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Journal Article

Hypermodernist Travellers in a Postmodern World  pp1-8

Peter M. Bednar, Christine Welch

© Sep 2008 Volume 6 Issue 1, ECRM 2008, Editor: Ann Brown, pp1 - 94

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Abstract

As travellers, we are usually aware that a map is not the territory it represents. However, as researchers, inquiring into practice, are we always aware of the domain within which that practice is situated? Descriptions of practice sometimes suggest that this is not the case. For example, do engineers actually believe that the models they develop and use are reflections of some reality? It is likely that an engineer never actually follows his models when developing an artefact or process. Similarly, we can ask ourselves whether we believe that a chef actually cooks by following a recipe. Possibly, only someone who does not know how to cook would think so. These idealised models are simply the basis for discussionreflection and experimentation. It is sometimes the case, however, that descriptions of practice are produced based in a kind of rationality that suggests these misapprehensions are appropriate. In the context of research, can we say that postmodernism has any relevance? If, in the field of practice, only the uninitiated ever had illusions that the 'grand theories' of 'modernism' could be directly applicable, then informed research must recognize this also. To those with no illusions, such 'grand theories' were a basis for reflection and critique. Thus, to this extent we have always been 'modern' and still are. Rather than espousing a Postmodernist perspective, we might point to 'Hypermodernism' — a recognition that the 'grand theories' can only be used as metaphors, i.e. a basis for practical philosophy. By adopting such a stance, it is possible to avoid a false step of fighting 'straw men' and dismissing as worthless research that which could be useful material for reflection and learning when juxtaposed with other perspectives on practice. Models and explanatory frameworks within which research has been conducted need not be rejected as 'modernist' if there is recognition of their useful role as metaphor. At the same time, we suggest a need for a critically‑informed approach to research which sheds light upon taken‑for‑granted assumptions and naïve rationalities, illuminating metaphor and stimulating reflection.

 

Keywords: metaphor, reflective practice, postmodernism, critical systemic thinking, contextual inquiry

 

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Journal Article

Reflection‑in‑Addition: Using Reflective logs to Build Research into Undergraduate Projects  pp85-93

Martin Rich

© Jan 2015 Volume 13 Issue 2, ECRM 2015, Editor: Ann Brown, pp63 - 93

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Abstract

Abstract: This paper explores the scope for using reflective logs as a component in final year projects taken by students on an undergraduate management course. Students often wish to build practical experience into the final year of their degree, but th ey are also expected to carry out a certain amount of independent research as part of a final year. There can be a tension between students⠒ desire for experience and the requirement for research. The context of this is a management degree where a sig nificant piece of independent work is regarded as a crucial component of the course, but where an unintended consequence of framing this piece of work in a way that encourages autonomy among students, is that there is some ambiguity about quite what stude nts are expected to deliver. An observation made by some of the markers of these projects is that it is not uncommon for them to read like good consultancy reports, which do demonstrate the students⠒ writing skills and often prepare them for their futu re careers, but which do not necessarily score highly against the criteria associated with a major academic piece of work. Within the author⠒s institution some thought has been given to providing alternative forms of project, and a tangible move in this direction has been to introduce an option where some students combine their project with working alongside an organisation on a practical task. For these students an integral part of the process is the requirement that they maintain a reflective log on their work, following the principles of Schon (1983) in framing and reframing questions to elicit knowledge based on the students⠒ experience. One interpretation of this is that the reflective log can constitute part of the primary data that the stud ents draw on in their research. Such an approach has clear attractions for students and academic supervisors alike. There are well defined formats which a reflective log can follow and which can foster experiential learning (Moon, 2004). Because this type of project is based on practical activities

 

Keywords: Keywords: Reflective practice, projects, observation

 

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