undivided attention if we are going to do it well. Clearly, if it looks as though you are not going to nd enough time to study within your current lifestyle, something has got to change. It may be that you need to delegate more of your work tasks to colleagues, or domestic tasks to other members of your family (assuming that they are willing to take on more responsibility!). Or it may be a question of having to prioritize your tasks and ensure that those at the top of the list (that you really have to do) are denitely done at the beginning of the day or week, with the less essential ones dropping off the bottom of the list if necessary. Sometimes it may be necessary to make more radical changes if you are going to nd time for study. A favourite pastime might have to be given up for a while, or you may have to renegotiate your working hours temporarily if there is no other way to nd the time. (If you are completing your course to improve your skills in the workplace, your employer might be more sympathetic to this idea.) Whatever you decide to do, you have to be sure that this is the right thing and be rm in your efforts to nd the necessary time to devote to your studies. A useful aspect of the whole process is to reect from time to time upon the plan that you made and compare what you actually did with what you had planned to do. This review can then be used to inform a revised plan, building in more realistic time allocations for different activities. Dont worry about having to change your plans sometimes the important part of the whole activity is to help you to think strategically.

Keeping the balance


If you are following a mixed-mode course that includes some modules by distance learning alongside other modules by traditional face-to-face methods, you will need to take care that the distance learning elements dont get squeezed out by the pressure put upon you by your face-to-face tutors. You may nd it helpful to request an occasional face-to-face tutorial with your distance learning module tutors (if they are available) even if this isnt actually required as part of your course attendance. You could also try to arrange an informal get-together from time to time with your fellow distance learning students. These two strategies can help keep alive the reality of your distance learning modules and serve as a reminder of the work that needs to be done for them.

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Time: huge factor, not to be underestimated. To keep on a full-time job and study is very stressful. Hobbies and social life will have to be put on hold.

3.7 How will you use your time?


Tutor comment: Students need to manage their study time between reading learning materials, participating in online interactions and completing formative and summative assignments.

Its all very well having decided exactly when you are going to have your times for study, but the really important part is using that time in the most effective way. Once you have decided when you are going to study in a particular week you will nd it useful to set yourself specic tasks for that week. If an assignment is due at the beginning of the following week there is little room for negotiation, but you could still set times for specic aspects of preparing for and writing up that assignment, such as: read Chapter 3 of . . . and make notes; write the rst draft; edit the rst draft; complete the bibliography; and so on. Dont forget to leave time for thinking and reection too.

Sometimes the task, e.g. [an] essay seemed overwhelming, therefore [it was] better to break down [the] task [in]to small achievable outcomes within . . . small study slots.

If an assignment is not imminent it is all too easy to relax and think that you have all the time in the world for your studying, but its amazing how quickly the weeks y by. By setting yourself goals for each week / day or even by the hour (and meeting them!) you give your studying purpose and meaning and you will get a sense of achievement on completion of each task that will feed your motivation (especially if you give yourself little rewards). It is important to distinguish between those tasks that are essential, those that are desirable, and those that are neither but are nevertheless worthwhile.

The most helpful practice I found for me in being a part-time student with a full-time job has been setting up a study routine and goals for each day / week. At the beginning of each [module] I look at the deadlines and chapter dates

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and decide when I need to have completed each section / project. At the end of each day of studying, I determine what I intend to do and accomplish at the end of the next one. That way, when I sit down to study, there is little transition time needed; I can start right up and I know if Im on track.

You need to be quite self-disciplined in this whole process, not just when it comes to starting on a particular task, but knowing when to stop as well. It is easy to stretch out a task you are thoroughly enjoying for several hours, knowing that you have a more difcult one to start next. In other words, you have to manage tasks as well as time. Sometimes you also have to accept that the work you produce is good enough for the purpose, even though it is not the best that you could have achieved given unlimited time and energy.

Time planning is the most important aspect. Not to say Ive got a free day and sit down after breakfast to plough through it till you drop. Be realistic. Set a study period of say two hours which will include a plan of what you hope to achieve in that time.

There may be times when you genuinely need to revise your plans studying is quite an unpredictable activity but a regular review of what you plan and what you actually achieve is likely to be quite revealing. The occasional amendment is to be expected but under-achievement of set goals every week may be cause for concern.

3.8 Course-specic information


You will not be able to realistically make your plans until you know more about expectations. All students have them of themselves and others and others will have expectations of you. It is as well to identify them at an early stage and a good starting point is the course handbook or student guide. Such information will provide you with a better understanding of what you should expect from your educational institution and what might be expected of you. It should include details of when and how you can expect support from administrators, tutors and fellow students and of what your tutors expectations will be of you. It should also include details of assignments and when these are due to be submitted and to whom. Most of the information that is specic to your course should be sent to you by the course administrator in the school or department of the college or university where you are registered for your course. Details may be included

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51

in various letters that are sent out to students or in a course handbook or student guide that is distributed by the course administrator at the start of your studies. If you have received this guide to studying at a distance from the course administrator as part of an initial pack of materials, the chances are that you have already received other information as well. This section of the guide is provided to act as a checklist for you, so that you can identify if there is any information that you still need from the school / department. It is written in note form only. The notes are grouped together under various headings.

Activity Fifteen
It is recommended that you look through the checklist (below) at this point. Check the information you have previously received about your course and institution against these details, which provide an outline of what you should expect to receive. You can then make a note of information that you still need to obtain from your institution. I have also included real examples (in boxes) from various student handbooks, as well as some comments from tutors (in both this section, and elsewhere in the guide). Remember that these are examples from specic universities; your own course guide is likely to contain different information.

Programme / course information


Programme website address Philosophy of the programme, including general aims and outcomes Programme outline / structure / content, including module dates, and how the programme will be delivered (teaching and learning methods) Module outlines, including learning outcomes Course materials you can expect to receive, and how and when you will receive them (detailed information about each module and resources specic to each module should be distributed a couple of weeks before the start of that module) General resources available to support the programme, such as textbooks / journals / websites / mailing lists Details of any costs that you will have to meet, such as for specialist equipment, summer school activities, and so on

Difculty: No space between modules. Course moves too quickly without any breathing space between modules.

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Student handbook: For each module a comprehensive set of learning materials is provided, divided into manageable learning units. For each learning unit a page is provided describing the learning objectives, the practical exercises and any other activities associated with the section. References are included for each section and a link provided to the University librarys Distance Learning Services. A comprehensive set of learning materials is provided for each unit. Participants draw on this material during the learning activities, which are designed to build on the existing knowledge of participants. Tutor-directed, peerdirected and self-directed learning activities are used as appropriate. Tutor-directed activities include synchronous online tutorials for clarication and elaboration and asynchronous discussions via bulletin boards and email. Peer-directed activities are used to develop breadth of understanding, together with problem-solving and team-working skills. Generic study skills are developed through self-directed activities, such as additional reading and the posing of follow-up questions using email.

Contacts for support


Difculty: Clarication re. role of individual tutor and how much to access this support.

Student handbook
Module tutor The module tutor will be responsible for the provision of technical support for the module, module tuition, the provision of feedback on assessments and the monitoring of student progression. Personal tutor The personal tutor will be responsible for the provision of continuity of support for the duration of the programme. Student The student is responsible for: her own computer equipment; returning assessments by the set deadlines; providing the module tutor with information on any factors, such as illness, that are affecting her progress.

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Role of and support you can expect from academic tutors / local tutors / mentors / other students / course administrator / IT technicians / subject librarian

Tutor comment: Tutors expect students to try and work through the materials as much as they can before asking for help. Contact details (name / phone and fax numbers / email address) of each of the above (note that the details of students should not be given out to other students unless express permission has been sought from the students to do this) Ofce location and times of availability How quickly can you expect a reply to a phone message or an email? Is there a limit to the number of emails you can send or the number of minutes of phone calls you can make per module?

Student handbook: You can expect us to reply to your email communications within a reasonable period of time. Generally we aim to respond within 24 hours, or by the next working day, but this may not always be possible (e.g. during University closures). Similarly, we expect you to generally respond to email messages from the ODL Team within 24 hours or by the next working day, although we fully appreciate that this may not always be possible.

Another very helpful thing was to be in touch with another international student already enrolled in the program and studying from abroad. In September, prior to the start, Britain is on bank holiday which they take very seriously! It is not a custom here for people to be gone in mass any more than a day or two so I wasnt sure what the delays in response were due to. It made me nervous about the program (which it turns out is very well run). Communicating with this international veteran student eased my concerns. Also, I could hear from him some genuine experiences with the program which I also found helpful. Email: essential for keeping in touch with tutors and other students. Email lists should be exchanged on 1st Study Day.

Tutor comment: Tutors expect students to help each other via discussion rooms and email.

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Tutorial details
Face-to-face / electronic? How many and when? Record of meetings?

Attendance requirements
What are they? When are they? Residential / day schools / summer schools / eld trips? Are they compulsory and are there penalties for non-attendance? Do you have to attend face-to-face laboratory sessions or workshops as part of your course assessment? Information on what to do if you are likely to miss teaching sessions due to religious holidays, illness and so on.

Distance learning served me well the day at the university once a month was a useful focus and made the best of our time there.

Dont forget to inform the course administrator in advance if you know you will be absent from a face-to-face session because of a religious holiday or for any other reason. Similarly, if you nd that you cannot attend a session or keep to any externally imposed schedule of work or submission of assignments because of illness (yours or that of a member of your family) make sure you contact the course administrator. In some circumstances you will need an ofcial sickness certicate from your doctor.

Hardware / software requirements


These should be specied if there are elements of e-learning in your course (see Chapter 5 for more details on e-learning). Computer and Internet hardware, platform and specications Software type and version, including of multimedia players and so on

Electronic learner support systems


Are course materials available via the course website or virtual learning environment (VLE)? How do you obtain a username and password to access online materials? Are there any online learning materials to help with general study skills?

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Assessment specications Types of assessment


Self, peer, tutor, formative, summative? Forms of assessment essays / posters / oral presentations / reports / group work / lab work / MCQs? What are the assignments? Is there any choice in form of assessment or in exact subject of essays, projects and so on?

Student handbook: This programme involves no formal examinations. Instead you will complete assessments associated with each module. These are designed to check your understanding, breadth and synthesis of knowledge while at the same time being intellectual, stimulating and challenging. A range of different assessment methods will be used including: essays, reports, projects, practical exercises, workbooks, PowerPoint slides and contribution to discussion threads.

Submitting your work

Student handbook: It is important to remember to always keep copies of any work that you have submitted. If you are sending your assignments to the University . . . from your place of work or home obtain a certicate of posting from the post ofce (this is free) as proof of submission on time. However, we recommend that you send work by recorded delivery. To whom? Where? When? How? Paper in person / by post? Electronically email attachments, web forms? Details of how work should be presented margin sizes / fonts / style of references Is it possible to submit draft assignments for tutor comments before the nal submission date? Will you be sent a reminder that your assignment is due? Penalties for late submission? What should you do if you know that you are likely to miss a deadline due to illness or other extenuating circumstances? What is your institutions policy on plagiarism?

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Student handbook: Plagiarism is the theft or expropriation of someone elses work without proper acknowledgement, presenting the material as if it were ones own. Plagiarism is a serious offence and the consequences are severe.

Tutor comment: . . . plagiarism, by far the biggest problem in an online course. Despite plain warnings and instruction as to the precise nature of plagiarism, some students will compose an assignment by unattributed concatenation of Internet material. Assignments should wherever possible be uniquely personalized to the student.

Marking / assessment criteria


What are they? Is poor spelling or grammar penalized? Are there extra marks for good presentation? What percentage of the marks are awarded for each assignment within each module? Is it possible to see examples of assignments submitted by previous students? Information about classications of qualications and marks / grades required to achieve them, for example, rst class honours degree Student handbook: All coursework will be assessed using the following Grading Scale: Distinction 70% and more Pass with Merit 6069% Pass 5059% Fail Less than 50%

Student handbook
Types of assessment of modules i. One seminar presentation (20%); two 4000-word fully referenced essays (80%) ii. A one-hour written examination (20%); four assignments of 2000 words each (4 20%) iii.1500-word written assignment (20%); a presentation (20% plus 10% by peer review); four web-based worksheets (4 5%); and end of module twohour examination (choice of essay plus MCQ test) (30%)

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57

Difculty: Uncertainty over standard required. Essay writing: a help would be to see samples of style expected (from previous groups).

Feedback on assessments
What form will the feedback take? How soon will that feedback be given?

Student handbook: Feedback on formative and summative assessments will be provided by using the bulletin board or email as appropriate. All students are invited to discuss the feedback on their assessments.

Progress
When / how often will my progress be monitored? Will review meetings be held? Are there SAQs to monitor my own progress?

Student handbook: The monitoring of progression through a module will be the responsibility of the module tutor. This will include the monitoring of contributions to the bulletin boards to assess group participation. In cases where illness or pressures of work have led to lack of progress, the student may be allowed to withdraw from the module and to re-enrol at a later date. Assessments are structured, requiring students to provide regular reports on their progress.

University / college information


Information about university / college facilities and services, such as careers, welfare, library, study skills unit, language centre, equality unit, students union, and so on Map of the university or college campus and of the department where you will go if you do have to attend face-to-face-sessions

Your feedback / module evaluation


How and when should you submit this?

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Student handbook: We value student feedback very highly. After completion of each module you will be provided with a module evaluation form. Students will not be permitted to access learning materials for the next module without rst completing and returning these forms to us.

Student handbook: All students will be invited to anonymously complete a feedback form. The results will be reviewed by the Programme Committee and appropriate action will be taken.

A note on rules, regulations and complaints procedures


Student handbook: If you do not inform us of problems with meeting deadlines, we are required by the University to deduct marks for work submitted after an agreed deadline. For each late item of work, University rules require 5 full marks to be deducted for each calendar day that the work is late, up to a maximum of two calendar weeks (or 50 full marks). If a piece of coursework is not handed in by the end of two calendar weeks, a zero mark will be awarded for this work.

Each institution has its own rules and regulations about attendance, missed deadlines for submission of assignments, non-attendance at examinations, plagiarism and so on. Make sure that you are familiar with these at the start of your course. They should be available in your institutions student handbook, which may be available in paper and / or web format. Also available should be details of the procedure to follow if you have a complaint about any aspect of your programme or institution. However, my advice would be that you always take your complaint to the course leader (possibly via the course administrator) in the rst instance. Very often misunderstandings, actions, omissions and so on, can be rectied far more easily and effectively by informal means, and with less stress for all concerned. It is, nevertheless, your right to take the formal route, should you wish to do so.

Student handbook: Students are reminded that late submission will only be permissible in exceptional circumstances. The deadlines for coursework to be handed in are stated in the module calendar. Coursework should be handed in to the Module Co-ordinator by using the coursework submission system. A

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failure to submit coursework on the date stipulated, and in the absence of an extension agreed by the member of staff concerned, will result in a xed penalty of 10% reduction of the coursework marks. If the coursework is more than one week late the penalty will be increased to 25% and this increases by 25% for each week (or part thereof) overdue.

Student handbook
Complaints procedure: informal procedure Complaints should be made as soon as possible, and in any case within one month, after the event or actions (or lack of actions) which prompted the complaint. The complaint should be made in the rst instance to the Programme Director, who will look into the matter and shall give a response to the complainant normally within 10 working days following receipt of the complaint.

A note on registration and payment of fees


If you have registered for your course you will have already found your way through the maze that is your institutions registration procedure. If you have not yet registered, or are in the process of doing so, take heart you will get there in the end. Many traditional colleges and universities are still in a transitional period regarding the introduction of exible procedures for the registration of distance learners and for the payment of fees, and the procedures at many institutions are still rather cumbersome. (Online systems are gradually being introduced.) If you experience any difculties in this area, my advice is always to contact the administrator of your specic course and they will intervene on your behalf.

And nally . . .
Remember that you are a student of the university. You are entitled to use university and student union facilities. I found it important that the course staff sent us details of university activities. Go to the graduation ceremony. You earn that day.

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MN7200/D SECTION 3

Critical Thinking and Learning Resources

Section 3

Critical Thinking and Learning Resources


Learning Objectives
A key aspect of studying at Masters level with a British higher education institution is the analytical approach one takes to learning. The School of Management encourages its students to take a far more questioning approach to the material they are presented with than the memory- and fact-based learning of previous times. The School promotes deep learning and encourages students to develop their abilities for critical analysis. Within this section we will explore what this means for students and how these skills can be developed. By the end of this section you should be able to: consider some ideas about learning and link these ideas to your study of management at a Masters level, understand the idea of critical thinking and feel encouraged to apply this approach, appreciate the centrality of learning resources to your programme of study, and use these resources effectively.

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Deep learning
Some educational experts view deep learning, or understanding and being able to work with all of the aspects of a subject, as the most desirable outcome for any learner (Gibbs 1982). This approach to learning is, as we will shortly see, illustrated by Blooms taxonomy which stresses levels of learning. These levels gradually apply a rigorous standard of learning; learning thus becomes an approach that is integrated into a thorough comprehension of all levels of the subject. This is, without a doubt, learning at its best. Diagram 3.1 illustrates three different approaches to learning, and illustrates the need to approach material with the rigour that critical thinking imposes. It illustrates the obvious difficulties of the instrumental, surface approach to learning. Surface learning fails, at the most basic level, to integrate previous experience into the learning cycle. Thus, it fails the learners when they must apply the principles of their subject, to provide new examples. The deep approach allows the learner to integrate knowledge into an understanding of the subject. This effectively allows the learner to face questions on unfamiliar territory. While it is a good strategy to take note of the time and marking scheme on an exam, it is less clear that a positive result will come from working with old exams. New questions and new approaches to the subject may lead the unsuspecting student astray.

Deep Approach intention to understand vigorous interaction with content relate new ideas to previous knowledge relate concepts to everyday experience relate evidence to conclusions examine the logic of the argument

Surface Approach intention to complete task requirements memorise information needed for assessments failure to distinguish principles from examples treat task as external imposition focus on discrete elements without integration unreflectiveness about purpose or strategies

Strategic Approach intention to obtain highest possible grades organise and distribute time to greatest effect ensure materials and conditions for studying appropriate use previous exam papers to predict questions be alert to cues about marking schemes

Diagram 3.1 Approaches to learning (after Richardson 2000: 28).

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Blooms taxonomy (see Bloom 1956, for example) is a hierarchical classification system that illustrates the different stages of learning. The six levels knowledge or information, understanding or comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation also represent different stages of critical thinking. Thinking critically about a subject/module makes it possible for you, the learner, to understand the information you are learning on a more than simply surface level. Diagram 3.2 makes it clear that only deep learning can prepare a learner for any contingency in an exam. For instance, strategic learning will help when you are writing an exam you should obviously spend the largest part of your time on the question that is going to receive the most marks, this strategic approach makes good sense. Diagram 3.2 also suggests that to be truly effective, however, learning should connect to previous knowledge. Blooms taxonomy shows us how this works.

Level of thinking [1] Knowledge/ Information [2] Understanding/ Comprehension [3] Application

Type of activity involved Recall of facts, dates, lists, memorisation. Able to transpose, interpret or extrapolate the larger picture from examining the details. Able to take remembered knowledge to be able to solve a problem. Able to identify the elements, relationships, and organisational patterns in a subject/module. Able to make a new task from information from different sources. Able to make a critical judgment about performance based on understanding the elements of the subject/module.

Words to show this level of thinking Tell, list, describe, relate, locate, write, find, state, name. Explain, interpret, outline, discuss, distinguish, predict, restate, translate, compare or describe. Solve, show, use, illustrate, construct, complete, examine or classify. Analyse, distinguish, examine, compare, contrast, investigate, categorise, identify, explain, separate, advertise. Create, invent, compose, predict, plan, construct, design, imagine, propose, devise, formulate. Judge, select, choose, decide, justify, debate, verify, argue, recommend.

[4] Analysis

[5] Synthesis

[6] Evaluate

Diagram 3.2 Levels of insight and ability.

Level 1 the acquisition of knowledge


The first step on Diagram 3.2 describes learning at the most basic level, the learning and recall of facts. Questions such as tell or find show that the learner has acquired the basics of knowledge.

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Level 2 comprehension or understanding


At level 2, the learning is being able to understand and interpret information. The learner is asked questions that require him or her to explain or interpret information.

Level 3 application
At this level, the learner puts their learning into action to apply the knowledge that they have collected. For example, in maths he or she might be solving equations using formulae he or she has been given. In geography, the learner might be using the concepts of longitude and latitude to locate places on a map.

Level 4 analysis
At this level, the learner is able to take the concepts or ideas they have learned and analyse their components. At this level of the hierarchy, he or she might be asked to analyse, distinguish or examine the elements of the information he or she has acquired, understood and then applied. This is crucial before proceeding to the next stage in the hierarchy.

Level 5 synthesis
This level of the taxonomy suggests that the learner can take elements of different concepts and begin to formulate new ideas. For example, when writing a paper the learner can take the different ideas in their research to come up with a totally new idea from the information.

Level 6 evaluation
At this level, the learner can evaluate their work. Does it show evidence of putting together new arguments? Are the facts and information accurate? Were the readings or information applied correctly within the paper? Can the learner take their argument apart and analyse what they have written?

The need for analytical thinking


Studying at a Masters level requires students to be critical of what they think they know and what they are being told. Some students take a negative view of being critical, however, and this is usually because they mistake critique for what they understand to be criticism. Many students are taught in their earlier studies to approach the work of others with respect and to treat this work as truth or knowledge. At Masters

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level, you should approach the work of others with a questioning mind, to be probing and investigative in your thinking. An explanation of what is understood by critical thinking may be useful.

Critical thinking
The word critical derives from two Greek roots: kriticos meaning discerning judgement and kriterion meaning standards. The combination implies making judgements based on standards, so whereas description accepts and reproduces what we have been told or have read, criticism subjects this material to assessment. This assessment must be justified, however. Judgement must be derived from a reasoned analysis of the evidence.

Being a critical thinker


You should try to develop a critical approach to both your reading and writing. A critical reader should ask him or herself certain questions about the text being read. These include: what is the aim of the text? what are the authors aims and objectives? what issues/problems/questions are raised? what theories and concepts are used? how does the author use these to organise and represent data, evidence and experiences? to what extent is the author justified in the claims that he or she makes? Critical thinking requires you to work through material methodically and thoroughly. As both a reader and writer you need to constantly reflect on the activity of thinking. This takes considerable effort, and you will find that you need to spend time developing this skill in your studies. There are no shortcuts to critical thinking, but you will find that with experience your ability to dissect arguments and interrogate texts for meaning becomes second nature.

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For many students the active process of thinking critically will require adjustments in the way they approach the written and spoken word. Modern life is one frequently characterised by speed of thought and activity and we expect others to be responsive to our requests (e.g. emails). Studying effectively means slowing yourself down and actively reading and considering the material in front of you. There are many indicators that will signal that you are not engaging effectively with your studies, including that: your arguments are unclear, muddled, or confused, you have a tendency to jump to conclusions or recommendations without really appreciating the debates or issues, you propose arguments without considering the full range of implications of your proposals, you fail to notice contradictions in arguments being presented, your essays are vague or you fail to identify what a question is really asking, you rely upon inaccurate or irrelevant information to inform your arguments, you fail to notice the assumptions used in an argument, and/or you resort to notions of common sense to justify your argument.

Guidance
The School of Management has developed a statement of intent for its research agenda which you may find interesting in relation to the need for critical thinking in your writing. Edited extracts of this statement of intent are reproduced below. The word critical is a product of the Western Enlightenment and as such has a long and twisting history. Critique under this context came to mean the use of Reason rather than religious experience as the arbiter of what had happened and what should happen in the human world ... Reason was used to ask questions of how humans knew the world at all and to attempt to strip away all illusion. The old world was seen as ripe for Critique because it depended on an orthodoxy,

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an ideology of maintaining power in the face of social change by a self-serving elite, an acceptance of prevailing institutions and arrangements as being for the best in the best of all possible worlds, and a widespread resistance to any democratic urge. Critique was very powerful as a democratising ideology and claimed some successes in the middle class project of bourgeois political change. But how far this old world truly disappeared is very much open to question. The notion of being critical and subjecting the social world to Critique lasted long into the periods in which the ancien rgimes were supposed to have died out. Critique moved away from its Western Enlightenment origins and was harnessed to a socialist political agenda in the late 19th century. It has also become a strand of social thought which some might say is essential in the 20th century and 21st century worlds to counterbalance in some sort of way the dominant ideologies of our time. The logic of globalisation for example is often expressed ... as being the best for all of us. The history of being critical is a long one with a broad and deep tradition but is predicated upon the following points. (1) Critique is about power and its distribution. Without a sense of power and its use, and of the politicisation of the social world there can be no serious critique in place. To ask questions about how power is conceptualised, how it is measured, how it is reproduced and how it might be challenged is itself a political act. (2) Critique is about being iconoclastic and challenging the dominant icons and prevailing sets of imagery of the present day. Potent symbols such as that of the organisational leader for example may well be seen as having an iconic status that needs considerable analytical attention. The intention of this analysis is subverting the concept itself. No icon is above critique. No symbol is beyond being unmasked. (3) Critique is about knowledge and the bases upon which our knowledge claims are erected. Upon what foundations do claims to scientific and everyday knowledge rest? The critical approach to knowledge has behind it the idea that conventional forms of empirical science are more likely to be locked into superficial acceptance of the taken for granted, and less likely to look for depth or complexity. (4) Critique encourages an approach from the researcher which is investigative. Here the role and behaviour of the ruling elites is subjected to close scrutiny, with the aim of bringing onto the public agenda items the powerful might prefer to remain

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unexamined. This concern to provide new agendas and to ignore perhaps the agenda that is laid out by the establishment because it is seen as deeply suspect, is a crucial part of the investigative role played by the critic. (5) Critique is also about some vision, call it Utopian if you will, of a better, more human future. Of course, critical theorists will differ about the nature and parameters of such a better world but they do at least possess one. The creation of a Critique of what currently exists as paramount reality perforce has behind it an image, however vague, of a world that it is better on the dimensions identified in the critique. To criticise implies that it could be better. To critique creatively is only possible if one has at the back of the mind a hazy image of a Utopian world. (6) Critique, if done properly, is also driven by a sense of intellectualism. That is, that the power of the set of ideas being used has had some revelatory effect upon the user. Of course it would be foolish to believe that every student or reader would have the same liberatory experience as the author when confronting new ideas and methods and frameworks for the first time. But critique is driven in part by the desire to teach, to spread the word, to engage in debate and contestation and to proselytise. It believes in education. Critics believe that education means e-ducere: to lead out by the illumination of new ideas. Critique, above all then, was and is oppositional. The concept that ties all these six strands together is that of continual challenge to the powerful, the orthodox, the iconic. Of course, this leads to a nice paradox in that the concept itself has to follow such a path and therefore has also to be critiqued and opposed. The critique of our critique has to be welcomed and celebrated as a part of permanent opposition.

This statement of intent is clearly a set of scholarly values upon which the practice of the School is predicated. These values promote reading, debate and discussion, and encourage students to share these values. Participation within the community does, however, demand a duty to take the study of management seriously. You will find that your critical thinking develops with reading quality resources. In the next part of this section we will introduce you to the resources that are available to you as a distance learning student.

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Learning resources
Lecturers often hear students on full-time programmes claim that, there is nothing in the library on this subject. The response from the lecturer is usually, are you sure, I mean are you really sure? In the vast majority of cases the student will return to the library and they will find relevant material, in most cases more material than they would wish to find. Studying at a distance from the University does not mean being far from the information you need to undertake your studies. In most cases information that is available on-campus is also available off-campus. The quantity of information available and the developments in the means by which these resources are accessed, is exciting for any student accustomed to more conventional methods, however, you will find that learning to study often partly means learning to use the vast array of information resources available to you. Whilst you may not be able to simply stroll into the Leicester library, there is a wide range of resources available to you as a University of Leicester student. These resources take many forms and include books, databases, journal articles, market reports, business news and company records. A key skill for any student is the ability to identify, obtain, analyse and evaluate key materials in their subject area. The need to develop this skill applies regardless of whether you are a full-time or distance learning student. There is a wide range of guides on using the library; the material in this study book has been written to provide you with a quick reference guide. Most students are familiar with Google and similar search engines. These provide a wide range of material, some of which may be helpful to your studies. Simply relying on the results from Google or Wikipedia is insufficient and unacceptable. The Internet is a powerful research tool, however, the information super-highway is compromised with information that is sponsored by powerful commercial interests or simply inaccurate. This does not mean that these sites cannot or should not be used, rather it means you need to use this information with caution. Before you use information on the Internet, consider several issues: Who is writing this information? Do they have expertise in their field? Do they have any commercial motivation for sponsoring their website?

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Do they have another agenda that might hamper them from giving reliable information? Are they educators or involved in education? This source does not remove them from critique, but it helps to situate the material and the possible purpose that the material is being used for. What is the purpose of the organisation that is making the information available on this website? For example PBS, http://www.pbs.org/, the public broadcasting service in the US, maintains a website that has a great deal of information on science programmes like Nova, Nature, The American Experience or Scientific American Frontiers. Like the BBC, the information generated by these programmes is well-researched and reliable. It is often put together by experts in their field, and can point to new sources of information that are also reliable and interesting. Is the source peer reviewed? Highly reputable journals in their field will be peer reviewed; the articles inside the journal have been approved of by experts in the same field who have experience reading and writing in this discipline. Once again this does not remove them from critique; it is possible to suggest that the editorial board and publishers involved in the production of the journals are themselves part of a powerful network with vested interests. Time can sometimes be an issue for research, however not always in the way that students expect. Students often seek out the most recent articles for a variety of reasons, including a feeling that new ideas are more innovative and better than old ones. While it is true that students should be aware of the new trends in their particular area of business, they should always ensure that they have gained a full grasp of the classics in their particular area as well . An awareness of the time period in which the author was writing provides the reader with insights into the context and possibly the motivations for writing. Using high quality resource materials that enjoy a good reputation amongst experts within the subject area requires students to use the library as the main source of information. For students on campus the library is often seen as a repository for books. In contrast for distance learning students, it is best to think of the library as a portal that helps you as you navigate to a myriad online resources. Some of these resources are held by the University, others are available through third-party suppliers to which the University has subscribed on

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your behalf. Due to the commercial value of this information, nearly all the resources available through the University of Leicester library portal are protected through a password/authentication system. This authentication system is referred to as Athens and it provides a uniform means of access to the wide range of services available to you. In most cases Athens works as a cookie on your Internet browser granting you permission to the sites you are entering. To activate the Athens cookie you need to submit your CFS username and password to the following website, https://adas.le.ac.uk/adas/ Please note that some third-party sites do not automatically register the cookie when you visit them (e.g. Emerald). In these cases you may have to log in to Athens again via the third-party website. For example, on the Emerald website you need to click Athens Log In on the top menu bar. The website will then search for your Athens cookie and your username will change from GUEST to UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER.

The library portal


The library homepage can be found at, http://www.le.ac.uk/li/ The homepage provides you with links to: information on the library service, links to the library catalogue, links to the online resources, and helpful guides. This is your starting point when searching for information. The resources are fairly comprehensive and cover all programmes and levels. You will probably find that you do not require all of these resources. It is often helpful for students to visit www.le.ac.uk/li and explore the information on the library, support available, services and facilities provided. Once you have familiarised yourself with general structure of the library you will see that there is more to the library than borrowing a book. The next part of this guide is organised by key activities that a distance learning student will need to undertake. Due to the volume and variety of material available to you, we cannot provide a definitive list of resources and activities. We strongly encourage you to take a little bit of time to

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firstly follow this guide and then begin exploring for yourself. Further information is available at the end of this section.

Searching for and downloading a journal article


You are expected to make use of referred journal articles when attempting assignments and completing your dissertation. Journals are produced by a wide number of publishers. Most journals are now available online either via a publishers website or through a searchable index system. Access to the article is dependent upon the institution subscribing to the journal or to the online service. The two key resources you need to become familiar with are Business Source Premier and Emerald. To access these resources: (1) (2) (3) Go to http://www.le.ac.uk/li/ Follow the link to Login to Athens. Enter your CFS username and password. Wait for the screen to close. This will return you to the library homepage. Click on subject rooms. Click Management on the menu. Click Management from the menu bar at the top of the screen. Click on Business Source Premier or Emerald as appropriate.

(4) (5) (6)

(7)

Both of these resources allow you to search for articles through author name, subject name, title, journal, date etc. It is often helpful to use an example to explain the process to obtain journal material. Follow the instructions below: (7) (8) (9) Enter Business Source Premier. Navigate to the search facility. Type organisational culture in the search box.

(10) Click on Academic Journals when the list appears.

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(11) Scroll down the list until you find: Towards a Multicultural World: Identifying Work Systems, Practices and Employee Attitudes that Embrace Diversity. By: Hrtel, Charmine E. J. Australian Journal of Management, Dec2004, Vol. 29 Issue 2, p189-200, 12p; (AN 15696711) (12) Click on PDF Full Text. The article should now be displayed for you. You will have found that the search (step 9) produced hundreds of citations for articles. Whilst some of the articles will be directly linked to a pdf, others will require you to click the LEICESTER E-LINK. This is a tool to try to locate the article for you. Where possible it will provide a link directly to the article, journal or publisher. Please note that this link may be a third-party website and will require you to log in again to Athens. Always look for the Athens log in facility on the website. It is useful to examine the different journals available via Emerald and Business Source Premier. Follow the instructions above and enter Emerald Full Text. Type in the search box organisational culture. Compare the resulting list to that produced by Business Source Premier.

Searching for and reading an e-book


Increasingly publishers are making books available electronically. This offers significant benefits to students who are not located near to the library. Please note that not all books are available electronically. To search for an e-book follow these instructions: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) Go to http://www.le.ac.uk/li/ Click on Search Library Catalogue. Select E-Resources on Catalogue searches. As an example, search for marketing. From the resulting list select, Business Networks in Japan: Supplier-customer Interaction in Product Development by Laage-Hellman, Jens.

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(6)

Click on the URL link to the above e-book. This will take you to a third-party provider in this instance. It will probably inform you of your viewing options. Look for Log in. Select Athens Users.

(7) (8)

Finding information on markets


For some of your assignments you may wish to provide case examples for the market concerned, or find out a little bit more about typical supplier relations, market share, consumer research for example. There is a range of industry renowned resources available to you through the library. The key information providers for market data are Mintel, Business Insights, Keynote, and GMID. To access market data resources follow these instructions: (1) (2) (3) Go to http://www.le.ac.uk/li/ Click on Subject Rooms. Select management from the menu and you will be taken to the management subject room. Select marketing; this will take you to the marketing room where you will find links to Mintel, Business Insights, Keynote, and GMID. Select Mintel. Click on the Athens Log in. You may be asked to provide further information to obtain validation. This should take a few seconds. In the Quick Search box type pharmaceuticals. This will produce a list of reports to which you have access.

(4)

(5) (6)

(7)

Using the same search term examine the reports available through Keynote, Business Insights, and GMID.

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Finding information on company reports


Company reports and sets of accounts can also be accessed via the library. The main resources are Bankscope, Fame, and Mergent Online. To access the company report resources follow these instructions: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) Go to http://www.le.ac.uk/li/ Click on Subject Rooms. Click on Finance. Select Bankscope, for example. Click on Athens Off-Campus Log in. Select Search. In the search box type Barclays. This will produce a list of reports to which you have access. Select Barclays Bank Plc.

(8)

Not everything is online


Whilst the University endeavours to make as many materials as possible available electronically, some resources remain in a hardcopy-only format. These resources can be ordered via the Interlibrary loan system. Interlibrary loans are loans from one lending institution to another, typically from the British Library to the University of Leicester library. Each loan counts against a yearly quota of interlibrary loans allocated to each member of the university community. So, for example, you may request a photocopy of an article for which you have found a citation but not the full text. These will, generally, take some time to come to you. Books can only be borrowed on interlibrary loan if you pick them up at the University of Leicester library. In general, you will probably use this resource sparingly. For more information on interlibrary loan, go to http://www.le.ac.uk/li/services/interlibrary.html

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Further information
The objective here has been to give you a quick-start guide to using the library. More comprehensive guides to the library and the resources available can be found at http://www.le.ac.uk/li Note especially the section for Distance Learners & Part-time Research Students. If you experience any difficulty using Athens, please read the guidance at http://www.le.ac.uk/li/sources/dbs/athensauth.html

Concluding Comments
Critical thinking is at the heart of studying with the School of Management. Within this section we have introduced you to ideas of and approaches to learning, and we have encouraged you to reflect on your own learning style. We have suggested that critical thinking requires access to quality learning materials to help you in the process of identifying theoretical positions and assumptions. By being a registered student at the University of Leicester you will have at your disposal a vast array of high quality learning materials. These resources are available online and via interlibrary loan. In the sections to come we will return to the idea of critical thinking, both in the sense of how it will assist you in approaching assessments and also in terms of how you might evaluate knowledge and knowing.

Key Reading
You should now read the following before carrying on with the module: [Reading 6] Chapter 6 (Resources for Studying) from Studying at a Distance by Christine Talbot Reading 6 is at the end of this section.

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Further Reading
The following sources provide further information on critical thinking, and you are strongly encouraged to read them: Cottrell, S. (2005) Critical Thinking Skills: Developing effective analysis and argument, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Gilkey, R. and Kilts, C. (2007) Cognitive fitness, Harvard Business Review, 85 (11), Nov., pp. 5366 There is a range of online resources which explain and promote critical thinking. You may wish to visit the following: http://www.criticalthinking.org/ http://infotrac.thomsonlearning.com/infowrite/critical.html You will find a range of further readings and tutorials on using the library resources effectively on Blackboard.

Tasks
3.1 Locate the following article: Newell, P. (2005) Citizenship, accountability and community: the limits of the CSR agenda, International Affairs, 81 (3), May, pp. 541557 3.2 Read Newells article and write a review. As part of that review you may wish to consider the following questions:

What is the aim of the article? What are Newells aims and objectives? What issues/problems/questions are raised?

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What theories and concepts are used? How does Newell use these to organise and represent data,
evidence and experiences?

To what extent is Newell justified in the claims that he


makes? Appendix A provides further useful guidance and a worked example.

References
The following sources were used in writing this section. The references are correct at the time of writing, but note that Internet addresses, editions, publishers and so on are apt to change. We will note changes where we are aware of them on Blackboard. Bloom, B. S. (ed.) (1956) Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Book 1: Cognitive domain, New York: Longman Gibbs, G. (1982) Twenty Terrible Reasons for Lecturing, SCEDSIR Occasional Paper (No. 6) Richardson, J.T.E. (2000) Researching Student Learning: Approaches to studying in campus-based and distance education, Buckingham: SHRE and Open University Press

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MN7200/D Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills

Key Reading 6
Christine Talbot (2007), Studying at a Distance, Resources for Studying

Reproduced with permission of McGraw-Hill

6
Resources for studying
Introduction Course materials Library resources Library catalogues Bookshops Periodicals / journals in various subject disciplines Abstracts and indexes Electronic resources Managing references IT support Summary of Chapter 6

Introduction
As well as receiving a pack of learning materials from your college or university you will probably receive various lists containing details of supplementary readings, some of which you may need to read before the course starts. You need to make a decision about how many books you need to buy (if any) and nd out how many you might be able to borrow. You will also need to search for and retrieve information from many other sources when it comes to preparing for your assignments. It is a good idea to nd out now what your sources are, and if necessary to make arrangements in advance for accessing resources.

6.1 Course materials


You will either have already received or will shortly receive a pack of materials related to your course they may be paper-based, on a CD-ROM or DVD, or available on the web. If you are following a full programme of study you will probably receive material for each module a couple of weeks before it starts. As well as learning materials, you may receive a copy of one or two set textbooks

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which are integral to your studies, and / or possibly some photocopied articles. Video or audiotapes might also be included for some modules. Case studies are being used increasingly as course materials in higher education to bring to life, in an interesting and relevant way, those ideas and concepts included in your course. They are also forming a growing part of assessment. The degree to which case studies are included on a course clearly will vary according to their relevance to a particular subject area, and within that area from one module to another.

Difculty: Panic when course materials received new language not workbased topics. Strategy: Start at the back!! Read the references and recommended reading list. Select a recent comprehensive reference which covers the topic in a broad way. Reading this rst may give an overview of where the module ts with current practice / application to your work.

6.2 Library resources


Students are increasingly turning to electronic resources available via the web to nd information for completing their assignments. Thousands of electronic journals are now available and these provide far more up-to-date material than books can. If you have access to the web you are likely to go there rst when you begin to search for resources. In this sense you are not disadvantaged by being a distance learner. The best starting point for any student looking for resources will be the library website of the educational institution where you are registered. This is especially important for distance learners as you will need usernames and passwords from the website to access electronic resources off campus. (We will look in a lot more detail at electronic resources in Section 6.7).

Library access is a signicant issue. Many books [at my] university [library] which are popular text[s] are [on] one week loan and therefore no use to us as we are . . . 80 miles away.

However, many resources are still only available within a conventional (not electronic) library. A number of different library resources are probably available to you. It is possible (especially if you are employed by a large

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organization) that you will nd some of the materials you need at work. Even if there is no formal library it is worth asking around various people you may nd the text you need sitting on someones shelf. Your local public library (where available) may have some of the materials you need, although it is unlikely to have the more specialist journals that you will require. Even if it does not have a lot of the resources you need, it is possible that your local library could provide the quiet, well-lit, warm study space that you need and give you access to a PC. Some people nd that the local branch of their professional association has a small specialist library.

Difculty: Being a long way away from the uni library. When only in [my university] about one day per month, getting books out is impossible. I found using a local university library where I live the best option for access any day I want.

If you do not regularly visit the institution where you are registered, it may be more convenient to visit the library in your local college or university. Many UK university libraries are members of the UK Libraries Plus scheme that allows library access for staff and students of member institutions. Part-time non-distance learning students, and full- and part-time students on distance learning courses, are also allowed borrowing rights. Whichever category you belong to, you will rst of all need to obtain a UK Libraries Plus membership card from your own university library. You can do this either by visiting one of the library sites in person (where feasible) or by contacting the distance learning services co-ordinator or equivalent member of staff in your library. They should be able to post your UK Libraries Plus card to you. For an up-todate list of the institutions participating in the UK Libraries Plus scheme, see their website: www.uklibrariesplus.ac.uk. If you need to use a library not included in the list, please contact the member of library staff who is responsible for services to distance learners at the university or college where you are a registered student. They may be able to arrange reading or even borrowing rights for you at your local library on an ad hoc basis.

Strategy: Ensuring that you have access to good library facilities prior to commencing your studies if accessing [your university] is difcult. Visit other university libraries which have related courses and ask if you can join. Local postgraduate library facility [was] very helpful and on [my] doorstep.

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As a registered student at your college or university you are, of course, entitled to use all of its own library facilities. In practice it may not be that easy to do so, especially if you live and work some distance away and never or rarely attend your study institution. If you can attend in person then the usual reference, lending, photocopying and document supply services are obviously available to you. Various paper library guides may be available to help you with your studies. These could include a guide to services that are available for off-campus users and a guide to referencing bibliographic and electronic resources in your assignments. Ask your course administrator or course leader for copies of these or contact the library direct. Most guides are now likely to be available online as well. Some specic services may be in place to assist students on distance learning courses, such as: A specic point of contact (phone number or email address) for assisting distance learners in using library resources Photocopy delivery service for distance learners only Postal loan service for distance learners only Other services that are useful for distance learners may in fact be available for all students, for example: Off-campus access to electronic library resources Telephone renewals Online renewals / reservations

Access through the Internet to the university library is wonderful, and apart from physically collecting or returning books you can do almost every other library activity, which is so helpful at distance.

Activity Twenty
It is probably advisable to make an initial visit at a very early stage to the library that will be your main or sole resource centre. You might do this in person or you may be able to do it just as well by visiting the website of the library to discover what information sources are available. Make a note of the most obvious sources of information likely to be relevant to your eld of study. Some will be printed materials, others CD-ROMs and others will only be available online. It may be that those in the two latter categories can be accessed from your desktop computer without having to

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go to the library. However, you may need to register at the library in order to be able to access them in this way. Others will only be available using the librarys own computers or from a computer on a university or college campus. Increasingly, electronic resources are being made available to all students off-campus. However, each institution will have its own licencing arrangements with publishers. In many cases it is still more expensive for libraries to pay for a licence for off-campus access to resources. Even where electronic resources are provided to off-campus users by the library at the study institution where you are registered, you may need to make arrangements well in advance to receive usernames and passwords electronically or by post to access them, if a personal visit to that library is unrealistic.

6.3 Library catalogues


The catalogue of your local academic library is likely to be the starting point in any search for resources. In most libraries the catalogue will now be computerised, but in some libraries you may nd that the catalogue is still only available on cardboard catalogue cards in drawers. Some may well have a combination of the two systems, where details of the older bookstock have not yet been transferred to the computerized system. Computerized systems vary and you may be advised to seek an introductory leaet, verbal explanation or online guide of how to use it on your rst visit to a new library (or its website). Usually an online library catalogue will have a subject index, so you can focus a search on a specic subject area. Most also have a keyword search facility, so you can enter your own topic area to get a list of holdings. (This will be in addition to being able to search by author or title of a book or journal title.) If the catalogue is computerized you will be able to use it to search for electronic books, journals and databases in the stock of the library, as well as printed books, and to check your own library record and search for other web resources in your subject area. (You cannot use the catalogue to search for specic articles in journals or specic chapters in books.) You may also have access to the catalogues of other libraries via the computers in your local library or via the Internet using your own PC, for example via COPAC, which provides free access to the merged online catalogues of 24 major university research libraries in the UK and Ireland plus the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, and the National Library of Wales / Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru (http://copac.ac.uk). Although such catalogues will provide you with bibliographical information, it may take some time to borrow the books themselves via your librarys document supply service. You can also go directly to the British Library and search its main catalogue

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at http://blpc.bl.uk. It includes details of 12 million books, serials, printed music and maps. You can order loan items or photocopies of journal articles, conference papers or sections of a book direct, either as a registered customer using a customer code and password or as a non-registered customer using a credit card (photocopies only). You can also access from this site other major catalogues and several specialist catalogues. You can search the contents of European national libraries at the website of the European Library at www.theeuropeanlibrary.org. The European Library plans to include all European Union (EU) national libraries by the end of 2007 and aims to access the digital collections of all 45 member libraries by 2010. If you visit the Reference and subject resources page of the HERO (Higher Education and Research Opportunities in the UK) website (www.hero.ac.uk/ uk/reference_and_subject_resources/index.cfm) you will nd links to library catalogues and other library-related resources around the world. Alternatively you can go direct to the National Library Catalogues Worldwide website at www.library.uq.edu.au/natlibs for a list of national catalogues arranged alphabetically by country. This website is maintained by the University of Queensland, Australia. As the website managers point out, national libraries collect a copy of everything published in their countries. However, not all national catalogues have computerized records of everything in their collections (especially items obtained some time ago) nor are all national catalogues on free access or available 24 hours a day.

6.4 Bookshops
If a book is not easily available from your local library or via the document supply service or any other library, you may have to consider the option of buying your own copy, especially if you consider it as potentially a key text. You may be fortunate enough to have easy access to a good academic bookshop but even where this is the case, you may nd it quicker, cheaper and / or more convenient to search for a book yourself using one of an increasing number of online bookshops available on the web. Some such bookshops, for example, WHSmith online (www.whsmith.co.uk); Waterstones (www. waterstones.com); Amazon.com (www.amazon.com); and Amazon.co.uk (the UK branch of the US online bookshop, www.amazon.co.uk), offer an email notication service of new books which meet your specications. You may simply use such services to get bibliographical information on new titles in your subject area or by a particular author with no obligation to buy from them. (There are other similar current awareness services for books and journals see Section 6.7 for details.) If you decide to purchase books from such sources remember that you will probably have to pay postage and package costs on top of the price of the books themselves. In the UK it is

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possible to order books online from some suppliers (for example, WHSmith or Waterstones) and have them delivered postage free to a local branch of the store. You could also try websites that specialise in offering discounted textbooks for sale, for example, ReadMore (www.readmore.co.uk) (formerly Swotbooks.com), which offers discounts of up to 40 per cent off the full prices. Once youve nished with your textbooks you could even get some money back by selling them through an online service such as Studentbooks.co.uk (http://studentbooks.co.uk) which puts student buyers and sellers of used books in contact with each other.

6.5 Periodicals / journals in various subject disciplines


Lists of journals, which your university or college library subscribes to, may be available for various subject areas as printed leaets as well as on the computerized catalogue. Once you (perhaps with the help of your tutor) have identied relevant titles that are held by the library, it is as well to regularly check new issues as they are published for appropriate articles, as there is always a delay before they are included in published abstracts or indexes. It may be possible regularly to receive the contents pages of the most appropriate journals by email (again see Current awareness services in Section 6.7).

6.6 Abstracts and indexes


Abstracts of and indexes to journal articles may be available in paper or electronic format (in databases). Clearly the latter are much quicker to search (see Section 6.7 for more details). Author, title or subject searches will reveal relevant articles. While indexes are useful, an abstract of an article will be a great deal more help in enabling you to decide whether or not to get hold of the full article, since the abstract should give you a clear indication of the contents.

6.7 Electronic resources


Although academic libraries continue to stock thousands of books and hundreds of journals in paper format, many of the resources that you will need for your studies are now available in electronic format. These are likely to include e-books, e-journals, bibliographic (including full-text) databases and

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other databases that the library subscribes to itself, plus numerous library web pages containing links to external resources and tools available on the web. Remember that, as with any other resources, you must provide references of any electronic resources that you use in your assignments, so as not to be accused of plagiarism. This is especially important if you quote word for word some of the information that you nd. Many academic institutions now use plagiarism detection software, so they will be able to discover if you have simply copied things from the web, rather than written about a topic in your own words. You will need to record as much information as possible about websites you consult and from which you save information, including the full URL (web address) and the date when you visited the site. (See Section 6.8 for more on managing references and Section 7.3 for more on plagiarism.)

Information literacy
In seeking information relevant to your eld, you are searching for very specic data from a huge amount of data. It is vitally important that, if you do not already possess them, you quickly acquire a set of information literacy skills that will help you to extract, from the millions of resources available, those that will be most relevant to your studies and assignments. But being information literate means being able not only to nd resources, but to manage, evaluate and use effectively the information that you obtain. The best people to help you acquire these skills are those who are familiar with the literature in your subject area your tutor or a subject librarian or information ofcer. As stated earlier, the best starting point for any student looking for resources will be the library website. You will need to use usernames and passwords to access resources to which the library subscribes, so you must go via the university or college network to be able to do so. Most academic library websites will also include links to workbooks or online tutorials to teach you how to use a range of library resources and how to search for other information on the web. The library materials are likely to include general tutorials, such as how to use the Endnote bibliographic management software, for example, and subject-specic tutorials for your own subject area. The FAME database, for example, provides information on companies, including nancial data. The library website is also likely to include contact details for the librarian(s) for your subject area, so that you can liaise with them and get help with, for example, accessing electronic journals off-campus. There is a comprehensive collection of information literacy web pages, workbooks and online tutorials linked from the library training web page of Leeds University Library at www.leeds.ac.uk/library/training. These training materials have been created by the Information Literacy Team, led by Angela Newton at the University of Leeds. The materials are on open access, although some are only relevant to University of Leeds students (such as those on the library catalogue or the Leeds VLE). Remember that you will not be able to

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access the resource materials themselves (databases, e-journals, and so on) without a username and password provided by your own study institution.

Authors note
Although I have attempted in the following paragraphs to include examples available around the world, I appreciate that some of the resources listed are relevant only to students who are registered with a study institution in the UK (and Ireland in some instances). My apologies to those of you who are registered with institutions outside of the UK. Hopefully your institutions library website will lead you to equivalent national resources.

Databases bibliographic and full-text


Bibliographic databases, giving references to the published literature in a specic subject area, are a good way of identifying respected work in your subject or by a particular author. They provide the facility for you to type in authors names or words and short phrases that describe your area of interest so that you can precisely locate relevant published information. Your search will generate a list of references, mainly to journal articles, but also to newspaper articles, conference proceedings and some theses and ofcial publications. From the list of references you need to decide which items look most relevant and locate these. Many databases include a short summary or abstract for each item to help you assess its value and relevance to your search topic. You may well nd that some of the journals containing the articles which you have selected from databases will not be held in the library where you are a registered member. In this case you need to be sure of their relevance since you will probably have to pay something towards the cost of each item obtained by the library via the document supply service or you will have the cost and inconvenience of having to travel some distance yourself to obtain access to the articles. Full-text databases are similar to bibliographic databases, except that they go a step further and provide links to whole articles (and other items) online, rather than just the references to the articles. This means that you can access resources in one operation, rather than nding references and then having to locate the resources themselves via the library catalogue or the web. It is impossible to provide extensive details here of databases in lots of subject areas, since they are constantly changing and being updated. It is much better to consult your librarys website. However I will outline, below, details of some of the more generic services available together with a few subject-specic examples. Some databases are multidisciplinary, for example Web of Science (part of Web of Knowledge), which consists of the Science Citation Index, the Social Science Citation Index and the Arts and Humanities Citation Index. Some material on Web of Science is full text, but for other articles just a reference and an abstract

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are given. An extremely useful feature of Web of Science is the ability to do a citations search, that is, you can search for articles that make reference to a particular author. This is very useful for nding out who has built on a seminal piece of research. CSA Illumina (Cambridge Scientic Abstracts) covers 100 bibliographic and full-text databases. It is used in academic institutions across the world. You can select specic databases in which to conduct your search, or you can opt to search across one of four broad subject areas: natural sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities or technology. RLG (the Research Libraries Group, an organization that supports researchers and learners worldwide) maintains the Eureka database service. It covers several databases of materials in the arts and humanities. ABI/Inform Global (part of ProQuest) covers management, nance, marketing and business journals, providing abstracting and indexing services, together with full-text articles for recent years from more than 700 journals. There are several abstracting and indexing services for scientic literature, for example INSPEC (which covers physics, computing and electrical engineering and much more). The Australian Education Index includes many thousands of entries relating to educational research, policy and practice from Australian and international journals, books, conference proceedings and papers, research and technical reports, theses and legislation. You can use a database such as MEDLINE for medical bibliographical data and UKOP Online for information on UK ofcial publications. It should be possible to access some or all of the above (and many others) via your study institutions library website. Remember, though, that the databases are not in-house catalogues and that, if the database is not a full-text service, you will need to check the library catalogue to nd out whether or not the journal or newspaper in which the article is to be found is held in your library. Although there are some similarities to searching in various databases you will need specic instructions on how to search a particular database. Many libraries will have these instructions both in printed format and available on their web pages. You will sometimes need a username and password to gain access to the database; these will be provided by your library. In some cases they will appear on screen, in others you will need to request them from the library staff. An Athens username and password are needed to access several databases. For details of how to obtain your username and password go to your university Athens information page. Off-campus you need to use a personal Athens account. This should be generated automatically for all students. You will need to use the username and password given to you at the time of registration as a student to log into the librarys web pages in order to gain access to further usernames and passwords (including Athens) to access some resources. This can be a very cumbersome process. Increasingly institutions are addressing this issue and are developing new systems to make access to all resources available via a single login. This will often be via a portal (see Section 5.4).

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Activity Twenty-One
Explore (briey) the list of bibliographical databases that are available from your librarys website. Bookmark, that is add to your Favourites list, those that are likely to be most useful when conducting a full-scale literature search in your subject area.

E-journals
A rapidly increasing number of academic journals are available on the web. Not all of these will be available to users of all libraries, since the individual library must pay a subscription before their users are allowed access. The library will provide a listing of the journals to which it subscribes, and links from its own website to those journals. E-journals should be listed in the library catalogue. In addition to a librarys own list, there are various other listings of e-journals, for example, Science Direct (a database of more than 2,000 electronic journals) and Ingenta Journals. It is often possible to obtain articles via such listings even when your own library does not have a subscription to the journal, but you will have to pay a fee yourself to, for example, IngentaConnect (which currently has thousands of full-text electronic articles available from an expanding range of more than 5,000 leading academic journals). The BUBL Electronic Journals List includes details of electronic newsletters and magazines of general interest produced within the UK higher education community. As with most of the web-based databases, electronic journals require a password for access. These passwords are kept on secure library web pages that cannot normally be viewed off-campus. However, there should be a way of remotely accessing the computer network of the institution at which you are registered as a student and nd the password that is needed for access to the resources. A growing number of open access journals are appearing on the web, largely as a result of the Open Access Movement, a worldwide movement that aims to make peer-reviewed research literature in all subjects and all languages freely available via the Internet. The Directory of Open Access Journals (www.doaj.org) (set up in 2003 by Lund University in Sweden) is a useful tool to use to nd open access articles relevant to your subject. It has over 120,000 peer-reviewed articles from more than 2,000 journals.

E-books
Many libraries now subscribe to some of the growing number of e-books available. Some will do this via various online collections, such as the Oxford Reference Online Collection or netLibrary, which is a collection of e-books

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covering a wide variety of subject areas, including business, management, economics, history and literature. Where there is an electronic version of a book available, the library catalogue will provide a web link and the book will then be displayed on your PC for you to browse through. (You will need a username and password to use e-books in subscription collections.) An increasing number of e-books and other texts, particularly classic works of history and literature, are now freely available on the web. For example, the Online Library of Literature at www.literature.org and the Oxford Text Archive (OTA) website, which works closely with members of the Arts and Humanities academic community to collect, catalogue, and preserve highquality electronic texts for research and teaching. The OTA currently distributes more than 2500 resources in over 25 different languages, and is actively working to extend its catalogue of holdings (http://ota.ahds.ac.uk).

Searchable lists of web resources


In addition to the librarys own online literature resources, such as databases, e-journals and e-books, you may need to search for other websites that contain up-to-date information relevant to your course. You can nd information on the web yourself using search engines (see below) but there are also other sources of details of websites available. Your library may well have compiled a list of quality free websites, selected by specialist subject librarians in consultation with academic staff. These may be called subject indexes or subject directories and provide lists of websites organized into subject categories. There are also tools through which you can search far more widely for information on the web. These tools are sometimes known as subject information gateways, subject portals or subject trees. They will provide descriptions of web resources in particular subject areas, such as ADAM for art, design, architecture and media, Biz-Ed for business education, OMNI (part of Intute) for health and medical information and SOSIG for the social sciences. If you discover one for your subject area, add it to your list of favourite websites and always try it rst. You are likely to nd much higher quality materials for academic study (although less of it) using a subject portal than you will with a search engine, since portals have the advantage of having been reviewed by experts in the eld. Search your library website for details of subject information gateways in your subject area. Some subject portals provide information in much broader subject areas, for example Intute, a free online service created by a network of UK universities and partners, containing more than 100,000 records. Subject specialists select and evaluate the websites and write high quality descriptions of the resources. Intute also has a virtual training suite (formerly the Resource Discovery Network VTS) that provides tutorials to help you learn how to nd information on the web for your education and research. Another subject portal is BUBL LINK (LIbraries of Networked Knowledge), the name of a catalogue of selected Internet resources covering all academic subject areas from around the world and

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catalogued according to the Dewey Decimal Classication (DDC). All items are selected, evaluated, catalogued and described. Links are checked and xed each month. The current catalogue holds several thousand resources of all types, from discographies to satellite images. Although this is much smaller than the databases of some major search engines, it can provide a more effective route to information for many subjects across all disciplines. You can usually go from subject portals to the specic websites by clicking on the appropriate links on screen. Your course tutor or module tutor may also be able to recommend current sites in your particular eld. For some of your assignments, though, and certainly for any research project, you will be expected to discover such information for yourself. Various resources are available to help you do this.

Activity Twenty-Two
1 Access the BUBL LINK, either via your library website or direct at: www.bubl.ac.uk. Either go to one of the broad subject areas arranged by DDC or nd a more specic subject via the alphabetical arrangement. Read the descriptions provided, then have a look at the range of resources available for your subject area by clicking on the appropriate links on screen. Bookmark any resources you come across that may be useful for future reference. 2 Explore the list of subject portals that are available on your library website. Choose a service that is relevant to your subject area and explore the resources it contains by searching or browsing. Bookmark any resources that may be useful for future reference.

Search engines
If you do not manage to nd all the information that you need through databases or subject information gateways you may need to search more widely on the web, but care is needed when doing this as many websites contain information that is too generic for academic purposes. Although the web is full of useful information to help you when doing assignments or research projects, it also has, unfortunately, rather a lot of totally irrelevant information as well. It is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that spending hours surng the net is the equivalent of doing real work for your assignments. It is probably advisable to set yourself limits on the amount of time you spend searching and stick to them! In order to spend your time most effectively you are best off avoiding searching the web at busy times of the day and you need to make use of the growing number of tools which are now available to help you search for relevant material. Search engines will search the web for web pages and documents (including

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pdfs). They will generate a list of addresses of websites (URLs) where you will nd information on a very specic subject. If you make your search terms too broad, a search could generate hundreds if not thousands of URLs. Some search engines are better than others for a particular subject area and there are those that are more appropriate to use for academic purposes, since they control the web pages that are included in their databases. There are also those that are easier to use than others because they have more exible search query language and features such as phrase searching, Boolean searching and restricting the search by date. (Boolean searching is searching according to a set of rules about word order and use of symbols to aid the search.) Alta Vista, Google and Ask.com are three examples of search engines that incorporate many such features. Most search engines will only search a proportion of the total web, with different search engines searching different parts of it. However, some search engines are meta search engines (for example MetaCrawler, Ixquick and 1-Page Multi Search) that search multiple engines simultaneously. While this may save time, you may lose some control over your search if you cannot be as specic in your search terms. To save time, if you are resident in the UK, consider using UK search engines as they will probably be less busy than the ones sited in the US and you will be searching in a smaller database. For instance you could try using Yahoo UK and Ireland or Alta Vista UK rather than the full American equivalents. You can restrict your search to academic or scholarly websites by using Google Scholar. This searches scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources, including theses, books, abstracts and articles. If you want to nd images to include in your assignments you can use the main Google search engine, but restrict the results to images by clicking on the images tag at the top of the page. You could also use a search engine that only searches for images, such as Picsearch, which will nd pictures, images and animations. Remember that if you reproduce these in your work you must acknowledge the source of the images, so as not to be accused of plagiarism (see Section 7.3), and there will be some images that you are not allowed to reproduce, because of copyright issues, without paying a fee to the artist. There are also issues of the quality of the image after reproducing it, so care is needed in this area. Whichever search engine you are using the following tips will prove useful: Plan your search beforehand Read the help pages of the search engine Use the advanced search option Use phrases Search in the titles of web pages Dont look beyond the rst couple of pages of results If it looks useful bookmark it (that is, add to your list of favourite sites)

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Activity Twenty-Three
Access the Alta Vista search engine, either via your library website or direct at www.altavista.com or http://uk.altavista.com (with the option of searching UK sites only). Click your mouse inside the search form and type some keywords that describe your topic of interest. Try to use several words and use uncommon words if possible. Then click on the nd button to start your search. Bookmark (that is add to your list of favourites) any pages you come across which may be useful for future reference. Tips for using Alta Vista are available via the help prompt.

Search strategies
Whichever tools you are going to use to search the web, it is crucial that you rst develop your search strategy planning your search carefully will mean that you retrieve the material that suits your purpose more quickly. If you do not achieve the results you would like, you will need to look at your search results to see if they indicate how you can modify your initial search. Searching the web may yield full text documents, but often you will be retrieving references to other sources, often in paper format, which you will then need to trace using your library catalogue. In planning any search there are a number of steps to take: 1 2 3 4 5 6 Dene your topic, that is, establish its scope and the keywords for searching Structure your search Choose appropriate information sources to search Perform your search View the results Review your results and rene the search if necessary

If you dont nd the information you need at rst you may need to go back and revisit some of the steps.

Dene your topic: scope and keywords


Think carefully about the sorts of words you could use to describe your topic effectively. Thought-storm the topic, so that you write down as many keywords as you can think of that describe it. Use both broad terms and more specic ones, so that you can decide if you want to focus on a particular aspect of the topic. The narrower terms might also be useful if your rst search nds too much information, or information that is too general for your needs.

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Think also about the time period in which you are interested. Do you want current information or information that describes what has gone on in the past? Also relevant is the geographical context of your search. Are you interested in country-specic aspects of a particular topic, or are international perspectives of interest to you?

Structure your search


Once you have a set of keywords you need to think about how you are going to use them to formulate a query in order to perform your search. Searches can be broadened or narrowed depending on how you combine your terms. The different tools you will use for searching databases on the web will each have a set way for you to combine your search terms. Search terms can be combined using the operator AND, in order to narrow a search, or they can be combined using the operator OR, in order to broaden a search. However, different search tools will express the concepts AND and OR using different symbols. Some may use the words, others a comma for OR, or a plus sign for AND. On screen help is always available for you to check how to express these operators. The operator NOT is sometimes available to exclude terms. For example, if you found that you were retrieving a lot of material on science education by searching for mathematics AND secondary, you could rerun the search explicitly excluding science (mathematics AND secondary) NOT science. Brackets are used to make sure that the sense of the query is clear where more than one operator is used. In some instances you may want to truncate your terms, to pick up singular and plural forms of a term, or you may want to allow for alternative spellings by inserting wildcard characters. Often truncation and wildcard characters are expressed using an asterisk, a question mark or a dollar symbol, depending on the search tool or database being used. For example, where an asterisk is used for truncation, child* will pick up the terms child, children and childhood (as well as childless), and where a question mark is used as a wildcard, organi?ation will pick up organisation and organization. Some search tools and databases allow you to search for specic phrases, often by enclosing the phrase in quotation marks, such as University of Leeds. Field searching is a function which many search engines offer. Field searching enables you to search for a particular word or phrase in a specic eld of a document (such as the title). It is likely that a document which has your chosen keyword in its title will be more relevant to your needs than one that simply mentions the word in passing somewhere in the body of the document. In Alta Vista (see below) you can search for a word in the title of documents by typing title: in front of the word, such as title:technology. Note that the keyword appears directly after the colon, with no spaces. The word title should be typed in lower case.

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Choose appropriate information sources to search


See Databases, Searchable lists of web resources and Search engines above.

Perform your search


Only once you are satised that you have a good structure for your search and have selected the appropriate sources should you actually perform the search. Searching can be time consuming and if you are working from home it can also be very expensive on your phone bill if you are paying for an Internet connection.

View the search results


Once you have performed your search, take a look at your search results displayed on screen. Most search engines use a facility known as relevancy ranking in order to rank your search results in best match order, so that the documents that are most relevant to your keywords appear near the top of the list of your results. This means that the rst page of results is likely to be more relevant to your needs than subsequent pages.

Review and rene your search


Once you have looked at your results, any aws in your search strategy should become apparent. If you have retrieved an unmanageably large number of results, think about repeating your search using more specic terms, or incorporating more terms using AND. If you are nding very few relevant items, are there other terms you could use? Are you making full use of the tools available to you? If you are still not retrieving items, think about other sources you could search.

Record-keeping
You will probably nd it useful to keep a record of the searches that you perform, so that you dont needlessly repeat work, and so that you can look back at the notes and be reminded of the more useful sources that you used. Start by writing down in your own words the information that you are seeking, including the subject for an essay, any particular authors you are looking for and so on. Then keep a note of each date when you perform a search, which databases you searched, the terms (keywords and phrases and / or authors) that you used in the search, and any years by which you restricted the search, such as 20002007. It is useful to record how many results you retrieved for each search and note any comments about the results, such as whether or not a particular database produced far too many or too few results. This may seem quite a lot of work, but you will nd it helpful to be this organized, especially if you are doing searches for a large assignment or research project.

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Once you have generated lots of references, which lead you to resources, you will need to be just as careful in how you manage those references (see Section 6.8).

Current awareness services for resources


It is potentially very time consuming to have to keep going back to the databases and running searches in order to keep up to date with new publications and developments in your eld, although some databases (for example MEDLINE) allow you to store search strategies to rerun at a later date. Many multidisciplinary (for example, Web of Science) and some more subject-specic databases (for example, Sociological Abstracts) now offer alerting services. Automated alerting services can also take away some of the effort of scanning and browsing journals, bulletins, newsletters and websites by doing this for you and sending you updates on new developments in your subject. There are a number of such services available, some of which are outlined below. The Zetoc Service (http://zetoc.mimas.ac.uk) from the British Library is an automated alerting service that emails information about new publications direct to your mailbox. Zetoc is free to use for members of JISC-sponsored UK higher and further education institutions. Zetoc covers over 20,000 journals and around 16,000 conference proceedings published per year. The database covers 1993 to date, and is updated on a daily basis. You can receive: Electronic tables of contents from your favourite journals The results of regular searches on current journal and conference literature on any subject of your choice Copies of all of the articles and conference papers in the database are available at a charge from the British Library, and can be ordered direct or through the document supply service in your library (see Section 6.3). Science Direct Personalization and Alerting Services (which grew out of Elsevier Contents Direct) are available at www.sciencedirect.com. After registering for free with the service you can save a list of journal titles for which you would like automatic notication of the latest tables of contents. You can also ask to be notied when new books in your subject area are published. The notication is sent to you by email whenever the database is updated and new books or journal issues are added. You can link from the email to the full-text version of the article. This will be free to you if your library has a subscription to the journal and you have the relevant username and password or access via Athens. Scholarly Articles Research Alerting (SARA) is run by the Taylor & Francis publishing group. It provides a service whereby you can register to regularly receive, by email, the contents pages of individual journals or clusters of journals which they publish in your subject eld. They have a wide range of titles in the following subject areas: education, gender, healthcare and biomedicine, law,

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management, science and technology, social sciences and humanities. You will nd their website at www.tandf.co.uk/sara. In addition to sending contents pages updates, Taylor & Francis also offer eUpdates, which provide information on journals, books, conferences and other news within your areas of interest. For more information go to www.tandf.co.uk/journals/eupdates.asp. The British Ofcial Publications Current Awareness Service (BOPCAS) provides an email alerting service whereby users can subscribe to one or more policy awareness lists and receive details of recent UK ofcial publications on a weekly basis. Lists include: defence, economy, education, environment, Europe, health, law, science and technology, transport and welfare reform (accessible from www.bopcris.ac.uk/bopcas/public/about.html). Academic institutions and other organizations need to pay a subscription for its members to use the service. The Scout Report is a guide to new web resources which is published weekly on the web or by email by the Internet Scout Project. Their team of professional librarians and subject matter experts select, research and annotate each resource. You can use it to keep up-to-date with new web resources in your subject area. There are reports for three broad subject areas: mathematics, engineering & technology; life sciences; and physical sciences. The home page of the Scout Project website is http://scout.wisc.edu. To nd out when your favourite websites have been updated you can register with ChangeDetection.com who will monitor websites for you for free on a daily basis and notify you by email of any changes. Alternatively, you can set up your own alerts to be notied when specic websites are updated by using RSS feeds / news feeds (see Section 5.14). You can also receive alerts from booksellers when new books in your eld are published (see Section 6.4).

Activity Twenty-Four
Set up an alerting service from Zetoc (or any other appropriate current awareness tool) for a subject area that you have particular interest in. You can cancel this alert at any time.

Electronic networking
You can keep in touch with other people in your subject area via newsgroups and mailing lists on the Internet but, be warned, you can waste a lot of time reading messages posted to such groups and lists when the information is very peripheral to your research. You would be advised to be very selective in the groups and lists that you join. For more details about mailing lists see Section 5.6.

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Newsgroups
A newsgroup is a discussion area on the Internet. Newsgroups are a public area (a bit like a notice board) where people can post information on a variety of topics and discuss their interests with other people. Newsgroups are organized into subjects. They are also organized by type, for example news, rec (recreation), soc (society), sci (science), comp (computers) and so forth (there are many more). Users can post to existing newsgroups, respond to previous posts, and create new newsgroups. You can use a service called Google groups to search the recent archives of newsgroups or to post your own messages to newsgroups (see: http://groups.google.com).

Professional communities
A growing number of professional groups maintain their own websites and databases of researchers and academics in their eld. For example, the Community of Science lists experts and funding opportunities across all elds. You can search Community of Science to nd a researcher doing work in a particular eld. ChemWeb.com is the website of the World Wide Club for the Chemical Community. The site includes: databases containing abstracts, chemical structures, patents, other websites and so on; a worldwide job exchange; The Alchemist ChemWebs own magazine; and a conference diary for the latest events and conferences.

Evaluating websites for quality


Anyone with access to an Internet server can set up their own web pages. This means that there is little control over the quality of material that appears. If the information you nd on a website is going to have any legitimacy / authority / validity you need to ask, and be able to glean satisfactory answers to, the following questions: 1 Can you nd out who is the author of this website? This could be an individual or a corporate author. Is this information clearly available? Is there an email address available at which you could contact the author? 2 Is there any indication of the designation or authority of the author? Can you establish their credentials for example, are they a member of staff in a university department? Is there evidence that their organization supports the information on the web page, is there a copyright statement or is a disclaimer visible on the page? 3 Can you establish the corporate owner of the information? This could be, for example, a university or a commercial company. Can you establish this from the URL if it isnt immediately obvious on the page? For example: does the URL end with .ac.uk (a UK university), .edu (a university in

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the US), .edu.au (an Australian university) or .gov (a governmental organization)? 4 What is your impression of the reliability of the information? On what basis can you form this impression (for example, from prior knowledge of the subject area, from looking at the bibliography or linked information and so on)? 5 How up-to-date is the information? Is there a date when the document was last modied or updated? 6 What do you think about the way in which the information is structured? Is it easy to nd your way around the website? How have graphics been used? Does the text follow basic rules of grammar, spelling and so on? From the answers to the above questions you will be able to form an overall opinion about the quality of any site you visit.

Activity Twenty-Five
Revisit a couple of the sites you bookmarked in Activity Twenty-Three and ask the above questions of each one.

For a free online tutorial (launched in 2006) offering more practical advice on evaluating the quality of websites go to the Internet Detective at www.vts.intute.ac.uk/detective/. This critical approach to websites is required for all of your reading, whatever the source of the information. You will look in detail at reading and writing critically and analytically in Chapters 7 and 8 respectively.

6.8 Managing references


Keep a record
Once you begin to locate useful information for one or more of your assignments using the above methods, it is important that you keep accurate records of all that you nd and to organize those records appropriately. This is particularly important for a larger assignment, and especially so if you embark upon a substantial research project. This is for two reasons. First, when you reread your notes at a later date you may need to return to one of your documents or web pages to recheck something. It can take a very long time or even be impossible to rediscover where you read something several weeks or even only days or hours earlier. Second, you will need to include information on

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all of the resources you have used in your assignments and especially those you have quoted from directly at the end of each of your assignments in a bibliography. Not only does this avoid plagiarism on your part, but it also provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate how extensively you have read about the subject and clearly show the authorities on which you have based your arguments and your conclusions. Since keeping records of your references can be an onerous task, it might be advisable to learn how to use one of the personal bibliographic software packages now available for helping students and researchers keep track of their references. These allow you to create and organize a database of references imported from a library catalogue or bibliographic databases (Web of Science, and so on), or those entered by hand. They automatically create in-text citations and bibliographies in your word processor on your PC in your chosen style. Examples of such packages are Endnote and Reference Manager, both available from Citewise.com (www.citewise.com). You may nd that one or the other is available on the PCs in the computer clusters of some universities or colleges. You can also download a trial copy from Citewise prior to purchasing a copy.

Styles of references
There are many different styles that can be used for citing (mentioning or quoting in the text) and listing references. Individual academic institutions and even different departments within those institutions prefer you to use different styles. It is important that you know before your rst assignment which style is required for your particular module, otherwise you may loose marks. The Harvard system is very popular and it is a particularly helpful one to use, since you can gradually build up your list of references in alphabetical order as you nd and use them in your assignment. This list then becomes your bibliography, which should be included at the end of your assignment. The references cited throughout the main text and listed at the end of the book you are currently reading use the Harvard system, and so provide an example of that system. To cite references using the Harvard system you provide the author and date of publication (plus the exact page numbers when you are directly quoting from the publication) in the main text, then include the details of each publication in the bibliography at the end of the assignment. For the numeric system (another popular choice), you use consecutive numbering of your references in your citations in the text, using (brackets) or superscript, and a numeric list in the same order at the end of the assignment (or sometimes at the bottom of each page as footnotes). Where the same reference is cited on several occasions in the text, the number used the rst time in the text for that reference may be repeated throughout the text, or you may use a separate number each time it is cited (check which method is preferred by your tutor / institution). Various guides (online and hard copy) to citations and to the Harvard and other systems of referencing are available. Some of these may be available

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via your college or university librarys website, but the following are two examples: At www.staffs.ac.uk/uniservices/infoservices/library/learn/cite.php you will nd practical pages outlining different citation systems including Harvard, numeric, MLA (Modern Languages Association) and APA (American Psychological Association) provided by Staffordshire University and with links to resources from various other institutions. There is an example on open access of how to reference virtually any format of resource in the Harvard and numeric style at the following Leeds University Library web page: www.leeds.ac.uk/library/training/referencing. A guide previously available online is now available in hard copy only Pears and Shield (2005), Cite them Right: The Essential Guide to Referencing and Plagiarism. It includes examples of referencing new media, including the Internet, text messages and VLEs. (For more on recording and using sources and on plagiarism see Section 7.3.)

6.9 IT support
It may well be the case that access to a PC with an Internet connection was stated as a prerequisite for your course, in which case you will have had ample time to either purchase your own equipment or arrange access to the necessary equipment at work or elsewhere. Even if it is not stated as a prerequisite, the advantages of having access to such equipment must be clear by now, especially for accessing information, for writing your assignments, and for reducing isolation by being able to communicate electronically with tutors, students and the course administrator. Computer viruses can be spread very easily through distance learning contacts. Once again let me emphasize the wisdom of installing a proprietary brand virus checker, such as McAfee VirusScan, and check all les sent to you before opening them.

Computer services helpdesk


Any help in dealing with problems with your hardware must come from the supplier of that hardware, but you will usually be entitled to support from the helpdesk at your university or college with any aspect of their networked computer services, including passwords. Whether you are using a PC in a computer cluster or using one at home or work, you should be able to ask for help with accessing electronic sources, provided you are using them via the institutions network. You should be entitled to help with and advice on all of the services that your computer services department supports, as specied in their service level agreement.

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Activity Twenty-Six
It would be useful to discover at an early stage what helpdesk support is available to you. It could take quite a while to nd out the specic telephone number you need to ring or email address you need to use for help with a computer network problem. It is much better to have this information already to hand at the time of any mini-crisis in that area. Many helpdesks will publish frequently asked questions (FAQs) and longer guides on using IT. Try searching your study institutions website using the terms computer services or information systems services for links to the support available.

Summary of Chapter 6
In this chapter you have: Investigated what sources of resources are available to you Explored some of the recommended resources Made arrangements (if necessary) to access other resources Learned how to evaluate web resources Given some thought to how you are going to manage references Been encouraged to discover what IT support is available from the institution where you are registered

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MN7200/D SECTION 4

Assessment Reading, Writing and Referencing

Section 4

Assessment Reading, Writing and Referencing


Learning Objectives
In earlier sections you have considered your learning style and the learning environment. You will hopefully have a sense of what motivates you and be able to reflect on your particular learning style. This information helps to give you a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses as a learner. We now turn our attention to the mode of assessment on a programme and the strategies that a student can employ to approach an assessment effectively. On a Masters programme, a student will generally be exposed to three basic forms of assessment, namely the assignment, the examination and the dissertation. In this section we will concentrate on the assignment and examination; a guide on the dissertation will be provided later in the programme. Information on the assessment for your programme can also be found in your programme handbook. You are encouraged to review that before you proceed. By the end of this section you should have: an appreciation of the value of planning in the development of academic thinking,

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a sound grasp of the approaches to note-taking, and identified an approach to referencing and be fully conversant with the regulations concerning plagiarism.

The role of the assignment


Assignments are resource-based (Weller 2001: 67) in that the student must seek relevant information to complete them. Unlike some education systems, with a UK university the relevant information will neither be identified nor provided by the tutor. The student is expected to identify, search for, and locate the information. This is in keeping with the student-centred learning ideal. This ideal is deeply embedded in the distance learning mode of study. Here, the student has selected a flexible means of study and with this choice they have assumed particular responsibilities. This can be seen in the support systems employed by the University. The collaborative nature of Blackboard draws emphasis away from the teacher at the centre of the learning experience and directs it to the learner. The distance learner begins their academic journey by becoming responsible for their own learning experience. Assignments accordingly are documents that provide the University with a means of evaluating personal learning. (You will hopefully recall that the University will be evaluating your learning against the ideas of critical thinking and the depth approach to learning.) You will receive your assignment question at the beginning of a module. It is your responsibility to make sure that you have the correct question. You may find that the assignment question sheet is long and includes, in addition to the actual question, information on the assessment and means by which the markers will be evaluating the submissions. Many students on a post-graduate course will read the question only, often ignoring the peripheral information on the assignment sheet. This peripheral information might include such basic information as the weighting of the question, the expectations of the markers and guidance on presentation. This information is not peripheral; it is integral to how the work you submit is going to be assessed. A further mistake students make is to begin writing once they have seen the assignment question. You may recall that we said earlier that critical

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thinking required time. Do spend time thinking as well as writing the assignment.

Pre-planning
Assignment answers take the form of an essay unless the question specifically asks for a different format. The first stage in approaching an assignment answer is called pre-planning, and is the most neglected step of essay writing. It involves all of the activities a student must undertake before beginning to write an essay. These can include: interrogating the assignment question for meaning(s), brainstorming your topic, pre-selecting books and articles on your essay topic, building a mind map on your essay topic, refining the details of your topic, examining the books and articles you have pre-selected for your essay topic critically to discover whether they are relevant to your needs, reading your resources and making clear notes on your readings, going through your notes to ensure you have a sufficient overview of the topic before beginning to write, planning an outline and organising your materials, eliminating materials that are not relevant to your topic, further organising your materials into the thesis, the body of the essay, and the conclusion, and getting more information on your topic if necessary. The pre-planning can be a collaborative event. Pre-planning can take hours or days depending upon your thoroughness and the amount of information that is required.

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Some students find that forming study groups to flesh out what is required by the assignment a useful approach. Other students discuss the assignment via Blackboard. It is important to emphasise that the tutor at a Masters level will not tell you how to go about answering the question, they expect you to provide a sense of how you have interpreted the question before they contribute to any discussion. A common misconception, held by many students, is that the pre-planning or thinking stages of an assignment are a waste of time. Why plan, they ask, when they could spend the time writing and revising? The answer to this question is simple. When you brainstorm, you utilise all the information at your disposal. It is a way to begin thinking about your assignment. Effective pre-planning thinking, brainstorming or mapping out the scope of an assignment will save a great deal of time later, particularly when you are writing your paper.

Brainstorming
Brainstorming is the first stage in thinking about your essay; it is when you write down all your the ideas on the essay that you are planning to write. The difference between this and actual research is clear. At this stage, you dont know the size or scope of the topic that you have been assigned, you are simply trying to define the amount of information available and suitable criteria with which to narrow it down. You may skim some resource materials, particularly those you already have in your possession. You should not neglect these valuable materials as you will not have used them for the specific purpose before you in the past. Moreover, sometimes scanning the bibliography in a text or module book will give you several valuable leads for resources on a given topic. If you are working in a group, you will need to record all ideas that any member of the group mentions. If you are working alone, you will record any ideas that you come up with on your essay topic. Keeping a notepad at hand is invaluable you will be surprised at the times and places where ideas can come into your head. You will also be surprised at how quickly that idea vanishes if it is not noted down. Your notes can include the following: ideas or preconceptions you already have about the topic for your essay, ideas from any articles that you have seen on your essay topic,

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ideas from your text and module materials, resources found in a basic search of the University of Leicester library catalogue, any other articles you have read or found on your essay topic, and any online database with information on your essay topic. You can group your information visually to make a mind map or plan of the topic on which you are planning your paper. A mind map can give you a better idea of the scope and breadth of a topic. For example, let us assume you are given an essay on leadership. Where do you start? Brainstorming and using the resources at your disposal provides you with the following information: (1) The University of Leicester basic library catalogue provides you with 924 titles on leadership. Many of these books are not about business and leadership in the sense that we require, for example the first book you find on this list, by J. Wright, deals with leadership, the protestant church and Germany in the years leading up to 1933. Moreover, these are all library books that you would need to request, so may not be a good choice in large numbers. Another search in the basic library catalogue dealing with leadership and business gives you fewer books, however, when you examine your search results you find a lot of titles that might be out-dated. For example, Business leadership in the large corporation by Robert Gordon was published in 1948. This indicates that the topic of leadership also has a literature that extends back in time, and you want to ensure that you have topical and timely research. Do not assume, however, that a text over ten years old has dated and has little relevance you need to establish for yourself how this text fits into the canon of writing on the subject. You also find a book called Essence of leadership by Andrew Kakabadse. When you click on the button at the top of the library webpage entitled A look inside, the chapter headings provide you with a number of subjects to consider, including transactional leadership, the historical view of leaders and leadership, transformational leadership, and the personality or character of leaders.

(2)

(3)

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(4)

You also find an extensive literature on behaviours of leaders on, for example, Board of Directors in companies. Moreover, there seems to be a lot of information on women and leadership, such as the glass cliff. Looking at Emerald full text, you find more information about strategic planning and leadership, key characteristics of leaders, charisma and leaders, and dominant discourse and leadership.
1

(5)

(6)

leadership and decision-making

trait behaviour

governance ethics control leaders on Boards of Directors

theories

situational transactional vs. transformational charismatic

business exemplary leaders culture political communication power effective leadership leaders vs. managers military

Leadership

levels of leadership CEOs

the glass ceiling Women and leadership differences between female and male leaders leadership communication

culture change formal organisational informal educational areas of leadership recreational military non-profit

Diagram 4.1 Mind map of leadership [Note 1].

[1]

The mind map was created using software available at http://www.mindomo.com for public use. If youre interested in exploring mind maps further, go to Mindomos website and give it a try. There is the facility to export the mind maps that you create there back to your own computer.

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(7)

At this point you realise that you have a topic that is too large. Where do you go from here? Diagram 4.1 indicates the breadth of the topic of leadership. A topic this broad, with this many subtopics, is not specific enough for a short paper. Taking two subtopics and combining them, for example women and leadership and leadership communication, would be a starting point for a suitable 3500 word essay.

Note-taking
We have outlined the vast array of resources available to ULSM distance learning students, but this can dwarf the motivation and time of most students students who have not developed the skills to cope with this quantity of information. That problem is the purpose of this part of Section 4. There is a tendency for students to view reading (and research) as a passive activity, something that one does whilst doing something else (e.g. listening to music, or cooking the childrens dinner). Reading effectively requires you to be fully engaged with that which you are reading. Reading should also be teamed with writing. You will find that each 3500 word assignment will probably have been produced from at least an equal amount of notes. Writing whilst you are reading is a skill you need to develop. The importance of taking proper notes is as crucial for distance learners as it is for students who are in a traditional classroom setting. Although there are no lectures to attend, you still have a module book, a text and commentaries, and tasks from Blackboard. You must distill the necessary material for essay writing, studying and taking tests and exams from these sources. There are many methods of taking notes; each is more or less suited to particular kinds of source material. Ultimately, your approach to note-taking is determined by the organisation and quality of the materials themselves. In this study book we are mainly concerned with printed books and other texts. Additionally, it is important that you incorporate comments and observations from your tutors on Blackboard into your notes. You should be aware of the emphasis on particular materials and approaches from your module books or texts as they are discussed on Blackboard.

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Highlighting
Highlighting should be done with a series of differently-coloured markers so that each colour can denote different parts or functions of the text that you are reading. For example, a red marker can be used to pick out the main idea or concept in a chapter while green could be used to follow the writers progression of ideas and thoughts. These guidelines should apply when highlighting: highlighting picks out the important bits if you have highlighted more than 25% of the material, you need to refine your highlighting technique so that you will highlight less, if you have highlighted less than 10% of the material, it is probably too little perhaps you are skipping over important ideas you should include in your notes, highlight with a purpose you should be looking for (a) the main idea, and (b) the progression of thoughts that lead to that main idea, highlighting should be appropriate for the materials you are using, you can use highlighting to help guide you in making notes, and use marginal annotation (notes) to identify connections between materials, for example two different tables may discuss the same ideas in two different places, and you should be reminded of this each time you look at either of them.

Cornell note-taking
The Cornell method is an approach to making, condensing and organising notes from your sources. It can be used to help summarise and provide starting points for further study from your course module materials. This method of note-taking helps to strengthen your recall and prompts you to make connections between different sources on the same subject. It works like this. Divide up a sheet of paper as shown in Diagram 4.2. The exact divisions will depend upon your preferred paper size, handwriting and note-taking style all of which will develop with time. As you read your materials, write your first-step notes in the large area. When the materials move to a new point, skip a few lines. After writing notes in the

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longer format, return to them to complete phrases and sentences as much as possible. For every topic, write key words in the left margin to assist you in recalling the general significance of the topic. When you are happy that your notes contain all the information you need, summarise each page at the bottom. When you study or revise, you can cover your notes and leave the key words exposed. Repeat them out loud, and then try to recall as much as you can of your notes. If you can recall the content, then you have memorised and understood the original source.

/3 of the page width date, topic, course number, source, page and so on along here

Step 2 Key info goes here

Step 1 Notes go here

Step 3 Summary goes here

/4 of the page height

Diagram 4.2 The Cornell system layout.

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As the example in Diagram 4.3 demonstrates, this is an organised method for recording and reviewing notes. It also makes it easy to find the major concepts and ideas. If you make your notes this way the first time you use each study source, it will save time and effort, particularly at exam or test time when you will have a pre-prepared set of revision notes. It does however require practice to get it right. It requires spending time during and after each study session, Blackboard discussion, and so on to organise the material and make a summary of the content. However, it assists in studying and recall, and is in the long run better than disorganised sentence-style notes.

Learning Skills page 41 MEMORY x x x x understanding motivation concentration purpose x understanding is vital to memory x motivation, concentration & purpose also important How memory works practice & experience in & out not much needed for study x understanding builds thru' study x memory gets better with practice x good memory store info retrieve info x amount of memory needed for studies is very small %age of what we use TRAIN TICKET EXAMPLE train e.g. x buy ticket x outward journey x return journey 1 REGISTER

Memory is a skill that can be improved through practice and motivation. The small amount of our memory needed for study gets better the more we use it. Memory begins with a decision. contd

Diagram 4.3 An example of Cornell-style notes.

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Outline notes
The outline method of note-taking uses dashes and indentation to structure your notes (as seen in Diagram 4.4). This system works well in subjects such as maths and statistics or any module where the material stresses relationships between the topics. The tables of contents in your text and module books will help you see if the material has been structured in this way. This form of note-taking is difficult in a lecture, where the student must distinguish between important points and those that are of less significance in real time. Where material is pre-organised, for example in a book, the system works well. There is plenty of time, especially with sympathetically-organised distance learning material, to think about points and sub-points. A student who is already skilled in note-taking and deducing the major points uses this system best. There are a few guidelines for the outline system. Write in concise points, using indentation and dashes for structure. Major points go on the far left of the page. Use indentation for specific sub-topics or points on the right. The distance away from the major point on the left demonstrates the importance of the topic. The indentations should be simple, clear and organised by using a suitable numbering system (e.g. Roman numerals, decimal points, lettering). The outline system can easily be combined with the Cornell note-taking system. You can organise the material in the larger section of the Cornell-style page this way, and still provide key words on the left and a summary at the bottom of the page.

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Genre Fiction Mystery or (Crime) Novels - Definition a novel in which the central premise is a crime or mysterious occurrence -- Types of mysteries Detective fiction mysteries in which the main protagonist/hero is a detective Subtype the tough guy, usually American, often written in the first person, authors include Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler Subtype the tough woman, authors include Sue Grafton (Kinsey Millhone), Sara Paretsky, and Marcia Muller Police Procedural a novel in which the main protagonist works for or with the police in solving the crime using accepted forensic police procedures, for example the Tony Hill series (author Val McDermid) Romance mystery mystery in which the main focus is on the (romantic) interaction between two of the leading characters, e.g.Daphne du Maurier (Rebecca), Mary Ann Clarke, Charles Dickens (Bleak House), Charlotte Bront (Jane Eyre) Psychological thriller mystery in which the thinking or psychology of the criminal is explored in detail, e.g. Barbara Vine, Edgar Allen Poe

Diagram 4.4 Example outline notes.

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Mind maps
Mind maps (Buzan and Buzan 2003) are planning tools (see earlier) which can also be used to make notes. They require you to spend time analysing your sources into patterns that illustrate the relationships between ideas. These evolve into a map in which facts and ideas are related to other facts and ideas in a graphic representation, memory aid and information store (see Diagrams 4.1 and 4.5 for examples).

TOUGH GUY e.g. Hammett, Chandler

TOUGH WOMAN e.g. Grafton, Paretsky

COSY e.g. Christie

influence of personality

e.g. McDermid

protagonist is a detective DETECTIVE MYSTERY

protagonist works for or with police uses police POLICE PROCEDURAL

MYSTERIES 4 types

ROMANCE MYSTERY main focus is on (romantic) relationship between 2 lead characters

PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER focus on thinking (psychology) of criminal

e.g. duMaurier, Clarke, Dickens, Bront

e.g. Vine, Poe

Diagram 4.5 Mind map example based on Diagram 4.4.

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The mind map method strengthens your understanding of the inter-relationships between facts. You need to distinguish between major points and minor facts in establishing your map. The approach can be facilitated by module material which is heavy and well-organised. Some thinking is needed so that relationships can be seen easily. It is easy to annotate your maps with numbers, marks, and colour coding. Review for exams will necessitate a reiteration of the thought processes you undertook when you made your notes. You can revise actively by covering sections of the maps for memory checking purposes. Main points can be written on flash or note cards and pieced together into a table or larger structure at a later date. Mind maps can also be included as part of your notes as a whole you need not necessarily make all of your notes into mind maps, but they can help in places where you want to establish relationships between different parts of your notes.

Sentence method
The sentence method or full notes is perhaps the approach many students are familiar with, as it simply involves writing down every new topic or idea in full, using numbering where relevant. This is slightly more organised than using one paragraph to write all the information. It utilises all of the information in your materials, however, notes done in this way tend to be undifferentiated. There is no division into minor and major points, no summary of the information, or commentary on the important points. It is difficult to use these notes for studying, unless they are re-edited and re-organised into relevant topic and sub-topic headings. Virtually nothing is edited out; everything is included, whether it is important or not. You should use this method when there is a lot of material, and you are unclear how to edit or re-organise it. You should make sentence method notes with the aim of later refining them according to some more sophisticated approach, then you can provide an overview of how the material fits together. This method of note-taking is good only for a first brush with the material. Take for example, According to Porter, in his book Competitive Strategy (1980), every organization employs one of three generic business strategies in order to compete. These strategies are: low-cost, differentiation and focus. Porter defines these strategies using two sets of dimensions, scope of competition and source of competitive advantage. Scope refers to the breadth of the market that the organization targets. Source of advantage can be either low cost, that is, producing at the lowest cost in an industry, or differentiation, that is including

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attributes in their product that the customer perceives as valuable and worth paying more for. These dimensions combine in four possible ways to yield four potential business strategies: broad low-cost, in which the firm targets as wide a market as possible using the lowest cost production possible; broad differentiation, in which the firm again targets a wide market but with a product that provides superior worthwhile attributes; focus low-cost , or focus differentiation, in which a firm chooses to target a specific narrow segment or niche in the market with either a low-cost of differentiated product. Note that low cost refers to the costs of production and bringing the product to market, not necessarily to the price charged to the consumer. The sentence method full note could be: Porter 1980. 3 generic strategies: low-cost, differentiation, focus 2 dimensions: scope of competition, source of advantage. Scope: how wide a market (broad, narrow)? Source: lowest cost or worthwhile added attributes. Combine into 4 business strategies: broad low-cost, broad diff., focus low-cost, focus diff. NB: low-cost low price

Keeping a research log


Whichever approach you take to note-taking one thing is of critical importance, you need to keep a full record of all of the resources that you have used and clearly distinguish in your notes when you are quoting from a source. Some students find it useful to compile a research log, which is a record of all the books, articles, websites, and so on consulted during study. Entering sources in your log as you use them is crucial because you can lose track of where you have read ideas, and then fail to credit them appropriately in your notes and work, for example in making the necessary references to them in your essays. This is significant : failure to keep track of your resources carries with it the same heavy academic penalty as plagiarism. You can avoid these problems with a good research log. Your log should contain a complete a notation of what you found in your source materials (see Diagram 4.6). This is particularly important for online or Internet sources which may have changed their address or become unavailable when you come to write your reference list. A careful research record is the key to avoiding problems later. In doing a research log, it is important to remember that you are not simply referencing words you read, but noting ideas and concepts as well. Concepts and ideas are just as important as the actual words an author uses to describe them.

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A Research Log for Paper on Qualitative Methodology

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualitative_method Reference at 2:10 PM, Friday, March 9, 2006 Note: contains a history of qualitative research from the 1970s onward, explains the purpose of this research & history query sources used.

Qualitative Research : Theory, Method and Practice ed. David Silverman, Sage Pubs., London: 1997. Note: Read chapters 3 Building Bridges: The Possibility of Analytic Dialogue Between Ethnographic, Conversation Analysis and Foucault by Gale Miller p. 2445.

Reflective decisions: the use of Socratic dialogue in managing organizational change. In Management Decision 2007, Volume 45, Issue 6, pp. 9911007. Note: Shows how in 2 UK institutions lack of information pervades Decision-Making

Diagram 4.6 An example research log.

Developing an outline
The process of note-taking should prompt you to begin thinking through possible approaches to the assignment question and possible ways of structuring your ideas. You will begin to form an outline of what you wish to say. Most students fail to write outlines for their papers, yet outlines are essential to good essay planning, writing and research. Many students

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erroneously believe that writing an outline will take away vital time from their research papers, for which they have already failed to allow sufficient time. Successful students do not make this mistake. They know that an excellent paper includes time to do the necessary planning as well as reading and research and time to write and revise. Although it is true that some students do not use outlines in planning their essays and still obtain high grades, it is probable that they already have blueprints of what the essay is going to look like in their heads. Sometimes the research for a paper will organise itself as you do it so well that the paper virtually writes itself, however, you will note that these essays are pre-organised by extensive and careful research and a clear understanding of the topic. The more information you gather on an essay topic and the more thought you give to it during research, the easier writing the actual paper tends to become. This is not always the case, however. Usually, extensive research creates a pool of data that needs organisation and thought before and not during committing these thoughts to paper. Moreover, even a good and well-researched essay can benefit from pre-organising it into an outline. A well-prepared outline allows the student to ensure that a paper flows logically, and the examples and the arguments used are suitable and well-chosen. An outline also prevents the student from becoming lost in a morass of data. A good outline, like a road map, ensures you reach your intended destination. Every essay must have the following components: (1) The title for ULSM assignments is usually the assignment question itself and this is most commonly located on a title page with the date the work has been completed and your student number. You should also provide details of the word count. An introduction this is the main argument of your essay. It may be very straightforward or complex. An introduction often begins with an attention-grabber. This can take the form of a question that your essay will answer, a statement that provokes interest in your topic, or an interesting quotation from an authority on your subject. This should be followed by the main argument or thesis of your essay. The introduction should also explain to the reader exactly how you propose to tackle the given essay topic and how you have interpreted the assignment question.

(2)

(3)

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(4)

The body of the essay presents the arguments that you are going to use to prove the main thesis of your essay. You may come up with alternate proposals and opposing arguments in the body. These arguments should be organised logically. Your conclusion should be supported by the arguments and alternate proposals in the body of your paper. If you get to the end of your essay and find that you have not supported your main thesis you have two choices: (a) you can change your thesis to reflect a change in your arguments, or (b) you can find further data/research to support your thesis. Obviously, the second option involves more work, however, sometimes a poorly-supported argument is the result of holes in your research.

(5)

Critical thinking and essay writing


Fairbairn and Winch (1996: 39) point out that, Sometimes students think that essay writing involves doing little more than persuading someone else that they are in possession of certain ideas, knowledge or facts. While it is important to understand the boundaries or requirements of any given assignment or essay, usually an essay is more than a mere regurgitation of given facts. Although a good factual understanding should be at the base of any essay, one of the most commonly cited problems in student essays is the failure to think critically in the manner we described in Section 3. In this section we have described the importance of keeping a research log in enabling you to give credit to the sources of the ideas and concepts you have read, as well as the words. Ideas and concepts can be easily plagiarised when students fail to remember the sources of their information, and you must be careful to give credit where credit is due. Thinking critically and so actively helps you to maintain time-honoured academic writing standards in using your sources. Critical thinking helps ensure you have marshaled the correct facts and quotations to back up your arguments, and that you have used your own words to discuss how these back up your thesis and each example you provide. Tutors will want to see that you have thought deeply about the questions in your essays. The greater time and access to resources available for an essay necessitates deeper and more critical thinking on

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your part, while an exam by virtue of time and situation limitations, requires accuracy of recall and a breadth of knowledge and application of the information in the course. Excellent essay papers demonstrate that the student has done more than simply present factual information on the topic critical thinking is vital. Using Porters Five Forces as an example, we can elaborate a little on what this may mean. If you have been asked by the University to produce an essay that Critically examines the value of Porters Five Forces model for contemporary business leaders in an industry of your choice you will demonstrate your understanding by going through different levels of competence as described in Blooms taxonomy (see Section 3): Level 1 (Knowledge/Information) you will demonstrate this level of critical thinking by telling the reader about the industry and describing it. You will also describe the model. Level 2 (Understanding/Comprehension) you will demonstrate this level of critical thinking by explain or interpreting the facts about the industry. You will discuss it in detail, distinguishing between different aspects of the industry in various situations, for example different national markets, and comparing and describing them. You will distinguish between the various aspects of the model. Level 3 (Application) you will demonstrate this level of critical thinking by applying the model correctly and illustrating that you can classify different parts of the industry in, for example, each country. You will use phrases such as, this shows that ... and apply the classification correctly. Level 4 (Analysis) you will demonstrate this level of critical thinking by being able to distinguish separate elements in the industry and developing an understanding of inter-relationships where they exist. Level 5 (Synthesis) you will demonstrate this level of critical thinking by being able to predict trends or creating a new way of looking at the industry by formulating a plan for where you think the industry might move over the next few years. Level 6 (Evaluation) you will demonstrate this level of critical thinking by being able to make a critical judgment about where this industry is going based on Porters model. Judicious and careful choices about the examples you utilise in analysing the industry further demonstrate that you have evaluated the industry correctly. You will also examine the contribution that Porters model has made

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to our understanding of strategic analysis and the relevance of the model to todays organisations and markets.

Referencing
ULSM uses the Harvard system of referencing. One version of it is shown below, but there are many other acceptable variations the key is to be consistent. You should follow the referencing rules for three reasons: it demonstrates a disciplined approach to your work (academic rigour), it means you wont be accused of plagiarism because you have acknowledged your sources, and your reader will be able to follow up on the citations that interest them. There are two kinds of referencing: in-text referencing and bibliography.

In-text referencing
All sources, whether academic books, journal articles, newspaper articles or material from the Internet, must be cited in the main text of your assignment. There are two ways to do this: direct and indirect quotations.

Direct quotations
For a direct quotation, you use the authors own words. There is a variety of ways to do this, but you must give the authors surname, the date and page of the publication where you found the quotation. For instance, Sociological discourse claims to be a knowledge of modern society, the mirror of modern society or the social (Game 1991:20). or As Game (1991:20) states, Sociological discourse claims to be a knowledge of modern society, the mirror of modern society or the social.

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In a secondary citation, you dont quote from the original source, but from another book or article that has quoted it. In this case, you give the surname of the original author, followed by cited in and the authors surname, publication date and page number of the book or article where you found the quote. For example, A power relationship can only be articulated on the basis of two elements (Foucault cited in Game 1991:45). or As Foucault (cited in Game 1991:45) states, A power relationship can only be articulated on the basis of two elements. You may want to adapt a quotation to fit in with the grammar of your sentence, the flow of your paragraph, or clarify its meaning in relation to the point you trying to make. You can use three dots to show that you have removed words from the original quotation. Conversely, you can use square brackets [ ] around words that youve added. For example, Another occasion when threats lead to change is described by Roddick, who reports that After Jon Entine made his accusations, we needed to take action (1997:310). and After Jon Entine made his accusations [that Body Shop products and policies were not as ethical as they appeared], I decided that we needed to take action as quickly as possible (Roddick 1997:310). Longer direct quotations (i.e. more than about 40 words or three lines) should be separated from the rest of the text, for example as shown below. Once comprehended, these networks of individuals could be tapped into for bottom-up generative forces that could lead to positive educational development, rather than the recent top-down methods of enforcing particular practices: The Conservatives claimed they were [in favour of diversity] and then made everyone do the same curriculum and tests, even told schools how to fill in the attendance register, their school reports The present [Labour] government says it is in favour of diversity, but then imposes the same 15-15-20-10-minute literacy-hour pattern on every primary class. (Wragg 2001:16)

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Such imposed standardisation stifles creativity and inspiration, and may explain the reports of large numbers of British teachers going to work abroad. If there is emphasis in italics and/or bold in the original source, you should reproduce it when quoting, for example, This is not somehow to claim that gender should not be a central concept and object of study for organizational analysis (Grey 1995:50). You can also add emphasis to a direct quotation, but make sure that you indicate that you have added this emphasis, for instance, Thus the new grid of intelligibility is seen as desirable ... it provides a more accurate picture of organizations (Grey 1995:49 emphasis added). You can write [sic ] after a particular word in a direct quotation to show that this is the way that the author worded the original. This is particularly useful when quoting an author who makes mistakes or uses sexist or derogatory language. It makes it clear that these are the words of the sources author and not yours, and distances you from the language used or mistake made. You should also put referencing information when using a diagram or table from another source. For instance,

T1

T2 Between outside area and village Teaching ideas

T3

T4 Own label outside all other spaces identified

T5

T6

LEA

T and effect on all other spaces

City

Planning

Classroom

DfES

County

Table 1: The Position of the LEA and DfES (Abusidualghoul 2006: 74)

Use Table to label a table and Figure to label any other diagram. You must pay strict attention to your punctuation in quotations, so that its clear where a quote sits in your writing. Its a good idea to study the punctuation in the previous examples. Another point to note is that some Internet sources will not have page numbers, some texts will not have

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named authors, and other texts may not be dated. Ways to deal with these problems are given in Other pointers below.

Indirect quotations
For an indirect quotation, you use your own words to summarise or paraphrase the authors words. For example, your original source might contain this passage, In fields as different as physics, biology, linguistics, anthropology, sociology and psychotherapy, network ideas have been repeatedly invoked over the last hundred years. The multiple origins of network approaches for the social sciences contribute to the eclecticism that characterizes current work. Your indirect quotation of this passage might be, Network research embraces a diversity of approaches to studying social relations. Kilduff and Tsai (2003) attribute this diversity to the many different sources of the network approach. As you can see, page numbers are not necessary for indirect quotations. This example also shows how you are expected to change as many words for synonyms as possible, change the word forms (e.g. verbs to nouns, adjectives to adverbs) and change the word order (e.g. active to passive). The ability to do this without changing the meaning of the original text proves that you fully understand it. If more than one author has had the same idea, you can put their reference details together. You can list them either in publication date order or alphabetical order of surname. Whichever listing method you choose, you must be consistent and use it throughout. For instance, Many writers have argued that research is inevitably a subjective exercise (Knights and Willmott 1989; Game 1991; Knights 1995). The rules for secondary citation and indirect quotes are similar to those for direct quotations. The only difference is that page numbers are not necessary. For example, Patemans (cited in McIntosh, 1994) discussion of the contract makes extensive reference to prostitution. or As McIntosh (1994) points out, Patemans discussion of the contract makes extensive reference to prostitution.

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Other pointers
ibid. means in the same place and it can be used to stand in for a citation where the citation is the same as the one immediately before it. For instance, One way to address this last question is to investigate circulating reference (Latour 1999) which is a concept that is also applicable to a wider spectrum of concerns because of the inherent nature of educational institutions in action. Whether it is the transfer of knowledge from teacher to learner or the influence of policy implementation, chains of processes are at work. Latour defines such processes as a cascade of re-representations that causes the object to lose information on its way and redescribe it (ibid.:248). The page number has been added here to give accurate details for the direct quotation. et al. means and others and it should be used in in-text citations where there are more than two authors for one source. For instance, Furthermore, Crilly et al. state that the space on which the graphical objects are arranged (e.g. political maps or building plans) can also hold associations that are meaningful (2006:346). However, all the authors should be listed in the bibliography, like so, Crilly, N., A. F. Blackwell and P. J. Clarkson (2006) Graphic elicitation: using research diagrams as interview stimuli Qualitative Research 6(3):341366 If there is no author for a work that you are using, for example an editorial piece in a newspaper or magazine, you should use the name of the publication as the author, It has been suggested that As Japans economy becomes more normal, it is natural to expect a more conventional monetary policy (The Economist 2006:16). In the bibliography, the entry for this citation would appear like this, The Economist (2006) Japans Economy: Out, damned D word 25th February p.16 It is important not to mix the publication date with the date that an idea was created. Some books are published after the death of the author, long

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after an idea came about, and you may be citing from a second, third, fourth or tenth edition. For instance, In 1973, Marx argued that gold and silver were items of trade, but not in the same sense as others. This is incorrect because Marx died in 1883, so the citation should read, Marx (1973) argued that gold and silver were items of trade, but not in the same sense as others. You must make sure that the publication date that you give is an edition date and not a reprint date. A reprint date shows when more copies of the same book were printed because the first set had sold out. The date that you must use is the date when the edition of the book that you are using was first published. This could be a new edition published when the author made amendments to the original book. n.d. means no date. If you use a source which has no publication date, the in-text citation becomes (authors surname n.d.). In this case, you would also put n.d. with the reference details in the bibliography. A citation from a television programme should be referenced as follows, No one can find exactly what they are looking for (Under the Sun 1998). This shows that you can use the name of the programme series (or the name of the individual programme if it was a one-off) and the year of transmission. A citation from the Internet should be referenced in the same way as any other with the authors name (or site providers name if the authors name is not available), date of publication and page number (if one is available).

Bibliography
A bibliography is a list of all the books, journal articles and other sources that you have used to write your assignment. The list should be presented in alphabetical order of authors surname. If you have read more than one work by the same author, present these in chronological order of publication date. For instance, Bryman, A. and E. Bell (2003) Business Research Methods Oxford: Oxford University Press

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Chia, R. (1994) The concept of decision: a deconstructive analysis Journal of Management Studies 31(6):781806 Chia, R. (1996) Organizational Analysis: A Deconstructive Approach Berlin: Walter de Gruyter If you use works published by the same author in the same year, the first that you refer to in your text would be denoted a after the date, the second b, and so on. This makes it possible for your reader to understand which source you are referring to. For example, Baudrillard, J. (1993a) Symbolic Exchange and Death London: Sage Baudrillard, J. (1993b) The Transparency of Evil: Essays on Extreme Phenomena London: Verso For books, the following format should be used, Game, A. (1991) Undoing the Social Milton Keynes: Open University Press which is Surname, initial. (year) book title town or city of publication: publisher The title of the book should be italicised, bold or underlined for emphasis. If the city where the book was published is not well known internationally (such as Englewood Cliffs, where Prentice Hall have a site in the USA), or where there is more than one city of the same name (such as Cambridge), it is a good idea to include the state or county as follows, Bandura, A. (1977) Social Learning Theory Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall Greenberg, J. and S. Mitchell (1983) Object Relations In Psychoanalytic Theory Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press Some books are made up of chapters by different authors. They are called edited books. If you cite from a particular chapter in such a book, your bibliographic reference should look like this, Brewis, J. (1994) The role of intimacy at work: interactions and relationships in the modern organization in D. Adam-Smith and A. Peacock (eds.) Cases in Organizational Behaviour London: Pitman pp. 4350

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which is, Surname, Initial. (year) chapter title in editor name or names (ed.) or (eds.) book title town or city of publication: publisher pp.firstlast page number of chapter For articles in journals, the following format should be used, Willmott, H.C. (1984) Images and ideals of managerial work Journal of Management Studies 21(3):349368 which is, Surname, Initial. (year) article title journal title volume(issue): firstlast page number of article The title of the journal should be italicised, bold or underlined for emphasis. For newspapers, the format is similar to journal articles, but you must also include the day and month of publication. For example, Ryle, S. (1997) It makes you sick, this restructuring The Guardian 22nd April p.24 The title of the newspaper should be italicised, bold or underlined for emphasis. For conference papers, you should use the following format, Brewis, J. (1993) Foucault, politics and organizations: (re)constructing sexual harassment paper presented to the 11th Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism EADA, Barcelona, Spain, July which is, Surname, Initial. (year) conference paper title paper presented to the conference title conference organiser, town or city of conference, country of conference The name of the conference should be italicised, bold or underlined for emphasis. If you use material from the Internet, the webpage should be listed in the bibliography with title or author (where available) of the relevant piece first. You need to make it clear that this is an online source and the URL

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address and the date on which you accessed the page should also be included in the citation. For example, Fryer, P. and J. Ruis (2004) What are Fractal Systems? A brief description of Complex Adaptive and Evolving Systems Available online at: http://www.fractal.org/Bewustzijns-Besturings-Model/ Fractal-systems.htm (accessed 07.03.05) which is, Surname, Initial. (year) web page title Available online at: http://web address (accessed date) In your text, a citation from the Internet should follow the same rules as any other, but it might not be possible to provide a page number for direct quotations. For instance, One definition of a fractal system that describes it as a complex, non-linear, interactive system which has the ability to adapt to a changing environment (Fryer and Ruis 2004) could equally apply. For television programmes, the following formats should be used. For a single programme, Under the Sun (1998) What sort of gentleman are you after? Scores Associates/BBC Bristol, 1 programme (45 minutes) 7th January, director: J. Treays which is, Name of series (year of transmission) name of programme producers, clarification that it was a single programme (length of transmission) date of transmission, director: directors name For a single programme that is not part of a series, you must emphasise the name of the programme and use that up front. For a series, Vice: The Sex Trade (1998) London Weekend Television, 3 programmes (180 minutes), director: J. Phillips The format here is similar to that for a single programme, except that there is no reference to the names of any individual programmes or to dates of transmission.

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For unpublished work, such as a report or dissertation, the following format should be used, Baker, S. (1997) Bullying at Work unpublished BA Business Studies Student Dissertation, University of Portsmouth There is a number of guides and tutorials on referencing on Blackboard. Referencing is a key skill of scholarship, and failure to adhere to a robust referencing system will very quickly be identified by markers. The penalties on your work can be quite severe.

Academic honesty
As you read through University regulations, you will note that there is a specific regulation about academic honesty. This describes the penalties which apply when students cheat in written examinations or present someone elses material for assessment as if it were their own (this is called plagiarism). Very few students indeed commit such offences, but the University believes that it is important that all students understand why academic honesty is a matter of such concern to the University and why such severe penalties are imposed. Universities are places of learning in two senses. For students on taught courses, learning takes place through listening and talking to academic staff, discussion with peers, reading primary and secondary texts, researching topics for dissertations and project work, undertaking scientific experiments under supervision and so on. For PhD students and academic staff, learning takes the form of original research, where the outcome will be a contribution to the sum of human knowledge. At whatever level this learning takes place, however, a common factor is the search for truth, and this is why an over-riding concern for intellectual honesty pervades all the Universitys activities, including the means by which it assesses students abilities. Throughout your time at the University you will legitimately gather information from many sources, but when you present yourself for any examination or assessment, you are asking the markers to judge what you have made as an individual of the studies you have undertaken. This judgement will then be carried forward into the outside world as a means of telling future employers, other universities, financial sponsors, and others who have an interest in your capabilities that you have undertaken the academic work required of you by course regulations, that you are capable of performing at a certain intellectual level, and that you

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have the skills and attributes consistent with your range of marks and the level of your award. If you use dishonest means with the aim of presenting a better academic picture of yourself than you deserve, you are engaging in a falsehood which may have the severest repercussions. If you are discovered, which is the most likely outcome, the penalties are severe. If by some chance you are not discovered, you will spend the rest of your life failing to measure up to the academic promise indicated by your degree results and other peoples expectations of your abilities.

Cheating in written examinations


The University assumes that students know without being told that this is dishonest, and it therefore applies strict penalties in all written examinations at all levels. Any student found copying from another student, talking in an examination, or in possession of unauthorised material, is reported by the invigilator to the Examinations Officer, who refers the matter to the Registrar. The standard penalty is for a mark of zero to be given to the module concerned, but in some circumstances, particularly in the case of a repeat offence, the penalty could be permanent exclusion from the University. The risks associated with cheating are enormous. The simple advice is: Dont do it.

Collaboration
Many modules offer students the opportunity to work together in pairs or teams. Care should be taken to read departmental guidelines on how such modules are to be assessed. If a joint or collaborative report is requested, the team can work together right up to the point of submission. In such circumstances, individuals may be asked to indicate the sections of the report they contributed to, or the assessment may be of the group itself, or there may be an additional form of assessment, such as presentation session, which allows for individualised grading. A more common arrangement is where the collaborative investigation of a topic is followed by the submission of a report from each team member, where each report is independently produced. Similarly, work undertaken on computers or at the laboratory bench may be jointly undertaken with other students, but the outcome for assessment purposes is still meant to reveal the intellectual abilities of the individual students, and therefore has to be prepared by that student without the assistance of others. If you do not understand what is required of you, ask the module tutor. Do not guess.

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Plagiarism
Plagiarism is to take the work of another person and use it as if it were ones own in such a way as to mislead the reader. Whole pieces of work can be plagiarised (for example, if a student put his or her name on another students essay), or part pieces, where chapters or extracts may be lifted from other sources, including the Internet, without acknowledgement. Sometimes plagiarism happens inadvertently, where students fail to read instructions about or do not understand the rules governing the presentation of work which require sources to be acknowledged. In such cases, the problem is usually identified very early in the course and can be put right through discussion with academic tutors. Deliberate attempts to mislead the examiners, however, are regarded as cheating and are treated very severely by boards of examiners. Any plagiarism in assessments which contribute to the final degree class are likely to lead, at the very least, to the down-grading of the degree class by one division or at Masters degree level to a down-grading of the award to Diploma level. In the worst cases, expulsion from the University is a possibility. The severity of the penalties imposed for plagiarism stems from the Universitys view that learning is a search for truth and that falsehood and deception have no place in this search. The emphasis placed on avoiding plagiarism sometimes worries students, who believe that they will find it impossible to avoid using someone elses thoughts when they spend all their time reading critical works, commentaries and other secondary sources and are required to show in their work that they have studied such material. Sometimes problems arise from poor working practices, where students muddle up their own notes with extracts or notes taken from published sources. In the light of all that has been said above, the question you should ask yourself about any piece of academic work is, Will the marker be able to distinguish between my own ideas and those I have obtained from others?. What markers fundamentally want to see is that students have read widely round the subject, that the sources used have been acknowledged, and that the conclusions which arise from the study are the students own. The University has issued a code of practice on plagiarism to departments which includes guidance on the best ways of assisting students in the early part of their studies. This is in order to instil in them the sort of good learning habits which will help to guard against the dangers of academic dishonesty. If you are in any doubt about what constitutes good practice, read through departmental guidelines carefully and then if necessary ask your academic tutors for further advice. Check the Student Learning Centre website for general guidance on how to avoid plagiarism (http://www.le.ac.uk/slc/) or make an appointment for individual advice.

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Please also note that that we have software available to us that enables us to check for dishonesty, every single submission that you make to us. This can be done easily and quickly.

Examples of plagiarism
As some students are uncertain what constitutes plagiarism, we will look at some examples of both good and bad practice. Consider the following paragraph, which can be found on page 13 of the book Social Networks and Organizations by Martin Kilduff and Wenpin Tsai, published by Sage in 2003, In fields as different as physics, biology, linguistics, anthropology, sociology and psychotherapy, network ideas have been repeatedly invoked over the last hundred years. The multiple origins of network approaches for the social sciences contribute to the eclecticism that characterizes current work. Let us assume that a student wishes to use this in their essay. How should this be done? The first three examples following are of bad practice and are considered to be plagiarism. In Example 1 the student writes, The multiple origins of network approaches for the social sciences contribute to the eclecticism that characterizes current work. Here the text is copied word for word. No reference is given to its source. In effect, the student presents another persons work as his or her own. In Example 2 the student writes, The multiple origins of network approaches for the social sciences contribute to the eclecticism that characterizes current work (Kilduff and Tsai, 2003). Here the source has been cited, but the student has not shown that it is a quotation and, therefore, is not his or her own work. In Example 3 the student writes, The various sources of network approaches for the social sciences contribute to the diversity which characterizes contemporary work.

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This is an instance of what we refer to as paraphrasing a form of plagiarism of which students are often not aware. Paraphrasing is unacceptable because it involves only changing words here and there in the original text, so that the essence and structure of the extract remain the same as in the original version. Again no reference is given, however, even if one were, this kind of practice should still be avoided. So, Examples 1, 2 and 3 are all considered to be plagiarism. A distinction needs to be drawn between paraphrasing and indirect quotation. In paraphrasing the original text is amended by the student, usually by the deletion or inclusion of the odd word. The meaning of the original text is unchanged. In contrast, an indirect quotation conveys the same meaning of the original text, but you are expected to change as many words for synonyms as possible, change the word forms (e.g. verbs to nouns, adjectives to adverbs), and change the word order (e.g. active to passive). The ability to do this without changing the meaning of the original text proves that you fully understand it. What is correct practice? The following examples show correct referencing of the same text. In Example 4 the student writes, The multiple origins of network approaches for the social sciences contribute to the eclecticism that characterizes current work (Kilduff and Tsai, 2003: 13). Here the student has used quotation marks to show that the text is a direct quote. In addition, a full reference is given. Notice that this specifies the page of the original on which the quotation is to be found. In Example 5 the student writes, Network research embraces a diversity of approaches to studying social relations. Kilduff and Tsai (2003: 13) attribute this diversity to the many different sources of the network approach. Here the student uses their own words to refer to the work of the authors. This as we have seen is known as an indirect quotation, however, since the student is using the idea or concepts of other people, a reference is still required which should ideally contain a page number if the ideas referred to only appear in a certain section of the source material. To repeat, Examples 1, 2 and 3 are considered to be plagiarism. Examples 4 and 5 show good practice.

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Working honestly
It is very important that you understand what constitutes plagiarism. If you have any doubts about this, please contact your programme leader or module lecturer who will be pleased to explain further. Please spend time familiarising yourself with the rules and formats of referencing. Where plagiarism is detected in a students work, the penalties are severe. Please see your Programme Handbook for further information on these penalties. The Student Learning Centre publishes a number of guides for students on plagiarism and writing skills. You should make sure that you are familiar with their contents. They are available on the Blackboard support system. Many modules offer students the opportunity to work together in pairs or teams. Care should be taken to read ULSM guidelines on how such modules are to be assessed. If a joint or collaborative piece of coursework is requested, the team can work together right up to the point of submission. In such circumstances, individuals may be asked to indicate the sections of the report they contributed to, or the assessment may be of the group itself, or there may be an additional form of assessment, such as a presentation session that allows for individualised grading. A more common arrangement is where the collaborative investigation of a topic is followed by the submission of a report from each team member where each report is independently produced. The outcome for assessment purposes here is intended to reveal the intellectual abilities of the individual students, and work therefore has to be prepared by each student without the assistance of others. If you do not understand what is required of you, ask the module lecturer or another academic tutor. Do not guess.

Concluding Comments
This section has presented the labour of the scholar the activities of reading and writing. Most students will find the skills of reading and writing a challenge. Whilst many of us write emails and read books for pleasure on a daily basis, the experience of academic reading and writing is very different. Few would deny that writing for an academic audience is hard work. Even those of us who do this for a living will admit that sometimes words escape us and structures and ideas get drafted and revised too many times. Reading and writing takes time

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and concentration, often it is the realisation of the time and effort needed that helps to orientate the student in their approach to the study material. You will find that there is a wide range of guides that develop many of the themes from this section provided for you on Blackboard. You will also find details on examination preparation on Blackboard. Many of the techniques highlighted above (e.g. note-taking, planning) are pertinent to both assignments and the examination.

Key Readings
You should now read the following before carrying on with the module: [Reading 7] Chapter 7 (Reading and Note-making) from Studying at a Distance by Christine Talbot [Reading 8] Chapter 8 (Essays and Written Examinations) from Studying at a Distance by Christine Talbot Readings 7 and 8 are at the end of this section.

Tasks
4.1 4.2 Blackboard contains an interactive tutorial titled, Dont Cheat Yourself An Interactive Guide to Referencing. Find and attempt this tutorial. Once you have completed Task 4.1 consider the following question and discuss it on Blackboard, What values are academics promoting in the enforcement of a referencing system? How relevant are these values in contemporary society?

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References
The following sources were used in writing this section. The references are correct at the time of writing, but note that Internet addresses, editions, publishers and so on are apt to change. We will note changes where we are aware of them on Blackboard. Buzan, T. and Buzan, B. (2003) The Mind Map Book, Harlow: BBC Active (Pearson Education) Fairbairn, G. J. and Winch, C. (1996) Reading, Writing and Reasoning: A guide for students, second edition, Milton Keynes: Open University Press Weller, M. (2001) Delivering Learning on the Net: The why, what and how of online education, London: Kogan Page

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MN7200/D Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills

Key Reading 7
Christine Talbot (2007), Studying at a Distance, Reading and Note-making

Reproduced with permission of McGraw-Hill

7
Reading and note-making
Introduction to Chapters 710 Reading Note-making from reading Recording and using sources Summary of Chapter 7

Introduction to Chapters 710


With limited time and restricted access to resources the distance learner in particular needs to make the most of their learning experience. While it is widely acknowledged that the overall experience of the full-time 18-year-old entering higher education encompasses much more than their learning, the distance learner is often far more focused on the specic task of studying, successfully fullling the assessment requirements of the course of study, and obtaining some form of accreditation. That said, most distance learning courses include some element of human contact and it is to be hoped that there is an opportunity for enjoyment and stimulating company (if only in a virtual way) for all of you studying by this mode of delivery. In the following four chapters we focus on the detail of the reality of studying, namely: Reading and note-making (Chapter 7) Writing essays (and other prose assignments), revision and exams (Chapter 8) Other forms of learning and assessment, including working with others (Chapter 9) Doing a research project (Chapter 10)

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Since the book as a whole is intended primarily for those who have previously studied in further or higher education, what follows is a relatively brief guide to those aspects of studying for which you may feel in need of a bit of a refresher. However, there may be some sections that you dont need to work through in detail, especially if you have recently been a student. Conversely, if you feel after reading these chapters that you need more help with these study skills, you will nd details of more paper and electronic resources in the Further Resources section at the end of the book.

7.1 Reading
Since so much time on a course of study is spent reading, it is crucial that none of that time is wasted. It is essential that you: Read with a purpose Read selectively Read critically and analytically Doing background reading before the start of a course or by way of preparation for an essay or other assignment can sometimes be seen as an overwhelming experience, largely due to the enormous amount of information that is available. The task can be made more manageable if you start with introductory texts on a subject, or use secondary sources such as a review article where the literature of a subject is discussed. Some students are fortunate enough to be given an annotated bibliography or reading list at the start of their course, which instantly provides more information about each item on the list. The purpose here is to help you to familiarize yourself in general terms with the subject and to learn some new vocabulary. Not everyone is this lucky though and you need to develop your own strategies for deciding what you want (or need) to read. No one will be this spoon-fed throughout their course in any case, and certainly when it comes to researching for an assignment some of the marks are likely to be awarded for evidence of your ability to select relevant literature and other sources yourself. (The information provided in Chapter 6 will help you do this.)

Relevance
With the help of catalogues, indexes, abstracts, databases and the development of good searching strategies, you will eventually nd what you hope are relevant items of literature and electronic sources to read. However, once you nally have the item on the desk or PC in front of you, it is worth spending a few minutes employing the following strategies to conrm that it is going to

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be worth spending many more minutes, or even hours, reading a particular book or article which could turn out to be unsuitable after all. Try to put yourself into a questioning frame of mind by asking questions such as: Why am I interested in this item? How will it contribute to my essay / assignment / group work preparation? It is not recommended that you set out to read an academic book from cover to cover. Even if it turns out that the book is very relevant to your studies, you will get far more out of it if you nd out a bit more about it rst.

Cover
Read the dust jacket or back cover of a book. Although this is provided by the publisher primarily to encourage sales, it can also provide a useful indication of its overall relevance to your needs. It tells you about the author their standing in the academic community, their qualications for writing the book and their contribution to a particular eld.

Abstract
An abstract at the start of a journal article or of an item on a website is likely to be more informative than a book cover. In the case of academic journals the abstract should conform to the protocol of academic writing and provide an accurate, brief account of what is in the article. Indeed you may have obtained the article only after reading an abstract in a database, but if you have come across it via an index or search engine or by browsing through a journal it is well worth reading the abstract rst. An abstract will provide information such as how the item adds to the body of knowledge, what methodology was used in any research, and the main conclusions.

Contents
Read the contents page of a book or website so that you can select only the relevant chapters / sections or even a few pages, using the chapter / section subheadings to guide you.

Index
Scan the index of a book for appropriate or relevant vocabulary. If none of the terms used there are familiar to you (for example, the words that are used in an essay title) it may be that the book isnt worth reading after all. An index can also provide an overview of the key concepts covered in a book and help you build up an idea of the structure of a subject.

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Bibliography
Scan the bibliography to see if you recognize some of the references. Once you become familiar with your subject area you will come to know at least a handful of authors that you would expect to see there.

Introduction
Read the introduction to a book. This can sometimes be the authors preface or it may be the rst chapter. In the case of a collection of essays or papers that have been put together by an academic editor, the introduction will be especially useful, since the key points of each chapter usually will have been picked out by the editor. The introduction may also give you an idea of the authors point of view or perspective on the subject of the book, which will help you to read critically and analytically.

Conclusion
Read the nal chapter of the book. Its not like reading the end of a novel when you dont want to know what happens. In fact the opposite is true: you want to read a summary by the author of what has gone before or read the overall conclusions that they have reached by the end of the book, to know if you want to read the detail. As with the introduction, the conclusion will provide a rich source of information to enable critical and analytical reading.

Chapters
Use scanning and skimming to delve into chapters to assess how much of each chapter to read. Read the rst and last paragraphs of a chapter and read the rst and last sentences of a few other paragraphs.

Double check
Dont just rely on one of the above strategies in isolation. You will need to employ two or three to ensure that you dont reject something potentially useful.

Take stock
Some people nd it helpful to start a mind map or spider diagram at this point, before progressing to the more in-depth stages of reading. (See the section on the design of notes later in this chapter for more on mind maps.) This involves noting down the keywords for the knowledge you have gained from your reading up to this point. This can make your reading from now on faster and more effective.

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An example of what the core part of a mind map might look like is given in Figure 7.1 for the essay title shown there. You will see that this rst version of the mind map covers only the key concepts from the rst part of the question. These have been arrived at after some preliminary reading around the subject. Figure 7.2 in Section 7.2 shows the more developed version of the mind map in response to the second part of the essay title, after more detailed reading has taken place.

FIGURE 7.1 Mind map 1 Note: Essay title: Identify and explain the major classications of company information required by users. Outline the reports typically required by various types of user, justifying your linkages.

Order of reading
If, after employing the previous strategies, you decide that you will read some or all of the book or article, dont assume that you need to read the chapters or sections in the order that they are provided. This is especially true of edited collections of different papers. Where the book is by a single author, however, it may be possible that they develop a theme or argument as the book progresses (rather like a good essay see Section 8.1), in which case you will only get confused if you dont read in a logical order. You should have been able to nd out whether or not this is likely to be the case by following the suggested earlier strategies. A lot of information on websites is

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not intended to be read in a linear way (indeed the exibility of access to information via the web is one of its assets), but beware of getting lost by going off to other, less relevant, sites. A good website will help you keep track of where you are by providing helpful navigation tools, usually across the top of the page.

Speed reading
Once you have identied that a chapter is relevant, one strategy you could employ rather than reading each section thoroughly (as below) to begin with, is rst to read the chapter rapidly several times, building up a picture of what each section is about.

Critical and analytical reading


Whatever order you eventually decide to read a book in, try not to be tempted to simply read whats written, passively accepting everything thats there. To do so is a bit like watching a television programme without listening to the sound. When we read we need to really engage with the writer and hear what the author is saying. To do this we need to stop and think from time to time about what we have just read and consider whether or not, and in what respects, we agree with it or believe it to be based on sound evidence. In other words we need to make a considered response to what weve read. It is a good idea to employ the tactic of double reading: rst doing a quick skim of the page, or several pages, to get the gist of what is being said; and then returning for a second reading, going over the content much more carefully and making notes on the key points as you go. It is also useful to note your response to what you have read at these key places. If you are to read critically and analytically you need to compare different points of view that are presented in different books and articles and to be able to make judgements about what is being said. You can start to make judgements by asking the following questions about something that you are reading: How much of what is written is fact and how much is opinion? Where the author expresses an opinion, is it backed up with evidence or is it simply their latest idea? Where evidence is cited, is it recent evidence? Does the author have a lot of experience in this particular eld? Are the authors conclusions based on what is written earlier? What are the logical outcomes of following that persons point of view or belief? Are they reasonable and desirable? Can you identify the school of thought of the author? Does anyone else in the eld oppose the authors view?

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Activity Twenty-Seven
You may be able, at this point, to add to the above list, giving some of your own examples of how to read critically and analytically in your particular subject area.

Just because an author has been published does not mean that everything written in a book or journal is academically sound or conforms to current thinking on a subject. That said, academic publishers will always have commissioned peer reviews of the content before publishing. It is nevertheless possible to question what is written, especially if it is not supported by evidence. However, it is important not to be a lone voice disagreeing with several academically renowned authors who agree with one another. Challenging the accepted wisdom of a specic subject is generally reserved for doctoral or post-doctoral study! It is especially important to make judgements about what you read on web pages, since there is often no academic publisher involved to give credence to what is published on the web. (See towards the end of Section 6.7 for a checklist of how to critically evaluate websites.) In particular check out the academic credentials of the author of the materials. The material written by most academics and found on the web will be on sites produced by their academic institution or by the organizers of conferences where papers have been presented. The clue is often very simply in the URL of the website.

Stopping reading
It is important to recognize when to stop reading. This will be when the items you are reading are not providing you with any new material and / or your research questions have been answered.

A note on academic criticism


Criticism in general terms is regarded as something negative, but in an academic context it has a rather different meaning. Criticism does not have to imply negativity; rather it is an opportunity to state what is good about something too. Where something isnt good, it is constructive if you can point out precisely what is wrong and in what ways it could be improved. As you will read in the next chapter, constructive criticism of your essays by your tutors is to be welcomed (even though it might not initially feel like it!). If you are able to develop a critical and analytical approach to listening, thinking and reading you will be better equipped to write critically and analytically. Academic criticism is fully accepted as a crucial component of study in higher education at institutions in most parts of the world. In particular, if you

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are registered for a course with an institution in the UK or other European country, in the US, Canada or Australia, you will be expected to adopt this approach. This may be difcult for you to do at rst if you have a different cultural background, but be assured that it will not be interpreted as a rude, personal insult on the author when you include academic criticism in your essays or your contributions to online or face-to-face discussions.

7.2 Note-making from reading


It is crucial to make notes from your reading as it assists the mind to engage with the material and to process what you have read. Peoples choice of how they make notes varies considerably. However, although it is quite a personal activity, the following strategies have worked for many.

Highlighting
If you are the sort of person who likes to mark key passages of what you are reading by using a highlighter pen, by writing in the margins or underlining, you will need to make photocopies of the relevant pages of books and journals or make printouts from electronic sources. Never make notes on a library copy of a book or journal.

Copyright
Of course, you need to ensure that the material you are photocopying falls within the limits of what you are allowed to copy for personal use under the terms of the current law on copyright. The licence agreement of the institution where you are doing the copying will usually be displayed near the photocopier.

Additional notes
If you need to write more notes than will t into the margins of the photocopies, it is a good idea to use a card or a piece of paper and to staple this to the photocopied article. In this way you ensure that you keep all the notes together.

Physical means
You may choose to record your notes on cards or sheets of paper or you may want to input them directly onto a PC. The latter, though time consuming, means that you may later be able to use some of your notes in the body of your

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essay without repeating the writing activity, but there is a danger then of including everything you have collected, just because its there.

Summarise your thoughts


In making the initial notes, dont be tempted to write down everything you have read. Rather, read through a section at a time, think about it, then write a brief summary of what you have read in your own words, checking the original text for accurate spelling of new words and to record the names of people and so on.

Design
You may choose to make notes in a linear fashion or using some kind of pictorial representation of your ideas. Those who are more visual according to the VARK categories of learning preferences (Fleming and Bonwell 2006) will probably nd the latter more appealing (see Section 2.10 for details). Some people make linear notes initially as they read through source materials, then they read their notes and produce some form of mind map or spider diagram from them, picking out the key points / themes and highlighting them. This involves writing down the main theme drawn from your reading in the centre of the page and drawing connecting lines from there to other relevant ideas, as well as lines to show the connections between the various ideas. This has the added advantage of helping you to absorb or digest what you have been reading and to start to think about your response to it. An example of what a mind map might look like is given in Figure 7.2. It is a more detailed version of the one given in Figure 7.1 in Section 7.1. It is based on the essay title shown. You will see that in Figure 7.2 the more extensive mind map indicates the development of the concepts in response to the second part of the essay title, after further reading has taken place. There are a growing number of electronic mind mapping software programs available. Many of them are available as free downloads (some only as free trials of proprietary brands prior to purchase). Open University (UK) students can download the software Compendium via Moodle (the VLE). Other students will nd details of software, such as FreeMind or Inspiration, via a Google search.

To use or not to use


After reading and note-making you should consider splitting the copies of any articles / chapters and sets of notes into different categories: those that you denitely want to use; those that you might possibly use; and those that you reject. It is better to discard irrelevant material at this stage than be tempted to include everything in your essay just because you have it. If youve made notes directly onto your computer, you may have some deleting to do at this stage. If

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FIGURE 7.2 Mind map 2 Note: Essay title: Identify and explain the major classications of company information required by users. Outline the reports typically required by various types of user, justifying your linkages.

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youre not quite sure, create another version of your data le with a new le name, so that if you change your mind, you can retrieve your work.

7.3 Recording and using sources


Bibliographical details
At the start of any reading and note-making session, record the full bibliographical details of the item you are about to read, if you dont already have them from the literature searching stage, and the source of the item (library, website and so on). You could do this on index cards but if you have the opportunity it is much better to use some form of software to record the details on a PC. This could simply be done in Word or some other word processing program, but specialist software is available specically to record bibliographical details (see Section 6.8 for details of Endnote and Reference Manager software). Whichever means you use to record the details, it is advisable to use the Harvard system of referencing so that you gradually build up your bibliography in the course of researching and reading for your essay (again see Section 6.8 for details of referencing). However, the choice of referencing system will be determined by your institution and may even vary from one department to another within the same institution. Check their guidelines at an early stage. At the top of each page of notes write the author, date and title of the item, so that you have a clear record of the source of your notes.

Cite your sources / plagiarism


Be meticulous about citing and referencing your sources and quotes. In some countries and cultures, copying word for word the work of others who are revered in academia, without acknowledging the source, is perfectly acceptable and is even considered as attering (Introna et al. 2003). In other cultures (predominantly western), however, plagiarism (that is taking and using another persons thoughts or writings as your own) is not allowed. You may have a whole assignment or examination disallowed if you do plagiarize another persons work. You may even be dismissed from your whole programme of study. The penalties for plagiarism at your institution are likely to be laid out in the college or university student handbook. Copying is not allowed from paper or web sources. There is sophisticated software available for institutions to use to check mechanically whether your work contains material from websites. Sometimes plagiarism can be unintentional, in the sense that you forget to cite the source. However, in many institutions this excuse does not constitute

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an acceptable defence and you would still suffer the consequences. Whatever your personal views are on the rights and wrongs of plagiarism, you need to ensure that you abide by the rules of the particular institution where you are registered.

Quotations
If you decide that a short section of the original text of a book or article is going to provide a really useful quote in your essay, be especially meticulous about recording your sources. You can spend hours returning to the library to rediscover the exact page number of a quote. Dont, however, let your essay or other written work become just a series of quotes. If an author expresses something very clearly it is reasonable to quote them, but you have to explain in your own words why the quote is relevant to the essay and how it supports your own reasoning. Even when you are not quoting an author verbatim you should acknowledge the source of ideas / evidence / theories to which you refer in the text of your essays. There are various ways of laying out long and short passages of text. Again guidance may well be provided by your department, and there are also guides such as those referred to in Section 10.7 that help you do this.

Summary of Chapter 7
In this chapter you have: Had the opportunity to revisit two of the most important study skills that you will need to successfully complete your distance learning course: reading and note-making Given particular thought to how to read critically and analytically in your subject area

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Key Reading 8
Christine Talbot (2007), Studying at a Distance, Essays and Written Examinations

Reproduced with permission of McGraw-Hill

8
Essays and written examinations
Introduction Essay writing Revising for examinations Sitting examinations Summary of Chapter 8

Introduction
Although the style of writing required to complete all of your assignments is likely to vary during the course and may include reports, observations, numerical or scientic exercises, case studies and essays, it is often the writing of traditional essays that creates most anxiety among students. This is especially true of those who are returning to study after a gap of some years. I am, therefore, going to concentrate on essays here. Most of you reading this book have probably done some sort of study in further or higher education in the past and have therefore written essays before. What follows is a reminder list of strategies to help you plan and write successful essays. Some of the more general strategies suggested are applicable to all assignments, irrespective of the form of writing needed. Some strategies will apply to writing essays for unseen written examinations as well as to writing essays submitted throughout the course. Clearly, however, some aspects, such as asking someone else to read a draft to check that you have made yourself understood, are luxuries not afforded in the examination environment!

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8.1 Essay writing


Created not born
Remember that you are not born a good essay writer. Rather you develop into one but only through: Reecting on your strengths and weaknesses Gaining feedback to use in that reection Using resources such as this book, people and computers to tackle your weaknesses Using checklists Giving your reading and writing plenty of time Reecting often on what you have written

Start early
Allow plenty of time to research and write each essay a good essay will take many hours of reading, note-making and writing. If you leave it too close to the deadline you will be too pressured to do a good job and you are likely to nd that the key books that you need to read will already have been requested by others from the university or college library. As with other aspects of your studies, you need to plan backwards from the deadline for each assignment and add to your chart when you need to start your literature searching for each one. (See the Gantt chart, Figure 3.1 in Section 3.6).

Assessment criteria
Find out what the assessment criteria are for your assignment / essay / report and how many or what percentage of marks are allocated to each criterion. Depending on the subject, some tutors award marks for good spelling / punctuation / grammar or conversely subtract marks if these aspects of an essay are poor. Most (or all) marks are likely to be awarded for your ability to: Express your ideas clearly Provide evidence that you have conducted sufcient research, that is read widely and deeply about the subject Show that you can analyse and critically appraise what you have read, moving away from being purely descriptive Present and justify your own argument and conclusions

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How many words?


Take note of the minimum and maximum word allowance for each piece of work.

Read the question


Some tutors (examiners) are more helpful than others in the way they formulate essay / assignment questions. However it is worded, read and reread the question and break it down into its various component parts if it is complicated. Pick out the keywords from the title. Add your own words and phrases as you think through exactly what is being asked in the question. These words and phrases will help you in your literature search. Include the full range of concepts you will need to cover.

Read the literature


Perform your literature search for the assignment and obtain useful books and articles. (Chapter 6 will help you do this.) Dont forget to check reading lists from your tutor where such lists have been provided. The length of the assignment and the marks allocated to it will largely determine the time you spend on your literature search and the number of items it is necessary to obtain and read to meet the assessment criteria. Dont be tempted to try to read everything there is on a subject each assignment is not a research project. Although you will probably have some materials provided by your tutor(s) that are relevant to the title of the essay, tutors dont want simply to receive back a reordered version of these materials. They want to see that you have been thinking about the information they have given you and developing your ideas. It is also important that you show you have read more widely than the notes they have given you.

Make notes
It is important that you make notes from the literature as you read it. How you might do this was explored in Section 7.2. Ensure that you record all of the bibliographical details of everything you read, especially the page numbers of any phrases or short passages you may want to quote verbatim.

Make a plan
Plan your essay before you start to write the substance. Note down keywords or features / ideas / arguments you want to make, and the reference(s) you want to use to support those ideas. This has sometimes been known as brainstorming or, more recently, thought-storming your ideas. Dont worry about the order of these individual points initially. Again people vary in the way they nd it helpful to note down their essay ideas, just as they do in making notes on their

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reading. Some will write in a linear way, while others will use mind maps or spider diagrams. The latter has the advantage of showing the relationship between the main points, and may ultimately help you decide on the order in which you will write about these points in your essay. In practice your mind map will be developed during the combined tasks of planning your essay and doing the background reading for it (see Figure 7.2 in Section 7.2 for an example). Reread the essay question and ensure that you have ideas that address each part of it.

Make your points


Expand each of the keywords or features into one or two paragraphs, commenting critically and analytically (that is, questioning and justifying) on what you have read, and citing the sources. Keep reminding yourself of the question / essay title and check that what you are writing is relevant. Write concisely and succinctly, yet using enough words to be able to summarize unambiguously the theories and / or the arguments in what you have read, and to express your own opinions and ideas.

Link it all together


Put the various paragraphs into a logical order and write the linking text. This is the point at which the disjointed parts come together to form a coherent whole. It is also where you gradually develop your line of reasoned argument throughout the essay. It is in writing the linking text that you may well decide to change the order of the different parts of the essay or to rewrite some of the paragraphs to make more sense in view of the developing argument. Writing down everything you have learned about a subject does not constitute a good essay you must answer the question. Sometimes what you leave out is as important as what you leave in.

Conclusion
Draw your conclusions based on the points you have made earlier, combining sound evidence from your reading with some original thoughts of your own.

Introduction
The introduction is very often the last thing to be written, providing as it does an outline of what is to follow and a hint of what your conclusions are.

Use of rst person


It has traditionally been accepted in most academic subjects that we avoid using the word I in academic writing when expressing our views. This has

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been seen as a way of encouraging you to focus on the argument and the evidence. However, the rules seem to be changing and now vary from one academic discipline to another. Reective writing in particular requires that you personalize it, so the rules will change depending upon the nature of the assignment. It is worth checking out at the start of your course what the accepted practice is for your subject and for different types of work.

Use plain English


Dont be tempted to use long words or complicated sentences in the essay: they do not equate with intellectual ability often the opposite is true. The ability to write clearly and understandably is far more impressive!

Understand what you write


Dont use words that you dont understand. If you come across a word or phrase in a reading that you want to quote, ensure that you understand its meaning before using it. Your tutor or other students may ask you about it in a discussion of your essay.

Use drafts
You will need to write more than one draft. Once again, the number of marks allocated to a particular assignment will help determine just how much time you spend on this task and therefore how many versions you will produce, but there comes a point when you have to stop and be prepared to submit it. (Often the deadline will impose this discipline in any case.) Word-processing packages on PCs are wonderful (especially the spellchecker!) and it may be possible that you are constantly amending your copy as you work through your document. However, it is a good idea to stop at some point and print off a full draft. Leave it for a while (preferably until the next day) and return to it with a more detached and self-critical approach to what you have written. Make nal amendments.

Reviewers
If possible ask someone not on your course to read and review a fairly advanced draft of your work to ensure that they can understand what you have written. Clearly with higher-level courses a non-specialist will not be able to understand all of the meaning, but they may be able to point out, for example, where your argument has not been presented in a clear and logical way. While it would be wrong for someone else to actually contribute to your work, it is generally accepted practice that others are allowed to view your drafts and to point out where more evidence is required or when some references are not provided. For some assignments the tutors themselves may be

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prepared to read your draft and give advice before you submit the nal version. Write down the feedback and use it as a reminder for other essays.

Read the feedback


For some programmes of study you will be writing essays at various points throughout your course and before a nal examination or assignment. This is sometimes called formative assessment and may or may not count towards the nal mark for your course. In such cases the feedback you receive from the tutor who reads your essay is almost as important as the mark itself. Good feedback will be supportive, giving constructive criticism of your essay and providing advice on how to improve your performance in your next essay. If you dont understand any of the feedback provided by your tutor, dont be afraid to ask for clarication, or even to question or challenge it. Discussion of your work is good it will help you see how to improve it and it will help you to recognize where and how to make your argument more clearly. Your tutor may also suggest key readings that you have not discovered for yourself. Dont be tempted just to look at the mark and be relieved that you have passed read the feedback. The process of writing an essay and reading the feedback is as much a part of learning as reading study materials or attending lectures. As was stated in Section 2.6, the principal purpose of formative assessment is development rather than judgement. When writing your next essay get out the feedback on previous essays and use it as a checklist especially to spot your spelling and grammar mistakes.

Practice for exams


Every time you prepare for and write an essay it is good practice for writing examination answers. The key points of reading the question, doing a plan and linking your points together to develop your argument are all crucial elements of writing good examination answers. These combined with taking heed of the feedback received are all essential preparation for nal exams. Effort put into writing essays will be rewarded twofold in the marks received for the essay itself and in the marks received in an exam.

More help
For further advice on other forms of writing see Section 10.7 on report writing and for citations and referencing see Section 6.8. Your department or university / college may also issue its own guidelines. See also the details of other resources at the end of this book. If you require more than a reminder about writing essays and need more in-depth advice about the process, an excellent book is Creme and Lea (2003). Another is Rose (2007). (See Guides to reading, writing and referencing in Further Resources for details.)

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8.2 Revising for examinations


Although many tutors are now choosing to use more innovative forms of assessment (including electronic means) and are providing continuous assessment throughout the course, a lot of importance is still attached by many to the nal written examination at the end of a module. Even where assignments have been submitted by post or email at regular intervals through your course, many distance learners are expected to attend a nal examination in person, not least to satisfy your study institutions requirements regarding authentication / identity of the registered students. Even if you dont have to attend your host institution you are likely to be asked to sit an unseen written examination paper at a local study centre. While some people thrive in such a situation and welcome the opportunity to demonstrate all that they have learned, the vast majority of us do not readily embrace the prospect of nal exams, and the pressure and concentrated period of effort associated with them. Nevertheless, with a little forethought and a calm approach, the experience does not have to be quite as traumatic as many would have us believe. The key to being successful in exams is good preparation for them, namely revision. The skills required for the combined process of revision and sitting exams are essentially those that have already been addressed in this and the previous chapter reading, making notes and writing. In addition, while it is not something everyone (especially distance learners) have the chance or desire to do, some people also use their skills of working with others to help them to prepare for exams. Some people nd it helpful to revise with one or more other person and / or to have someone test them before their exams by asking them questions.

Planning
While serious planning for revision and exams is naturally going to begin towards the end of your module, there is a sense in which planning needs to begin right at the start of it. If you are organized in the way you make and store notes from your reading and from any lectures you might attend, this will make your task of revising a little easier. Filing together all material related to each topic being covered on your course means that you know where to nd it all when you come to revise.

When to revise
Well before the actual period of revision needs to begin, you need to make a revision diary or chart. You need to note on this a timetable or a schedule of the weeks over which you will revise and what topics you will revise in which

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weeks or days. Similarly, just as you have to decide as a distance learner at what time of day or night you are going to do your studying and complete your assignments, you need to consider realistically when you are going to nd time in your week to revise.

Activity Twenty-Eight
Although you may already have done a study schedule and a weekly planner for your whole programme of study, it is probably a good idea to do separate and more detailed versions of these for the period of revision. Clearly this will be an activity to which you will return once you know more about the exact nature of your course, and if and when any exams of this sort are scheduled. Remember though that the key to time management is knowing when to amend your schedule. The overall period of time that you devote to revision and how many weeks ahead of the exams you begin to revise is going to be something for you to work out for yourself. Some people are very systematic and start some revision many weeks before the exams; others nd that if they start too early they cant remember everything on the day. However, I would advise that you dont leave it too late to begin: most people nd they dont leave enough time. If you follow the strategy for revision suggested later in this section, you will hopefully nd that you can do the different stages of revision over an extended period of time and ultimately discover that you can recall it all.

What to revise
The best advice to give is that you should revise everything included in each module on your programme. However, as a part-time student you may need to be strategic in your choice of revision topics, especially if you know that it is unrealistic to revise every element of your course. However, deciding which topics to revise and which ones to set aside is a very risky business. Another approach that is used by some students is to revise most but not all topics in greater depth, and to revise the remaining topics to a lesser extent. This at least means that if you really do have to answer a question on a topic that you hadnt really anticipated you will not be completely devoid of ideas. Your own interests, and your strengths and weaknesses, will also help you to decide which topics need most work, which ones you should tackle and which ones to avoid if possible. You may even get some hints from lecturers, so dont miss out on any online discussions or face-to-face elements of the course as examinations draw closer. While not foolproof, you can often see from past exam papers which topics always or nearly always come up for a particular module. Looking at past papers also helps you to become familiar with the structure of the paper: how

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many questions have to be answered; which ones are compulsory; and so on. (Of course this can change from year to year, so always read the instructions on the top of your paper when the time comes.)

Reading
Revision essentially consists of doing a lot of reading and trying to absorb what you read in order to be able to reproduce the ideas, points of view, theories and so on in a written examination. It doesnt often mean committing to memory in a rote-learning sense, but in the case of mathematical or scientic formulae or passages of literature, for example, you may have no choice but to do so. How each individual does this varies a great deal, but for most of us repetition is a major element of the process. What you should read will vary according to your particular course. For some courses the tutor will make it clear that if you thoroughly know all that is in a detailed study manual or included in online learning materials you will be well prepared. For most courses, though, you will also need to reread your own essays or other assignments and even some of the articles or extracts from books that you used to prepare to write those assignments. If you have made and kept good summary notes of your topics as you worked through the module or as you prepared an assignment, use these as a starting point for your revision.

Making notes
Most people nd that it helps to make notes when they are revising. This can ensure that revision reading becomes a more active rather than simply a passive activity. As with note-making when reading as you prepare to write an essay, it is better to read a section at a time, think about what you have read, and only then make notes that summarize what you have read, using whatever style of writing that best suits you and your subject. Again, as when preparing for essay writing, try as a second stage to reduce the longer version of your notes to some diagrammatic form (a diagram is easier for showing the relationship between elements), or simply a list of related topics (you might want to do this on your word processor). Finally, extract a few keywords or phrases from each list or diagram and commit these to memory by rote, if necessary. Hopefully (if you have done the revision thoroughly in the earlier stages), by recalling these keywords in the examination room, you will remember the diagram in your head, which in turn will lead to a whole chain reaction of thought, and you will nd that all the knowledge that you need will be unlocked. It is probably better to go through each of the three stages of note-making in different weeks if possible, and certainly on different days within your revision schedule. This way you are revisiting the subject at regular intervals and topping up the store of knowledge in your head. Some people, however, prefer

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to go through all three stages in one sitting for each topic, returning to the keywords a day or two before the exam, just to refresh their memory.

8.3 Sitting examinations


I have already suggested towards the end of Section 8.1 that each essay or other form of assignment you write during your course is practice for your exams. Although the timing is of course far more restricted in the exam situation, which puts you under more pressure, the process of writing the answers is essentially the same as when writing for assignments. Some exams are even open book exams, where you dont have to rely completely on your memory to recall crucial information, and the examiner is looking for your appropriate interpretation of the data rather than your recall of them. It needs to be said, however, that this type of exam is still relatively rare. Whatever form your exam is going to take, there are some steps you can take beforehand to ensure that you are able to do your best.

Assessment criteria
Although you are unlikely to receive a list of assessment criteria for each exam question, it is not unreasonable to ask your tutor well ahead of the exam for a list of criteria that they will, in general terms, be applying when marking the exam answers. These are likely to be similar to those provided for each of your assignments, but there could be some differences so its worth checking this out.

Handwriting / spelling / grammar


Exam markers are likely to be a bit more lenient about these than they would be in marking an assignment prepared in more time and with the use of a word processor. However, while you are not going to get extra marks added for neatness you may lose marks if the examiner cannot understand your answer because of these factors. No examiner is going to spend very long struggling to try and work out what you mean by something you have written in an exam answer, if it is not immediately clear.

Planning for the exam


You should be aware well before an exam of how much time you will be allowed in total and how many questions you will have to answer in that time. It is therefore possible to have decided beforehand how much time you can devote to answering each question. Dont be tempted to simply divide the

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total time by the number of questions, say three hours by four questions, which makes 45 minutes per question. It is advisable to allow, say, 10 minutes at the start of the exam to read through the whole paper and decide which questions you are going to answer (where there is a choice) and the order that you might prefer to answer them in. You should also try to allow another 10 minutes before the end of the exam to read through your answers, and check for and correct any errors that it is easy to make when you are writing at speed in exam conditions. So, subtracting 20 minutes from the total leaves you in fact with 160 minutes or only 40 minutes per question.

Beforehand
Some people can stay calmer than others at the time of exams. Although you will need to check your keywords the day or night before, it is best not to be revising for too many hours immediately before an exam. Instead, try to relax, perhaps by doing some form of physical exercise, followed by a soak in the bath, and try to get an early night. On the day of the exam, try to allow plenty of time to travel to the exam centre. You dont want to arrive hot and ustered after rushing there, and you certainly dont want to be late you may not be allowed to sit the exam at all, which would be a great waste of all that effort. If you have never been to the exam centre before and you are not sure where it is, it is probably a good idea to travel there on a previous occasion, if it is not too expensive or time consuming to do so. Once you know exactly where it is, it is one less thing to worry about as the day of your exam approaches. Remember to take with you whatever writing, mathematical or scientic instruments you are going to need, as well as your college or university identication card and / or exam entrance number, which may be needed to gain access to the exam centre. You may also need the details of the exact room number where your exam is taking place. Dont allow others to make you nervous before the exam if necessary wait away from the crowd. Similarly, dont analyse the paper at length afterwards.

Write your name or number


Most exams are now taken anonymously, so you will need to take with you your examination entry number or code and write this in the appropriate place on the exam script or cover sheet, whichever system is used by your institution. It would be a nightmare if, after doing so much work before and during an exam, you were not given credit for your answers.

Read the whole paper


Even if you think you know how long the paper is due to last and how many questions you have to answer, always read the instructions at the

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top of each exam paper before you start. Its very easy in a stressful situation to misremember the more straightforward things. Check too if there is any choice on the paper you dont always have to answer all of the questions. Take care here as sometimes you have to answer a set number of questions from each section of the paper or all questions from section one and three more from the rest of the paper. Take your time and recalculate, if necessary, how many minutes you denitely have for each question, allowing yourself time at the beginning and at the end of the whole paper, as suggested above. Take note too of any instructions about using the answer sheets. In most exams you are expected to start your answer to each question on a new sheet of paper. This is usually so that different people can mark individual questions at the same time. Read through all of the questions and make a mental or preferably a written note as you read through the paper about which ones you think you could answer most successfully. Note too if you think you could answer two or three better than the others and decide the order in which you are going to do them. Beware: if you dont write your answers in the same order in which the questions are set, dont forget to return to an earlier one and realise with horror after the exam that you didnt answer the required number of questions. Write at the top of the paper which ones you decide to tackle. Put the numbers clearly on your rst sheet.

Read each question


Having decided upon the questions you are going to answer and the order in which you are going to do them, read through each question twice before starting to plan your answer, and again from time to time as you write your answer. As you read through the question the second time, pick out the component parts and note them down separately or divide up the question with oblique strokes on the question paper.

Planning each answer


Keep in mind how much time you have for each answer, but allow the rst ve minutes or so to plan each answer. This will be time well spent. As when planning an essay, note down the key elements that need to be included in your answer, thinking about the relationship between the elements and the order in which you want to include them in your answer. If it is an essay-type answer, jot down the keywords that you need to include in your conclusion. Even where it is not an essay answer still note down the key parts that you need to include in your answer so that you dont forget to complete all parts of it.

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Writing your answer


Unlike when writing an essay in a non-exam situation, you are going to have to write your introduction right at the start of your answer for an exam. But unlike when you are writing an essay, you already know the subject matter, you have noted down what to include and how to conclude the answer. Once you have these you are ready to write the introduction and thereafter to continue into the body of your answer. When writing an essay-type answer in an exam you dont have time to have the luxury of writing the component parts and then rearranging them. Thats why your plan is so important. Hopefully you will have collected your thoughts together at that stage and you can be condent of writing your answer in the time available, in a logical and well argued way. You will be able to show, not just what you know, but that you are capable of using that knowledge in an appropriate and well structured way. Tick off each part of your notes when you have written about a particular topic and at the end of writing your answer put a line through the whole of your notes for that question. Rules will vary according to who has set the exam, but generally you are expected to hand in everything you have written in the course of the exam, even if you dont want it to be seen as part of your nal answer. You need to ensure that it is very clear which part of the script contains your notes and which is your nal answer. As well as planning the content of your answer, you need to think about how much time you will spend writing about each aspect of the answer. Although you dont want to spend too many valuable minutes on the planning stage, it is probably wise to jot down very quickly on your plan before you start writing how many minutes you intend to use for writing each part, so that the sum of the parts is not greater than the time available for answering that one question. You need to be constantly aware of the time as you are writing. Even if you dont have time to include all aspects that you had intended, it is better to ensure that you have written your concluding argument at the end of an essay, or come up with a solution at the end of an answer that involves calculations or theories. That said, marks are often awarded for the processes involved in completing calculations, even if the nal solution is not accurate in every respect, so dont be tempted to cross out your workings if you feel that the solution is not correct. Again, any rough workings or notes that ultimately you dont want to be considered should be clearly crossed out. If it looks like you are going to run out of time, ensure that you have made an attempt at as many of the required number of questions as you can. Remember it is always harder to get the last 30 per cent of the marks for a question than it is to get the rst 30 per cent. Avoid perfecting your answers and not leaving yourself enough time to attempt all the questions that you need to.

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At the end of the exam


Ideally there should be ten minutes left after you have nished answering your last question to skim read all of your answers. Although this isnt enough time to amend anything you discover that is seriously wrong, it does give you time to spot minor errors in spelling or use of words or phrases or calculations and to put them right. You could pick up a few extra marks this way marks that could make the difference between passing the exam and not doing so.

Summary of Chapter 8
In this chapter you have: Had the opportunity to revisit two more of the most important study skills you will probably need to successfully complete your distance learning course: writing essays and revising for and writing examination answers Begun to think ahead about the time that will be needed for revision

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MN7200/D SECTION 5

Representation Paradigms, Models and Theory

Section 5

Representation Paradigms, Models and Theory


Learning Objectives
It was six men of Indostan To learning much inclined, Who went to see the Elephant (Though all of them were blind), That each by observation Might satisfy his mind The First approached the Elephant, And happening to fall Against his broad and sturdy side, At once began to bawl: God bless me! but the Elephant Is very like a wall! The Second, feeling of the tusk, Cried, Ho! what have we here So very round and smooth and sharp? To me tis mighty clear This wonder of an Elephant Is very like a spear! The Third approached the animal, And happening to take The squirming trunk within his hands,

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Thus boldly up and spake: I see, quoth he, the Elephant Is very like a snake! The Fourth reached out an eager hand, And felt about the knee, What most this wondrous beast is like Is mighty plain, quoth he; Tis clear enough the Elephant Is very like a tree! The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, Said: Een the blindest man Can tell what this resembles most; Deny the fact who can This marvel of an Elephant Is very like a fan! The Sixth no sooner had begun About the beast to grope, Than, seizing on the swinging tail That fell within his scope, I see, quoth he, the Elephant Is very like a rope! And so these men of Indostan Disputed loud and long, Each in his own opinion Exceeding stiff and strong, Though each was partly in the right, And all were in the wrong! Moral So oft in theologic wars, The disputants, I ween, Rail on in utter ignorance Of what each other mean, And prate about an Elephant Not one of them has seen! (The Blind Men and the Elephant by John Godfrey Saxe, 1873)

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Reports that say that something hasnt happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns the ones we dont know we dont know (Donald Rumsfeld US Defence Secretary, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3254852.stm) Sections 14 were concerned with using the learning environment effectively and developing the basic skills of reading and writing to the level appropriate for a post-graduate programme. The remaining sections of this study book focus our attention on the nature of knowledge and knowing in management. These sections bring together the requirement within higher education for critical analysis with the need to appreciate the foundations from which knowledge claims are made. You may recall from Section 3 that the statement of intent produced by the School of Management states, (3) Critique is about knowledge and the bases upon which our knowledge claims are erected. Upon what foundations do claims to scientific and everyday knowledge rest? The critical approach to knowledge has behind it the idea that conventional forms of empirical science are more likely to be locked into superficial acceptance of the taken for granted, and less likely to look for depth or complexity. In this section we explore the importance of knowing and knowledge. You will be encouraged to ask questions of what you perceive to be obvious and common sense. By appreciating that our world is a product of the lens that we employ, we can begin to unsettle the obvious and the common sense. This hopefully exposes the fragile nature of knowledge and the known; it may promote a sense of vulnerability, but it also should encourage us to see that there exists a relationship between knowledge, power and discipline. This idea will be developed further in Section 6. By the end of this section you should be able to: recognise and challenge the assumptions (whether implicit or explicit) inherent in your own world-view,

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gain an appreciation of the essence of a range of alternative paradigms [Note 2], identify the role of models in management research and the function they serve in representing the world, and ascertain the problematic nature of theory within the social sciences.

Revealing the assumptions of your world-view


Although we may not realise it, each of us sees the world in a particular way, that is, each of us has a world-view. In general and simplistic terms, the operationalisation of ones world-view may be seen as a constraining and inhibiting process, as illustrated graphically in Diagram 5.1. This world-view is informed by a set of assumptions. These assumptions may be implicit or explicit, though often we are unaware of the underlying assumptions that support our world-view. Nevertheless, it is important not only for you to recognise the assumptions in your own world-view, but also to recognise the implications of these assumptions for your research. Thus, recognising the assumptions inherent in your own world-view and those in other world-views (or perspectives) allows you to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your world-view relative to others. Consequently, as a student and researcher, this should better equip you to either defend your existing position whilst appreciating its limitations, or embrace, partly or wholly, alternative perspectives.

[2]

Since this is an introductory module, it is not expected that you will develop an in-depth knowledge of the various paradigms, although additional reading will be provided for those wishing to pursue an interest in a particular perspective. It is important to note that the module is not intended to favour one perspective over another, but to encourage you to recognise and respond to the assumptions (whether implicit or explicit) inherent in a range of alternative research paradigms.

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the way we see things

world-view

influences the questions that we ask

influences the information we seek and recognise as useful

influences the problems we see and the ideas and solutions we believe will address them

Diagram 5.1 The constraining effect of a world-view.

Employing metaphors as a way of thinking and seeing


It is not as easy as it may seem to ascertain either the full nature of our world-view or the underlying assumptions that support it. One way in which this process may be aided is through attempting to view the world in a different way, in order to reveal our reaction to such a perspective. Morgan (1997) argues that insights often arise by reading or viewing a situation or problem from new angles. This too is not as easy as it may seem. Morgan suggests that one way in which this process may be aided is through the use of metaphors as a way of thinking and seeing the world; that is, to use objects or descriptive terms in an imaginative rather than literal sense. A metaphor can be used to provide a lens for viewing organisations. For example, one may view an organisation as a web of social relations, or as a machine in which a given input (e.g. investment in R&D) is expected to yield a given output (e.g. profit). Each metaphor carries with it a set of features that are characteristic of the object or descriptive terms; it is the application of these features to a given case that make it relatively easy to provide a fresh perspective. Indeed, Morgan argues that metaphors are a

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powerful and creative way of creating insight into organisations. In fact, many of our existing taken-for-granted notions of organisation are metaphorical. Morgan (1997) outlines a whole range of metaphors that may be applied to organisations in order to create insight, and five of these will be discussed in this section. It is important to stress that the employment of any single metaphor or view-point creates only a partial way of seeing organisations, and since organisations are complex they may be understood in many ways. Morgan suggests that employing multiple perspectives (world-views) can provide a wider range of insights, solutions or action possibilities. Again this may be described graphically, as in Diagram 5.2. Employing different world-views in studying a particular case leads to the asking of different questions, the recognition of the importance of different data, and the revealing of different issues or problems.

Diagram 5.2 Synthesising different perspectives into a more balanced view.

This multi-view approach can be illustrated by reference to a range of different metaphors (Morgan 1997) that are employed to create insight when studying organisations: the organisation as a machine, the organisation as an organism, the organisation as a brain,

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the organisation as a cultural system, the organisation as a political system. We frequently talk about organisations as if they were machines designed to operate smoothly and efficiently. Indeed, subconsciously the machine metaphor has shaped many of our basic assumptions about how organisations should work. With this metaphor, effective and efficient organisational life is seen as routinised with the precision demanded of clockwork, with management setting predetermined work hours and tasks. The organisation and its sub-units are seen in terms of a series of inputs and outputs that can be monitored and controlled However, the machine metaphor sees the organisation as a closed system and forces humans and social interaction into the background. Viewing the organisation as an organism opens up a whole new way of seeing an organisation. This perspective views the organisation as: being composed of different levels of sub-systems (for example the cells [individuals] and organs [departments] of a living organism [the organisation]). The key here is the co-ordination of the different sub-systems if the overall system is to operate effectively. an open system. This highlights the importance of the interaction of an organisation with its external context. passing through life stages such as birth, growth, development, decline and death. This raises the issues of historical context and temporality. belonging to different species each suited to coping with different environments. This relates to contingency theory. In contrast to the above two metaphors, the organisation-as-a-brain perspective draws attention to the importance of information processing, learning and intelligence with regard to the effectiveness of organisational performance. This may be applied at the level of the individual, the group or team, the organisation, or industrial sector, for example. A more critical perspective as to the nature of organisations, including the process of decision-making within organisations, is provided by the remaining two metaphors. the organisation as a cultural system, and the organisation as a political system.

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Generally speaking, culture may be viewed as the set of beliefs, customs, practices, and ways of thinking of a group of people. From this perspective: national culture is likely to be reflected in the organisational/corporate culture, yet cultural variations between organisations also arise as the influence of the host culture is rarely uniform, sub-cultures may also emerge within organisations due to competing value systems and divided loyalties, and the social aspect of organisational life is emphasised. The second of these more critical perspectives is provided by the metaphor of the organisation as a political system. Through this lens, the organisation is viewed as: a system of governance, for example autocracy, bureaucracy, democracy, an entity containing a diversity of interests, so emphasising the consequent day-to-day wheeling and dealing and coalition building among individuals and groups of individuals, a place where all (organisational) activity is interest-based, and having to deal with issues of conflict, power and influence. These last two metaphors explicitly challenge the notion of the rationality of organisational actors. It is useful to discuss what we mean by rationality. Generally speaking, rationality would involve: individuals behaving and making decisions only on the basis of propositions that can be consciously reasoned about, and a method of decision-making that incorporates the setting of objectives, the gathering of facts, the generation of options, and the selection of the option that maximises or satisfies the set objectives. Thus in the rational model of the organisation, managers: make decisions in the best economic interests of the organisation,

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engage in completely rational decision-making processes, which might look something like the process illustrated in Diagram 5.3, and possess and understand all relevant information and have the time to make optimal decisions.

Recognition of problem or opportunity

Diagnosis and analysis of situation

Generation of alternative actions

Selection of desired alternative

Implementation of chosen alternative

Evaluation and feedback

Diagram 5.3 A rational decision-making process.

A number of different studies have been undertaken in relation to the process of decision-making within organisations. These studies indicate that, to a greater or lesser extent, decision-making does not follow such a rational process. Various alternative decision-making processes have been posited: bounded rationality even if an individual attempted to act rationally, their ability to be perfectly rational in decision-making is limited by factors such as personal competence, time and the availability of information. satisficing rather than optimising their decisions, individuals seek alternatives only up until they find one that is satisfactory.

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logical incrementalism individuals have clear goals, but take incremental decisions to maintain flexibility in an uncertain environment. muddling through decisions are reactive and random.

Using models
The metaphor is used here as a means to construct and express our knowledge claims. In the remainder of this section we will examine the role of models and theories in the academic world. A model is a simplified representation of actuality. We build models because it is easier and more feasible than building the real thing. For example, in the 18th century philosophers built models known as orreries of the solar system which helped to explain its operation, something which it was impossible to do without resorting to such models; and something which is still only possible to do with models, albeit with CGI in TV documentary programmes such as The Planets. This informative purpose explains the role of a model. In the first place, a model enables us to depict a situation or set of data in a way which enables us to make sense of it; in the second place, it enables us to explain the data to another person. Of course it is not possible for anyone to build a complete solar system, and a model enables us to simplify it and explain the key features in which we are interested. In the case of the 18th century philosopher, an orrery model helped explain that the planets revolve around the sun. In building a model we thus limit the data to that with which we are concerned, and build a model to represent these concerns. A model does not have to be a representation of anything so big as the solar system or even the earth or the society in which we live. Nor does it need to be artistic or precise. It is the function of the model with which we are concerned rather than its precision. Thus if we are using a soft systems methodology we might start by building a conceptual model to explain our data, such as in Diagram 5.4.

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Taking action

The problem situation unstructured

Action to improve the problem situation

Feasible and desirable changes Finding out


2 5

The problem situation structured

Comparison of 4 with 2 Real world System thinking


4

Root definition of relevant systems


4a

Conceptual Models

System thinking

Formal system concept

4b

Other system thinking

Diagram 5.4 Model of a soft systems methodology (after Checkland and Scholes 1990).

Although Diagram 5.4 presents a sketchy model, this is adequate not only for its creators to conceptualise their thoughts, but also to explain them to us as readers; thus it has fulfilled the purpose desired in a much clearer and simpler way than pages of written text would do. Such models also enable much easier and more efficient communication than can be achieved through verbal explanation. It is important to note that models can be both predictive and explanatory, however, while a model can be predictive without being explanatory, an explanatory model must be predictive. Any diagram can serve as a model if it aids our understanding of a process, and so a model can take the form of a flowchart such as Diagram 5.5. This depicts the decision-making process with regard to budgeting in an organisation, but the same principle can be applied to any process within our domain of study.

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Identify objectives

Search for alternative courses of action

Gather data about alternatives and evaluate

Select course of action

Implement decision

Compare actual and planned outcomes

Respond to divergence from plan

Diagram 5.5 The decision-making process (after Crowther 1996).

Diagrams 5.6, 5.7 and 5.8 show three alternative models of the innovation process. The first two are examples of what are termed linear models.

Basic Science

Development

Manufacture

Marketing

Diagram 5.6 The science-push model of innovation.

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Market Need

Development

Manufacture

Sales

Diagram 5.7 The market-pull model of innovation.

New Need

Needs of Society and the Marketplace

Idea Conception

Development

Manufacturing

Marketing and Sales

Market

New Technological Capability

State of the Art in Technological and Production Techniques

Diagram 5.8 The interactive model of innovation.

Models also exist that attempt to represent the research process itself, an example of which is shown in Diagram 5.9.

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Theories

Concept formation, proposition formation and proposition arrangement Logical inference

Logical deduction

Empirical generalisations

Decisions to accept or reject hypotheses

Hypotheses

Tests of hypotheses Measurement, sample summarisation and parameter estimation Interpretation, instrumentation, scaling and sampling

Observations

Diagram 5.9 A model of the research process (adapted from Wallace 1971).

Of course words can also be used as a model. A metaphor can serve as a useful model for explanatory and communications purposes. For example, the following metaphor from Crowther et al (1999) serves as a model to explain the role of accounting information in the downsizing of organisations, Chiqhowe, High Priest of the Aztec nation, was a worried man. It seemed that the gods were angry and no longer would the ritual sacrifice of a child or a slave be sufficient to appease the gods. This was a problem to Chiqhowe who had learned his craft of priesthood from his predecessors and had learned from them that the gods needed a human sacrifice at regular intervals in order to keep them satisfied and willing to exert their powers for the good of the Aztec nation. At the same time these sacrifices served to bind the nation together and to keep the vassal tribes in subjugation to the Aztecs in general and the priesthood in particular. This was of course achieved through the selection of one of them at regular intervals to perform the ultimate act of worship by becoming the human

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sacrifice. Now it seemed that things had changed and the gods could not be appeased through such sacrifices. Was Quetzlcoatl angry with him as mediator between the gods and the people? Now it seemed that the world had changed and that new, different people were invading the lands which had been ruled by the Aztecs for generations. These invaders operated differently, worshipped different gods and had new technologies which meant that they were conquering all before them, spreading disease and devastation. The empire of the Aztecs, his empire, was under threat and it seemed that nothing he could do would prevent this. Why had the gods deserted him? He, and his scholars, had read the omens and these had said that the gods were angry and that the sacrifices being made were paltry and were insufficient to appease the gods. He had responded to these omens and had increased the rate of sacrificing. No longer was an individual child or slave being sacrificed to the gods; instead the number of people being sacrificed had increased and now up to one hundred people at a time were being sacrificed. Even members of the Aztec tribe itself were being chosen to make the ultimate act of worship but even that did not seem to appease Quetzlcoatl. Perhaps it was time to consider selecting the sacrifices from the select the priesthood itself. If things were not solved soon and the world reverted to its normal course then it was even conceivable that the ultimate sacrifice would be demanded Chiqhowe himself ... George Bronson, Chief Executive of Megacorp, awoke drenched in perspiration. That was some nightmare! And he could do without such disturbed sleep when he had such difficult tasks to perform at work. Megacorp was under threat its products were being overtaken by rival products which were being imported from the far east better products which were being sold in the market his market at a lower price. He had to find ways of responding to the threat. The cost structure of Megacorps products was wrong and he had to find ways of taking costs out. This was necessary for the company was to prosper and his shareholders were angry, demanding improvements immediately. The full paper naturally explains how accounting performs this role, but the metaphor enables the reader to quickly see how it operates. Accounting information itself can serve as a model. Thus the balance sheet and profit and loss account of an organisation is published in its annual report and acts as a model which depicts the activities of the organisation in the time period to which the accounts relate. Such a model is of course a simplified representation of the organisation, but then all models are simplified representations.

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Probably the most precise form of modelling is that undertaken using mathematics. The following equation, i.e. model, provides a representation of the way in which abnormal returns accrue within the stock market, ARit = eit = Rit ai (Bi Rmi) where: AR is abnormal returns; i is stock; t is period; e is predicted returns; R is ordinary returns; a is normal unsystematic return; B is systematic risk of stock; and Rm is return of market index. This model is more precise than any of the previous ones we have looked at and provides a much more precise explanation of the phenomenon being studied. As a general rule, however, the complex nature of the domain which we are studying in management research means that the more precise the model which we are able to build, the more limited is its scope. In undertaking research we seek to build a model which is useful to us in its explanatory power and will thereby be of use to others in the same way. Model building comes at the early part of our research and we will seek to build a model which tests our understanding of the phenomenon which we are researching and then go on to test the robustness of that model, refining it as we proceed. Therefore a model serves as a precursor to the building of the theory which will be the outcome of our research. Thus we need to think about appropriate forms of modelling for our research and make use of anything which will help us depict the phenomenon which we are seeking to study. We should not be constrained by any consideration of what is and what is not a model. Anything which serves our purpose satisfies the criteria of a model. We simply need to remember that a model is a precursor to the development of theory and has to fulfil the functions of explanation and communication. We should also remember that the outcome of research may also be a model. In this case the model will have been built and refined through our research process and when used as an outcome will form part of the theory which we have developed.

Building models
The process by which a model may be constructed may also be modelled itself, as in Diagram 5.10. The process of model building is a powerful means of representing what we observe and sense around us. It allows for the building and structuring of ideas and the highlighting of relationships. Furthermore, by building and testing a model it may be possible to establish the existence of patterns . Through such testing it may be possible to build construct models that have a predictive quality.

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Specify Unit of Analysis

e.g. social groups

Focus in on Key Concepts of Research

e.g. group cohesion, inter-group conflict, intra-group conflict

Identify Relevant Variables

e.g. group cohesion, inter-group conflict, intra-group conflict

Identify Relationships between Variables

e.g. a link between inter-group conflict and group cohesion

Set Propositions

e.g. increases in inter-group conflict lead to increases in group cohesion

Relate Propositions

e.g. increases in inter-group conflict lead to increases in group cohesion, and increases in group cohesion lead to decreases in intra-group conflict

Diagram 5.10 A model of the model building process.

Using and building theory


In our discussion of models and model building we suggested that models were a means of producing theory. We now turn our attention to ask what is theory? The answer to this question is not as simple or as straightforward as might be expected, since there is little consensus in the

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social sciences as to what actually constitutes theory. Furthermore, the word is used so loosely as to be nearly meaningless. In recognising the lack of agreement about what theory is, Sutton and Staw (1995) take a different approach, attempting to build consensus around what theory is not instead. In doing so, they make explicit five elements of academic articles that are generally regarded as not constituting theory; these are: References to theory developed in earlier work these are not theory, unless the author attempts to explicate the concepts and causal arguments in this work, and makes explicit the link to the stream of logic being developed or tested. Data are not theory while data or empirical evidence plays an important role in confirming, revising, or discrediting existing theory, as well as guiding the development of new theory, observed patterns are not theory. Sutton and Staw (1995) argue that, Data describe which empirical patterns were observed and theory explains why empirical patterns were observed or are expected to be observed. Mintzberg (1979: 584) is more succinct positing that, the data do not generate theory only researchers do that. Lists of variables or constructs are not theory while variables and constructs are important components of theory, on their own they do not constitute theory since they must also elucidate why they are connected and how they come about. Diagrams and figures are not theory again these can play a useful part in elucidating theory in research papers, but rarely constitute theory on their own. This is because even though such graphical representations can help bring order through explicitly mapping patterns and causal relationships, they rarely explain why these connections are being made. Hypotheses are not theory hypotheses are concise and explicit statements about the relationships that might be expected to exist or outcomes that are likely to occur, but they do not throw light as to why. Nevertheless, hypotheses can provide crucial bridges between theory and data. Weick (1995) is less convinced by Sutton and Staws endeavour, preferring to focus on the process rather than the product of theorising. For him what theory is not, theorising is. By this, Weick means that in the process of theorising researchers rarely emerge with a full-blown theory, but the

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resulting approximate theory may well be expressed as any of the five elements discussed above. For Weick: Products of the theorising process seldom emerge as full-blown theories, which means that most of what passes for theory in organizational studies consists of approximations. Although these approximations vary in their generality, few of them take the form of strong theory, and most of them can be read as texts created in lieu of strong theories. These substitutes for theory may result from lazy theorizing in which people try to graft theory onto stark sets of data. But they may also represent interim struggles in which people intentionally inch toward stronger theories. The products of laziness and intense struggles may look the same and may consist of references, data, lists, diagrams, and hypotheses. To label these five as not theory makes sense if the problem is laziness and incompetence. But ruling out those same five may slow inquiry if the problem is theoretical development still in its early stages. (p. 387) DiMaggio (1995) adds a further interesting twist to the idea of theory as process rather than product, arguing that, theories are not just constructed, they are socially constructed after they are written. Theoretical ideas take on a life of their own To some extent, the quality of a theory is a function of the quality of the people who employ it. (p. 392)

Aspects of theory
When scientists build theory they start from the premise that the present situation is knowable, and that it is possible to use this known present to build a theory which has predictive capability. Indeed, for them the point of theory building is its predictive utility, and a theory without that predictive utility has no value. In the social sciences in general, and in management or organisational theory in particular, things are a little different. Our basic building blocks of theory are all concerned with people and not only do different people behave differently, but the same person behaves differently in different circumstances or in the same situation at different times. Unlike hydrogen and oxygen atoms, which always react to each other in a certain limited number of ways, the ways in which people react to each other are complex, multi-faceted and variable. Indeed, the interactions of people are so

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complex that we are unable in the social sciences to build any theory which provides a complete explanation of the current situation let alone have any certainty attached to its predictive ability. This makes the utility of any theory which we build more problematic. We therefore need to consider further just what the purpose of any theory which we build in management research is, and how we can best serve that purpose. Thus when we build theory in management research it does not necessarily have the same purpose as it would in science, and we need to think of its utility in terms of both its descriptive ability and its predictive ability. Any theory must be more than a simple description of an isolated incident, it must also have a generaliseability built into it so that the understanding derived from one set of circumstances can be extended to other circumstances.

The descriptive utility of theory


From our starting point that any situation involving people is complex, we can extend this to say that we are unable to narrow down our theory to such an extent that we can completely capture all the aspects of the situation to come up with a complete description of that situation. In building theory we necessarily limit our observations and data to enable us to develop theory, but this means that we have created an artificial boundary around our area of research it is always possible to draw that boundary differently and therefore deal with a different set of data. This may mean that any theory we develop from this different data-set could be different. Indeed from the same data-set it is possible to develop different explanations and so develop different theories which explain the phenomena observed in the data. This is partly because we, as people, are a part of the data which we are studying and partly because our explanations of the phenomena depend upon our own ontology and epistemology. We will attend to the meaning of these terms shortly. As the theory we develop from our research is limited by the artificial boundary which we have created around our research problem and the interpretation according to our own ontology, we are unable to completely describe any given situation. It also means that other theories are possible that describe the situation, and these other theories may provide different understandings of the situation. Thus in management research we have different and competing theories which seek to create an understanding of any problem. It also means that the creation of theory which has a descriptive power, as long as that descriptive power is generaliseable, can be an aim of the research itself and there is not necessarily a need for our theory to have predictive power. Increasing our understanding of the

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present through offering different explanations of the present is one of the aims of management research. In developing a different theory describing the present we are not necessarily seeking to replace existing theories, but merely to add alternative explanations. Doing so by itself will increase our understanding and creates value through our research.

The predictive ability of theory


Any theory which extends our understanding will of course have some predictive ability as it enables us to find common themes in differing situations and therefore to seek solutions to problems through the transfer of useful solutions from one set of problems to another set which superficially appear to be different. This is why descriptive theories are useful research. When we talk about predictive theories, however, what we generally mean is a theory which enables us to say that if we do x then y will happen. In management research this is more problematical, but nevertheless it is an essential part of theory building which is attempted by management researchers all the time. We must remember, however, that our predictive theories are unlike those of the sciences. In chemistry for example we can develop a theory which states that a certain set of chemicals when combined in certain proportions will react in a certain way that we can predict with certainty indeed this is the test of a robust scientific theory. In management research, because we are dealing with the unpredictability of people, that certainty of the predictive power of our theory eludes us. Our predictive theories are necessarily probabilistic and therefore subject to statistical error. Thus we can only ever develop theory which states that we have identified factors which account for a percentage of the explanation, and thus we can only ever predict in the form of stating that we are z% certain that y will happen if we do x. We can never predict with certainty, but this does not invalidate our theory any more than the creation of theory with descriptive utility but little predictive utility. It is the utility of theory which determines its validity. This is determined by its explanatory power, which is partly descriptive and partly predictive. This in itself enables our research to add to knowledge and enables our insights to be passed on to other people. In the longer term, better theory may replace existing theory and this is the way in which knowledge is built and extended.

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The case against more theory


There are a number of prominent researchers who argue against the development of more theory, at least in the short-term, and even those who argue against theory in itself. Some have argued that organisational studies needs more descriptive narratives on organisational life based on intense ethnographic work rather than more theory building. Some academics have even called for a moratorium on theoretical papers in order for existing and future theory to be grounded in a well-crafted set of organisational narratives. More direct voices against theory can be found amongst those who rely exclusively on quantitative methods. The most enthusiastic backers of this approach have argued that it is more important to identify correlations between variables than to understand the underlying causal nuances. Those advocating a meta-analysis view argue that the mission of social science is the accumulation of empirical findings rather than the ebb and flow of theoretical findings. The remainder of this section looks at two contrasting approaches to theory building; in the first, hypothesis testing, the researcher employs empirical observation in order to confirm or falsify a pre-set proposition; in the second, dialectical reasoning, the researcher builds theory through a process of argument, in which a series of questions are posed and ultimately resolved. Although used extensively by the Greek philosophers, dialectical reasoning fell out of fashion among Renaissance philosophers and was largely ignored by the philosophers of the Enlightenment; they were concerned more with the acquisition of data through observation and experiment, and therefore built their theories through these means. The methods of observation and experiment lend themselves to knowledge building through hypothesis testing and this has remained the dominant mode of knowledge building for the physical sciences until the present. The hegemony of hypothesis testing is also evident in the social sciences. Furthermore, the approach is so entrenched in management research that the dialectical method is rarely used to develop knowledge and theory in the management disciplines. This is quite different to disciplines such as philosophy and politics where the dialectical method remains the dominant mode of theorising.

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Philosophical underpinning of hypothesis testing


Hypothesis testing is strongly linked to positivism, and in particular to empiricism, as one of the key tenets of positivism. That is, knowledge is based on what can be observed and verified, and thus progress in theory and knowledge is made from observation to verification by means of the experimental method. We will return to the issue of positivism in the next section. An hypothesis follows on from the setting of a specific research question, for example how might we explain the causes of high growth in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and is therefore a more formal expression of the research question and research intent. It is also a refined statement of the expected outcome of the research, for example of the determinants of high growth in SMEs; it is a conjectural statement or tentative proposition about the relationship between two or more variables, for example high growth SMEs focus on market segments. In this sense hypothesis testing is about the testing of theory, which is established prior to the empirical work. Hypotheses also help to fix the direction of an investigation by focusing the attention of the researcher on specific data and also help bring form to observations. Hypothesis testing may be employed in either case-study and/or survey research. Research often involves the formulation of more than one hypothesis, for example (a) high growth SMEs pursue strategies of differentiation and uniqueness; (b) high growth SMEs are innovative; and (c) high growth SMEs invest in their future. In this example, the researcher would attempt to test all three hypotheses, which in this case are to some extent linked. In setting hypotheses to be tested in an empirical piece of work, it is important that the researcher bears the following in mind: a hypothesis must be stated clearly to avoid ambiguity and vagueness, a hypothesis must be testable or resolvable through observation, a hypothesis is best stated in terms of a relationship between variables, a hypothesis should be limited in scope (i.e. realistic), and a hypothesis should not be inconsistent with known facts.

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Dialectical reasoning
Dialectical reasoning is an old form of argument and was used by Plato [Note 3] in the form of a series of questions and answers as a means of reasoning. This is the origin of the concept of a rhetorical question one which is not designed to be answered, but merely to form a platform for further reasoning. Thus dialectical argument is a means of buildingknowledge in the research process through a full exploration of all the possibilities inherent in the research question. As such it is radically different from hypothesis testing as the outcome of the dialectical argument is not apparent until the arguments have been resolved in a logical fashion. Unlike hypothesis testing where theory is developed prior to testing, under the dialectical method theory is developed as the outcome of the arguments which explore the dialectic. Thus the outcome is not confirmation of the theory which has previously been postulated, or hypothesised, but rather a robust theory which has been tested through the arguments which lead to its creation. The re-emergence of the dialectical method of theorising is generally credited to Georg Hegel who developed his dialectical method at the beginning of the 19th century. His form of dialectic has become the dominant form in the present and is quite different from the Platonic dialectic. At its simplest, Hegels dialectic can be described as the creation of the thesis and the antithesis which lead to resolution in the form of the synthesis. Thus each thesis which we might develop as part of our research inherently possesses an antithesis, which is its opposite. This can be likened to a continuum of which we select the opposite poles to be the thesis and antithesis as a means of exploring the thesis we gain understanding of our thesis through a consideration of its opposite. Exploration of the two opposites enables us to resolve the dialectic. This resolution is known as the synthesis and forms the outcome of our dialectical argument. Therefore the synthesis equates to the theory which is the outcome of our research project and this theory is robust, not because we have tested some hypotheses but rather because we have

[3]

Plato lived in Greece from about 427 to 347 BCE (Before Common Era); he flourished as a philosopher following Socrates death (399 BCE) whose ideas Plato famously recorded in dialogue form.

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explored in depth the features of our thesis and its nullification the antithesis. According to Hegel the dialectic flows through history, as he believed that we all arise from our past. Thus the dialectic arises in the past and flows through history towards resolution, although he argued that this flow need not be evident as it progresses. Thus according to Hegelian theory the axis of the dialectic only becomes evident with hindsight, though a recognition of this axis is necessary before any resolution can take place. For Hegel therefore the dialectic is a historical process which is resolved through the passage of time. Most of us cannot afford the time within our research projects to let the resolution of the dialectic emerge with the passage of time, however, and so we must consider alternative ways in which the dialectical argument can be resolved.

Dialectical materialism
Probably the best-known user of the dialectical method was Karl Marx, who developed the idea of dialectical materialism. According to this theory the central question is whether it is matter or consciousness which holds primacy, or in other words which causes the other to arise. Matter is associated with materialism, while consciousness is associated with idealism. For Marx materialism was based upon the idea that the world is knowable through empiricism and experience, which can be contrasted with idealism which is based upon an objective view of what should be. For Marx the ideal was paramount and so he argued that the dialectic could only be resolved through consciousness raising bringing about the ideal. His impatience led him subsequently to argue that the ideal could only be reached through revolution , and so the Marxist dialectic has become one which necessarily leads to revolution. This has been amended by subsequent writers, such as Kautsky, to the Marxian dialectic which can be resolved without revolution through political and social change.

The influence of Heidegger


Martin Heidegger is another philosopher who made extensive use of dialectical arguments, but in his case the use of the dialectic was more akin to that of Plato. For Heidegger the dialectic takes the form of continually re-asking the same question in order to explore all the possibilities inherent in that question. A continual asking of the same research question enables us to explore possibilities from different angles and to gain fresh insights into our research question. This enables the thorough exploration of the dialectic which enables us to reach a resolution and the development of theory which we know to be robust

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because we have explored our question exhaustively from all possible angles. The Heideggerian dialectic therefore seems to offer good possibilities for undertaking management research in which we are not seeking to effect change, but merely to build knowledge and theory.

The laws of dialectics


When considering the use of a dialectical methodology for our research it is important to remember that this methodology is widely used in other disciplines but rarely in management research. As we will see in the following sections, management research tends to be grounded in a scientific methodology which makes extensive use of hypothesis testing as the theory building vehicle. There is merit in the dialectical method, however, which you might find useful to consider in your studies. It is important to remember the laws of dialectics, which can be summarised as follows: The Unity of Opposites the nature of everything, and all research problems, contains within it internal contradiction and opposition. It is the exploration of these which leads to the resolution of the dialectic and the development of theory. Quantity versus Quality quantitative change eventually leads to qualitative change. Thus the exploration of the dialectic from all angles will eventually lead to the development of theory. Negation of the Negation change negates what is changed and the result is in turn negated. Thus the exploration of the opposing poles of the dialectic leads to further development and not a return to the starting point.

Concluding Comments
We began this section by encouraging reflection on the assumptions we hold about the world. These assumptions determine the lens through which we view the world around us and it is this lens that we bring to our study of management. We build these assumptions through our experiences, social interactions and our engagements with media. Exposing ourselves to contrary or challenging viewpoints is crucial to our ability to reflect upon the world. As you progress through your programme you will study a wide range of models and theories, each are devised from an interpretation of the world whilst

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offering a representation. They form part of the sense-making involved in the study of management.

Key Reading
You should now read the following before carrying on with the module: [Reading 9] Werhane, P. H. (1991) Engineers and management: the challenge of the Challenger incident, Journal of Business Ethics, 10 (8), Aug., pp. 605616 You will find a link to Reading 9 on Blackboard.

Tasks
5.1 Using what you have studied in this section, read the following brief on the Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) situation in 1993. Introduction SAS is the airline corporation of three nations: Denmark, Norway and Sweden. It employs around 25,000 staff, distributed among these three countries. Although SAS is a commercial airline, the governments of Denmark, Norway and Sweden together own around 50% of the companys shares. The headquarters of SAS is located in Stockholm, Sweden, while the main airport for its operations is in Copenhagen in Denmark. During the 1980s SAS was regarded as a major success story. Central to this success was the visionary approach to management adopted by the Managing Director of SAS Jan Carlzon. However, by the early 1990s this commercial success had waned. This short case study looks at the personal influence of Carlzon on the organisation and its staff, and highlights issues relating to employee motivation and the impact of leadership.

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Background Towards the end of the 1970s SAS found itself in financial trouble and for the first time in nearly two decades posted a loss of around 75m Danish kroner (approximately 7.5m) in both 1980 and 1981. Jan Carlzon was appointed Managing Director of SAS in 1981 and was charged with the task of heading the financial turnaround of the corporation. By 1983, the company was once again in the black, producing an operating surplus of 620m kroner. The turnaround was achieved by refocusing SAS from a technically-oriented to a service-oriented organisation, and remodelling itself as the airline for businessmen. The second part of this strategy was to have serious implications for the airline. During this period Carlzon used his excellent communication skills and flair for handling the media to the benefit of the company. Typical of Carlzons style was a somewhat stage-managed affair when he personally assisted the loading of an SAS flight at Copenhagen airport. His purpose was to demonstrate to both the media and to his employees the importance of such routine tasks, and of working together to help the company succeed. The event attracted substantial publicity. A central element of Carlzons approach was to centre attention on the front-line personnel (those with direct contact with customers, for example staff checking-in passengers, and flight staff) who, in moments of truth (key contacts with customers), were seen to be the key to the success or failure of the company. It was seen to be of the utmost importance that these front-line employees had the necessary authority to make decisions in such moments of truth, without recourse to middle-managers. Carlzon believed that only in this way could the airline provide the customer with the excellence of service which would encourage them to fly with SAS in the future. As a result, decision-making power was delegated to front-line personnel. Employees were also made aware of how important they were to the success of the company through both internal SAS magazines and the mass media. The new SAS was a success with its staff of hard-working, highly-motivated and committed employees. Carlzon was seen as the man who had saved the airline and was regarded as a very successful leader. At the time Carlzon was seen as a hero by employees. Soon, however, SAS was no longer the success story it was in the 1980s. In the early 1990s, the company once again encountered financial difficulties. Its troubles were partly due to the world-wide depression of the airline business following the first Gulf War, partly

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due to the companys preparation for the Internal Market of the European Community which made airline competition tougher, but also the result of strategic decisions made by the senior management of SAS in the 1980s. Failed strategies In the 1980s SAS implemented two key strategic decisions. First, it bought a large share (40%) of Intercontinental Hotels. This decision was based on the assumption that customers would welcome the opportunity to book their hotel reservation at the same time as making their flight arrangements. To implement this strategy, SAS targeted their promotional campaign at the business people themselves. This, however, failed to recognise that most flight and hotel bookings were actually made by their assistants or secretaries, and that business people tend to be conservative and prefer hotels with which they are familiar. Second, SAS also sought to widen its operational base and take advantage of the buoyant American airline market. To this end, it bought shares in an American airline Continental Airlines. However, the subsequent world-wide depression in the market and the resulting difficulties it caused led to suggestions that SAS had over-stretched itself. The losses following the share purchases in Intercontinental Hotels and Continental Airlines caused a financial crisis in SAS, which was solved by cutting operational expenses. The focus on cost reduction meant a cut-back in staff. In 1991, SAS decided to reduce staffing levels by 3,500 employees. Jobs were lost at all levels and locations throughout the company. Many of those made redundant had been with SAS for all their working lives. For them it was more than a job that was lost; SAS was a major part of their lives. These redundancies changed the employees view of Carlzon. He was most certainly no longer held in the same esteem as he was during the high-flying 1980s. Indeed, the employees held Carlzon personally responsible for these mistakes; their confidence in him and his abilities as a leader were lost to such an extent that many suggested that SAS would be better off by installing a new Managing Director. For example, John Vangen, spokesperson for the Danish flight personnel (a Danish trade union for air cabin crew) stated in public in September 1991 that, None of Carlzons strategies have succeeded since 1984. He has to take responsibility for that. If he cannot make the company run he should leave it. We need management we can trust.

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A changed competitive environment Competition in the airline business was fierce and there were few signs that this would change in the immediate future. Major competitors of SAS in Europe included British Airways, Lufthansa, and Air France, while competition from the developing East European airlines was increasingly significant. While competition was a threat for all in the airline business, smaller companies such as SAS were in the most immediate danger. Faced with this competition, SAS adopted a new strategy which aimed to make it one of the major European airlines in an attempt to secure its future into this century. In 1993, as part of this strategy SAS began negotiations with three other national airline corporations in Europe: KLM (The Netherlands), Swissair, and Austrian Airlines. None of these airlines would be able to make a major impact on their own, but together they would become the largest European airline, and the second biggest in the world measured by passengers carried. Immediate problems facing SAS Although the merger of SAS with KLM, Swissair and Austrian Airlines would accomplish one of its key goals, SAS would still have some major problems to tackle internally. The conflict between management and employees, originating from the financial difficulties described earlier, had reached new heights. These problems were heightened by the desire of senior management at SAS to merge. Employees were not quite as thrilled with the idea of a new merged airline as the SAS management and shareholders seemed to be; they feared that the new airline would mean further staff reductions in SAS. SAS employees were particularly concerned that some of their important inter-continental flights would move from Copenhagen Airport, where they were based, to the airport where the new headquarters of the new merged airline was to be located even though the new location had not been decided upon. The staff did not share the optimism of management, who were confident that Copenhagen Airport would benefit from the creation of the new merged airline. Furthermore, staff perceived the indecisiveness surrounding the decision on the location of the new headquarters as a deliberate strategic move by management who, they believed, wanted to postpone such decisions and tough choices to a time when all other major decisions concerning the planned merger had been made. As a consequence of their dissatisfaction, the four trade unions representing the SAS personnel at Copenhagen airport sent a letter to the Danish government and a number of large Danish companies to, in

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their words, inform them of what is going on. SAS reacted strongly to the letter. They counter-attacked by pressing charges against the four trade unions for disloyal behaviour. Management and employees then went to stand trial on the case in the Danish Court of Industrial Relations. Gerhard Dall, information officer in SAS, explained why SAS had taken this very unusual step, The four unions cast doubt upon the will of the leadership of SAS to fight for Copenhagen as the centre for SASs traffic and that is disloyal. The reality is quite the opposite. On May 7th 1993, Carlzon called the employees of SAS to a meeting in Stockholm. During this meeting Carlzon revealed a little more about the future plans for a new merged airline, particularly concerning the location of the inter-continental flights. He revealed that the new airline would establish three major airports for inter-continental flights. Copenhagen would become the gateway to Asia (mainly China and Japan); Amsterdam the centre for flights to South and North America; and Zurich would become the gateway to Africa. The other major airports of the planned merged airline Stockholm (Sweden), Oslo (Norway), and Vienna (Austria) would handle various internal European flights and flights to the Middle East. While the location of the new headquarters of the planned merged airline had still not been decided, it seemed that this step of locating different parts of the international traffic at three major airports was a compromise that gave everybody a slice of the action. However, a closer look at how the international flights were shared among the three major airports indicated that Amsterdam, with the very important cross-Atlantic flights, had put itself into an advantageous position for becoming the headquarters for the new merged airline corporation. Jan Stenberg succeeded Jan Carlzon in 1994. The SAS Group today comprises four SAS-branded airlines, four individually branded airlines (none of the ones mentioned above), and an aviation services arm. The planned merger did not happen. 5.2 Analyse the SAS case study by employing the following three metaphors: (a) the organisation as an organism,

(b) the organisation as a brain, and (c) 5.3 the organisation as a political system.

Reveal the different issues within the SAS case study that are highlighted by each of the three metaphors used in Task 5.2.

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References
The following sources were used in writing this section. The references are correct at the time of writing, but note that Internet addresses, editions, publishers and so on are apt to change. We will note changes where we are aware of them on Blackboard. Checkland, P. and Scholes, J. (1990) Soft Systems Methodology in Action, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Crowther, D. (1996) Management Accounting for Business, Cheltenham: Stanley Thornes Crowther, D., Carter, C. and Cooper, S. (1999) Appeasing Quetzalcoatl: accounting for ritual sacrifice, The 1999 Critical Perspectives on Accounting Conference proceedings, No. 5183 on CD-ROM DiMaggio, P. (1995) Comments on What theory is not, Administrative Science Quarterly, 40 (3), pp. 391397 Mintzberg, H. (1979) The Structuring of Organizations: A synthesis of the research, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall Morgan, G. (1997) Images of Organization, second edition, London: Sage Saxe, J.G. (1873) The Poems of John Godfrey Saxe, Boston: James R. Osgood and Co. Saxes poems are currently published by the Scholarly Publishing Office of the University of Michigan University Library Sutton, R. I. and Staw, B. M. (1995) What theory is not, Administrative Science Quarterly, 40 (3), pp. 371384 Wallace, W. (1971) The Logic of Science in Sociology, Chicago: Aldine-Atherton Weick, K. (1995) What theory is not, theorising is, Administrative Science Quarterly, 40 (3), pp. 385390

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MN7200/D SECTION 6

Social Science, Philosophy and Management

Section 6

Social Science, Philosophy and Management


Learning Objectives
In the previous section, we introduced the idea that the study of management is shaped by our world-view and that this view of the world will influence how we frame and discuss issues in management. In this section we develop this idea further and begin to examine the philosophical origins of the study of management and how this influences the shape and direction of research in management. By the end of this section you should be able to: locate the study of management within the social sciences and identify the problems of adopting a natural science approach to the study of human behaviour, define, distinguish and appreciate the significance of ontology and epistemology for our study of management, and identify two broad schools of thought in social science and appreciate their significance for approaching research in management.

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Management as a disputed social science


Management is generally considered to be a social science. The ESRC (Economic & Social Research Council) define a social science as, in its broadest sense, the study of society and the manner in which people behave and impact on the world around us (ESRC 2008). Social science and its subset denoted management research are contested ground. In other words, you are presented with multiple, and sometimes conflicting, descriptions of social/human phenomena in all of the subjects that you, as a post-graduate, study. Theories differ according to the causes, characteristics and consequences of actions, behaviours, interventions, organisations, institutions, markets and regulations. So the concepts of organisational structure, total quality management, organisational culture, relationship marketing, charismatic leadership, stress, productivity, employee motivation, the efficient market hypothesis, the supply chain, auditing and so on are all defined in various ways depending on which piece of research one consults. Indeed, social science research in general is characterised by disagreement and controversy.

Philosophy of science
One key controversy within social science is whether social scientists should mimic natural scientists in their approach to research. This controversy can be approached by asking a series of questions: Can social scientists be objective? For example, when we study the family, education or culture, we are part of these things, for we live, think and communicate within them. Social science has to wrestle with the problem of human beings creating explanations about themselves and their society when they are part and parcel of that society. (Smith 1998: 7) Natural science is usually assumed to be an objective activity the researcher is said to be detached or able to step back from what they are examining so that their experiences, beliefs, upbringing, biases and so on do not affect their studies or their findings. The key issue here is whether such objectivity is possible or even desirable in social science. After all, when we do natural science, we

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are studying non-human phenomena, and people are not rocks, trees, gravity or chemical elements. As social scientists we study human phenomena in other words we are both subject and object, we are people studying people. So where do our experiences, beliefs, upbringing and biases fit in? Some social scientists say these will inevitably influence us to select and investigate topics in certain ways, and to draw specific conclusions on that basis. Others would argue that they make no difference that we can study other human beings in an objective and detached way. Can we explain social reality via causal relationships? Natural scientists typically look for cause and effect relationships they aim to discover what causes or lies behind particular types of natural phenomena. One example of a causal relationship which is well established in natural science is that mixing a certain proportion of hydrogen with a certain proportion of oxygen produces water (H2 + O H2O). Some social scientists believe that we can explain social phenomena in the same way by looking for the causes behind human activities, attitudes etc. Others suggest that human phenomena are much more complex than this. Can we generalise about social reality? Again natural science typically studies a sample of a particular population for example, the behaviour of a small number of animals of a specific type and then generalises from this sample to the wider population to suggest that if this sample behaves in this way, then all animals of this kind (the population) will behave in this way. Again, social scientists disagree on whether the same kind of generalisation is appropriate when studying the activities of samples of human beings. These questions and debates are ontological and epistemological questions and debates. You may also see them referred to as philosophical questions, i.e. these questions have to do with the philosophy of the social sciences. Ontologies are theories of being or reality. The term ontos is Greek and roughly translates as being. The term logos is also Greek and can be understood to mean theory or account (Johnson and Duberley 2000: 2). So ontology refers to the study of the essence of phenomena and the nature of their existence (Johnson and Duberley 2000: 67); to ideas about, what reality is like and the basic elements it contains (Silverman 2000: 77).

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Epistemologies are theories of knowledge or science. Again episteme is a Greek word which we can translate as knowledge or science (Johnson and Duberley 2000: 2). So epistemology refers to the, study of the criteria by which we can know what does and does not constitute warranted, or scientific, knowledge (Johnson and Duberley 2000: 23), and to debates about, the nature and status of knowledge (Silverman 2000: 77). Epistemological discussions focus on how we can capture or gather information about human reality and make sense of that information. So different epistemological standpoints provide different answers to questions such as: What is it possible to know about human phenomena? What represents plausible, useful knowledge about human phenomena? How can we evaluate knowledge about human phenomena? [A]s one engages in the practical activities of generating and interpreting data to answer questions about the meaning of what others are doing or saying and then transforming that understanding into public knowledge, one inevitably takes up theoretical concerns about what constitutes knowledge and how it is to be justified, about the nature and aim of social theorizing and so on. (Schwandt 2003: 295) What Schwandt means is that in research we are making ontological and epistemological judgements even if we are not aware of this. So some form of ontological and epistemological commitment is unavoidable. Approaching management research ontologically and epistemologically (philosophically) therefore means trying to uncover the basic assumptions which researchers make about human phenomena and what we can know about them, and to assess the knowledge claims which result. It is important to be aware of our own and others ontological/ epistemological stances for the following reasons. First, there is no one best philosophical way, there are no secure or incontestable foundations from which we can begin any consideration of our knowledge of knowledge rather what we have are competing philosophical assumptions that lead us to engage with management and organizations in particular ways. (Johnson and Duberley 2000: 4)

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Management research is as we have suggested a contested terrain (Johnson and Duberley 2000: 9) there is no universal agreement about how to answer the ontological and epistemological questions identified above. Instead different standpoints exist, all of which claim to offer the most plausible and credible answers to these questions. Morgan and Smircich (1980) suggest that all of these standpoints are plausible or useful in some way, which accounts for why there are so many. Second, methodology is therefore not an end in itself, Mainstream scientists who just apply approved methods without being aware of the subjective foundations of their activities are not scientists; they are technicians (Gummesson 2000: 18). Similarly, Tornebohm (cited in Gummesson, 2000: 20) suggests that the, greater the researchers awareness of his [sic] own paradigm, the better the research that he can carry out. Many of you will not have thought about your own ontological and epistemological assumptions, even though they affect the way that you approach the world around you and your studies in particular. Gummesson compares these to our knowledge of our native tongue he suggests that, even though we may struggle to articulate its grammar, structure and so on, we just know how to speak it. However, closer attention to, and reflection on, our ontological and epistemological beliefs allows us to avoid what we might call abstracted empiricism. In other words, if we simply argue that the research methods we have used are the best ones without offering any such discussion, this pays no attention to the wider philosophical implications of the claims we are making and how others should therefore locate and evaluate the knowledge we are generating (Morgan and Smircich 1980: 491). Instead, an emphasis on the link between ontology, epistemology and methodology, between the world view to which the researcher subscribes, the type of research question posed, and the technique that is to be adopted as a basis for research (Morgan and Smircich 1980: 499) makes communication between researchers easier. If we fail to discuss our philosophical beliefs in this regard, then the differing sets of assumptions that exist, as mentioned above, make debate difficult because researchers with very different assumptions may be trying to talk to each other without being aware that they come from such differing standpoints. Someone who reads your assignment or research document may therefore assess it on the basis of their own philosophical commitments, which could be problematic if these are very different from the ones you espouse. An analogy would be someone with right-wing political beliefs assessing a left-wing policy suggestion without being aware that it had been made by someone with left-wing beliefs.

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Third, ontological and epistemological commitments may also blind us to alternatives because they mean that we view the world in a particular way (Burrell and Morgan 1979: 24). The different philosophical paradigms represent fundamentally different perspectives for the analysis of social phenomena (Burrell and Morgan 1979: 23). So belonging to one paradigm but not reflecting on this may blind you to the existence of alternatives (Burrell and Morgan 1979: 24) and lead you to present your research as the only possible interpretation of the issues you have discussed. Last and relatedly, ontological and epistemological commitments bring about real-world consequences. Philosophical ideas have material effects of various kinds. That is to say, they tend to bring about self-fulfilling prophecies because the way you see and understand the world dictates how you behave within it. Therefore the way we understand organisations and management influences how we behave in relation to organising and managing. We may therefore manage or educate others in particular ways as a result. We also write according to our own philosophical beliefs, so management academics texts always say something about how they see human reality and social science knowledge. And of course these texts may also have an impact on how managers behave because they represent effective organisations and effective management in various different ways. In summary, very crudely speaking there are two philosophical camps or standpoints in the social sciences. They answer the ontological and epistemological questions posed above about objectivity, cause and effect relationships and generalisation very differently. We are presenting them to you here as a way of introducing the ideas of different theories of reality and knowledge in management research, but please do be aware that in actuality the lines cannot be drawn so easily. Social science and management researchers are more accurately categorised as occupying a variety of different points along a continuum, with many blurrings between them, as opposed to being divided neatly into two distinct camps.

Positivism
Positivism is the social science philosophy which is closest to the theories of reality and knowledge of natural science. As implied above, there are many internal differences between positivists, for example some are standard positivists, others are logical positivists, others are falsificationists, but for your purposes the following basic summary of the standpoint as a whole will suffice.

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The positivist tradition is deeply entrenched in western society, and its philosophical roots lie deep in western culture. Furthermore, since the 1950s philosophical debates on methodology in the social sciences have been dominated by the positivist debate. So what is positivism? This question is perhaps best addressed by outlining the key tenets of the positivist tradition (Delanty 1997): Scientism or the Unity of the Scientific Method for positivists there is no essential difference between the methods of natural science and the social sciences, however, precedence is given to the scientific methods of the natural sciences (scientism). Naturalism or Phenomenalism the belief that science is the study of reality; this is a reality that exists outside science and one that can be neutrally and objectively observed (phenomenalism). It embrace the belief that nature can be reduced to observable units or naturalistic phenomena (naturalism). Empiricism observation is the foundation of science, since only that which can be observed can be subject to verification. Progress is made through observation and verification by means of the experimental method that lead to the generation of casual laws and hypotheses. Value Freedom positivists argue that science is a neutral activity in which the pursuit of scientific truth is arrived at free of social and ethical values. This is considered possible because of the belief that there exists an objectively-existing reality, a truth that can be observed and verified independently of such values. Instrumental Knowledge the notion that science pursues technically useful knowledge. We will return and develop these tenets shortly. It is worth noting that the term positivism embraces a range of philosophical positions and, as such, the above tenets are thus rather generalised for clarity and simplicity. The pursuit of scientific truth can be traced back to, for example, the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle in Ancient Greece. Plato believed that such a pursuit should be based on pure contemplation and the search for first principles; that is, an approach based on deduction. Although Aristotle had been responsible for this focus on first principles, he had also earlier established the basis of the inductive approach through stressing the importance of classifying empirically observable phenomena. While positivism embraces the quest for truth and the notion

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of objective knowledge inspired by Plato, it also rejects the metaphysical and idealist character of Platonic philosophy. The emergence of rationalism and empiricalism from the time of the Renaissance gradually replaced clerical authority and the prevailing assertion of the Middle Ages that knowledge derives from the ancient authority of the Church in Europe. The experimental method emerged alongside the development of modern science, from Renaissance thinkers such as Leonardo da Vinci to those of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, such as Galileo Galilei, Francis Bacon, and Isaac Newton. Delanty (1997: 17) argues that, it is important to see that modern science emerges at a time when the institutions of the Middles Ages, such as the Church were collapsing, but when the social and political order of modern society had not yet consolidated. The emergence of positivism alongside and within the social sciences during the nineteenth century owes much to Auguste Comte, the French philosopher, who outlined the basic ideas of positivism in his Cours de Philosophie Positive (Course of Positive Philosophy) (183042). Comte was an empiricist, for whom there could be no truth without observation. For Delanty (1997: 26), social science thus began its uncertain career in the mirror image of natural science and came to be the expression of modernity itself. Comte greatly influenced the work of John Stuart Mill and Herbert Spencer in Britain during the mid nineteenth century, and Emile Durkheim in Germany at the turn of the twentieth century. Empirical social science was readily embraced by US universities from the start of the twentieth century, culminating in the rise of the Chicago School which represented the leading school in sociology during the 1920s. At around this time the Vienna Circle were instrumental in bringing about a extreme version of positivism, termed logical positivism, in reaction to what they saw as the rise of obscure metaphysics and the anarchy of ideology within the academic world. Logical positivism was based on the notion of a unified science centred on mathematical logic; it embraced only two kinds of knowledge: (a) empirical knowledge (derived from observation); and (b) logical knowledge (derived from logical analysis). Smith (1998: 75) suggests that, Positivism has been increasingly questioned since the middle of the twentieth century [it] is something that many social researchers would like to forget In other words, positivism has become more and more controversial over the last sixty or seventy years. Alvesson and Deetz (2000: 66) agree with Smith that there have been more than fifty years of critique of positivism. Similarly, Johnson and Duberley (2000: 7) suggest that, criticizing the expression of [Robert] Mertons and [Max] Webers [positivist] views in management and organization as an establishment myth is an increasingly popular

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pastime. So the term positivist is often used as a pejorative, to criticise others research. Even though it has been so widely criticised and challenged, positivisms assumptions remain pervasive and continue to provide the general rationale that underpins most theory and research in the social sciences this positivist underpinning is particularly the case in management and organizational research (Johnson and Duberley 2000: 11). Positivism is still a very powerful set of assumptions, and dominates American management research in particular. In other parts of the world the UK and Scandinavia, for example non-positivism is perhaps more established. The term positive is a warning against attempts to go beyond what can be seen in deriving knowledge about the social world: for a positivist, any claim to know something about human behaviour should be based on evidence of tangible, observable things. So positivists want to distinguish very clearly between what is the case and what ought to be the case, and what will happen versus what should happen. They suggest that what ought to be the case and what should happen are questions that only moral philosophers can address: the task of social science is only to describe what is the case and what will happen. So there is no place for opinion, prejudice or bias in social science. Key (interconnected) positivist assumptions are therefore as follows. The absolute separation of reality and ideas about reality (the latter may be true or false). For positivists, social reality has an objective existence, it is out there just as is natural reality, like trees, rocks or animals. There is, an ontological reality out there to be known (Johnson and Duberley 2000: 57). This is a realist ontology: social reality is said to exist independently of our cognitive structures (i.e. our beliefs) and exists whether or not we can gain access to it, above and beyond our observations of, and knowledge about, it which may be more or less accurate. Human phenomena like organisational structure, total quality management, organisational culture, relationship marketing, charismatic leadership, stress, productivity, employee motivation, (in)efficient markets, the supply chain, auditing and so on really exist in the same way as do trees, rocks or animals. We can, with careful and scientific endeavour, capture and describe social reality i.e. develop accurate/ factual/positive knowledge about it. This is what is sometimes known as the subject/object (researcher/topic) dualism. There is unification of method (also known as monism, scientism or naturalism). Positivism argues that we should use natural science methods in social science. They therefore emphasise the statistical

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measurement of social phenomena like organisational structure, total quality management and so on. In other words, positivists typically want to identify the extent, frequency, level and location of these phenomena, and also whether and how they alter in the presence of other phenomena. There is a focus here on quantification and comparison of relative frequency. This often means that these phenomena have to be operationalised linked to tangible indicators which suggest their presence. For example, we cant measure motivation as such because we cant see it or sense it in any other way, but we can link it to indicators like productivity, job satisfaction or attendance, and measure it this way. Positivists, like natural scientists, also tend to be preoccupied with reliability (to do with the consistency, coherence and stability of results achieved), internal validity (to do with whether the research instrument measures what it is supposed to be measuring, and external validity (can the results be generalised beyond the sample from which they were taken?). Value-free, theory-free data are possible. A positivist can scientifically verify social facts: they have an objective existence. For example, a social fact might be there are 6000 homeless people in Leicester [Note 4], but to say that homelessness is the biggest social problem in Leicester is a moral or value judgement. Positivism argues that there exists a neutral point from which we can stand back and observe the social world, and emphasises that we should, as social scientists, aim for this kind of objectivity. This is sometimes referred to as the correspondence theory of truth, i.e. that we can produce accounts that correspond precisely to independent reality. We need, says positivism, to observe the social world, and only after observing it try to understand or theorise it. So facts become the basis for either testing existing theories about the social world or generating new theories. The argument here is that when values or moral judgements affect the process of data gathering (or indeed theorising), we need to be more rigorous to ensure objectivity. Data should be obtained through experience (also known as phenomenalism), All good intellects have repeated, since Bacons time, that there can be no real knowledge but that which is based on observed facts (Comte, cited in Easterby-Smith et al 2002: 28). For positivism, if we cannot directly experience something through our senses, and cannot then link it to the kinds of indicators we discussed above, we cannot study it. Phenomena like these (e.g. God) are metaphysical (beyond our physical senses) and only things which can be verified through sensory

[4]

Please note that we don't actually know whether this is true! It's just a hypothetical example.

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experience are the proper territory of social science. The study of metaphysical phenomena belongs to other disciplines, like moral philosophy. In other words, for positivism, all ideas are ultimately to be understood in terms of what they say about the observable world (Griseri 2002: 108). The social world is characterised by empirical regularities, which can be described by means of scientific laws. In other words, the aim of positivist social science is to observe human phenomena and look for regularities, things that occur together. Do these regularities occur frequently and predictably? If so they are scientific laws. The aim is to generate causal relationships, to identify links between independent variables (causes) and dependent variables (effects). This aspect of positivism also speaks to the desire to generalise, to move from a singular statement about ones sample to a universal statement about the wider population, so positivism is characterised by the aim of explaining what is going on in the social world. For example, what causes motivation? stress? productivity? market crashes? does gender relate to earnings? does the money supply relate to inflation? Positivism therefore sees human behaviour as determined or mechanistic as a programmed response to certain conditions. As Morgan and Smircich (1980) argue, it tries to freeze the social world and study people as the product of deterministic forces. The social world needs to be broken down into its constituentparts in order to research it (also known as atomism/reductionism). Positivism tends to proceed by looking for the smallest observable units e.g. the individual person to reduce a research question or issue to its simplest possible elements. The task of social science is to predict and control social events to produce socially-useful knowledge. Positivism originated in the late seventeenth century in western Europe, when religion began to decline in influence so that people became less willing to accept their fate as a the result of the divine or natural order of things. What started to take hold instead was a growing belief in the reasoning capacities of human beings as the basis of a better world, and a resultant faith in science (both social and natural) as the grounds for such interventions. Science was seen to provide new certainties, and a new force for social cohesion and development. The Industrial Revolution is a good example of the results of this kind of belief system. Positivism exemplifies these beliefs, and sees one of its key tasks as producing knowledge to use in order to organise society in improved ways.

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To summarise, the different versions of positivism are united by the epistemological principle that warranted knowledge about the world emanates from the scientists ability directly and objectively to access empirical data about social and natural reality warranted [i.e. valid and reliable] knowledge is that which has a correspondence with reality which has been established by the scientists neutral and passive registration of various sensory inputs. (Johnson and Duberley 2000: 62)

Positivism and research


There is a range of research methods associated with positivism which can be summarised as follows.

Experiments
These can take place in the field, i.e. in the participants everyday environment (for example, their workplace), or in the laboratory, an artificially-constructed setting. The technique is borrowed straight from the natural sciences. It is intended to be highly objective, and to establish causal relationships. The experiment therefore manages some variable in a human situation so that the effects of this variable on another a particular aspect of human behaviour can be detected. The Hawthorne Experiments are a well-known example, where researchers including Elton Mayo introduced changes to the physical working conditions (e.g. more breaks) of employees at an electrical plant in Chicago in the 1920s to see if these changes affected productivity in any way.

Structured interviews and/or self-administered questionnaires (SAQs)


Again the intention here is to be objective and detached from ones respondents. Indeed with SAQs one may never meet the people who take part in the research. These methods are usually used with large samples. They consist of asking the same questions in the same order to every respondent. The difference between them is that with the structured interview the researcher asks the questions verbally, either face to face or over the phone, and records the respondents answers. With SAQs the respondent reads the questions and fills the answers out themselves in a prepared form. These methods tend to rely mainly on closed questions, i.e.

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questions with a fixed response set such as yes/no/dont know so that responses can be quantified.

Structured observation
This method, like the experiment, involves watching peoples behaviour, but it differs from the experiment because here the researcher simply observes people going about their everyday business instead of deliberately manipulating their environment in some way (for example, by introducing a new variable). It is structured because again the idea is to be objective, detached and aim for some form of quantification of behaviour. The researcher uses a tick box observation schedule where he or she records how many times people do a particular thing, the order in which they do it, and/or how long it takes to do it.

Quantitative secondary data


The use of existing data, usually from large and representative samples, and expressed in numerical and/or statistical form. Examples include the UK Labour Force Survey, UK Census, performance data from company annual reports, organisations absence records, and quantitative data from existing academic publications. So, crudely speaking, positivism would suggest that: we can know the truth, the hard facts, about social phenomena, plausible, useful knowledge is based on observation and measurement, we should collect it using methods borrowed from the natural sciences, we can use it to explain, predict and control the social world, and we can evaluate it on the basis of its adherence to scientific criteria, for example, whether the data produced are valid and reliable. What then does positivist management research look like? it assumes that people and organizations exist as relatively concrete entities [and manifest] orderly patterns or regularities (Griseri 2002: 110),

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it focuses on generating organisational laws to improve managerial control and effectiveness, it tends to use experimental or cross-sectional survey research methods, as well as quantitative secondary data this kind of research tends to want to quantify its data and to analyse it statistically, survey methods for example use structured interviews or SAQs to compare categories of people (e.g. men and women, people from different occupational groups), and generalisability is a key concern, so representative samples are seen as important this kind of research typically tries to gather its data from large, representative samples, representative meaning that it is possible to generalise to the wider population from which the sample was taken. An example of positivism in published management research is given by Castellow et al (1990) on judgements in US sexual harassment cases. A brief examination of the key features of this paper follows. Their paper starts from hypotheses derived from the beauty is good stereotype. Castellow et al are interested in the extent to which judgements about guilt in US sexual harassment cases are made on the basis of the physical attractiveness of the man accused of harassment and that of his alleged victim. In other words, they want to know if the beauty is good stereotype is in operation in this instance. They suggest that beauty is good is often used as an implicit personality theory (Castellow et al 1990: 549). In other words, we tend to think that if someone has one characteristic, then they must have specific others, such that a beautiful person will also be seen as good, trustworthy, kind, warm and so on. Castellow et als hypotheses then are that H1: an attractive defendant is more likely to be seen positively H2: an attractive complainant is more likely to be believed In other words, juries in US sexual harassment trials are more likely to say an attractive defendant is not guilty, but also to judge an unattractive defendant as guilty when they are accused by an attractive plaintiff. This research is partly inspired by the fact that the beauty is good stereotype has also been proved by other researchers to be at work in rape trials and there are some similarities between rape and sexual harassment. The respondents were Introductory Psychology students, and a factorial design was used. The sample was Introductory Psychology students at the University of East Carolina. 71 were male and 74 female. The factorial

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design consisted of dividing each gender into four groups of between 15 and 20: a group that looked at a case with an attractive defendant and an unattractive plaintiff, a group that looked at a case with an unattractive defendant and an attractive plaintiff, a group that looked at a case with an attractive defendant and an attractive plaintiff, and a group that looked at a case with an unattractive defendant and an unattractive plaintiff. The research schedule comprised of a mock trial transcript asking for a verdict and personality scales. Each respondent received the same mock trial transcript the only differences were between groups as suggested above. The document included photographs of both plaintiff and defendant. It was loosely based on real cases of harassment and there were no witnesses so as to replicate the its her word against his scenario that is common in such situations. The attractiveness of each participant should also have become more significant in the respondents judgements as a result. The respondents were asked to read the transcript and say whether the defendant was in fact guilty of sexual harassment. They were also asked to evaluate the plaintiff and the defendant in terms of how attractive, exciting, calm, independent, sincere, warm, kind, intelligent, strong, sophisticated and happy they were, using eleven personality scales. What is also interesting here is that, although this isnt strictly speaking an experiment since it involves asking people questions instead of watching their behaviour and there is no attempt to alter their environmental conditions, Castellow et al use the terminology experiment and experimenter throughout. This seems to be more proof of this researchs positivistic philosophical commitments. Although one should be cautious about any attempt to generalize from mock juror studies to the courtroom, our study offers some implications for sexual harassment jury trials. (Castellow et al 1990: 558) Both hypotheses were proved correct. It is also worth noting that the attractive defendant was rated higher on all eleven personality scales as was the attractive plaintiff. Despite their reservations as expressed in the quotation above, Castellow et al do attempt some generalisation from

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these results to jurors in sexual harassment trials by suggesting the latter are also more likely to rate an attractive defendant as not guilty and an unattractive defendant as guilty when they are accused by an attractive plaintiff. They argue then that it is beneficial to be an attractive plaintiff or defendant and that US lawyers may want to encourage their clients to make the best of themselves when appearing in court as a result. Alternatively, they suggest another tactic; for lawyers to inform the jury that people tend to judge beautiful people more positively and urge them to avoid this, to be fair, because of additional evidence that people might overcompensate for biases like beauty is good in an effort to be impartial. Castellow et al suggest though that Further research is needed to enhance our understanding of how to diminish the stereotyping effects of attractiveness without eliciting a bias in the opposite direction. (1990: 560).

Social constructivism
Social constructivism is a broad term for those who do not accept the ontological and epistemological claims of positivism. Hermeneutics, phenomenology, symbolic interactionism, ethnomethodology, post-modernism, post-structuralism and many systems of thought are all variants of social constructivism. For your purposes, however, the following basic summary of the standpoint as a whole will suffice. Is there really an absolute separation of reality and ideas about reality? Positivism, as we know, says, yes: social reality exists and social phenomena are detectable and countable (Benson and Hughes 1983: 5) independently of how they are interpreted and oriented to by social participants (Heritage 1984: 45). Positivists believe we can detect and therefore measure social phenomena like organisational structure, total quality management and the rest because these exist in an objective, factual and uniform way. Social reality is out there to be known, measured, explained, predicted and controlled. Social constructivism on the other hand focuses on how we make sense of the social world; how we navigate through it. This philosophical standpoint argues, contrary to positivism, that we dont grasp the social world as it is the social world does not reflect its reality to us, instead we endow it with meaning, we create or construct its reality by thinking about it and acting towards it in particular ways. So there is no objective social reality out there social phenomena only mean what we construct them to mean. Reality organisational structure and all the rest exists only insofar as we think about it and act towards it in certain ways. So social

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constructivism focuses on how we make something real how we real-ise it through conceptualising or recognising it as a phenomenon. Accordingly, ideas about reality and reality are effectively the same thing. For social constructivism, we are constantly engaged in a process of interpretation or construction of reality not a passive reading of an objectively-existing reality. We respond actively to the world around us: we dont just react to essential characteristics in what we encounter, we actively give it a meaning and behave accordingly. For example, why do we stop a car at a red traffic light? The traffic light itself is not a physical barrier instead we interpret it as a symbolic barrier and so draw our vehicle to a halt. For example, when does someone die? (Silverman 2000: 8182). Another example from this school of thinking is that death is conventionally assumed to be medically defined and easily identified as taking place when our heart stops and there is no brain activity. So we are either dead or alive and we can find out about death by collecting or referring to mortality statistics. So death, in the conventional (positivist) viewpoint is real, tangible and measurable, but when John F. Kennedy arrived at a Dallas hospital in November 1963 having been shot in the head he was not (as we ordinary citizens may have been) designated dead on arrival. Instead, because of his status as President of the US, hospital staff worked on him for an hour, even though he was eventually pronounced dead. This is an example of how death might be seen to be socially constructed. Also consider debates about euthanasia, Do Not Resuscitate orders in hospitals, so-called living wills, abortion, life support machines and so on. Think about what counts as life and what counts as death in your society. A more organisational example of this process of construction or real-isation would be sales revenue. Social constructivist Ruth Hines asks us to consider the point at which an organisation earns sales revenue according to accounting procedures (Hines 1988). This is usually understood to be the point of sale, but when does this take place? Is it when the good or service is ordered? Is it when the invoice is generated? Is it when the invoice has been paid? Is it when the order has been completed? Is it when the customer has taken delivery? (and so on). Hines suggests that accountants can actually present very different pictures of the same organisations finances by calculating this and other aspects of its accounts according to their particular accounting procedures (i.e. constructions of reality). And if we believe something to be real, it is real enough in its consequences for we behave as if it does exist (Smith 1998: 161). This is the linchpin on which social constructivism turns it argues that the way in which we give meaning to and construct reality determines the way that

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we behave. That is to say, we behave as if phenomena really do reflect their essential meaning or significance to us, as in the red traffic light example. This is known as the Thomas theorem (Thomas 1966: 301) and was inspired by an inmate of the Clinton Correctional Facility (Dannemora Prison in the US) who was imprisoned for murder. The Dannemora inmate murdered people who talked to themselves because he was a paranoid schizophrenic and believed they were talking about him. So the reality that they werent talking about him didnt matter, what mattered was his definition of reality that they were. It is this latter construction which caused his murderous behaviour. This is not an anti-realist argument as such. Social constructivism doesnt deny that material or physical reality exists, it doesnt say the social world exists only in our heads. Instead it denies that this material or physical reality has a fixed or essential meaning, and says that we attribute meaning to it we actively make sense of our world. Laclau and Mouffe (1987) ask us to think about a mountain does it have an innate meaning? It certainly has a physical presence, but its various constructed meanings, depending on your viewpoint, could be as a geographically important feature, a barrier to travel, a challenge to climb, a thing of great natural beauty, something risky, scary or dangerous, somewhere where the gods live and so on. Social constructivism, then, concerns the fixing of meaning it attends to Lebenswelt (Husserl 1970), world-taken-for-granted (Schutz 1967), and the geometry or grammar of social life (Coser 1977). Social constructivism wants to understand how we make sense of things, how particular groups of people construct certain phenomena and how this influences their behaviour. They focus on the Lebenswelt or lifeworld, the recipe knowledge that we all live by, the tacit, mundane, implicit, almost unconscious series of meanings and constructions that governs our behaviour, but that we might find hard to articulate because we take it so much for granted. There is emphasis on common sense and inter-subjectivity, the knowledge I share with others in the normal self-evident routines of everyday life (Berger and Luckmann 1967: 37). There is an emphasis here on the collective or social negotiation/construction of reality on the production, quite literally, of common sense. So our constructions of the world dont originate in us as individuals instead we acquire and pass meanings on via interaction and socialisation. Within the social groups where we operate, we therefore achieve a shared view of the world, we always engage with the world via our socialized pre-understandings (Johnson and Duberley 2000: 66). Our engagement with the world around us is always structured by the presuppositions we

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have developed through being initiated into the know-how of our time by our parents, friends, teachers, work colleagues and the media. That is to say, [s]ociety can exist by virtue of the fact that most of the time most peoples definitions of the most important situations at least coincide approximately. (Berger 1966: 111). For example, and to return to the Hines example above, two accountants couldnt work together if they had different definitions of the point at which revenue is earned. Let us consider the idea of time. We often assume that time is an empirical fact, that years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds really exist in some objective way. We see our lives as temporally structured around significant events like birthdays, starting school, graduating, starting our first job, getting married and so on. Also, the first thing we do when we wake up is look at the clock to orient ourselves. If we dont know the time, its disorienting. Time links us to the wider cultural context as well, for example one of the authors of these notes was born in the year of the first moon landings, and her birthday is VE Day, when Europe commemorates the end of the Second World War. So we often forget that the clock and the calendar are human constructions. Indeed from the social constructivism viewpoint, time itself is a social construction we have decided that time exists and that we should measure it in a particular way. To illustrate both the social construction of time argument, and how powerful time is as a social construction, we can consider the London calendar riots of 1752. In 45 BCE [Note 5] the Julian calendar (named after Julius Caesar who commissioned the previous calendars reform in 46 BCE) was introduced in the Roman Empire. Until this point the Roman calendar had been complicated, inconsistent, open to patronage and bribery as the exact composition of each year was decided by a panel of pontiffs. Julius Caesars reforms created much the same calendar as is used today, starting the year on January the first, with months (variations in February apart) that are the same length each year, and based on a more reliable calculation of the length of the year, Hipparchus tropical year of 3651/4 days. Later refinements were forced on the calendar the eighth month, Sextilis, was renamed Augustus after Julius Caesars great-nephew and Romes first true emperor but it presented a robust and useful system not easily changed. Though Hipparchus calculation did a creditable job of estimating the time between, say, one mid-winter and the next, 3651/4 days a 365-day year with an extra day added to February each four years in order to catch up was not completely accurate it was too long by

[5]

Or 709 ab urbe condita as the Romans would have had it; the 709th year since the founding of Rome.

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about 11 minutes. By 1582 the Julian calendar was therefore 10 days ahead affecting, crucially, the calculation of the date of Easter. Pope Gregory XIIIth took steps to correct this, introducing the Gregorian calendar such that the 5th October 1582 became the 15th October. Gregory also ordained that the leap years at the ends of centuries have to be multiples of 400 to qualify for a leap day, in order to prevent the calendar date becoming out of step in the future. The Gregorian calendar is still used worldwide, but it was not introduced everywhere at the same time. The UK for example didnt introduce it until September 1752 and by this time the calendar date was eleven days out of step (plus a leap day). The introduction of the Gregorian calendar led to riots in London because people thought they actually had lost (had stolen from them) twelve days of their lives. Think about it! Also think about the emphasis we have placed in the West at least on the length of a year being the length of time it takes for the earth to move round the sun. Social constructivism would argue that this is nothing more than an arbitrary human decision. Social constructivism also emphasises inter- and intra-cultural variations in meaning: Geertzs (1983) local knowledges. Social constructivism suggests that our collectively developed, meanings and interpretations are the product of the pragmatic concerns of practical problems and purposes of social life (Smith 1998: 162). In other words, meanings and construction emerge from collective learning processes in specific locales. This is Clifford Geertzs concept of local knowledges, ideas and interpretations which are specific to the conditions in which particular communities live and which are concrete and pragmatic, helping members of those communities to live their lives successfully in that milieu. We also have understandings of other cultural contexts, but these are less and less detailed as these contexts are more and more distant from our immediate lives [Note 6]. What it also means is that there are inevitable cultural variations in the way that we define reality. An interesting example is cross-cultural variations in the meaning of gestures. For instance, the OK signal in the US (formed by placing the tips of the thumb and forefinger together in a O shape and keeping the other three fingers straight) has been said to mean zero or worthless in southern France, money in Japan, male homosexual in Malta, and a rather delicate part of

[6]

This might be changing in the contemporary climate of the Internet and 24-hour international news stations like CNN and BBC News 24.

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the anatomy in Brazil [Note 7]. Social constructivism also notes intra-cultural relativity that is to say, differing constructions and interpretations which exist within societies, but between different social arenas. So workplaces, educational environments, private homes, leisure venues like bars and restaurants, places of worship and so on will tend to be governed by different ground rules in terms of how it is appropriate to dress, speak, behave and interact with others, even within one society. Social constructivism is also nominalist it identifies the need for a distinctive, interpretivist approach to the study of human beings, not one borrowed from the natural sciences. For social constructivism, because social reality is constructed and emergent, because it is effectively a projection of human consciousness, because people interpret the world around them and attribute meanings to it whereas natural phenomena do not, we need to know what people understand about their individual worlds in order to understand their behaviour. We need to see the world through their eyes: how do they experience it? From this standpoint, Persons are distinguished from things in that persons experience the world, whereas things behave in the world (Laing, cited in Johnson and Duberley 2000: 34). Therefore, although we can study natural phenomena like trees, rocks and animals just by watching them, we need to understand peoples internal, non-observable logic, their interpretations, intentions and meanings, to get any sense of why they behave in specific ways. So, social constructivism argues that we as researchers need to try and access others lives as they are lived, to capture participants definitions of the world, their language and their constructions, as opposed to imposing our own structure and assumptions on them: it recommends the use of open questions which can be answered in any way the respondent likes they dont have fixed response sets and flexible research formats to facilitate this. This should help to ensure, social constructivism suggests, that what is done, discussed and/or recorded in a research setting is dictated by the respondent more than it is by the researcher. As Sanger (1996: 15) argues, for social constructivism, Over-structured approaches to unfamiliar settings fall foul of the language, customs and behaviours implicit in them. Instead the idea is to gather rich, qualitative, complex data, to give a feel for the beliefs or experiences under examination and to allow both researcher and reader some sense of what it is like to inhabit the life-worlds of respondents.

[7]

As DL students you are better placed than ULSM staff to say whether or not these claims are accurate! However, the point remains the same that meanings and constructions vary across social contexts.

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Social constructivism and research


There is a range of research constructivism as described below. methods associated with social

Ethnography and non-structured observation


As suggested above, social constructivism wants to try and understand the constructions and interpretations of others in order to understand their behaviours. It wants to some extent to immerse itself in the life-worlds of others. Ethnography is thus the classic social constructivist research method, just as the experiment is the classic positivistic technique. Ethnography in its strictest sense means participant observation, i.e. actually living or working amongst the people in whom you are interested and taking a full part in their activities. Other forms of observation are also associated with social constructivism, however, such as passive or non-participant observation, where the researcher simply watches naturally-occurring activity with the aim of understanding it in the round, in all its complexity, as opposed to the attempt to focus on a specific behaviour and to quantify it as in structured observation.

Semi/unstructured interviews
These are face to face interactions between researcher and respondent during which the researcher wants to cover particular topics and ask specific questions, but where the order in which the questions are asked and the wording used is dependent on the respondent. For example, the respondent might highlight issues in answering one question which arent due to be covered until later in the schedule, with the result that the researcher would move straight to asking about these issues as this follows the respondents logic. Thus the interview is effectively led by the respondent as opposed to being led by the researcher, as it would be in the structured interview scenario. Open questions are typically used and there is usually no particular emphasis by the researcher on objectivity or detachment instead they aim to build up a rapport with their respondents, to really get to know them during the interview process.

Qualitative secondary data


This is the use of existing data in descriptive/narrative form, such as minutes of meetings, newspaper articles, court reports, qualitative data from academic publications and so on.

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So social constructivism would suggest that we can only know how human beings construct the phenomena around them. There are no hard facts, absolute characteristics, truth or essence of/about social phenomena: the only meanings they have are what we have ascribed to them. Accordingly, plausible, useful knowledge is based on getting an insight into someone elses reality. This should be collected using qualitative, non-scientific methods and we should use this insight to understand others behaviour whilst recognising that it is essentially subjective. Understanding others frames of reference helps us to understand how they see the world and therefore how they behave, but even then our accounts of their constructions and their behaviours will only ever be our accounts, because we filter and understand them through our own constructions of the world. We can evaluate research according to its trustworthiness. So, according to Guba and Lincoln (cited in Bryman and Bell 2003: 288299), for example, we might evaluate social constructivist research according to its credibility (has the researcher validated their findings with the respondents?) or its transferability (has the researcher provided enough detail about their data for others to see whether the findings might also apply elsewhere?). As Buchanan (cited in Silverman 2000: 289) points out, quality in this type of research, cannot be determined by following prescribed [scientific] formulas. Rather its quality lies in the power of its language to display a picture of the world in which we discover something about ourselves and our common humanity. In other words, social constructivist research might be judged on the basis of whether it tells a story that readers can believe in, whether it resonates with them, and/or whether it is convincing. What then does social constructivist management research look like? It has a general interest in flux, process and change. For social constructivism, the positivist focus on causality and scientific laws over-simplifies human behaviour. It ignores the way in which human beings can reflect on their behaviour and therefore change it. It also neglects our increasing exposure to people from very different parts of the world through globalisation, and the fact that we may be changing our behaviour ever more frequently as we learn about other ways of doing things. Social constructivism therefore emphasises social processes how events and patterns unfold over time (Bryman and Bell 2003: 296). It suggests that there are far fewer stable properties in the social world than there are in the natural world, and thus that looking for cause and effect

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relationships is misguided. (Marshall and Rossman, cited in Silverman 2000: 10). It focuses on the concrete and the specific . Social constructivism as we have seen is not convinced that social laws exist or that generalisation/prediction is possible. Instead it sees the social world as very diverse and heterogeneous and thus argues that as researchers we should focus on understanding what is going on in a particular setting as opposed to aiming to produce generalisable theory. Social constructivism would therefore challenge the idea that there is one version or form of organisational structure, total quality management and so on existing across all organisations in all cultural contexts. As Griseri (2002: 115) argues, Human behaviour brings a multitude of factors into play: we have countless possible responses to situations because of the fact that we interpret them, unlike natural phenomena. So, Rather than observing people and objects as samples of larger groups in some presupposed classificatory system such as the common one for example, used to denote teaching style didactic, child-centred, resource-based etc [we should] examine them in their complex singularity. (Sanger 1996: 20) What Gummesson (2000: 183) calls substantive (specific, limited, grounded) theory is the focus here. It emphasises lived organisational experience. The emphasis in social constructivism is on understanding the organisational world from the point of view of those living in it. Organisations, it suggests, are constructed and experienced in many different ways by those who inhabit them, leading to different forms of behaviour and reactions to these environments. So social constructivism tries to get inside the actors (managers, employees, shareholders etc.) world and see reality as they see it. It sees the researcher as always and already subjective . Any conclusions about external reality cannot be separated from the cognitive, social and emotional processes that have led [the researcher] to those conclusions in which language is regarded as a vehicle for creating rather than reflecting reality. (Johnson and Duberley 2000: 67)

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As suggested above, for social constructivism, in investigating the social world we are also active in constructing it. We construct phenomena such as organisational structure (and the rest) by studying them. Our pre-existing theories and beliefs influence what we see before we see it so we do not have access to some form of objective reality. Instead we make sense of/real-ise the data we gather just as do those whom we study. Consequently, one management researcher wont see, investigate or conclude about a topic in the same way as another. To conclude, Perhaps the most we can hope for in considering [ontology and] epistemology is that we become more consciously reflexive. (Johnson and Duberley 2000: 4). Examining how your own philosophical preconceptions affect how you see the world, and considering alternatives, is helpful in making informed decisions about your research and other peoples. This is especially important given the dominance of positivism in management research, and the need to be aware that there are other ways to understand social reality and knowledge about that reality. It is crucial to see social research as a diverse set of options rather than one appropriate way to study the social world (Smith 1998: 9).

Other perspectives
The debates surrounding social constructivism and positivism can be quite complex. Theorists often use unfamiliar terms and the language used can be very specific. Here we will give an account from Ruud Kaulingfreks, a Visiting Fellow at the University of Leicester School of Management from the University of Humanistics at Utrecht. He explores the potential for art as a means of understanding organisations. In the process his writing develops some of the themes we have introduced in this section. To help students appreciate the writing and to understand some of the nuances of the arguments we have provided a glossary of terms on Blackboard for students to refer to.

Art and management research


We have seen in the preceding discussion that mainstream management/organisational studies emphasise the scientific character of the analysis in which they engage. The search for objectivity is based on a method borrowed from the natural sciences. This method presupposes a distance between the subject and the object of study. The scientist has no influence on the world to be studied and no say regarding what s/he studies. Moreover, the object of study is not influenced by the study itself.

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This assumption can be questioned since we are dealing with people, and people tend to behave differently when they are under observation. The organisation scholar is, by studying an organisation, part of his/her study. This is especially of importance when we try to understand organisations as they function on their ordinary, daily-life basis. Or, even more so, when we try to understand meaning in organisation. That is, how people in organisations behave in, what is for them, a meaningful way. How they organise themselves in order to achieve what they consider to be of importance. In order to understand meaning one can not be unattached from the organisation, since meaning is not objective, but is highly contextual and indexical to the situation in which it arises. Understanding also means engaging with what one understands. In a sense understanding is making yourself the other, and the other yourself. In this sense we might say that the classical scientific method based on the natural sciences does not help us to understand organisations. It may help to explain why a certain management technique provides results or how to improve the output of an organisation. Mainstream empirical scientific research is mostly directed to the future of an organisation. It explains how to change an organisation and why. Because it is directed to what ought to be, the distance between the subject and the object is understandable. The object is taken here as a mechanism that can be improved. Scientific knowledge works inside the parameters of its own epistemological claims, its own claims about what it can and should know; it works inside the field of its own rules. It presupposes a certain invariability of the object of study. Only then can one test hypotheses and conduct experiments. This is not the place to go into an extensive critique of classical scientific knowledge about organisations, this ground has been addressed in the earlier part of this section. The purpose here is to introduce other forms of knowledge about organisations that may help us understand the way people actually deal with organisations how they make sense of the organisations they find themselves in, what the organisation means for the people involved. Art helps us to understand the world in a way empirical science cant. Art can be seen as a specific mode of awareness of the world. The Spanish artist Antoni Tpies once said that art shows us truth through an illusion. It is a statement about the world and about ourselves. Art confronts us, as spectators, with the way we have organised and arranged the world. Art is in this sense always reflexive. Leonardo da Vinci defined art as a cosa mentale , a mental matter. Art implies a reflexivity of the artist, which is passed over to the spectator through the work of art. Romanticism radicalised the reflexivity of art. Artistic awareness ought to have a place next to intellectual activity. Art becomes a way of life, a manner of thinking and behaving. More precisely, only art can give us a

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certain insight into the world and ourselves because art does not let itself be led by what is already there in the way that other modes of knowing often are. Art links the existing with what is yet to be invented. In the history of art these thoughts were developed further in the twentieth century. The sole role of art came to be seen to be to comment on culture. Art becomes a stream of consciousness. The activity of making an artefact falls behind the mental process of the artist to the point that the work of art itself is only of marginal importance and does not even need to actually be there, as is particularly the case in conceptual and performance art. Reflexivity also means a critical perspective. Critical because of arts play with the possible, the bringing into being of what still does not exist, but also a critique of our satisfaction with the world. Art prevents the way we have arranged the world becoming absolute. What we have is not the only possibility. Art shows that there always is more than we are currently prepared to think of. It shows us the way to what we might consider impossible and it shows us that nothing is just given. Art implies in this sense a critique of our consciousness, of our way of looking at the world, of our way of thinking. As we have already noted, the reflexivity of art is a special one since it works through illusion. Art is illusion. Nothing in art is really true. A painting is never what it depicts. It is just paint on canvas. The paint is put there in such a way that we see a representation that we consider to be just like reality itself. It is almost real It even brings up emotions or associations with experiences in us. All these reactions are not on the canvas; they only take place in the mind of the spectators. We make them as we look at the painting. If art was not illusion it would be unbearable. Imagine Hamlet actually dying on the stage! Because we know we are dealing with illusion, with a field outside the empirical and practical world, we can place ourselves in the position of what is being presented and experience something that concerns us alone, something that touches our existence. Art touches us beyond the representation and speaks to our existence. It shows us to ourselves, like a mirror. Because it is an illusion it provides the space to recognise what it presents. This showing of ourselves to ourselves is what the German philosopher Martin Heidegger called the experience of truth. Art shows us the truth of ourselves. It makes us think about ourselves. But this showing of truth happens in the concealment of the work. The work of art just shows what it shows. Art does not explain, it only shows and this is essential. It is because it does not explain that we are invited to think about ourselves. We read and understand in between what is being shown. The work of art just shows what it is; paint on canvas, a stone, metal. We see that and we wonder about ourselves.

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Its time to look more closely into art. Lets take a painting. La trahison des images (the treachery of images) by the Belgian surrealist Ren Magritte. The University Blackboard will provide a link to one of the many versions of the painting. The painting famously depicts a very realistic image of a pipe with, underneath, the calligraphic sentence Ceci nest pas une pipe (This is not a pipe). It is a world-famous painting but everyone seeing it for the first time is surprised. Something is not right here. The contradiction between the image and the sentence is unsettling. However, it is less strange than one thinks on first sight. A painted pipe is not a real pipe, as everyone knows. That we think we see a pipe in a painting tells us a lot about our way of thinking. It is a painting about our way of dealing with the world, about our way of thinking. To say that a painted pipe is a pipe makes us think. How many times do we mix representations with reality? We create an idea about the world and then act upon that idea as if the idea is real. We decide the strategy of the firm and act as if it is reality; we see the latest sales figures and worry about them as if they were real But thats not the end of it. The treachery of images is also called LUsage de la parole (The use of words). Obviously we are prepared to concede we were wrong: an image is not a pipe. Why did we become aware of this? Because of the written sentence. But if the painted pipe is not a pipe, is then a painted text still a text? And why do we assume that the word Ceci (This) refers to the image above it? The word Ceci is definitely not a pipe! The relation between the image and the text is not a given. It looks as though, even though we know we have to look at a painting as a whole, we dont consider the white space in between the image and the text. Nothing is happening there. However that white space is also painted. Maybe that white space is what is referred to in the sentence. If we think about it, it becomes very unclear what the Ceci is referring to. The painting shows us how much we are lead by our thinking instead of our observations. The sensible world is seen in terms of our own ideas; we see what we want to see. Magritte confronts us with this intellectual bias by on the one hand painting in such a way that our thinking is reinforced (everything is iconic, every image looks like the normal thing it represents) and, on the other, and at the same time, by giving us evidence of the distortion of our thinking. Magritte says that what we call the world may just be an inner representation that does not necessarily correspond with reality. Thus the question arises: What is reality? What does it mean when we say that we are realistic, that we are led by facts, that we are down to earth? Magrittes answer is clear. We dont know reality. We will never know what reality is. She is a mystery, everything in my work sprouts from the certain feeling that we are part of a mysterious universe. The certainty of this partaking forms

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a mystical, spiritual order, completely opposed to the realm where things are evidenced, discovered, and placed against each other. Magritte is however in no way a painter of strange representations. Mystery is reality itself, Mystery is not one of the possibilities of the real. Mystery is what is absolutely necessary for reality to be. He makes this clear by showing the mystery in the most common, There is a common feeling for mystery in the things we normally consider mysterious, but the supreme feeling is the not common feeling of mystery we feel for things we normally consider reliable. What Magritte does is to turn the direction of thinking around. Instead of considering thinking as a way to achieve insight into reality as a form of enlightenment he sees it as a concealing activity. Intellect covers the mystery up, About the mystery, the riddle of my paintings: I would say they are the best evidence of my break with the whole of absurd ideas that usually take the place of an authentic feeling of existence. Or, in other words, We all get distracted by practical things and lose sight of the mystery. We should now and then stop and see the mystery. Magrittes paintings are the result of a critical reasoning: we live in an unknowable world but act as if we are in control. Again in his own words, Instead of searching for a more or less original way of painting, I preferred to go the bottom of things, to make painting an instrument to deepen the knowledge of the world, but a knowledge that is intimately connected with its mystery. Magritte shows us how we construct a world according to our judgements while we attribute it to reality. He asks continually of the spectators if they, we, really have knowledge of reality or if their, our, seeing is led by our assumptions? In another painting this theme is worked further. La condition humaine (The human condition) shows an easel with a finished painting placed in front of a window. It looks like the landscape seen through the window continues perfectly in the painting. A representation of the world outside shows the world, but at the same time conceals it. We cant see what is behind the painting. The question is then: Where is the scene depicted in the painting? In the painting in the room, or in the outside world beyond the window? Our representations work in exactly the same way. We create a picture of something in our mind and we think this picture corresponds precisely with reality outside; but it is nothing but a picture. By doing this we conceal the world outside. So we never know what reality is. In other words it is, and remains, a mystery.

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This painting, too, has many versions, and the Universitys Blackboard will provide a link for you to see one of them. Magrittes paintings help us when studying organisations. How many times do we encounter in organisations the switching from representations to reality? Most managers, when asked to describe their organisation, will draw an organogram and mean that this gives an accurate view of their organisation. What is the difference between this organogram and the pipe or the tree? Re-organisations are usually a change on the drawing board, but is the new representation an accurate description of a new reality, or does the representation merely conceal the reality of the organisation? The same applies for the figures on performance or the notion of competitive advantage organisations are constantly making pipes and assuring everybody that they are pipes. The more we plan, the more people in organisations think they are successful, the more they conceal that they dont know what is happening in the organisation; but they act as if they control their world. We adjust the world to our way of thinking. The world escapes the planning every time. It is through art that we realise this difference because art and Magrittes paintings especially holds a mirror up to our thinking and opens the way for new possibilities that till then were unheard of and unthought of. Art shows us that what we think is impossible and that what we never thought of may be both possible and attractive.

Concluding Comments
In Section 5 we began to explore the need to problematise our taken-for-granted view of the world and how this feeds into how we approach the study of management. In Section 6 we have developed this point further, using two ideal types, positivism and social constructivism, to examine how the assumptions (within our world-views) are epistemological and ontological issues. These are not obscure issues with unfamiliar labels. The development of the subject area and the positions of the authors working within that area are often shaped by battles, both declared and undeclared, about the philosophical foundations of the subject. As a student of that subject area you will need to appreciate the relative positions of the authors that you will engage with. As a researcher you will need to be clear in the position you have taken with regards to ontology and epistemology. This will help to determine your research methods.

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In the next section we continue to build upon the debates surrounding positivism and social constructivism and focus on research design and research methods.

Task
6.1 An example of social constructivism in published management research is Coffey (1994) on the socialisation of graduate trainee accountants as regards time management. You can now complete an exercise based on your understanding of this article on Blackboard.

Key Reading
You should now read the following before carrying on with the module: [Reading 10] Chapter 1 (Business Research Strategies) from Business Research Methods by Alan Bryman and Emma Bell

References
The following sources were used in writing this section. The references are correct at the time of writing, but note that Internet addresses, editions, publishers and so on are apt to change. We will note changes where we are aware of them on Blackboard. Alvesson, M. and Deetz, S. (2000) Doing Critical Management Research, London: Sage, Chapter 3 Benson, D. and Hughes, J.A. (1983) The Perspective of Ethnomethodology, Harlow: Longman, Chapter 1 Berger, P.L. (1966) Invitation to Sociology: A humanistic perspective, London: Penguin, Chapter 5

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Berger, P.L. and Luckmann, T. (1967) The Social Construction of Reality: A treatise in the sociology of knowledge, London: Penguin, especially The problem of the sociology of knowledge and Part 1 Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2003) Business Research Methods, Oxford: Oxford University Press Burrell, G. and Morgan, G. (1979) Sociological Paradigms and Organisational Analysis: Elements of the sociology of corporate life, London: Heinemann Castellow, W.A., Wuensch, K.L. and Moore, C.H. (1990) Effects of physical attractiveness of the plaintiff and defendant in sexual harassment judgments, Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 5 (6), pp. 547562 Coffrey, A.J. (1994) Timing is everything: graduate accountants, time and organizational commitment, Sociology, 28 (4), pp. 943956 Coser, L.A. (1977) Masters of Sociological Thought, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Delanty, G. (1997) Social Science: Beyond constructivism and realism, Buckingham: Open University Press Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R. and Lowe, A. (2002) Management Research: An introduction, second edition, London: Sage, Chapters 1 and 3 ESRC (2008) What is social science? ERSC website, downloaded from http://www.erscsocietytoday.ac.uk/ERSCInfoCentre/what_is_soc_sci/ on 22 January 2008 Geertz, C. (1983) Local Knowledges: Further essays in interpretive anthropology, third edition, New York: Basic Books Griseri, P. (2002) Management Knowledge: A critical view, Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 107116 Gummesson, E. (2000) Qualitative Methods in Management Research, second edition, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, Chapter 1 Hines, R.D. (1988) Financial accounting: in communicating reality, we construct reality, Accounting, Organizations and Society, 13 (3), pp. 251261

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Heritage, J. (1984) Garfinkel and Ethnomethodology, Oxford: Polity Press, Chapter 3 Husserl, E. (1970) The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology: An introduction to phenomenological philosophy, translated with an introduction by D. Carr, Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press Johnson, P. and Duberley, J. (2000) Understanding Management Research: An introduction to epistemology, London: Sage, Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 Laclau, E. and Mouffe, C. (1987) Post-Marxism without apologies, New Left Review, Vol. 166, Nov.Dec., pp. 79106 Morgan, G. and Smircich, L. (1980) The case for qualitative research, Academy of Management Review, 5 (4), pp. 491500 Sanger, J. (1996) The Compleat Observer: A field research guide to observation, London: Falmer Schutz, A. (1967) The Phenomenology of the Social World, Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press Schwandt, T.A. (2003) Three epistemological stances for qualitative enquiry interpretivism, hermeneutics and social constructivism in N.K. Denzin and Y.S. Lincoln (eds), The Landscape of Qualitative Research: Theories and issues, London: Sage, pp. 292331 Silverman, D. (2000) Doing Qualitative Research: A practical handbook, London: Sage, Chapter 1 Smith, M.J. (1998) Social Science in Question, London: Open University Press and Sage co-publication, Chapters 1 and 3, pp. 161166 Thomas, W.I. (1966 [1931]) The relation of research to the social process in M. Janowitz (ed.), W.I. Thomas on Social Organization and Social Personality, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 289305

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MN7200/D SECTION 7

Research Methods

Section 7

Research Methods
Learning Objectives
In the previous sections we began to outline some of the key issues in knowledge and the study of management. We identified that the assumptions we carry into our studies shape our understanding of the phenomena we study. Accordingly, reflecting on these assumptions and the assumptions of others is a key skill in scholarship. In the remainder of this study book we will examine how researchers in management design and undertake research. As a Masters level student, you will undertake a piece of original research towards the latter stages of your programme, and further information will be provided nearer the time on the format and process for this. In this module we explore research methods from the perspective of the critical reader. A critical reader needs to appreciate how writers of articles and monographs construct their arguments, how they support these arguments through data, what they construe as data, and how this data was collected. By the end of this section you should be able to: distinguish between quantitative and qualitative research methods, evaluate different research methods and associate methods with their epistemological and ontological assumptions,

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identify approaches to sampling and the implications for the production of knowledge and the claims for this knowledge, and review the ethical considerations in planning and undertaking research.

What is research?
Research may be characterized as methodical investigations into a subject or problem. To research is to seek answers that involve understanding and explanation ... (Williams and May 1996: 7) In other words, research is about answering questions seeking answers to things we are not sure about, and clearing up gaps in the breadth or certainty of our knowledge about the social world. The term research actually implies uncertainty re-search look again. Research is usually not just descriptive, i.e. it doesnt just seek to provide an accurate portrayal of what is going on, instead it tends to be explanatory that is, it looks for reasons why particular things are happening, what the cause and effect relationships are in a specific area of the world. Or it can be exploratory seeking insights into or asking questions about unfamiliar or complex situations, or to trying to see a situation from a different, non-traditional point of view. So analysis of research data usually produces explanations, relationships, comparisons, predictions or theories. Much enquiry in the real world is essentially some form of evaluation. (Robson 2002: 6) Empirical research tends to try to understand what is going on in the real world and why, but also make a judgement about it. In other words, management research is often directed at solving a particular organisational problem, or improving organisational processes in specific ways: the knowledge that derives from this research is applied to the real world.

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All research is (or rather should be) driven by a set of research questions. Research questions indicate gaps or uncertainties in our knowledge about a specific area they aim to find out something we dont already know. It is important to distinguish between the topic of research and the research questions. For example, if you were interested in researching work-life balance and gender in the UK (the topic), your research questions, which indicate things that you want to find out about this topic, might be as follows: (a) To what extent is work-life balance an important issue for British men as compared to British women? Do British men deal with work-life balance differently from British women? Do British men see work-life balance as a source of stress?

(b)

(c)

The means by which we attempt to address these questions through research is the research method. The research method, like the framing of the research questions, will be shaped by our ontological and epistemological assumptions.

Quantitative and qualitative methods


There are many and varied methodologies in the social sciences and we cant cover all of them in an introductory study book. Instead we will explore issues related to the ones which, based on experience, most post-graduate business students will experience or will be exposed to. This section provides examples of each method in research, with choosing a method, sampling, designing research schedules, and administering research. A basic distinction is usually made in methodology between quantitative methods and qualitative methods. Quantitative methods tend to generate data expressed numerically, which are analysed statistically. Quantitative data are data either gathered as numbers (e.g. age, income, number of children) or turned into numbers after they have been gathered (e.g. by coding responses to closed questions or content analysis of qualitative data). Analysis of these data is usually conducted through statistical operations, so one is for example looking for the relative frequency of particular variables, or for what is happening on average in these data.

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Qualitative methods tend to generate data expressed in words, which are analysed conceptually. Here data are collected as words e.g. via open questions and analysis is conducted through classifying these data into categories or themes and then trying to understand these themes via theoretical conceptualisation. Qualitative data is often understood as providing a richer description of the relevant empirical site.

Quantitative methods
Quantitative methods are often associated with survey methods because they involve collection of standardised information, usually from a large, representative sample. Additionally, they are associated with the social science philosophy of positivism. What follows is an example of the use of each method in management research.

Structured interviews
You may also see these referred to as formalised, standardised or respondent interviews. Oliver et al (2002) for example, focuses on the relationship between psychological/individual factors, organisational variables and occupational accidents. The data were gathered in the Valencia region of Spain. 525 structured interviews were conducted with a random sample of workers attending annual medical checks at the Valencia Health and Safety Executive. The literature on occupational accidents argues that these are caused by organisational variables and psychological or individual variables. Oliver et al look at how these two types of factor inter-relate in this regard. They seek to test a model of such inter-relations which they have developed based on the relevant literature. The interviews asked respondents: for biographical data like age and job, for their experience of different types of occupational accidents over the preceding two years, for information about organisational variables like their perceptions of how supportive colleagues and supervisors were and how seriously management seemed to take the issue of safety, for data around the quality of work conditions like levels of noise, lighting and so on,

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about their general health, and about their own safety behaviour e.g. did they ever take shortcuts when using equipment? Did they always wear the correct safety gear? Oliver et als findings suggest that organisational variables are a key issue in terms of how workers assess workplace hazards so safety behaviours are not influenced by the riskiness of the work as such, but more by the safety procedures in place. Human factors are identified here as significant as opposed to hardware or technical factors, and the conclusion is that there is a real need to actively manage safety and to eradicate unsafe practices. Levels of stress were also shown to mediate i.e. either reduce or enhance safe behaviours, so social support is also an important issue in reducing accidents at work according to these findings.

Self-administered questionnaires (SAQs)


Naud et al (1997) examine the use of quantitative techniques by managers through self-administered questionnaires (SAQs). Here the focus is on how much managers use a range of statistical techniques in their jobs. Naud et al suggest that these techniques allow more reasoned and rational decisions to be made, and that this is supported by the existing research, but how frequently are these techniques actually used in management decision-making? The available data suggest that they are not necessarily used very frequently, despite the rise in MBA graduate numbers and the central place that quantitative techniques have on any MBA programme. Naud et al wanted to measure how much these techniques are used by MBA graduates, so they selected 13 commonly-taught techniques (including forecasting models, regression and correlation, and probability analysis) and sent an SAQ to 3419 respondents in the UK, South Africa and New Zealand. 1219 were returned, giving a response rate of 36%. The SAQ asked for biographical data like: management level, which techniques the respondents used and why (or why not, where techniques werent used), which were used most often, and whether the respondent had any suggestions regarding the appropriate content of an MBA quantitative methods module.

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The results show consistent usage of a range of methods at between 6070% of respondents in each country and indicate that respondents had broadly the same reasons for using and not using various methods. There was also a relatively low level of awareness of some techniques in particular, e.g. non-parametric tests and multi-variate models. Naud et al suggest this might either be because the respondents had forgotten these methods from their MBA studies, or they had never been introduced to them. New Zealand respondents tended to have the highest usage of all methods. Naud et al suggest this might be because quantitative methods are taught differently on MBA programmes in this country, or because the NZ respondents were younger on average than those in the other two countries, so may have needed more quantitative techniques because they have more hands-on operational roles. Regarding recommendations for MBA quantitative methods modules, Naud et al s experience is that these are unpopular with students, however, their data suggest none of the techniques should be excluded, although some may be better delivered as part of an elective. This suggests an existing overlap between supply (what tutors think is needed) and demand (what students want). Other research suggests that a further issue is practical application and relevance of these techniques to real management work, which may be neglected on MBA modules. Naud et al say more research is therefore needed on how to teach statistics.

Distinguishing between and balancing quantitative and qualitative methods


All methods can be varied to become more or less qualitative or quantitative in other words, the dividing line between the two is not as rigid as it might seem. Observation is a particular case in point. It straddles the boundary between quantitative and qualitative structured observation is quantitative, whereas non-structured observation is typically qualitative. Another way in which observation can be classified is as covert (where respondents do not know they are being watched, because the researcher is pretending to be someone else, or because respondents are being recorded via the use of technology like CCTV) or overt (where they do). Martinko and Gardner (1990) provide us with an example of structured, non-participant, overt observation in the context of the nature of managerial work. Their research takes Henry Mintzbergs (1973) well-known non-participant observation study of five CEOs, conducted in

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the early 1970s, as its starting point. Mintzberg argues that management work is varied, brief, fragmented and highly interpersonal, but the literature suggests that there is still some controversy about this claim in terms of the extent to which management work is non-systematic and hard to control or plan. Martinko and Gardner replicate Mintzbergs study (i.e. repeat his methodology with a different sample) using structured observation. They also aim to explore relationships between management behaviour, management effectiveness and environmental and demographic variables, since the latter two issues had been neglected in the existing literature. Martinko and Gardner start with three propositions, based on this literature: that management work is varied, brief, fragmented and highly interpersonal, that there are differences in behaviour between effective and less effective managers (i.e. in terms of what they do and how they do it), and that biographical and environmental differences also affect management behaviour. Using the categories of management activity that Mintzberg developed, Martinko and Gardner studied 41 US school principals (i.e. the managerial leaders ), of which 22 were high and 19 moderate performers according to data like students SAT (test) results. Environmental and demographic variables included the grade levels (span of ages) covered by the school (i.e. elementary or secondary), staff numbers in the school, and levels of urbanisation in the surrounding area. Minute by minute descriptive observation was performed, but separate behavioural events were also classified according to how long they took, who initiated them (e.g. the principal themself or someone else), and what kind of event they represented (e.g. scheduled meetings, unscheduled meetings, phone calls). The average length of observation was 6.7 days per principal. Data were then coded according to the purposes of the event e.g. scheduling, receiving information, giving information and Mintzbergs managerial roles e.g. whether the principal was acting as a figurehead, disseminator, negotiator etc. in the particular event. The results confirm that management work is varied, brief, fragmented and interpersonal i.e. much of it is spontaneous, non-scheduled and/or not initiated by the manager themself. Moreover, 50% of these managers time was spent on interpersonal and informal communication. Managers behaviour does not however seem to be linked to performance in these data there were no key differences here, but environmental and demographic factors were linked to different behaviours.

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We can compare this with Roys (1960) research on adjusting to monotonous work, which offers an example of non-structured, participant, covert observation. Roy worked as an assembly line operative (i.e. doing very monotonous, unskilled work) with three other men Ike, George and Sammy for an extended period of time. Ike, George and Sammy thought he was a university student who needed extra money. As Roy (1960: 205206) suggests, My account of how one group of machine operators kept from going nuts in a situation of monotonous work activity attempts to lay bare the tissues of interaction which made up the content of their adjustment. To be more specific, after a while he began to notice that the three men had developed various times which helped them to get through the shifts. These times were frequent but short. They marked the actual passage of the working day because they always took place at the same time in the shift, but more importantly they functioned to provide a focus of interest and discussion until the next time took place even though they were the same every day. For example, at Banana Time (also the title of the article), Ike would steal and eat the banana that Sammy always brought for his lunch. Sammy would complain, and George would mildly remonstrate with both of them. There were also themes which were standard patterns of interaction in which the group engaged. These were not, however, as predictable in their occurrence and regularity as the times. Themes included the professor theme George, who was both the formal leader of the group and highly respected by his colleagues, had a daughter who had married the son of a college professor. George would regularly regale the group with stories of the wedding and his Sunday walks with the professor, or dinner with the professors family. Roy felt the respect shown to George by Ike and Sammy was mainly due to the professor theme. Collinsons (1988) non-structured, non-participant, overt observation on shopfloor humour offers us a further perspective on approaches to observation. This research took place in the components division of a lorry-making factory in north-west England. 250 men worked in the division. Collinson explores workplace humour here and how the mens joking reflected and reinforced their values as well as representing resistance to management, a way to control each other and so on. Examples of the humour included: nicknames e.g. Electric Lips couldnt keep secrets, and Silver Sleeve didnt use a handkerchief.

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pranks such as an amateur weightlifter being challenged to lift Allan, a colleague who could apparently make himself heavier at will. The weightlifter failed because someone else had nailed his shoes to the board he was standing on, so he was trying to lift Allan, the board and himself. initiation rites for new workers, like being sent to another colleague to ask for a long stand, and being asked after standing waiting for some time, Is that long enough?. jokes at each others expense, e.g. one colleague sending a rate-fixer to study another rate-fixers job, with the implication that he was lazy. s jokes at the management expense, like a story about three foremen not being informed about a training course in communication skills. The humour, as is obvious from the examples above, was very unforgiving and harsh. It was also very masculine/macho, sexual and contained lots of epithets. Collinson emphasises that these men did repetitive and mundane work, worked the longest hours in the factory, and had very poor terms and conditions all of which suggested that they were the least valued and most easily disposable of employees. So they had therefore developed a culture of humour which preserved their sense of themselves through jokes emphasising their machismo (i.e. they could laugh at themselves), but also their masculinity compared to what they called the twats and nancy boys in the offices, who had (as the men saw it) no freedom to joke around. The humour also helped with boredom and was a means to achieve acceptance from colleagues if an employee could both dish it out and take it he became one of the gang. If someone didnt join in, then they were ostracised. Humour was also used as a disciplinary mechanism on colleagues, e.g. someone would often become the butt of a cruel joke if they were seen not to be working hard enough because part of the mens wages were based on a collective bonus system.

Qualitative methods
These methods (including non-structured observation) are also known as case study methods, because they gather rich and detailed data, usually from a small sample which tends not to be representative of a wider population. They are also, as we know from Section 6, associated with the

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social science philosophy of social constructivism. What follows is an example of the use of each method in management research. Semi-structured/unstructured interviews are perhaps the most popular form of qualitative method. These are also referred to as informal, non-standardised, informant, non-directive, open-ended or in-depth interviews. We can see an example of a semi-structured interview approach in Brewis (2000) on womens bodies and organisations. This paper discusses the results of semi-structured interviews with 16 women about their experiences of their bodies at work. Because the sample was small and a combination of convenience, purposive and self-selection sampling techniques was used (more of which later in this study book), Brewis does not identify it as in any way representative of working women more generally. Instead the data gathered are treated as a series of impressions and interpretations of the experience of having a female body. These data suggest that these womens body images are produced by exposure to others reactions, others bodies and cultural images of womens bodies (e.g. in advertisements) that body image is the outcome of an outside-in process where they have learnt about their bodies, about how attractive and appropriate they are, by being in the world, seeing other peoples bodies and noting how other people react to their bodies. These women also said that they mainly feel as if their bodies dont measure up to cultural expectations about womens bodies, but that they nonetheless dont always spend much time on rectifying this. For example, the mothers in the sample said they spent much more time on preparing their childrens bodies for school than in preparing their own bodies for work, because this is a crucial part of being a mother. Another implication was that other women who didnt take very long to get ready for work perhaps saw bodily titivation and preparation as very feminine, whereas they needed to be more masculine (objective, rational, logical, assertive etc.) for work. But these respondents still felt labelled by their bodily sex at work, e.g. two women who defined themselves as overweight said that they felt colleagues saw them as lacking discipline or self-control because women almost have to embody these characteristics in the workplace, whereas an overweight man would not be judged in this way. Some of the respondents worked to blend in as a result, e.g. wearing masculine suits to play down their biological sex. Others wanted to stand out a bit more and used their gender to their advantage, e.g. several respondents said that female bodies, being smaller than mens in the main, can be beneficial in terms of managing conflict situations at work (such as an angry customer) because people see them as less threatening.

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Cashmores (2002) unstructured interview approach focuses on ethnic minority officers views of cultural diversity in the police service. The paper is based on data from unstructured interviews, some undertaken one-on-one, others in the form of focus groups where several respondents discuss the relevant issues as a group as prompted and guided by the researcher. 100 African Caribbean and South Asian police officers in three English regions the West Midlands, Norfolk and Derbyshire took part. Each area is very different from the others in terms of ethnic minority population. The research took place 18 months after the February 1999 publication of the Macpherson Report into the racist murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in London in 1993. This report suggested that the (London) Metropolitan Police are institutionally racist, which in part accounted for their failure to bring anyone successfully to trial for Stephens murder. It made two key recommendations: that the police should seek to recruit more ethnic minority officers; and that better cultural diversity training was also needed in the police service. The report also put targets in place regarding the recruitment of ethnic minority officers. Cashmore was interested in how ethnic minority officers themselves interpret the Macpherson recommendations. Interestingly, in the main the reaction was negative. First, officers suggested that initiatives like these are often more about public relations and the external image of the police service than actually addressing racism, and in addition that they have tended to fail in the past. So what looks like action or progress in fact is not. Second, they are not sure that the targets set are realistic. Third, officers commented that targeting ethnic minority people for recruitment purposes might be tokenistic, so that new recruits who come into the service as a result of these initiatives might not be as motivated or as able as existing officers. Fourth, they suggested that the police service culture subordinates any ethnic affiliation anyway indeed they felt they now saw the world through white eyes because they had been working as police officers for some time. Fifth, they commented that diversity training in the service focuses on dealing with the public, but needs to focus more on how police colleagues relate to each other and so on. Cashmore makes several recommendations to the police service on the basis of these data, including the fast tracking of ethnic minority officers to more senior positions to demonstrate that they can make it, both to potential ethnic minority recruits and the British media, although he does acknowledge that this is likely to generate resentment from white officers.

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Choosing a method
It would be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that one research approach is better than another. This would miss the point. They are better at doing different things. (Saunders et al 2003: 85) Obviously one key issue in choosing a method is the strengths and weaknesses of each. In evaluating each method some consideration of broader and context issues is important. A researcher should try to explore the following aspects.

Quantities or qualities
A researcher might be interested in quantities or frequencies of social phenomena, i.e. how many there are, how widespread they are, where they are, when they occur, the extent to which they occur etc. This implies that they will want to measure these phenomena, to quantify them, e.g. to count different types of organisational structure or organisational culture in a particular organisation or industry, to quantify the extent to which a particular organisation engages in total quality management or relationship marketing, to measure how much charismatic leadership particular leaders display, to quantify employee stress or motivation or productivity in a given organisation, to measure the efficiency of a specific market, to quantify how different types of auditors reports affect share prices in a particular industry, to measure the ways in which a particular supply chain adds value to a good or service and so on. On the other hand, a researcher might be more interested in assessing or exploring what these phenomena mean i.e. their qualities for those in a particular empirical site (area of study). As John Van Maanen (cited in Alvesson and Deetz 2000: 70) suggests, social constructivist, qualitative, case study methods encompass, an array of interpretive techniques which seek to describe, decode, translate and otherwise come to terms with the meaning, not the frequency, of certain more or less naturally occurring phenomena in the social world.

Independence or involvement
A researcher may perceive it necessary to be independent of and detached from respondents, or to be involved with them. They may rank objectivity, impersonality and value freedom more highly than subjectivity, interpretation and immersion, or vice versa.

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Explaining or exploring
Positivistic, quantitative, survey methods tend to focus on identifying the causal connection or correlation between variables on trying to explain why certain things happen or how they relate to each other. For example, what causes motivation? stress? productivity? market crashes? Does gender relate to earnings? the money supply relate to inflation? There is an emphasis here on trends and regularities and the discovery of scientific laws about human behaviour. On the other hand, a researcher might be more interested in exploration . Perhaps they feel that looking for causes of or patterns in human behaviour is too mechanistic, deterministic, static or reductionist that it over-simplifies human behaviour and ignores the human capacity for reflexivity and change, especially as interactions between people from different parts of the world are more and more likely as a result of globalisation. The researcher would therefore be more interested in exploring a particular sort of behaviour as an holistic and complex phenomenon instead of trying to boil it down to its causes or constituent patterns. Here there may also be more of an emphasis on process and change on how people come together and influence each other in terms of values, beliefs, behaviours etc., and on the idea that, because something was once true about human behaviour, this does not mean that it will always be.

Testing theories (deductivism) or generating theories (inductivism)


Deductive research starts with existing theories and concepts and formulates hypotheses that are subsequently tested; its vantage point is received theory. Inductive research starts with real-world data, and categories, concepts, patterns, models, and eventually, theories emerge from this input. (Gummesson 2000: 63) Deductivism therefore involves verifying (or modifying or rejecting) a hypothesis/theory about how the world works by testing it against real world data. Inductivism (theory generation) on the other hand gathers the data first and then seeks to understand or theorise it afterwards to explain that particular situation. The theory which is generated is more grounded in the data, and is sometimes claimed to be closer to the real world, and more authentic and concrete as a result.

Scope (macro) or depth (micro)


Research characterised by scope is macro research it looks at the big picture and tries to identify trends or developments at this level.

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Econometrics is an example it uses statistical analysis of large samples to identify key factors in the workings of national economies and to predict what will happen when these factors (e.g. the interest rate) change. Research characterised by depth is micro research which focuses more on individuals, so in the above example the questions might be how do actual individuals behave in specific economies or economic sectors? why do they behave this way? Micro research uses much smaller samples because it focuses on knowing a lot about a small number of people (depth) as opposed to knowing a small amount about a lot of people (scope/macro). So micro research is more interested in the specific than the general (Gummesson 2000: 177). Micro researchers sometimes accuse macro researchers of producing data and findings which are superficial, overly abstract in their statistical correlations and quantifications and very remote from everyday practice (Alvesson and Deetz 2000: 60).

Feasibility resources/skills, preferences/respondents, and access/time


Feasibility is very important in research in other words, is the research actually achievable or practical? Does the researcher have, for example, sufficient resources in terms of money and equipment (e.g. a tape recorder for interviews)? Does the method chosen reflect the researchers skills and preferences (e.g. if you are very shy, then interviewing probably isnt a great idea)? Respondents also react in different ways to different methods think about SAQ fatigue or the intrusive nature of observation (which might also affect the ability to gain access to the empirical site), for example. Some methods are also more time consuming than others e.g. observation as compared to an SAQ but then SAQs take a long time to design. Large samples might also not be realistic in terms of how much data they generate do you have time to analyse them all?

Desirability ethics, contribution, best fit


Here we are, first, concerned with issues of ethics (e.g. problems associated with covert observation). Second, will the method you have chosen make a contribution? Finally, will the method you choose allow the researcher to answer their research questions (best fit )?

Triangulation
If you had to stake your life on which of these [methods] is likely to represent the most accurate, complete research information, you would choose the centre ... in which you got the information through interviews and questionnaires, reinforced it by observation

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and checked it through documentary analysis Here you are not only getting what people say they do and what you see them doing, but also what they are recorded as doing. (Kane, cited in Jankowicz 2005: 225) Triangulation refers to the practice of cross-checking or confirming data and findings by using more than one research method. The term comes from activities like navigation and cartography, and literally refers to the practice of taking three points of reference to be sure of a particular location. In research terms it doesnt necessarily mean using three methods just more than one! Basically triangulation seeks to balance the weaknesses of one method against the strengths of another. It reduces method boundedness (weaknesses associated with using only one method), and is a way of ensuring that what you think you have found actually does reflect the relevant situation. For example consider Halme (2002), whose Finnish research suggested that managers learn to take environmental values on board in decision-making by behaving in environmentally-friendly ways. She collected most of her data through semi-structured interviews with managers and workers in different functional areas at two organisations. Halme triangulated her findings by checking the semi-structured interview data against data from documents like organisational memos, company annual reports, trade journals and press reports, as well as conducting some interviews with people outside of the two organisations like environmentalists and State regulators.

Case studies
See for example Truss (cited in Bryman and Bell 2003: 489). Case studies are similar to triangulation, but they involve, the detailed and intensive analysis of a single case [they are] concerned with the complexity and particular nature of the case in question (Bryman and Bell 2003: 53). So the focus here is on making sure that you understand all the aspects of one particular situation by using a variety of methods. A case could be one organisation, one location (e.g. one factory or retail outlet), one event (e.g. the Challenger space shuttle crash in 1986), or even one person or a small group of people (here each is treated as an individual case, and data gathering focuses on learning as much about them as possible). An example of an organisation being treated as a case is Trusss study of Hewlett Packard where she focused on the relationship between HRM practices and organisational performance. Truss conducted SAQs with a random sample of 400 workers below middle management level in both 1994 and 1996, focus groups with senior members of the HR department, and semi-structured interviews with employees across Hewlett Packard.

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Finally, she made use of secondary data on recruitment and selection, training, career management and appraisal and reward systems in this organisation. Truss says that in this way she was able to explore both the HRM rhetoric of Hewlett Packard i.e. what HR managers say they do and the reality of HRM in this organisation.

Hybrid methods
We made an oblique reference to hybrid methods earlier when we were talking about observation straddling quantitative and qualitative methods. There we suggested that all research methods can be varied to become more or less qualitative or quantitative if circumstances require it. An example would be where the ideal choice for a project in terms of best fit is semi-structured interviews, but respondents live in another region or country to the researcher and travelling to interview them is not feasible. Thus here an SAQ might be used with a lot of open questions to gather the qualitative data which the researcher needs. Another alternative is to use an Internet chat room to do an interview of sorts in real time, when again travelling is not possible.

A quick aside about the use of secondary data


Secondary data has been collected by someone else so it is important for the researcher to be sure that the data will actually enable them to answer the research questions, since they were probably collected for different purposes. It is also necessary to consider whether the data set to be used might be affected by weaknesses like sample limitations or biases like the oft-heard suggestion that governments manipulate unemployment figures in various ways to paint their administration in a positive light. No data set, primary or secondary, is perfect, but using someone elses at least requires the researcher to be alert to these issues. In other words, a researcher needs to find out as much as he or she can about the methodology and context behind the secondary data set they are interested in using. Key issues the researcher will wish to find out about include: how up to date is the secondary data set? Also, is it readily available (e.g. already in the public domain)? If it is not, what is the cost to access it or what is the process of gaining permission to use it.

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for secondary qualitative data which documents events in the past, are the data in good condition? Older physical records are obviously more likely to be damaged or faded in some way. is the secondary data set raw or has it been pre-aggregated? It is much more likely that the latter is the case in other words, you are not seeing the actual answers to the questions set by the original researcher. Instead you get their analysis of those raw data. In this instance obviously their interpretation may have affected the conclusions in various ways.

Sampling
Most primary data gathering involves sampling of some kind because it is usually impossible for reasons of time and money to include everyone in the population you are interested in (e.g. all employees in a particular organisation). Below we introduce some of the main approaches to sampling; Section 8 will extend this outline into analysis.

Probability sampling (representative)


This is usually associated with quantitative research and used when the researcher wants to generalise (reduces sampling error). Probability sampling means you can say with confidence that everyone in population had an equal chance of being included in the sample. This means that you are able to generalise from the sample to the wider population i.e. to say that what is happening in the sample is also happening in the population from which it is taken. This is usually less of an issue in qualitative research where researchers tend to be more interested in respondents as individuals as opposed to as typical members of a wider social group. Probability sampling minimises sampling error in other words, it reduces the likelihood of including respondents who do not typify the characteristics of your population in some way. The highest sampling error which is acceptable if you want to claim to have generated a representative sample is 5% i.e. where 5% of your sample do not sufficiently reflect the populations characteristics. Put another way, this generates a 95% level of certainty. A probability sample is only possible when you have a complete sampling frame (the portion of the population that you will target in order to make up your sample).

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In order to be absolutely sure that you have a representative sample, you need to use the following formula (from Saunders et al 2003: 158159) to identify your sample size, na = n 100 re%

Here na (the end result) is the required sample size, n is the minimum sample size (see the table in Saunders et al page 156 for guidance here), and re% is expected response rate expressed as a percentage (which will of course be lower for methods like SAQs). We now provide four key examples of probability sampling.

Simple random sampling


Literally choosing respondents at random from your sampling frame until you have the number you need.

Systematic sampling
Selecting the first respondent at random and then choosing every nth respondent after that, depending on desired sample size. So if you had a population of 100, and you wanted a sample of 10, you would choose the first respondent randomly and then every 10th (100 10) respondent after that.

Stratified random sampling


Choosing a sample proportionate to your population in terms of specific characteristics (the best way to ensure that your sample does in fact reflect your population where you are particularly interested in certain characteristics). For example, if the population is 40% male and 60% female and you have a specific interest in gender in this regard, you could divide your sampling frame into two strata of men and women. You would then select a random sample from each to produce an overall sample which was also 40% male and 60% female. You can use more than one stratum (e.g. gender and occupational status), but this makes it complex.

Cluster sampling
Involves dividing your sampling frame into clusters (e.g. by functional area like HRM, marketing, finance, or by organisation) and then selecting the requisite numbers of clusters (the members of which will all take part) at random. Useful for bigger populations.

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Non-probability sampling (non-representative)


This is usually associated with qualitative research. It is used when the researcher does not want to generalise and/or where research is intended to be small-scale or exploratory. It is also used when probability sampling is not available, for example when a complete sampling frame is not available. Five key examples of non-probability sampling follow.

Quota sampling
Similar to stratified random sampling in the sense that it allows the sample to reflect the populations characteristics, but does not produce a representative sample because selection of respondents is not random. An example would be a market survey done in a city centre where a researcher needs 40 men and 60 women to respond to mirror the citys gender ratio, but can only approach potential respondents who are actually out in the city centre at the time.

Convenience sampling
As its name suggests, this is the most straightforward approach where researchers select individuals who are easiest to access, who are nearest and who the researcher knows know will take part (e.g. using colleagues or friends).

Purposive sampling
See for example Peters and Waterman (1982). This is also known as key informant sampling. It involves selecting particular types of respondent because they will be able to provide the data that you need to help you to answer your research questions. For example, Peters and Waterman did their research on excellent companies by interviewing managers in 43 top-performing (i.e. excellent ) US companies, which were all Fortune 500 listed. They began with a list of 62 of McKinseys [Note 8] star clients and subtracted 19 including General Electric on the basis of performance measures. Those left included Hewlett Packard, McDonalds, Procter and Gamble, and Disney.

[8]

The consultancy Peters and Waterman both worked for at the time.

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Snowball sampling
Often used when respondents might be difficult to access because the researcher does not have very much knowledge of the area or where the research is controversial or sensitive. It involves identifying one or two respondents, hoping they will identify others, who will then identify others and so on so the sample snowballs.

Self-selected sampling
This technique involves publicising the research project and asking people to contact the researcher if they are willing to take part it is often used by those researching for television programmes, for example. E-mail distribution lists can also be a useful mechanism for producing self-selection samples.

Designing research schedules


will the evidence and my conclusions stand up to the closest scrutiny? (Raimond, cited in Saunders et al 2003: 100) This is a key issue in designing a research schedule in other words, in deciding what kind of data is needed, and which issues the research is going to ask questions about or seek to observe. The researcher needs to be confident that the claims make on the basis of their data will stand up to examination by their assessors. Asking the right questions and focusing on the right issues will help. The appropriateness of the research schedule is often subject to questions of validity and reliability. In terms of validity, positivist or quantitative research tends to emphasise internal validity does the research instrument/schedule measure what its supposed to measure? There are various procedures available to evaluate internal validity, e.g. testing face validity by asking others whether the schedule looks as though it is asking the right questions or focusing on the right issues. Social constructivist or qualitative research might stress various angles on trustworthiness instead, e.g. credibility, which asks whether the researcher has validated their findings with the respondents. When approaching concerns about reliability for positivistic, quantitative research, the first question is whether ones instruments and schedules

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allow for consistency of measurement, i.e. does the schedule produce the same data if used more than once with the same group? Second, do the various indicators seem to correlate with each other in terms of measuring the concept of interest, e.g. do they all relate to job satisfaction? Third, can different researchers use the same instrument/schedule consistently? It is important to note that under these definitions a schedule cannot be valid if it is not also reliable. Social constructivist, qualitative research on the other hand tends to emphasise dependability as opposed to reliability in the sense described above, because it acknowledges how much human beings change over time. It may therefore ask whether the method chosen seems appropriate and rigorous, and whether the researcher has documented their methodology in sufficient detail for the reader to make these judgements. Again this is to do with trustworthiness rather than the complex statistical tests of reliability that positivist approaches tend to prefer. Alternatively social constructivists might even say that consistency or dependability are not really issues when the social world can change literally from second to second. Clarity of research questions plus subject-specific and contextual knowledge are all important in the research design. The means by which the data will be analysed need also to be considered before the research design is implemented and data collected. In many cases researchers will pilot test their research design. This is especially crucial for fixed designs like SAQs, structured interviews and structured observation where all respondents are treated in the same way, but it is arguably important for semi- and unstructured interviews and non-structured observation, too. A pilot test basically means having a trial or practice run with the schedule designed to see whether it works. For methods using direct questions (e.g. SAQs and interviews) a pilot test can check: whether respondents understand the questions and any relevant instructions, whether the schedule is an appropriate length (overly long SAQs and interviews mean respondents will lose patience), whether the questions are arranged in a sensible order, whether any important questions are missing, and whether the questions actually generate the data you need, issues around reliability and validity (depending on how you define these terms, as discussed earlier),

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whether there are any questions respondents find difficult to answer because they are too sensitive or too complex, whether you can analyse the data you collect, and so on. For interviews and observation, a pilot also allows researchers to practise their interviewing or observational skills. For structured observation in particular, a researcher will pilot in order to ensure that the schedule generates the data that is required and is straightforward to use. A further consideration in the research design are the issues of confidentiality and anonymity as may be required by organisations and/or individual respondents. There is often an assumption that researchers will grant anonymity and confidentiality, but this is not always appropriate or desirable. Confidentiality means that only identified individuals see the raw data e.g. listen to the tapes of the interviews or read the notes that have have been taken; have access to completed questionnaires or structured observation schedules or non-structured observational field notes and/or that the researcher will not share the information generated by the data gathering with anyone other than the identified individuals. Anonymity means that the researchers disguise the identities of the organisations and individuals concerned indeed with SAQs in particular the researcher may never know who the respondents are.

Research ethics
The University is keen to emphasise to students the centrality of ethics in research and scholarship. Ethics in academic research can be roughly defined as, the appropriateness of your behaviour in relation to the rights of those who become the subject of your [research] work, or are affected by it (Saunders et al 2003: 129). It is important to remember that certain people may be affected by the research even if they dont participate in it in any way, e.g. if the recommendations are implemented by the organisation/s concerned. As a general rule of thumb, researchers, should attempt, where necessary, to find ways to minimise or alleviate any distress caused to those participating in research (British Sociological Association 2002). The British Sociological Association offers a detailed statement regarding research ethics which you might find it useful to consult. Similar sorts of statements can be found in other professional associations codes of practice, for example the British Psychological Society, the American

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Psychological Association, the American Sociological Association, and The Market Research Society. What follows is a discussion of what we would regard as the basic ways in which you can try to ensure that research is as ethical as possible. Research ethics as a subject area goes well beyond the issues discussed here, but this material should at least give you an idea of what we in the School of Management regard as the minimum standard.

Guidance
Please note that all research within the School of Management, whether it is undertaken by staff or students, needs ethics approval prior to the research being undertaken. You will find more information on this issue on Blackboard.

Informed consent
One the basic requirements of research is that research requires informed consent from participants. Informed consent means that those who take part in the research do so of their own free will , without any coercion or deception by the researcher, and have enough information to be able to make that decision sensibly. It requires the researcher to spell out the aims and nature of the research, who is doing it and what the results will be used for, to potential respondents. Respondents need to be allowed to choose whether they do in fact participate. Informed consent may even involve generating a written contract which both researcher and each respondent should sign, but whether written down or not, the following are important aspects of securing informed consent: researchers details respondents should know who is undertaking the research and how they can be contacted. research purpose respondents should understand what the research topic is and why it is being carried out. They should also understand what is being asked of them and how the resulting data will be used. confidentiality and anonymity respondents should be assured of both of these if appropriate.

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voluntary participation respondents should be told that it is their choice as to whether they take part. withdrawal and answering questions respondents should be told that they are free to withdraw from the process at any time, and that they dont have to answer all questions. direct quotations respondents should be asked if they will consent to the reproduction of any direct quotations from what they have told the researcher. sign-off if the informed consent contract is written down, then it should be signed and dated by the respondent to confirm their agreement, and they then should be given a copy. Unfortunately many researchers have not followed these basic ethical rules in the past. Indeed in 1985, Adair et al (cited in Robson 2002: 69) suggested that, upwards of 81% of studies published in the top social psychological journals use deception in their procedures. Examples include Roys participant observation in a factory, where his co-workers did not know he was an academic. The defence for this kind of approach is usually that it minimises what we have referred to elsewhere as the observer/interviewer effect, so that socially acceptable answers or behaviours from informants are not an issue. However, it is still highly unethical as it does not give participants any choice about whether they actually take part in the research.

Authority and conformity


A different example is Milgrams (1974) (in)famous experiments on the connection between authority and conformity. These, very briefly, consisted of pairs of respondents who were in separate rooms. One of each pair (the teacher) asked the other (the learner) questions. Every time a question was answered incorrectly, the teacher had to inflict an electric shock on the learner. These shocks ranged up to 240 volts, which was designated as a dangerous level. The teachers were told by Milgram that the experiment was in fact about the relationship between pain and learning, i.e. does the infliction of electric shocks help someone to learn information more effectively? But in reality Milgram wanted to see whether, if one was told to obey an order (authority), would the order be followed even if it was unpleasant (conformity)? So the actual subjects of the experiment were not the learners, but the teachers, although the latter were completely unaware of this fact. The authorityconformity relationship was assessed via someone posing as a scientist and circling the experimental site to tell any teacher who began to show disquiet at having to inflict increasing levels of shocks that the experiment requires

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you to continue. Things were exacerbated by learners audibly screaming in pain, calling for mercy or, even more dramatically, falling silent altogether. The experiment actually showed that the majority of the teachers did inflict the maximum voltage, despite a group of psychiatric experts being asked beforehand what would happen and predicting that only a tiny percentage would in fact go this far. You may be relieved to know that in fact no electric shocks were involved these were faked, as were the reactions of the learners. Nonetheless, the teachers in this case had not given their informed consent as they were unaware of the true purpose of the research, and so the research can be considered very problematic in this regard. We might also consider covert note-taking and recording in this context. Furthermore, remember that the standard line in methodological discussions in the contemporary climate is that covert social science research of any kind is not acceptable.

Coercion
Then there is the tactic of coercion. Robson talks, for example, about prisoners being offered early release or extra food for taking part in trials of potentially dangerous drugs. A lesser example is the Castellow et al study of judgements in US sexual harassment cases. The respondents here (under-graduates) took part in exchange for extra course credits a common tactic in US social science research. But does bribing respondents in this way mean that they have in fact given their full consent? This is debateable. On a different note, one of the authors of this study book conducted interviews in a university and a financial services organisation for her PhD research. When she approached staff at the university to ask them to take part, she told them that she had already gained permission from the head of their department to do so. Although this was true, and she passed on this information so that the potential respondents would know she had official permission to do her research, it seemed that some felt as a result that they had to take part. In other words, certain people interpreted the head of departments permission as an implicit order for them to agree to be interviewed.

Duress
The Milgram experiment has been widely criticised for subjecting its participants to duress in other words, making them undergo a potentially psychologically harmful experience. Zimbardo et als (1973) research, similarly, created a mock prison environment using paid volunteers to explore how people respond to the roles they are given. Do they fulfil the role as it is officially stated or do they negotiate and

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interpret it themselves? In other words, do our roles shape us, or do we shape our roles? The young male participants were designated as either prisoners or guards, and given the appropriate clothes and props. The experiment was supposed to last for a fortnight, but was abandoned after six days. This was because the guards were often cruel and tried to break the prisoners spirits. The prisoners, for their part, became servile, dehumanised and depressed, had fits of crying and rage, and exhibited disorganised thinking. Some had mental breakdowns. Nearly all the prisoners begged to be released early and were happy to forfeit payment. In short, it seems from this experiment that it is roles that shape us, not the other way round, but the ethical question here is whether it was appropriate to test this hypothesis using these means. Furthermore, could Zimbardo et al not have predicted the unpleasant psychological outcomes which resulted for the men who participated? [Note 9]

Respondent validation
This is also known as member check. We can understand the practice of asking respondents to comment on draft data analyses as allowing the researcher and the respondents to move towards a negotiated understanding of the research site, thus enhancing the credibility of the findings. But doing a member check also has ethical ramifications because it extends respondents the courtesy of being able to approve the ways in which they have been represented in the text.

Reporting genuine data


Transparency throughout the research process is essential. You should seek to ensure that you are able to provide evidence of your research and data collection. It is good practice to keep and store diaries, correspondence with your client [organisation/s], completed questionnaires, video/audio tapes of all interviews,

[9]

It is worth noting here that Milgrams discussions with eminent psychiatrists about the very small likelihood that any teacher would go to the maximum voltage is something he raises as a defence of his approach. Likewise, Zimbardo et al had screened all applicants for the prison experiment so as to select only those who appeared intelligent, stable, well adjusted and generally normal thus (they thought) minimising the likelihood of any psychological repercussions for those who took part.

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photographs etc. Markers have in the past asked students to provide evidence of the research. (MBA Project Guidelines for the Dissertation page 14) The School have on occasion asked students to produce exactly this kind of evidence of their data collection following submission of their dissertations, where doubts have arisen as to the veracity of their claims. Again there are many examples where researchers have falsified data in the past. Broad and Wades (1983) book describes several instances of this kind. One famous case is Sir Cyril Burts statistical studies of the intelligence of identical twins. He claimed to have found that their IQs were identical even when they had been adopted by different families at birth and thus brought up apart. In other words, the key assertions here are that intelligence is: (a) genetically inherited; and (b) fixed throughout life. This research was taken so seriously that, after World War II, Burt became involved in establishing a new two-tier system of secondary education in the UK based on his findings. Children took an examination called the 11 plus and were then placed into grammar schools (for the more academically gifted) or secondary moderns (for those deemed to be more suited to a vocational education). But in the 1970s, after his death, Burt was publicly accused of having fabricated his data. For example, in three different studies of different numbers of identical twins, he reported the same statistical correlation of IQ scores to the third decimal point this is an incredible, not to say highly implausible, finding. Similar flaws exist in his research reports as far back as 1909. It also appears that his two field investigators/co-authors, Margaret Howard and J. Conway, never actually existed.

Tensions and ambiguities in research ethics


It can be difficult or challenging to put even this bare minimum of ethical considerations into practice. Whilst we may wish to seek informed consent, there can be instances when such consent cannot or should not be sought. The first question here is whether informed consent is something that researchers focus on only at the beginning of the data collection process, which then satisfies this particular set of ethical requirements. This is particularly relevant to observation. The process of habituation often allows respondents to get used to the researcher presence in their daily habitat and for the

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researcher(s) to become part of the furniture, but do researchers have a responsibility to continually remind people of who they are and why they are in their midst? If the researchers do not, respondents may forget that they are talking to or behaving in front of a researcher and so let their guard down unwittingly. The British Sociological Association actually say that informed consent should be an ongoing practice in situations of this kind. The second question is the so-called public interest defence. Milgram (1974), for example, has justified his research protocol on the basis that he was examining a key social issue, as informed by the I was only obeying orders justification used by German prisoners of war on trial for genocidal crimes committed in the death camps of World War II. Milgram suggests that his approach was intended to assess whether normal people in normal situations actually obeyed even unpleasant or unacceptable orders in the same way, and that his results were therefore of significant public interest. A related example is a television documentary, aired in the UK (BBC 2004), where the journalist Jason Gwynne went undercover with the extreme right-wing British National Party and filmed their activities and opinions without those involved being aware that he was a reporter. The documentary itself was extremely shocking, and could again be defended on the basis that the real BNP attitudes and behaviours would not have come to light in any other way. The British Sociological Association again suggest that any covert research needs a very robust and substantial defence of this kind, and even then is not immune from ethical criticisms.

Avoiding compromise
( What does it mean to not place respondents under duress (Ramazanoglu and Holland 1994)? We have already discussed some fairly glaring examples of placing respondents under duress in the shape of the Milgram and Zimbardo et al experiments, but subjecting respondents to some form of duress doesnt have to be as dramatic as this. It can be as simple as requiring them to answer all the questions in an interview, or probing for clarification or more details beyond their comfort zone. There are issues here of the initial choice of research topics and questions as well as how sensitive we are to the ways in which respondents react to our questions. Reactions arent just verbal either facial expressions, gestures, body posture, nervous laughter etc. might all signal that a ( respondent is having difficulty discussing a specific issue. Ramazanoglu and Holland cite Kelly discussing her research into adult female survivors of sexual abuse, and how she had to bring some interviews to a premature close because the respondents became so upset. This might seem like a pretty obvious example because the subject matter here is extremely

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( personal and intimate, however, Ramazanoglu and Holland, while suggesting that their own research into young womens perceptions of sexual risk and AIDS also falls into this category, go on to argue that they were faced with an additional challenge during their project. Some of their respondents struggled with vocabulary during the interviews because the scientific terms for certain body parts like penis or vagina werent ones which they used as a matter of course. They worried, too, that their own preferred terminology for these body parts was too crude and embarrassing to use in the context of an interview. Reassuring the young women in this respect required what Silverman and Perakyla (cited in ( Ramazanoglu and Holland, 1994: 139) call elegant interactional work by the interviewer. The realities of respondent validation/member check can also raise tensions. Skeggs (cited in Holliday 2000: 518) suggests that, ...discursive frameworks make interpretation from a critical perspective impossible for some respondents. The practice of having respondents confirm ones interpretation is by no means a guarantee of truth. If we consider the power relations at play here and the status that academic researchers still enjoy in many societies, it becomes clear that respondents might in fact find it difficult to challenge a representation that an academic has made of them, even if they object to it perhaps because they feel that the academic is the expert and knows them better than they know themselves? The use of and maintenance of anonymity can also be more complex than on first impressions. Hearn (2004) documents his experiences of suffering discrimination as a non-Finn applying for a professorial post at a Finnish university. He refers to how his academic standing and qualifications were misrepresented and the fact that the applicant being able to speak Finnish had been explicitly signalled as irrelevant, but then reappeared as a criterion for his eventual rejection. The process lasted from August 1998 when the advertisement appeared to April 2001 when another candidate was confirmed as having been successful. Despite the fact that Hearns version of events is highly critical of those involved, no attempt is made to anonymise this series of events all individuals and institutions are named, and chunks of correspondence between Hearn and other players are reproduced verbatim. Hearn notes that that the Finnish system of academic recruitment is totally open in the sense that a list of all applicants for a job is made public, as are referees reports as well as documents on how the faculty reached their eventual decision. He says he did consider disguising identities including his own but decided this would be disingenuous given the public nature of many of the relevant

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documents and the fact that the case had been widely reported in the Finnish media (Hearn 2004: 41). This case raises two key ethical questions: first, do we owe any duty of anonymity to respondents whose behaviour we see as problematic? Second, in qualitative research especially, we need to bear in mind that full anonymity requires more than just changing the names of people, organisations and places. We may also need to attend to job titles, ages, genders, ethnicities, educational qualifications, country of location, even language used in order to make sure that nothing and no one is identifiable from the text. But is it actually possible to fully anonymise a text in this way without sacrificing its complexity, nuance, specificity to its locale, how it reports respondents words and constructions, and thus also its impact? After all, the richness and detail of qualitative data are the main reasons why some researchers choose this approach in the first place. Sometimes, the research can identify issues that necessitate lifting the cloak of anonymity. Robson (2002: 71) asks, Suppose that, [in the course of your data gathering] in an office, school or hospital setting, you observe serious and persistent bullying by someone in a position of power; or that people are being put at physical or other risk by someones dereliction of duty. Ask yourself what you would do in this instance if you have also promised anonymity how can you report this behaviour? In all, these questions do not have easy answers, but we raise them because you need to be aware of them from the start.

Concluding Comments
In this section we have introduced you to the key issues in research methods and research design. This module is designed to be an introduction to these issues and is offered in this instance as a means by which you can appreciate and evaluate how academic research is constructed. We will return and develop many of these issues in more detail in the Research Methods module.

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Key Readings
You should now read the following before carrying on with the module: [Reading 11] Chapter 2 (Research Designs) from Business Research Methods by Alan Bryman and Emma Bell [Reading 12] Chapter 6 (The Nature of Quantitative Research) from Business Research Methods by Alan Bryman and Emma Bell [Reading 13] Chapter 13 (Secondary Analysis and Official Statistics) from Business Research Methods by Alan Bryman and Emma Bell [Reading 14] Chapter 16 (The Nature of Qualitative Research) from Business Research Methods by Alan Bryman and Emma Bell [Reading 15] Chapter 25 (Mixed Methods Research) from Business Research Methods by Alan Bryman and Emma Bell

Task
7.1 You will find an exercise on Blackboard which encourages you to evaluate each of the research methods identified in this section.

References
The following sources were used in writing this section. The references are correct at the time of writing, but note that Internet addresses, editions, publishers and so on are apt to change. We will note changes where we are aware of them on Blackboard. Alvesson, M. and Deetz, S. (2000) Doing Critical Management Research, London: Sage, Chapter 3

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BBC (2004) The Secret Agent, documentary strand, episode televised on 15 July on the BNP Brewis, J. (2000) When a body meet a body : experiencing the female body at work in L. McKie and N. Watson (eds), Organizing Bodies: Policy, institutions and work, Houndmills, Basingstoke: Macmillan, pp. 166184 British Sociological Association (2002) Statement of Ethical Practice for the British Sociological Association, March 2002, Article 28, downloaded from http://www.britsoc.co.uk on 14 February 2008 Broad, W. and Wade, N. (1983) Betrayers of the Truth, New York: Simon and Schuster Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2003) Business Research Methods, Oxford: Oxford University Press, Chapters 3, 13, 21 and 22 Cashmore, E. (2002) Behind the window dressing: ethnic minority police perspectives on cultural diversity, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 28 (2), pp. 327341 Castellow, W.A., Wuensch, K.L. and Moore, C.H. (1990) Effects of physical attractiveness of the plaintiff and defendant in sexual harassment trials, Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 5 (6), pp. 547562 Collinson, D.L. (1988) Engineering humour: masculinity, joking and conflict in shopfloor relations, Organization Studies, 9 (2), pp. 181199 Gummesson, E. (2000) Qualitative Methods in Management Research, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, Chapters 1 and 3, pp. 172188 Halme, M. (2002) Corporate environmental paradigms in shift: learning during the course of action at UPM-Kymmene, Journal of Management Studies, 39 (8), pp. 10871109 Hearn, J. (2004) Personal resistance through persistance to organizational resistance through distance in R. Thomas, A. Mills and J.H. Mills (eds), Identity Politics at Work: Resisting gender, gendering resistance, Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge, pp. 4063 Holliday, R. (2000) Weve been framed: visualising methodology, Sociological Review, 48 (4), pp. 503521

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Jankowicz, A.D. (2005) Business Research Projects, fourth edition, London: Thomson Learning Martinko, M.J. and Gardner, W. (1990) Structured observation of managerial work: a replication and synthesis, Journal of Management Studies, 27 (3), pp. 329357 Milgram, S. (1974) Obedience to Authority, London: Tavistock see also Milram, S. (1994) Conformity and independence in H. Clark, J. Chandler, and J. Barry (eds), Organization and Identities: Text and readings in organizational behaviour, London: Chapman and Hall, pp. 132144 Mintzberg, H. (1973) The Nature of Managerial Work, New York: Harper & Row Naud, P., Band, D., Stray, S. and Wegner, T. (1997) An international comparison of managements use of quantitative techniques, and the implications for MBA teaching, Management Learning, 28 (2), pp. 217233 Oliver, A., Cheyne, A., Toms, J.M. and Cox, S. (2002) The effects of organizational and individual factors on occupational accidents, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 75, pp. 473488 Peters, T.J. and Waterman, R.H., Jr. (1982) In Search of Excellence: Lessons from Americas best-run companies, New York: Harper and Row ( Ramazanoglu, C. and Holland, J. (1994) Coming to conclusions: power and interpretation in researching young womens sexuality in M. Maynard and J. Purvis (eds), Researching Womens Lives from a Feminist Perspective, London: Taylor and Francis, pp. 125148 Robson, C. (2002) Real World Research: A resource for social scientists and practitioner-researchers, second edition, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 4565 Roy, D. (1960) Banana time: job satisfaction and informal interaction, Human Organization, Vol. 18, pp. 158168 Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2003) Research Methods for Business Students, third edition, Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall Williams, M. and May, T. (1996) Introduction to the Philosophy of Social Research, London: UCL Press, Chapter 1

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Zimbardo, P.G., Haney, C., Banks, W.C., and Jaffe, D. (1973) The mind is a formidable jailor: a Pirandellian prison, New York Times Magazine, 8 April, pp. 3860

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MN7200/D SECTION 8

Quantitative Data Analysis

Section 8

Quantitative Data Analysis


Learning Objectives
This section is concerned with techniques for analysing quantitative data. It approaches this broad subject area from the perspective of the student who needs to understand how data has been manipulated to produce research findings. You will be exposed to a number of readings that incorporate quantitative data in your studies. In many articles the authors will outline the statistical tools that they have applied to the data set in the process of analysis. In order for you to be able to question the foundations of an authors argument you will, as a critical reader, need to understand how any analysis is undertaken. In short, at Masters level students are expected to possess some knowledge of the language and tools that are used in quantitative data analysis. By the end of this section you should be able to: outline the different types of data, appreciate the role of inference in statistical analysis, and identify the measures of location and dispersion.

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The terminology of statistics


The term statistics was originally applied [Note 10] to descriptive numerical facts (collected for Government purposes), and was concerned with such things as population, tax, revenue, government expenditure, and manufacturing and agricultural output. The application of statistical methods and techniques for the analysis of data has now become a feature of modern business. Business statistics is a wide and varied field, but is primarily concerned with the application of statistical methods to quantitative data in a business context. Business managers face problems of uncertainty on a day to day basis, and they need information for planning, control and decision-making purposes. For example, they will need information about potential markets, market share, consumer demand, costs, price levels, inflation and so on. Managers need accurate and reliable data upon which to base their decisions not only on past activities, but also on future trends. Accountants, statisticians and economists are essentially information managers who are concerned with data collection, organisation, presentation and evaluation. We all use statistics on a regular basis, usually without knowing it and sometimes in spite of our insistence that we are not numerically minded. Statistics help us to make sense of our experiences. We might observe for example that our commute to work in the morning takes us between 60 minutes and 85 minutes depending upon the traffic and the time we leave our house. In discussions with colleagues we may come to the conclusions, based on our shared observations, that the congestion in the region is increasing, with the consequence that it is taking us longer in the mornings to get to work; we might ponder how long it will take us next year to go from home to work. Here we are generalising from what we have observed . We might wish to distinguish between two types of statistics that are apparent. In observing the time it takes us to commute to work we are providing descriptive statistics, i.e. a description of our observation. Within the example we are also inferring (from the observations we have made) an observation that we cannot make, namely that from our observation that congestion is increasing, that the congestion for the whole region is increasing. We may

[10] In 1749 Gottfried Achenwal introduced the term statistik in his political survey of Europe, Staatsverfassung der heutigen varnehmsten europischen Reiche und Vlker im Grundrisse.

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wish to refer to this as inferential statistics, i.e. making estimates or predictions based upon our observations.

Descriptions of data
Descriptive data can be complex when there is a large group of elements about which insight is being sought. We might therefore wish to present the descriptive data in summarised form, which can be tabular, graphical or numerical. Such a large group of elements (individuals, companies, voters, households, products, customers and so on) about which data is being sought may also result in a situation where time, cost and other considerations necessitate data being collected on only a small portion of the group, although we would hope the small group would be representative of the larger group. We would refer to the larger group as the population, and the smaller group, a subset of the population, is referred to as the sample. To provide an example, imagine that our earlier observations on congestion were viewed sufficiently seriously to require a broader study. The population might be defined as individuals travelling within the region during peak times. We would not have sufficient resources to study each of these individuals and so we would seek to produce a sample of the population, from which we would seek to infer the behaviour of the population as a whole. Data is the term used to identify the facts and figures that are collected, analysed and summarised in any statistical investigation. The group of data collected to address a particular situation is often referred to as the data set for the study. Within the data set will be a range of elements that are the subject of the study. For example, the data set may contain a list of the students registered on this programme. For each student the data set may contain important information such as age, gender, work experience and so on. These characteristics are the variables to be investigated. Data is obtained by collecting measurements for the variables in question. The measurement for the variable collected from a particular element is known as the observation. In our example, the details on the students age, perhaps 32, would be the observation of the variable of age. Both qualitative and quantitative data can be classified as being either cross-sectional or time series. Cross-sectional data is collected at, or pertaining to, a particular point in time. For example, the profitability of a number of companies in the 2006/7 financial year, or the expenditure of a group of professionals on personal computing equipment in a given month or year. In contrast, time series data refers to information collected over, or pertaining to, a period of time. If we stay with the examples just mentioned, we could examine the profitability of a number of companies each year over a five year period, or we could examine the expenditure of a

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group of professionals on personal computing equipment each quarter over a period of two years.

Scales of measurement
The approach adopted in the statistical analysis of data on a particular variable will depend upon the scale of the measurement used for the variable. There are four possible scales of measurement, and the type of scale used will determine how the data can be manipulated: nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio. A variable is being measured on a nominal scale when the observations for the variable represent labels used to identify an attribute of each element in the study. For example, variables where the data can only be measured on a nominal scale include name, marital status (single, married, divorced), gender (male, female), country of residence (Cyprus, Ghana, Brazil). These labels allow us to categorise individual elements into particular groups. The labels can be numeric (e.g. a product code), but arithmetic operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division do not make much sense on nominal data. A variable is being measured on an ordinal scale when the data collected for the variable allows for a ranking or ordering to be obtained. A good example of ordinal scale data can be found in customer satisfaction surveys where the respondent is asked to rate their experience with the organisation (e.g. strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree). As with nominal data, ordinal data can be either non-numeric or numeric, but again note that arithmetic operations do not make sense. A five-point rating scale of 15 may suggest to you that summing or averaging is appropriate, however, the scale could quite easily be 2328. A variable is being measured on an interval scale if the differences between numerical values are meaningful. To put this another way, can the interval between observations be expressed in terms of a fixed unit of measurement? The difference between 80 centigrade and 87 centigrade can be expressed through the fixed unit of centigrade, in this case 7 centigrade. Such data also possess the properties of ordinal data because

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we can rank or order the observations into warmer (larger) and colder (smaller). Since for variables to be measured on an interval scale requires this measurement to be in fixed units, the data collected will always be numeric. With interval data the arithmetic operations are therefore meaningful. As a result data measured using this scale lends itself to more detailed statistical analysis than data measured on a nominal or ordinal scale. A variable is being measured on a ratio scale if the data has all the properties of interval data and the ratio of two observations is also meaningful. Variables such as distance, weight and time can use a ratio scale of measurement. A requirement of the ratio scale is that a zero value is inherently defined in the scale. Specifically, the zero value must indicate nothing exists for the variable at this point. An example to illustrate this is the measurement of income, where we would normally use a ratio scale. It is possible to say that employee A on a salary of $50,000 is twice as expensive to employ as employee B on a salary of $25,000. In addition, Bob who is currently on work experience with the firm is in essence free because no salary cost is associated with him. Since ratio data has all of the properties of interval data it is also always numeric, and arithmetic operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are meaningful. As with interval data, ratio data lends itself to more sophisticated statistical analysis than does data obtained in a nominal or ordinal scale. At this point it will be useful to summarise what we have discussed so far. It is useful to note that the amount of information contained in the data varies with the scale of measurement. Nominal data contain the least, followed by ordinal, interval and ratio data. Furthermore, note again that the nominal and ordinal scales can generate both non-numeric and numeric data, but that interval and ratio scales generate only numeric data. In addition we have distinguished between descriptive data and inferential statistics, this distinction is important as we proceed.

Approaching descriptive statistics


The task of descriptive statistics is to summarise data into a form that is manageable, but which does not distort the picture of the subject matter. There are many ways in which data can be transformed into a more useful form, and there are few hard and fast rules about how this should be done. There are, however, a number of techniques that are tried and tested and we shall focus on these here. There are essentially two methods of summarising raw data: graphical and numerical. The former provides a

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general overview of the data without being too precise. Numerical methods tend to give a less broad view, but are more precise and can therefore be used as inputs into more advanced techniques of statistical analysis.

Graphical representation
The first step in analysing a data set is usually to present it in a graphical form. One of the most common methods used is the frequency distribution diagram or histogram. We will use the data set in Diagram 8.1 to develop our histogram. The data set refers to marks awarded amongst a group of MSc students.

25 49 40 68 50 65

31 75 50 42 55 38

30 65 58 59 55 52

41 54 58 53 34 64

43 45 79 61 40 67

Diagram 8.1 Exam results (expressed in percentages) for Masters students.

Diagram 8.1 is rather indigestible and difficult to interpret. We can establish that the highest mark was 79 and the lowest 25, but the overall meaning of the data is difficult to gather. It would be preferable to have the data in a more presentable form and this can be done by dividing the data into a number of classes and constructing a frequency table. We have done this in Diagram 8.2.

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Class 2029 3039 4049 5059 6069 7079 I

Tally

Frequency 1 4

Relative frequency 1/30 4/30 7/30 10/30 6/30 2/30

IIII IIII IIII IIII II II IIII I

7 10 6 2 30

Diagram 8.2 Frequencies for the exam results data.

The first column indicates the classes chosen and the second presents a simple method of allocating marks to each class. The third then shows summations of the tallies, that is, the number of observations falling into each class interval. This is referred to as the frequency. The major decision to be made in drawing up a frequency table is the width of the class intervals. The narrower the class intervals (and thus the more classes), the greater the resemblance of the summary table to the original data. There is therefore a trade-off as to how many classes there should be. It is a matter of judgement, and depends upon the purpose to which the data is being put and the number of observations available. The final column of Diagram 8.2 shows the relative frequency. That is the proportion of the total number of recorded marks which falls into each class. This is calculated by taking the class frequency and dividing by the total number of observations. This information can be presented in the form of a histogram as seen in Diagram 8.3. It is much easier and quicker to draw inferences from histograms than it is the raw data or even the frequency table. It is easy to see that the observations range from about 20 up to 79, that most marks are clustered in the range 4069, with few students below 40. We might also suggest that the average is in the 5059 class interval, but note, however, that by presenting the data graphically we have lost some of the detail, and so we need to return to the raw data to calculate the average. We trade completeness and precision for interpretation at each stage of analysis.

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Frequency 10 8 6 4 2

20

40

60

80

Exam marks
Diagram 8.3 Frequency histogram for the exam data.

It is sometimes useful to present data in a slightly different form to aid interpretation. Cumulative frequencies show the number of observations included up to some particular point or level. These are calculated by adding successive class frequencies together. The cumulative frequency distribution for the exam results is shown in Diagram 8.4. The final figure of the cumulative frequency must be the same as the total number of observations. The cumulative frequency can be useful when we have questions such as how many students failed to achieve a passing grade of 50%.

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Cumulative Frequency 30 24 18 12 6

20

40

60

80

Exam marks
Diagram 8.4 Cumulative frequency histogram for the exam results.

It is useful to point out that in histograms the size of the category is represented by the area of the bars and not their length. A common error when constructing histograms is to overlook this relationship and this can produce a distorted view of the data. This usually occurs if the data have been grouped into uneven-sized categories, for example if the exam mark ranges began 030, 3135, 3641, each would represent a different range of marks (30, 5, 6) and therefore the corresponding bars in the histogram would have to have different widths to maintain the relationship between area and category size.

Histograms or bar charts?


The histogram is usually used with interval or ratio data. In this case it is possible to imagine more measurements between two existing values. For example, with height a person measuring 1 metre 70cm and another person measuring 1 metre 71cm share a continuous scale of measure, but are different by 1cm; a third person could measure 1 metre 70cm 1mm and split the difference between the two; a fourth person could measure 1 metre 70cm and 1.1mm and split the difference again and so on (to the limits of measurement). In contrast, where the values are discontinuous, measurement becomes impossible and we have to count. In the case of family size for example, we can have 2 adults and 2 children but we cannot have 2 adults and 2.3

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children. Where we are dealing with discrete categories we normally use bar charts. Bar charts are a type of graph that are used to display and compare the number, frequency or other measure (e.g. mean) for different discrete categories of data. In Diagram 8.5 the types of event are the discrete categories of data.

Percentage of population

60 50 40 30 20 10

Cinema

Plays

Art Classical galleries music

Ballet

Opera

Other dance

Diagram 8.5 Attendance at different types of cultural event, Britain 19992000 (source: www.statistics.gov.uk).

Bar charts are one of the most commonly used types of graph because they are simple to create and very easy to interpret. They are also a flexible chart type and there are several variations of the standard bar chart, including horizontal bar charts, grouped or component charts, and stacked bar charts. The chart is constructed such that the lengths of the different bars are proportional to the size of the category they represent. One axis represents the different categories and so has no scale. In order to emphasise the fact that the categories are discrete, a gap is left between the bars. The other axis does have a scale and this indicates the units of measurement. In addition to histograms and bar charts, there is a range of other approaches to presenting data graphically, including scatter plots, line graphs and pie charts. Advice and guidance on the use of these can be found on Blackboard.

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Numerical representation
There are several numerical measures which serve to summarise a distribution. The most common are measures of location and measures of dispersion. As in the graphical presentation of data, there is a choice of techniques available. One is not so free to employ non-standard methods, however, since the calculations performed are often used in further analyses of the data, which rely upon earlier calculations having been performed correctly.

Measures of location
Measures of location give an idea of where the data is centred. The best known of these is the arithmetic mean, sometimes loosely referred to as the average. The arithmetic mean of a set data is defined by the sum of the observations. Consider the data on exam marks once again. The sum of the observations would require us to add all of the marks and divide this by the number of observations. We could express this as, 25 + ... + 79 1546 = = 5153 . 30 30 The arithmetic mean is not the only measure of location, nor necessarily the best measure available. It aims to be representative of the data, yet there are circumstances in which it fails to be so. It can be significantly affected by a few extreme observations (termed outliers), which pull it away from the more numerous, typical observations. In the case of the examination marks, if we imagine that four further students failed to submit work and were recorded as 0 marks, the mean would drop to 45.47 (i.e. 1546 34). In our example we get the impression that the majority of students passed the module, with the addition of the four zero marks the impression of the marks changes considerably. The median is the value within a set of data which divides it into two equal parts. First it is necessary to arrange the data in ascending order. The median is then given by the value which has half of the observations below it and half above it. When there is an even number of observations it is necessary to take the mean of the middle two observations. Consider again the exam data. There are 30 observations. Ordering these values we find that the 15th is equal to 52 and the 16th is equal to 53. The median is therefore given by (52+53)/2, which equals 52.5. The major advantage of the median is that it is hardly affected by outliers. For example, if we observed one extra exam script with a mark of only 5 this would have a significant effect upon the mean, bringing it down to 50.03. The median, however, would now be the 16th observation, that is

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52, hence very little changed. A problem with the median is that it is not possible to combine two medians to find an overall median. If, for example, it is known that a factory employs 100 women at a median wage of 175 per week and 200 men at a median wage of 320 per week, it is possible to calculate the mean wage for all workers without consulting the raw data; one would have to combine and order all the raw data to obtain the new median. The final measure of location which is commonly used is the mode. This is defined as the observation which occurs with the greatest frequency. Some care is needed when determining the mode since it is quite sensitive to how data are grouped. The raw data on exam marks indicates that the figures 40, 50, 55, 58 and 65 all occur twice, so the distribution has no unique mode. Once the data is grouped, however, only the class interval with the highest frequency can be found. This can be seen to be the interval 5059 which has 10 observations. This, therefore, is the modal group. A different grouping of the data, however, might give a different result. Care is therefore needed, and one should look out for two intervals with similar frequencies, where a slight regrouping might shift the mode. One should also look out for unequal class widths, since combining classes is bound to increase the associated frequency. The mode could be shifted also anywhere by combining sufficient class intervals! The best advice is to calculate the frequencies as if the class widths were equal and then choose the modal group. Individual data can be distributed randomly in the data set, appear predominantly towards the bottom of the value range, or predominantly towards the top; this influences the relationship between mean, median and mode. Consider the frequency distribution shown in Diagram 8.6 which is drawn as a smooth, continuous distribution curve for convenience. It is unimodal (has a single mode) and skewed to the right, i.e. the longer tail is to the right. In this case the mean (m) is always greater than the median (Me), which is always greater than the mode (Mo). If the distribution were skewed to the left, then the order would be reversed. A symmetric distribution would have the mean, mode and median in the same place.

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Diagram 8.6 A positively-skewed distribution.

Measures of dispersion
So far, we have distinguished data distributions on the basis of their central values, for example their means. Two distributions with the same mean could still be very different, however, as shown in Diagram 8.7.

Diagram 8.7 A comparison of two different distributions with identical means.

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The distribution for data set X2 is clearly more spread out than the distribution for X1. If these were two sets of exam marks, exam 2 would have far more grades at the top and lower ends of the grading scale than exam 1, even though both exams share the same mean. Clearly it would be useful to have a numerical measure which summarised the different degrees of dispersion of the distributions. At first sight it might seem as if such a measure of dispersion could be constructed by considering the mean deviation around the mean the mean of the differences in value of all the data from the mean. Consider the following two sets of data,

(I) (II)

2 4

4 5

6 6

8 7

10 8

In each case the mean and median are 6, however, the data for set (I) differ from set (II) in that they are more dispersed. Construct the deviation by subtracting the arithmetic mean from each individual value, for example with data set (I), the mean = 6 and the first value is 2, therefore 2 6= 4. Does the sum of these differences give the total dispersion of the sample? This is the result of summing the differences between each value and the mean for data set (I), that is (4) + (2) + (0) + (2) + (4) = 0 The problem with this measure is that the positive and negative deviations around the mean will cancel each other out. To remedy this problem the deviations are squared before being summed, (4)2 + (2)2 + (0)2 + (2)2 + (4)2 = 16 + 4 + 0 + 4 + 16 = 40 The sum then needs to be scaled in some way to take account of the number of observations, 40/5 = 8 When this is done, the measure that results is called the variance. The question then arises as to what units the variance is measured in. Since the deviations were squared in the course of the calculations, the answer must be that these are now in squared units. This is a somewhat difficult concept to grapple with, so we return to ordinary units by taking the square root of the variance, to obtain the standard deviation. With a variance of 8 the square root would be 2.8.

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The standard deviation is explained succinctly by Rowntree (1981: 5354) as, If there were no dispersion at all in a distribution, all the observed values would be the same. The mean would also be the same as this repeated value. No observed value would deviate or differ from the mean. But, with dispersion, the observed values do deviate from the mean, some by a lot, some by only a little. Quoting the standard deviation of a distribution is a way of indicating a kind of average amount by which all of the values deviate from the mean. The greater the dispersion, the bigger the deviations and the bigger the standard (average) deviation. Two useful measures have thus been presented which can be used to summarise a distribution or to compare different distributions: the mean and the standard deviation. The standard deviation can be used to compare individual observations from two distributions. Suppose there are two groups of students but one prize to award to the best student overall. Should it be awarded to the best student in Group 1 or Group 2? It would be unfair simply to take the student with the highest mark, since one examination could be more difficult, the marking more severe, or different marking scales used. One solution would be to give the prize to the student who has done best relative to his own group. This could be measured by the number of standard deviations each students mark is above or below the mean of their group. Only the marks of the best student in each group would have to be used, so the calculation is fairly straightforward, 69 - 60 = 15 . 6 (Group 1) 55 - 50 = 20 . 25 . (Group 2)

Thus the prize should be awarded to the student from Group 2, since to obtain a score of 2.00 standard deviations above the mean is probably a greater achievement than the 1.50 achieved by the best student in Group 1. The assumption of this approach, however, is that the two groups are broadly similar. The variance is the most widely used measure of dispersion because, like the mean, its statistical properties can be established. There are other measures, however, which also have their uses. The range is simply the difference between the largest and the smallest observations. It is easy to calculate once the data has been ranked, but it has little else in its favour.

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It makes use of only a small amount of information in the sample and is obviously very sensitive to outlying values.

Statistical inference
The aim of a statistical investigation will usually be to find out the characteristics of the relevant population, but on many occasions it will be impractical or impossible to collect data on every element of this population. Thus a sample will be taken instead, and the question which will then need addressing is how accurate is this sample? In the material covered so far in this section we have introduced the idea that populations can be described by their distributions, and it is the characteristics of these distributions (mean, standard deviation, variance) which need to be evaluated. Characteristics of a population are referred to as parameters, whilst characteristics of the sample are called statistics. The basic question is, therefore, what can be inferred about the parameters from the statistics? There are two ways in which sample data can be used to make inferences about the characteristics of the population. The first involves the construction of a confidence interval using the sample data. For example, if a sample of 1000 units from a production process is taken and 5% are found to be defective, what can be concluded about the range into which the population percentage falls? Here, because sample data is being used, there is no guarantee that 5% of the items overall will be defective, but it would be very unlikely to find that 25% were defective. The second is hypothesis testing the specification of a hypothesis and its testing using the sample data. For example, it might be suggested that only 4% of the items are in fact defective. Then the sample information, which indicates that 50 out of 1000 were found to be defective, would be used to determine whether this sample could have come from a population in which only 4% is defective (the hypothesis), with the difference between the two being due to chance factors, particularly in view of the fact that only a sample is being used. In solving these sorts of problems it is assumed that the sample being used is taken randomly. A random sample is a sample selected so that every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected. This assumption is crucial for valid statistical inference. Clearly, there is no guarantee that the statistic will be identical to the parameter, but one would expect there to be some relationship between the two.

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This notion can be expressed in a very general form, Sample statistic = Population parameter Sampling error Upon rearrangement this suggests that the population parameter will be related to the sample statistic in the following manner, Population parameter = Sample statistic Sampling error This formulation shows that in order to establish the relationship between parameter and statistic it is necessary to identify the sampling error, that is, the sampling distribution of the sample statistics. This can be done by addressing the situation where a number of samples are taken from a population and looking at the distribution of the sample statistics which result. Furthermore, as the sample size increases and begins to approach the total number of observations within the population, one would expect the statistic to tend towards the parameter, that is, the sampling error gets smaller. Remember that the calculation of a statistic is made on the basis of sample data. The value of the sample mean for example will vary from sample to sample and can be regarded as a random variable. The reason for this is that each set of sample data will (should) consist of different members of the population, and therefore any calculations based upon it will also vary. If we generate samples from a known population we will generate a set of sample means, a set of sample standard deviations, and so on. These sets of data can be treated in the same way as any others, and we can obtain their means and variances as well as identifying the distribution involved. What we are interested in is the relationship between the sampling distribution and the population distribution. Although sampling distributions can be generated empirically, as outlined above, it is often better to derive mathematical formulae for sampling distributions. This approach enables one to apply the results to many sampling problems. Thus every statistic can be treated as a random variable and it will have a particular distribution, which is called the sampling distribution of the statistic. Such distributions have long been recognised within the statistics literature. Examples would include the normal distribution, the student t distribution and the F distribution. These established distributions can be used to form the link between population parameter and sample statistic since they accurately depict the nature of the sampling error. In the case of the construction of a confidence interval, values taken from the appropriate distribution would be used to formulate a range into which the population parameter is likely to fall. Note the word likely since

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this indicates that there is always a chance of being wrong. This chance or probability is sometimes referred to as a p value or significance level. Values taken from the appropriate distribution allow us to control for this chance of error, but it can never be completely eliminated. In the area of statistical analysis researchers typically specify either a 5% or 1% chance, hence a 5% or 1% significance level. To illustrate this, consider the example from earlier. A sample of 1000 units from a production process is taken and 5% are found to be defective. In this situation values would be taken from the normal distribution according to its standard table of probabilities. These values, together with other information on variability and sample size, enable the identification of the sampling error and hence the construction of a confidence interval. In the case of a 5% chance of error (i.e. the construction of a 95% confidence interval) the range would be 3.65% through to 6.35% indicating that we can be 95% confident that the overall percentage of defectives coming off the production line lies between 3.65% and 6.35%. If instead the researcher chose a 1% chance of error (i.e. the construction of a 99% confidence interval) the range would be 3.22% through to 6.77% indicating that we can be 99% confident that the overall percentage of defectives coming off the production line lies between 3.65% and 6.35%. Note that in this situation the interval has widened showing that there is a trade-off between confidence and precision. With hypothesis/significance testing the 5% and 1% figures indicate the chance or probably of drawing the wrong conclusion from the test, hence a 5% or 1% significance test. Values would again be taken from the normal distribution tables of values. These values and information on variability and sample size would be used to calculate a test statistic, with the result of this calculation leading us to accept or reject the hypothesis (only 4% of the items are defective). Given the information above (5% defect rate in the sample of 1000), the hypothesis of an overall defect rate would be accepted. Note that this is consistent with the confidence interval calculation as 4% falls within both intervals.

Concluding Comments
The object of this section was to provide you with a basic grounding in some of the assumptions surrounding quantitative data analysis. Where possible we have tried to avoid complex mathematical equations with the aim being to encourage you to see the underlying rationale of the concepts. In the course of this section we have identified the relationship between the type of data and the possible techniques we can employ to analyse that data. We have also discussed the ways in which we can represent data, both graphically and

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numerically. In the final part of this section the relationship between samples and populations have been explored. Having established the relationship between the population parameter and sample statistic, you can begin to explore a number of applications in statistics, including hypothesis testing, significance testing and confidence intervals, all of which are addressed in your key readings. To assist students who are less literate in statistics we have also compiled a brief reading list where they can obtain further assistance and we have provided resources on Blackboard.

Key Readings
You should now read the following before carrying on with the module: [Reading 16] Chapter 7 (Sampling) from Business Research Methods by Alan Bryman and Emma Bell [Reading 17] Chapter 14 (Quantitative Data Analysis) from Business Research Methods by Alan Bryman and Emma Bell

Further Reading
For students requiring a further introduction into the logic of quantitative analysis, we recommend the following, Rowntree, D. (1991) Statistics Without Tears: A primer for non-mathematicians, Harmondsworth: Penguin Wood, M. (2003) Making Sense of Statistics: A non-mathematical approach, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan For coverage of basic tools (e.g. raw data, simple calculations, summary statistics, common notation, powers and roots, logarithms, equations and graphs) we recommend the following, Mathtutor Algebra at http://www.ebst.co.uk/algebra/container.html (particularly the summary text for mathematical language, powers or

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indices, logarithms, substitution and formulae, expanding and removing brackets, linear equations in one variable, simultaneous linear equations) Bancroft, G. and OSullivan, G. (1993) Quantitative Methods for Accounting and Business Studies, third edition, Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill, Chapters 1 and 2 Morris, C. (2003) Quantitative Approaches in Business Studies, sixth edition, Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall, Chapter 1 Silver, M. (1992) Business Statistics, Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill, Appendix 1 Wisniewski, M. (2002) Quantitative Methods For Decision Makers, third edition, Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall, Chapter 2 For coverage of statistical inference (including interpreting statistical data, sample and population data, hypothesis testing, test statistics, significance levels), we recommend the following, http://www.resample.com/content/text/15-Chap-11.pdf http://www.resample.com/content/text/20-Chap-16.pdf http://www.psychstat.missouristate.edu/introbook/SBK18.htm Thomsen, S. and Pedersen, T. (2000) Ownership structure and economic performance in the largest European companies, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 21, pp. 689705 Rowntree, D. (1991) Statistics Without Tears, Harmondsworth: Penguin, Chapter 1 Wood, M. (2003) Making Sense of Statistics, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, Chapters 6, 7 and 8 For coverage of regression analysis (including coverage of correlation, establishing relationships using regression analysis, causality, cross-sectional and time series data, interpreting regression results, t-statistics, significance levels) we recommend, http://www.psychstat.missouristate.edu/introbook/sbk16.htm Statsoft Electronic textbook at http://www.le.ac.uk/pc/statsoft/stathome.html (particularly the section on linear regression)

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Bancroft, G. and OSullivan, G. (1993) Quantitative Methods for Accounting and Business Studies, third edition, Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill, Chapter 9 Morris, C. (2003) Quantitative Approaches in Business Studies, sixth edition, Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall, Chapters 14 and 15 Owen, F. and Jones, R. (1990) Statistics, third edition, London: Pitman, Chapter 22 Rowntree, D. (1991) Statistics Without Tears: A primer for non-mathematicians, Harmondsworth: Penguin, Chapter 7 Silver, M. (1992) Business Statistics, Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill, Chapter 7 Thomsen, S. and Pedersen, T. (2000) Ownership structure and economic performance in the largest European companies, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 21, pp. 689705 Wisniewski, M. (2002) Quantitative Methods For Decision Makers, third edition, Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall, Chapter 10 Wood, M. (2003) Making Sense of Statistics: A non-mathematical approach, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, Chapter 9

Task
8.1 There is a considerable amount of reading provided for this section so this task is designed to encourage you to assess your ability to synthesis the key ideas that you have been exposed to. To this end, the task for this section is to complete the Questions for Review at the end of Chapter 14 in Bryman and Bell.

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MN7200/D SECTION 9

Analysing Qualitative Data

Section 9

Analysing Qualitative Data


Learning Objectives
This section will introduce you to the key issues around the analysis of qualitative data. Analysis of this kind usually produces a rich, detailed account of the empirical site in question. By the end of this section you should be able to: identify the differences between qualitative and quantitative data, identify the possible errors in analysing qualitative data, and discuss the merits and limitations of the different strategies for analysing qualitative data.

Difficulties in analysis
When analysing data of whatever kind including data from research projects human beings have certain limitations and may as a result make certain classic errors due to our cognitive processes. These errors are worth bearing in mind when analysing data, and you should where possible avoid them.

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Data overload
Our brains can only simultaneously cope with a certain amount of information in terms of taking it in and trying to understand it.

First/last impressions
Because of how our perceptual processes operate, we may form a judgement very early on i.e. a first impression of what is going on in a particular data set. This is problematic because it means we may be tempted to ignore contradictory data or make too much of supporting data as we continue our analysis. Equally, the last or most recent data will colour our interpretation of a data set as a whole.

Internal consistency
We may assume (usually wrongly, especially with qualitative data) that data are consistent or homogeneous throughout, so when we come across something which conflicts with what we have seen earlier in the data set, we might ignore it. Human beings are not necessarily consistent as individuals either, however we may say one thing at one point (and mean it), and then say the reverse later about the same thing (and also mean it).

Information availability
We can often be persuaded by information which has been easy to get hold of, and neglect to access other data which require more effort to get, but may tell a different and equally important story. For example, it may be relatively straightforward to talk to managers, who are likely to offer one version of events, but more difficult to access rank-and-file employees, whose perceptions might be rather different.

Uneven validity
Some sources of data can be regarded as more valid (in whatever sense) than others. An example is that secondary data from media reports is often highly coloured by the political bias of the source. Another example is that particular respondents may have their own agendas which are reflected in the data gathered. We could, for instance, assume that managers will generally want to paint their organisations in a positive light. One of the contributors to this study book reviewed a paper recently. Its author had interviewed several people in one particular organisation to assess whether the manager in charge of the group (a homosexual man) tended to favour other homosexual men in his decision-making. The

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heterosexual respondents all said that he did. The single homosexual respondent suggested that this was not the case. The researcher assumed that the heterosexual respondents were more trustworthy than the homosexual respondent in this instance, because the latter would have benefited from the managers favouritism but not necessarily recognised it as such. But this isnt necessarily true perhaps the man in question had in fact done well on his own merits and was resented by his heterosexual colleagues, who then developed a rather different view of events.

Co-occurrence, correlation and causation


A common error made when analysing quantitative data in particular, but also qualitative material, is to confuse co-occurrence or correlation with causation. If one variable changes in the same way and at the same time as another, this does not automatically mean that one causes the other. Two examples should illustrate this point. The first is the data which suggest that, as the use of flushing toilets increases, so do levels of coronary heart disease. So does this mean that flushing toilets cause heart disease? In fact what these data tell us is that as standards of living rise through people being generally better paid, so they are better able to afford, for example, flushing toilets. Concurrently, the generally sedentary nature of better-paid occupations and less healthy character of more expensive diets leads to increased incidence of coronary heart disease. So there is a co-occurrence and perhaps even correlation here, but the relationship is not causal. The second is the connection which was found between soldiers fainting whilst on parade and the softness of the tar on the parade ground. One explanation of this is that the noxious fumes from the melting tar cause the soldiers to faint, but a more likely scenario is that hot weather causes both fainting and melting tar (Robson 2002: 484485). Again here we have a co-occurrence or a correlation not a causal relationship.

Inconsistency
Although most researchers would recommend revisiting data several times to check interpretations, it is also true that we as researchers are inconsistent and so we may well change our minds when we see a data set again. This, however, may simply indicate that the data set is in fact quite complex and rich. Moreover, taking up a more social constructivist standpoint in your research may suggest that it would be difficult if not impossible to reach a definitive, truthful version of the findings. So as long as you can justify the interpretation that you settle on in your final conclusions, even if there are others, this is not a problem.

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Contrasting quantitative and qualitative data


It may be useful at this point to remind ourselves about the differences between quantitative and qualitative data as these differences help to shape the approach we take to analysis of this data (see Diagram 9.1).

Quantitative data based on meanings derived from numbers collection results in numerical and standardised data analysis conducted through the use of diagrams and statistics

Qualitative data based on meanings expressed through words collection results in non-standardised data requiring classification into categories analysis conducted through the use of conceptualisation

Diagram 9.1 Quantitative and qualitative data contrasted (after Saunders et al 2003: 378).

Quantitative data is either gathered as numbers or turned into numbers. These data tend to be standardised in the sense that a fixed, pre-structured schedule (e.g. an SAQ, a structured interview, or a structured observation schedule) has typically been used to collect them. Analysis is then conducted via statistical operations which identify the relative frequency of particular variables. The analysis of quantitative data is often written up using diagrams like histograms or bar charts, with accompanying textual explanations. Qualitative data on the other hand are collected as words, through more flexible schedules such as semi- or unstructured interviews or non-structured observation. Analysis is then typically conducted by classification into categories or themes and then theoretical conceptualisation. Qualitative data is usually written up in the form of a textual narrative interspersed with direct quotations from the respondents and participants. Narratives, accounts and other collections of words are variously described as rich, full and real, and contrasted with the thin abstractions of number (Robson 2002: 454). As we have also established elsewhere, qualitative data are usually understood as providing a richer and more complex or in-depth account of an empirical site although this is not always the case.

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Strategies for analysing qualitative data


Data analysis should be a factor in methodological decisions when selecting method, choosing samples, designing schedule, choosing channels, piloting schedules and doing the data collection itself, the researcher should think about the data needed to answer the research questions, and how they will do the analysis. The time between data collection and data analysis is also important. With qualitative data in particular, researchers will try to analyse the data as soon as possible after collection. This way the research encounters are fresher in the memory allowing the researcher fuller recall, especially as regards any problems in the field which may have affected the data in particular ways. Analysing qualitative data, like the analysis of quantitative data, is about data reduction , i.e. making sense of a data set, reducing it to manageable and meaningful proportions. There are fewer conventions or established practices in this area as compared to the analysis of quantitative data, where one applies specific statistical techniques depending on what one wants to achieve description, comparison, correlation, etc. To some degree rather more consideration and judgement is required in the selection of an analytical strategy for qualitative data. Research is usually more than just a description of what is going on in a particular area, however, researchers may need to do some descriptive analysis to provide background or context, e.g. to paint a picture of an organisation. Explanatory/deductive research wouldnt be typical of a qualitative project, but this does not rule it out entirely as a possibility. We will therefore say something briefly about this sort of work. Nonetheless we will spend more time on exploratory/inductive research as this is more classically qualitative.

Deductive analysis of qualitative data


Deductive analysis is the process of reaching a conclusion by reasoning from an explicit set of premises; the researcher moves from the general to the particular. Scott (cited in Bryman and Bell 2003: 468) provides a useful example of deductivism in qualitative research. This is an example of an explanatory purpose/theory testing in qualitative research. Scott conducted an ethnographic study of HRM in British organisations to test the hypothesis that, British management was operating according to a new model of industrial relations, based on a unitaristic view of organizational

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life, where workers and managers are seen to have a similar interest in the success of the firm. (Bryman and Bell 2003: 468) In other words, Scott wanted to test whether, in the advent of an HRM approach to managing staff, British employees and managers did in fact have similar interests (the unitarist philosophy which HRM is based on), or whether differences persisted in the form of them and us type cultures. His findings indicated that any movement away from them and us pluralism to HRM unitarism was partial and piecemeal only. The strength of doing deductive analysis of qualitative data (which of course would have been gathered precisely to test a specific hypothesis) is that it gives you a defined path through the data the hypothesis tells you what to look for in the data, The prior specification of a theory tends to be disfavoured [by qualitative researchers] because of the possibility of introducing a premature closure on the issues to be investigated, as well as the possibility of the theoretical constructs departing excessively from the views of participants in a social setting. (Bryman, cited in Saunders et al 2003: 348) On the other hand, it has been argued that deductive work in this type of research may well lead to premature closure of emergent issues and a neglect of complexities and nuances in the data because the hypothesis frames the researchers attention and may mean that some parts of the data are ignored altogether since they appear to be irrelevant. Testing a hypothesis may therefore make it difficult to see qualitative data holistically or in the round to excavate all its richness, which is arguably its real strength as compared to quantitative data. We now consider two deductive methods.

Pattern matching
Pattern matching is a verificationist strategy where the researcher literally searches the data to see how far their patterns match themes suggested by the hypothesis that is being tested. The researcher would accept, modify or reject the hypothesis on this basis. This would usually imply looking either for changes in dependent variables (specific outcomes, for example the results of a change management process) or independent variables, for example trying to identify the antecedents of known outcomes like a decline in productivity or an increasing number of workplace accidents.

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Negative case analysis


Negative case analysis is akin to Karl Poppers falsificationist approach in positivism. It involves searching through the data for negative cases which disprove the starting hypothesis, resulting in a need for it to be modified to better fit the data in this circumstance. The example that is usually given is the hypothesis that all swans are white. Here the researcher would deliberately look for non-white swans in the data. Poppers premise was that we can only ever accept a theory on a provisional basis, because we never have all the data to hand to be absolutely sure that it is true. We can, however, be definitive about rejecting a theory in this case we would probably seek to modify it (e.g. some swans are white and some are black) and test it again. Popper argues that if we dont follow a falsificationist strategy when seeking to evaluate hypotheses, then we tend to attend only to data which support our existing beliefs and so confirm the starting hypothesis. This he suggests means that we find it difficult to develop new and perhaps improved ideas about human behaviour. Any hypothesis which survives a negative case analysis of this kind would therefore be corroborated (because the data gathered in this research project support it) but not confirmed (because the likelihood, according to Popper, is that there are data elsewhere in the world which would lead to its modification or rejection).

Inductive analysis of qualitative data


The primary purpose of inductive analysis is to remove the constraints of preconception and allow research findings to emerge from the data; to borrow an example from the arts, the researcher is a sculptor working with the grain of a block of wood rather than cutting across it to make the shape he or she believes is there.

Grounded theory
Grounded theory is perhaps the most extreme form of inductivism applied when analysing qualitative data. It was originally developed by Glaser and Strauss (see Glaser and Strauss 1969) in the late 1960s, but they subsequently had an intellectual disagreement and have since published rather different accounts of what it means to conduct grounded theory research. In many ways grounded theory can be understood as a methodology in itself it is arguably more than just an approach to data analysis. What follows is an attempt to summarise some of the key aspects of this complex and controversial approach to qualitative research and analysis.

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Because of the emphasis on inductivism here, the idea is that the eventual theory (the way in which the researcher finally understands what is going on in the data) emerges from or is grounded in the data alone it has not been informed in any way by pre-existing hypotheses. This means, grounded theory proponents argue, that the researcher doesnt force the data to fit the theory (a potential problem of deductivism according to Popper, as we have already seen) but instead develops a theory which fits the data. Grounded theory requires that the first step of the process is to design a schedule and collect data before any consultation of the relevant subject-specific literature on the research topic; in the words of a former Masters student (Smart 1994), to have a good wash before data collection, using grounded theory to get rid of as much pre-judgement or bias as possible, and to go in with an open mind. Said by some commentators to fulfil, the criteria for doing good science: significance, theory-observation compatibility, generalizability, reproducibility, precision, rigor, and verification (Strauss and Corbin, cited in Alvesson and Deetz 2000: 61), grounded theory is argued by Strauss and Corbin in particular to be a highly rigorous research methodology which also matches up to classic positivistic/quantitative standards for research. In other words, in some versions of grounded theory the argument is that social reality exists objectively, beyond the observer, and can be captured, measured and represented in a neutral and accurate fashion by researchers in order to develop authoritative theories about that reality. So, if grounded theory researchers apply its methodology properly, they should be able to gather data in a detached and impersonal fashion. Grounded theory methods typically involve unstructured interviewing [Note 11] or some form of non-structured observation. They always gather qualitative data. What follows is a basic summary of the steps that ensue

[11] The student referred to actually had only one question in her interview schedule. Her research set out to assess whether a particular change programme involving the devolution of the human resources function from a centralised department down to separate directorates and a general shift towards an HRM ethos away from a personnel management ethos in a UK NHS Trust had been successful. Her sole question, to those who were affected by the change, was, How was it for you?. Her findings suggested that the change had been very top down i.e. imposed by senior management so individuals had no choice but to re-educate themselves about the benefits of devolution and of the shift in ethos towards HRM. Overall then the change had been received as positive, despite the fact that the way it was managed contradicts most if not all the available literature in change management (Smart 1994).

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once the data have been collected, but be aware that different authorities represent these steps in different ways: (1) Familiarisation. This step involves the researcher immersing themselves in the data, reading through them carefully and beginning to note emergent themes. Open coding. A code is a symbol applied to a section of text to classify or categorize it. (Robson 2002: 477) Open coding of the data is then done, literally segment by segment. A different code should be applied every time the emphasis or focus of the data seems to change which could be several times in one sentence. Examples of codes might be requesting information or expressing doubt (Robson 2002: 461). The basic question here is, what is this piece of data an example of? Clustering by comparison (repetition). Now the researcher begins to group similar codes in the data together, i.e. if there are a series of codes which all point to the general phenomenon of uncertainty (as in the expressing doubt example above), these would be grouped to form a cluster. This stage should also mean that key research themes are becoming clearer. Clustering should be done over and over again until the researcher has reduced the data to a series of mutually exclusive codes and can no longer repeat the process meaningfully at this point they are said to have achieved category saturation. Concept formation (axial coding). At this stage the researcher begins to look for relations between the categories/codes to suggest what is happening and why. Key questions here concern the influences on the situation (e.g. political and social factors), how people are reacting to or dealing with it, and what the outcomes are. Selective sample of the literature. Only at this stage does the researcher consult the subject-specific literature. Because they have now got a fairly clear idea of what is happening in the data, they should be able to target a selective sample of that literature. They then link it to the findings they have identified so far to see whether, and to what extent, the emerging theory here matches what has been said about such phenomena in the literature. Return to the field and/or selective sampling. Now the grounded theory researcher goes back to their respondents in most

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cases only a selected number to check their initial interpretations and hypotheses, which can then be revised if necessary. In other words, they engage in what we have referred to elsewhere as respondent validation or member check. (7) Emergence of core variable/category (selective coding). At this point the core/independent/explanatory/causal variable or category should be emerging, according to the proponents of grounded theory. This variable/category appears frequently, links the data together, and explains any variations in the situation. In other words it forms the basic plot or storyline of the data. Further respondent validation to check that the core variable/category makes sense to them. Modification to emergent theory if necessary to ensure that the eventual theory explains this particular situation.

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These stages are not necessarily sequential especially during the coding period the researcher may find that they are simultaneously doing open coding, clustering and axial coding. They may also need to repeat stages such as the selective review of the literature or the respondent validation until the core variable emerges. Grounded theory is an example of the constant comparative method of data analysis because it involves making comparisons across and between segments of the data and continually asking questions about those comparisons. It is a very holistic method because it uses all of the data. The basic moves are from conceptual categorisation (open coding and clustering), to relationships between the codes or categories (axial coding), to explaining those relationships via the emergence of the core variable/category. Halmes (2002) research question focused on how managers start to include environmental values as a matter of course in their strategic decision-making. She used the grounded theory approach to identify phases of learning at the two organisations where she did her data gathering a packaging manufacturer and a paper maker and in particular to try to isolate the point at which frame-breaks occur and an environmental perspective becomes an automatic part of managerial decision-making. Halme suggests that she used this qualitative methodology because her area of interest was one that hadnt been extensively researched before and so the relevant variables [were] not known in advance (Halme 2002:

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1089) in other words, there was a genuine reason for doing inductive work in this project. However, Halme also chose two firms from different industries to produce more general theoretical findings with regard to environmental learning in firms (Halme 2002: 1090). This is what Glaser and Strauss call the maximising principle. Because grounded theory is just that i.e. grounded in the relevant data extending ones sample in various ways allows one to also extend the relevance of the theory which is generated as a result (in other words, it improves its generalisability). As we know, Halme found that in her organisations the cause of environmental learning was doing well, in contrast with the existing literature in this area. Although she doesnt suggest that all managers in all organisations will follow the same phases of learning as these managers did, she does suggest that her theory provides the basis for future exploration and assessment, i.e. deductive work. So, in Strauss and Corbins terminology, her work is reproducible. The benefits of grounded theory are that: it produces hypotheses which can then be tested by other researchers, using a deductive approach, the data gathered are not as influenced by prior theoretical suppositions or ideas, and should therefore reflect the empirical situation more precisely, those who generated the data (the respondents/participants) should recognise themselves in the theory which emerges, and as a result the theory should form a good basis for recommendations in the particular instance. The drawbacks on the other hand are that: grounded theory requires a high level of flexibility and a very open mind on the part of the researcher to avoid pre-judgements or premature judgements as far as possible, relatedly, the researcher needs, as Smart (1994) puts it, to be careful about eureka moments when it seems as though the core variable has emerged this needs to be carefully checked and checked again against the data, grounded theory takes a very long time to do properly, it is crucial to be precise in terms of following all the steps to the letter, and

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grounded theory is certainly not a substitute for a clear research purpose (to explain or explore something) or reading the subject-specific literature. The approach that follows is a variation on grounded theory it takes its inspiration from grounded theory, but does not follow this methodology to the letter for the reasons stated above. This is the approach which one of the authors of these notes uses and she would suggest that it is a fairly common way to analyse qualitative data. Overall it is quasi-inductive, but more structured/guided from the outset by the subject-specific literature and less reliant on repetition of steps than classic grounded theory: (1) (2) (3) Consult the literature and the organisational context. Pilot if possible, amend accordingly and gather data. Analyse using the categories so identified as relevant, but use the categories suggested by the full interview/observation schedule to code (in other words, to identify themes and trends) your data, but be open to emergent categories and contradictions also attend to anything new which the data suggest as well as being alert to contradictions and complexities in the data. For example, one of the authors of these notes, when conducting her PhD research on sexual relationships at work, kept noticing space as a theme in the data she had collected i.e. the idea that the physical design of office space will affect relationships between colleagues. This was not something she had expected to find, but it was too strong a theme to ignore. Modify, modify, modify! Re-read your data, re-read your analysis does the latter still make sense? Integrate literature and data refer back to the subject-specific literature to see the extent to which the analysis seems to conform to the conclusions drawn by other authors on the same subject. Return to respondents to check validity respondent validation of the analysis of qualitative data is always a good idea if possible. Produce final version of analysis.

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Inductivism in quantitative research


Although inductivism is, as we have asserted, typically associated with qualitative work, we should not overlook the fact that there are variants of quantitative research which also apply this technique. Logical positivism, for example, assumes we have no pre-existing theories when we gather data, and that if we gather evidence of repeated phenomena in one empirical site, then these phenomena will occur in the same patterns in other similar sites. That is to say, logical positivism seeks to generalise its inductively-derived theory. Here researchers move from observed evidence to theoretical construction as opposed to the reverse move in deductivism. They also (unlike the majority of inductive qualitative researchers) move from the particular to the general. There is a question mark over whether pure inductivism is possible, or indeed desirable, [Our socially-acquired understandings] shape what we are and how we understand the world, [so] the attempt to step outside of the process of tradition would be like trying to step outside of our own skins. (Gallagher, cited in Schwandt 2003: 301) The value of pre-understanding, peoples insights into a specific problem and social environment before they start a research program (Gummesson 2000: 15) The arguments outlined above suggest that bias or pre-judgement is not something to be disposed of before we gather empirical data. This is because we cannot set our pre-existing understandings aside. Indeed we require the engagement of [our] biases to understand what we see and hear in research projects (Schwandt 2003: 301302). A rather poor analogy for this is to imagine a Martian coming into the middle of a Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills tutorial they would probably have no idea what was going on because they would have no socialised understanding, knowledge or grasp of what such an event might be. So writers like Schwandt and Gummesson argue that pure inductivism as claimed by grounded theorists, for example is not possible. Similarly, Gummesson argues that some pre-understanding of this kind is vital to understanding and gaining improved insights into the

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area; he suggests there is, no understanding without preunderstanding (Gummesson 2000: 70), as in the Martian example above. We also need to be aware though of what Garrison calls, our historically inherited and unreflectively held prejudices [so we can] alter those that disable our efforts to understand others, and ourselves (cited in Schwandt 2003: 302). In other words, we do need to try and keep a relatively open mind, perhaps at the same time as accepting that our own pre-understandings will inevitably lead us to interpret the data in particular ways. Gummesson talks for example of blocked pre-understanding, and says that researchers who do not at least reflect on how their experiences, socialisation and so on might be influencing their reading of the data they collect are acting rather like Procustes and Cinderellas wicked stepmother. Procustes is a robber in Greek mythology who made his victims lie on an iron bed. If they did not fit the bed perfectly, he either cut parts of their bodies off or stretched them, so that they filled the bed exactly. Similarly, in the fairy tale Cinderella, the heroines wicked stepmother cut one daughters toes off and the others heel off in an effort to make their feet fit Cinderellas abandoned glass slipper and so have the opportunity to marry the handsome prince.

The quantities of qualities, and the qualities of quantities


As we have already suggested, the division between positivistic/ quantitative and social-constructivist/qualitative research is not always clear-cut when it comes to approaches to analysing data i.e. the former can be inductive, just as the latter can be deductive. What follows is further discussion of the ways in which quantitative and qualitative approaches might blur in this regard.

Content analysis
The quasi-quantification of qualitative data is very common. Many if not all qualitative researchers use terms like some of the respondents, most of the respondents, the majority of respondents, respondents often, respondents frequently, respondents rarely and many respondents when they present their data analysis. These words are in fact allusions to relative frequency to what is happening on average, or in the main, in these data. So they are semi-statistical constructions, meaning that there is a quasi-quantification of qualitative data occurring here.

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Indeed, most qualitative researchers, despite their tendency to shy away from generalisations, do look for the strength of themes, patterns and trends in their data. They may also suggest that the stronger themes, patterns and trends could be of wider interest (i.e. could be generalisable with further research). And most, if not all, qualitative researchers will also usually provide details of the numbers in their sample, perhaps again to indicate the prevalence of themes, patterns and trends in the wider population from which these samples are taken. Full blown quantification of qualitative data is termed content analysis (e.g. Hodson, cited in Bryman and Bell 2003: 207, 475); qualitative researchers may employ content analysis which literally counts or quantifies qualitative data and thus turns it into quantitative data. For example, Hodson undertook content analysis of 86 workplace ethnographies. In this content analysis he counted numbers in each organisational type described (craft, direct supervision, assembly line, bureaucratic and worker participation) and treated these types as the independent variable. Hodson then sought to see how this variable affected various dependent variables, whilst also attending to potentially mediating variables which intervene between independent and dependent variables to produce different effects. Two examples here are job satisfaction and level of worker autonomy. Hodson concludes from his study that academic pessimism about whether employee participation schemes actually benefit the employee or are genuine in their intentions might be misplaced. He also argues that this approach has potential for many other research projects as ethnographic accounts of organisations increase in number. Hodson acknowledges that content analysis does ignore contextual factors because it singles variables out from the source data to explore relationships between them, however he suggests that, unusually for qualitative research, it allows coverage of a range of different types of organisations as well as hypothesis testing. Furthermore, the data analysed are more detailed and rich than standard quantitative data. The benefits of content analysis are as follows: because content analysis effectively cuts the data up into themes, categories, and/or variables and allows you to count the frequency of occurrence of each, it can be seen as offering some measure of objectivity compared to other more interpretive methods of analysis, it also allows for your analysis to be replicated on the same data set or for someone to use your coding scheme for a different data set assessing the same issues,

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it is a method which can be easily applied to longitudinal data i.e. secondary data which covers a period of time such as minutes of a series of meetings, reports from employment tribunals, media coverage of a specific event, and because it lends itself well to the analysis of secondary as well as primary data, it can be useful for researching groups to whom it would be difficult to gain direct access Bryman and Bell (2003: 208) give the example of researching the socio-economic backgrounds of company directors using publicly-available secondary data such as Whos Who or Burkes Peerage. The drawbacks on the other hand are: Saunders et al (2003: 402) note that, there is clearly only limited purpose in collecting qualitative data if you intend to ignore the nature and value of these data by reducing most of them to a simplified form they regard content analysis as a supplementary form of data reduction (for example, it is often a good strategy to use in initially getting to grips with a large qualitative data set), but it does tend to downplay the complexity and nuances of qualitative data, as well as ignoring its context, as already established above, you should also try not to be seduced by the fact that content analysis generates numbers, and so may feel rather more scientific and valuable as we have tried to establish throughout this module, there is no one best way to do research, content analysis can be argued to neglect respondent interpretations in the sense that it may tell you what they feel, say, or do, but not why they feel, say or do these things [Note 12], and

[12] For example, Barley et al (cited in Bryman and Bell 2003: 196, 208) wanted to research the ways in which management academics and managers influenced each other. They chose to do content analysis on 192 articles on organisational culture, both academic-authored and practitioner-authored, and published between 1975 and 1984 this is when the interest in culture was gaining momentum. Their findings tell us that the academic papers gradually accommodated practitioner interpretations over this period of time, but that the reverse was not true. However, what this fails to tell us is why this might have been the case.

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content analysis still involves researcher inferences about what respondents mean and how they use language, and thus how to categorise the relevant data.

Ethnostatistics
It is also possible to analyse quantitative data qualitatively, for example through ethnostatistics. Ethnostatistics involves examining the strategies that quantitative researchers use in their publications to persuade the reader of the plausibility of their findings in other words it examines studying, the construction, interpretation, and display of this kind of data (Gephart, cited in Bryman and Bell 2003: 474) to see how the author attempts to convince their audience. The use of statistics in itself can be seen to fall into this category because of the wider societal assumption that proper science works with and on numbers. Other issues that ethnostatisticians have identified include the use of the third person in writing (e.g. One can say that or It could be suggested that as opposed to I would say that or I would suggest that). Woolgar (1988) refers to this as an externalizing device intended to demonstrate that the findings are objective. Furthermore, quantitative researchers often present their research process in a linear fashion, arguably to demonstrate that the findings were inevitable, and they may also use management language to evidence how organised and systematic they were such that terms like control of variables, tables were generated and so on are commonly found in this sort of research (Bryman and Bell 2003: 524).

Presenting qualitative data


The narrative and quotes approach to presenting qualitative data can be found in the majority of publications of qualitative research. The researcher intersperses direct quotations from the data with indirect quotations summarising respondents feelings, behaviours and beliefs. Theoretical conceptualisation i.e. what these data say about the relevant literature may be presented at the same time or as a separate, subsequent section. There is, however, a range of alternative or supplementary approaches that can be used. In selecting a method of presentation, the researcher will have consideration to the strategy used to analyse the data. Matrices can be used by qualitative researchers. Here the researcher would use a table where each respondent (or group of respondents) was

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presented on an individual row, and the columns would indicate particular themes or issues in the data. Each cell of the table would then summarise what each respondent/group had to say about each issue, perhaps with an indicative direct quotation or two. In addition it is possible to employ diagrams and charts. These could depict lines of travel around a workplace derived from observation data or an organisation structure or flowcharts of work processes derived from interview or observation data. It might also be interesting to compare any such data with official documents where they exist, e.g. to the organisation structure as it appears in the annual report, for example. Causal networks would pictorially trace independent and dependent variables and/or correlations between variables to show where the relationships exist and what the outcomes are. Content analysis generates quantitative data for further analysis, offering scope for using techniques usually associated with quantitative data, e.g. bar charts, line graphs and scattergrams.

Concluding Comments
In this section we have identified the different strategies that can be employed to analyse qualitative data. We have encouraged you to consider the inevitable human problem in the analysis of data. The purpose of the research should be a critical factor in selecting a strategy. Most researchers will establish whether the research is descriptive, explanatory or exploratory. Most but not all qualitative researchers want to explore their research area, and so choose inductive strategies, but this is not true across the board. Both deductive and inductive strategies have strengths and weaknesses, and there are variants of each (e.g. pattern matching and negative case analysis (deductive) and grounded theory and quasi-grounded analysis (qualitative)). Importantly, within this section we have tried to avoid an overly simplistic dichotomy between qualitative and quantitative data analysis. We have also seen how quantitative and qualitative analysis blur in other ways, using content analysis and ethnostatistics as examples.

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Key Readings
You should now read the following before carrying on with the module: [Reading 18] Chapter 22 (Qualitative Data Analysis) from Business Research Methods by Alan Bryman and Emma Bell [Reading 19] Chapter 24 (Breaking down the Quantitative/Qualitative Divide) from Business Research Methods by Alan Bryman and Emma Bell

Task
9.1 There is a considerable amount of reading provided for this section, so this task is designed to encourage you to assess your ability to synthesise the key ideas that you have been exposed to. To this end, the task for this section is to complete the Questions for Review at the end of Reading 18.

References
The following sources were used in writing this section. The references are correct at the time of writing, but note that Internet addresses, editions, publishers and so on are apt to change. We will note changes where we are aware of them on Blackboard. Alvesson, M. and Deetz, S. (2000) Doing Critical Management Research, London: Sage, Chapter 3 Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2003) Business Research Methods, Oxford: Oxford University Press, Chapters 8 and 21 (also see Chapters 19 and 20)

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Glaser, B.G. and Strauss, A.L. (1969) The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for qualitative research, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson Gummesson, E. (2000) Qualitative Methods in Management Research, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, Chapter 3 Halme, M. (2002) Corporate environmental paradigms in shift: learning during the course of action at UPM-Kymmene, Journal of Management Studies, 39 (8), pp. 10871109 Robson, C. (2002) Real World Research: A resource for social scientists and practitioner-researchers, second edition, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 386389, Chapter 14 Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2003) Research Methods for Business Students, third edition, Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall, Chapter 12 Schwandt, T.A. (2003) Three epistemological stances for qualitative enquiry, in N.K. Denzin and Y.S. Lincoln (eds), The Landscape of Qualitative Research, second edition, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 292331 Smart, S. (1994) The Nature of Strategic Change Towards Human Resource Management, unpublished MBA dissertation, University of Portsmouth Strauss, A.L. and Corbin, J. (1998) Basics of Qualitative Research, second edition, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Woolgar, S. (1988) Science: The very idea, Chichester: Ellis Horwood

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MN7200/D SECTION 10

Concluding Comments on the Module

Section 10

Concluding Comments on the Module


Over the course of this module we have covered a substantial amount of material. We have discussed how the mode of learning (distance learning) engages the student in a different manner to more conventional campus-based programmes of study. The position the student takes to their learning experience and to their study materials has also been a theme developed through the module. The emphasis has been very firmly on promoting an analytical approach, with students both exploring and examining the literature in their subject areas. We have encouraged a view of knowledge that is perhaps less certain of itself than we may be accustomed to, and certainly more questioning. This leads to an approach to management that resists the temptation to narrow the focus to the technical, and encourages both practitioners and scholars to appreciate the context and the broader questions surrounding the human activity of managing. In the latter stages of this module, we concentrated our attentions on the idea of knowledge and the ways of knowing and researching in the social sciences, specifically the study of management (including marketing and finance). You may have encountered a range of ideas in this module for the first time. This exposure to new ideas can be disorientating. On the full-time programme we will sometimes hear the following claims from students: I feel lost, there is so much in this module, I do not know where to start! or When will the real issues be covered? These are both perfectly legitimate questions and they deserve answers.

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This sense of disorientation is usually only temporary; once you attempt the assignment question you will begin to piece together the issues. For some students this can be a revelatory experience and they return to their studies with a renewed energy! Of course not all students experience this sense of catharsis. It is important to appreciate that the material provided for you is offered to enable you to comprehend how academic authors have undertaken their studies. You will see from the assignment question that the task is to examine the objectives the researcher has set for themselves (the research questions) and the method used (i.e. the role of qualitative and quantitative methods). In the process you are being asked to explore the assumptions (issues of epistemology and ontology) that they are carrying into the research; this is evidenced by the methodology employed and their use of the existing literature. Through the assignment you are also being assessed to see whether you have assembled the necessary skills of, and for, scholarship. Thus the marker will be looking for evidence of referencing for instance, how you are are subjecting the article to critique, and how you express your ideas on the page through an appropriate academic writing style. All of this is premised on your ability to use the library to source materials; to organise your time to build a body of notes from these materials to construct an argument. The assignment is formative in nature it is preparing you for the next modules and it is preparing you for the labour of learning. There is also an expectation that some of the more philosophical ideas within this module will remain hazy until you have progressed through the modules and you have been exposed to some of the debates within the subject area. The material on research methods is contextual material to allow you to understand how other researchers have designed their studies. You will find that you will return to many of these issues in the Research Methods module towards the end of your programme. Turning our attention to the question of when the real issues will be covered, this is an interesting question, and it demonstrates that the student is keen to progress on the programme of study. This module is titled Foundations of Knowledge and Professional Skills and it has been produced to ensure that students enter the programme with the requisite level of skills and knowledge in the social sciences. You have selected to invest your time and resources into an academic programme of study and so it is essential that you have a sound appreciation of what the University expects of you. We know from considerable experience that the more prepared a student is for Masters level study, the stronger the student will perform during the programme. We would also suggest that this reduces the likelihood that the student will develop unfortunate habits in their learning, e.g. poor note-taking and referencing. Learning to study

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effectively also avoids the situation where the student finds it difficult to understand why their marks are lower than the rest of the cohort, or that the markers feedback keeps requesting evidence of analytical thinking in dissecting theories and practice. This module has been written with the knowledge that students often enter a distance learning programme after a significant period away from education. In talking to students at induction days we often hear them refer to the need to find their feet again to learn how to read and write when they start their studies at the University. This may sound a little strange, but it is an acknowledgement that demands of the job and the demands of the programme of study whilst often commensurable can require different skills. The customs and cultures of the workplace can emphasise particular skills and practices that may not fit comfortably with the expectations that the University may have of its students. At the most basic level this can include the distinction between writing internal reports and writing an essay. In writing the former, the assets of bullet points, succinct text, singular vision and images are praised; in contrast the essay demands supported knowledge claims, logical development of an argument, and the ability to compare and contrast multiple perspectives. A further difference many students experience between their workplace and the learning environment is their position amongst their colleagues. Hierarchies within the workplace can sometimes limit what can be said and by whom. Progression within your career is usually linked to success on a set of given criteria and generally the avoidance of failure or doubt. Within the University environment you are expected to contribute, to share your ideas and to offer input into discussions and debates. An openness is promoted in which students should feel able to trust that others in the community will not belittle their thinking or suppress their offering. Dialogue between students is strongly encouraged and those participating in the discussions will reflect upon the significance of dialectical reasoning that you have been introduced to in this module. Working through the different demands and indeed similarities between the workplace and the academic environment can pay dividends in the long run. In the process of studying the modules and working through the tensions between practice and theory, you will begin to develop into what Schn (1991) refers to as the reflective practitioner. It is helpful at this point to return to the learning objectives for this module: to develop the requisite quantitative awareness to enable the analysis and understanding of those quantitatively-oriented

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publications that you will encounter as part of your programme of study, to demonstrate the ways in which views on the nature of reality and the essence of being influence the production of knowledge in your specialist field, and to enable appropriate reflection on your own commitments in this regard as well as those of other students, staff and the authors of the material that you will confront in your programme of study, and to appreciate that there are different educational cultures across the world and learn how to operate successfully within the one at work in the UK and, more specifically, the University of Leicester School of Management. We hope that this module has encouraged you to consider your learning skills and your approach to the programme of study. Above all, we hope that it has instilled in you a desire for lifelong learning. Good luck with your studies and your learning.

References
The following sources were used in writing this section. The references are correct at the time of writing, but note that Internet addresses, editions, publishers and so on are apt to change. We will note changes where we are aware of them on Blackboard. Schn, D.A. (1991) The Reflective Turn: Case studies in and on educational practice, New York: Teachers Press, Columbia University

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MN7200/D Appendix A

Writing an Article Review

Appendix A

Writing an Article Review


An article review is your record of the main content and implications (analysis) contained in an article. It is a systematic approach to reading articles. By conducting a formal article review you will find that you have a framework or approach to reading. One problem of independent study or reading is that sometimes it can be passive students read an article and feel that it has been checked off a list of things to do, often without trying to place the knowledge, facts or disputes contained within the article in the context of what is known already, or how it helps or does not help (relate or does not relate) to the modules purpose and/or assignment. Undertaking an article review forces you to think as you read. An article review should have the following main features: summary of key points, implications (for one or more topics in the syllabus or directly for an assignment question), problems/issues raised by the authors (see the example given below), your thoughts and conclusions about the article content, problems or issues you have with how the research has been conducted; how and what conclusions and recommendations were reached by the authors, key terms/definitions you may need to refer to again later, further reading or areas to follow up, and useful quotes.

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An example of an article review follows. You should use this purely as a guide or example of how you might develop reviews for the reading material in your studies. You should think about the style of writing and types of headings that suit your learning and any assignment. You may also find that the headings and style of your review are somewhat dependent on the article content. If you build up a series of article reviews it will make it much easier to write your assignments. You will have practiced the activity and as such will feel more comfortable with approaching the larger tasks in the assignments. Your reviews will also act as summaries and this is helpful when you want to cite articles a good article review will ensure that you do not need to re-read the original text.

Guidance
This is an example of how you might achieve a short article review useful to your studies on the course. Article reference Hudson, L.A. and Ozanne, J.L. (1988) Alternative ways of seeking knowledge in consumer research, Journal of Consumer Research, 14 (4), pp. 508524 Article summary Outlines the two dominant ways of seeking knowledge in consumer research. The first is positivist research and the second is interpretive research. Positivist research assumes that there is a fixed and objective reality which can be examined through the application of specialised research techniques. Positivist research usually requires a hypothesis to be generated which is tested in through empirical work and statistical analysis. It is assumed that phenomena, such as behaviour for example, can be identified and measured independently as a research variable. The main objective of positivist research is to explain and predict. Often this type of research is used to develop models and generate general laws. Interpetive research has a different philosophical basis to positivist research. It does not assume that there is a fixed objective reality, but rather multiple realities which are context specific. Interpetivist researchers do not set out to test specific research questions but rather enter the field with general areas of investigation and research ideas which can be changed and adapted as the

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research progresses. The main objective is to understand rather than predict or explain. In-depth description is considered more important. The two approaches are incommensurable, i.e. they cannot be easily combined and integrated. However, triangulation can be used. For example, results from an interpretive study could be used to enhance, or add depth to, positivist empirical findings. History of ideas/conceptual lineage Article responds to what might be considered two principal types of studies in the discipline. First there are those articles that question the status of consumer research and marketing as a scientifically credible field of study. These studies have been concerned with the status of consumer research vis a vis the marketing discipline more generally, but also have been concerned that the discipline is seen to have a credible scientific status vis a vis other social science disciplines including psychology and economics. The second tradition of articles are those that pay particular attention to the variety of research approaches or epistemological frameworks. This is one of the earlier articles that presented a basic dichotomy, i.e. two different approaches. The dichotomy is by no means comprehensive or unproblematic. Since the publication date there have been many more articles and books that consider other epistemological approaches not presented in this dichotomy, for example, critical realism and critical theory (refs). The dichotomy of interpretivism and positivism has been useful in consumer research to expose the different assumptions researchers hold about consumers and the world in which they live. The dichotomy is still used in consumer behaviour text books and is a useful starting point to consider these complexities. It is noticeable that interpretive articles will justify their approach while positivist-type articles do not go out of their way to explain or justify why they take this approach. This is possibly due to the history of consumer research which has considered managerial relevance, prediction and scientific credibility as important. Contemporary consumer trends and changes in the discipline of marketing have seen a rise in the number of interpretive studies. They are now seen as credible and stand aside positivist-type studies. It is noticeable, however, that there are still a greater number of positivist-type studies in the high-ranking American journals. Main implications for market research Need to ask: are we looking for truths and facts (positivist); or in-depth understanding and description (interpretivist)?

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Research questions that ask how many, what frequency etc. are best investigated through positivist methods. Questions that ask what are peoples opinions about ..., what do consumers feel ... etc are best investigated through interpretivist methods. Main implications for consumer research Measuring behaviour, emotions and attitudes may require an interpretivist framework. However, interpretivist research is limited in terms of measuring consumer trends, regional variations etc, or any data that requires quantitative measurement. Positivist research approaches assume that consumers are passive rather than creative meaning-makers. They view consumers as rational, willing and able to process information, and they also see consumer attitudes are stable and therefore predictable. Interpretive research approaches conceive consumers as active meaning-makers and seek to understand and describe the meanings and the processes involved in creating meaning. Interpretive approaches do not necessarily assume that attitudes guide behaviour and are more likely to explore the emotional and irrational aspects of buyer behaviour. They seek to describe in detail and expect that their description is context bound and represents a consumer on a trajectory of identity and consumption that is dynamic and fluid. Problems/issues raised The distinction between interpretivist and positivist seems a bit simplistic. Key terms Positivism; interpretivism; triangulation Quotes Interpretivists generally assume real causes cannot be identified, and view the researchinformant relationship as interactive an co-operative. (page 3) Definitions Axiology The central goal of the approach. Ontology The nature and understanding of reality (fixed or variable). Epistimology Types of knowledge.

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See page 3 for summary table of positivist and interpretivist approaches. See page 5 for discussion on triangulation. Related references and areas to follow up Geertz, C. (1973) The Interpretation of Cultures, London: Fontana Press, Chapter 1, Thick Description Holbrook, M.B. (1987) What is consumer research?, Journal of Consumer Research, 14 (June), pp. 128132 Things to do Look at articles published later and up to current date to place this article in context and show that there have been specialist articles on critical realism, etc.

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