Wednesday, July 11, 2007

my research question

Right now it seems that my research question is: What is my research question? It's maddening.

I'm struggling with it, but this is what I have so far (as with all my work thus far -- special shout out to my friend Kate for looking over all the first attempts, so that my web persona can be just the tiniest bit less vulnerable):

1. To what extent are faculty and students aware of the options available when choosing instructional technology and of the long-term cost considerations (fiscal, ethical, ideological, and otherwise) involved in adopting software for use in higher education?
a. What are the options and alternatives (particularly in terms of proprietary software options in contrast to open source models) available to faculty and administration when choosing instructional technology software such as course management systems (CMS), ePortfolio programs, and assessment software?
b. What are the fiscal, pedagogical, and ideological factors involved in the decision making processes on the part of faculty staff and administration when choosing software for their institution?
c. What are the ethical and political implications (if any) that influence the decisions made by faculty, staff, and administration when purchasing and utilizing proprietary software?

The first question I see as a kind of overarching question of the project. The sub-questions seem to actually be the questions that would have to come first. If that makes any sense at all. (Once again, I'm a bit too close to tell at this point). The other thing I'm stuggling with are the nuances between ideological and political and ethical (and even then, I guess, fiscal and pedagogical since those are both political and ideological...and...sigh). This part feels unruly to me right now. I'm still working it all out, but feedback is welcome. I should just make this a workshopping blog.


Royce Robertson said...

Hello, I think the direction of your study is interesting because of the ever-pervasive personal choice involved in measure the "extent to which" component of "aware of options." Some of the more empirical/experimental folk may question it; however, we lovers-of-all-things-gray-and-qualitative will love it. There are some existing surveys to measure reasons for choosing specific technologies.

VTmtngrrl said...

Royce, thanks for your comment. I agree with you and have been struggling with that idea of "measuring" extent of awareness. But I believe I'll be making some arguments against the constant drive in higher ed. to measure things, so at least I won't be contradicting myself in that way. I do see the slippery slope of the language and the way that I have to present this as a "study."

Are those exising surveys on your blog? I looked but didn't see anything about that exactly.

bonnie lenore kyburz said...

i think it helps to wonder about *exactly* why *you* want to do this research, about the nature of your desire in it. it seems like a simple question, but it can give you access to a sense of *a* problematic *concept* (abstract and complex, but willing to be articulated as a simple term) that resonates within/through/out your various questions. i wonder if the concept (which will them be contextualized w/in discourses on, say, fiscal concerns, ideological concerns, etc. . . .) could be FRUSTRATION? or HOPE? or DESIRE? if so, this may lead to a bit of work on these *affects* and how they are functioning to liberate your emotions, which are always already somewhat determined. (fwiw, i've been really high on Brian Massumi's "The Autonomy of Affect", even though i see his desire for a free-flowing affect problematic -- still, the DESIRE for it as VERY important, . . . . so, I'm pretty much these days working w/ concepts of affect, which seem to liberate my sense of my projects). contextualizing w/in an emotional lanscape that is teased out from discussion of, say, ideology, then, becomes a a sort of structuring method.

if none of that made sense, or if you'd like to chat more, i'm open to it.

good luck!

bonnie lenore kyburz said...

discourse analysis for "measuring" awareness, maybe.