Monday, February 13, 2012

guess the grade for my narrative inquiry paper - bids pls

I try to discourage my students from doing it, but I too, am concerned about my performance in my last MA module, Developing Researcher Competence. There are a number of reasons for this, but mainly that this was a new approach to doing things. I moved from an etic, to an emic approach: previously my research had been about me in my class, suddenly it was about other people in strange lands (well not that strange, but you get the picture, I hope)

That said, I am eager to read my feedback and see my grade tomorrow. I am interested because it's, of course, a great chance to learn. I have found plenty of reward in reading, and listening to (yes, some tutors gave audio feedback) my tutors comments. All of the negative stuff I try to reframe as formative in some way. Writing for journals and conference papers is one way to do this. Up next is my dissertation, so there's plenty of good reason to get really stuck into the feedback given.

The piece I wrote for the DRC was very reflective. It was, I suspect too reflective in it's overall orientation (1/3rd was supposed to be reflections). I also have a number of other predictions. I predict that:
1. My choice of topic was too broad, my assignment was about mapping the CPD context for Palestinian English teachers, but this was too general a starting point.
2. Lack of interrogation of my reasons for responding in the ways I did. The reasons I gave seemed very 'basic', e.g. not enough time.
3. I didn't link between the three sections well, in fact i didn't link between the three parts of the paper at all. I think this would have helped me get more in, and avoided repetition...
4. repetition, see above
5.I forgot to include an avenue of thought that may have helped me in my analysis, this was to employ a quantitative tool like ATLAS, or another concordance tool.
6. My analysis lacked focus, I said stuff, which may be interesting, but there wasn't an approach governing my analysis. For example, I could have looked at the symbolic nature of language, or interpreted the instrumental function of aspects of the story...either way an approach rather than all approaches may have worked better for me..
7. I think the process of story-telling can be a beneficial, developmental (co-operative development-esque) and therapeutic experience for the person doing the telling, yet i didn't say this in my rationale for choosing this approach to data generation...It is also beneficial to developing a sense of our professional community and yet I failed to mention this too.
8. Finally, I think I was really overly political in my writing.

My friends Joe, Emma, and Adam were really helpful in their editing (thanks) and their comments have informed some of these comments above. Anyway, what's done is done. For sure I need to plan much better for my dissertation, both structurally and my time in order to have success. One of the major problems with this piece was that I was writing, planning, analysing data, organising very much at the same time (as i was behind schedule). This is best avoided if I want to do myself justice in the dissertation.

I will be getting the results on valentines day at 9am GMT, so post your predictions if you like.

Love you bye ;)


  1. Hi Ed,

    Reading your analysis of your assignment, I would say that as long as you pass (which we all hope for) it doesn't really matter what grade you'll get, you have already learned from the experience.

    I too have learned my lessons I hope. But this was certainly the most difficult and least pleasurable course of all so far and at times I think I didn't know what I was doing :-) I've talked to some previous students and they said the same, including one of our tutors (as you might remember). But this tutor also said that the DRC experience helped her a lot when doing the dissertation. So, in the end this is what counts and maybe learning does after all not always has to be pleasurable.

    It's past nine GMT, I've just checked but there is no grade yet…

    Anyway, all the best with your dissertation.

  2. Thanks for the words, they help. To be honest, it may be the nicest written thing I have produced so far, just lacking in depth of content. I have completely discovered that you can't blag it. I needed to have done more reading and a lot more thinking, particularly moving outside of my comfort zone as teacher-researcher.... En sh'allah, this helps with the dissertation....

    oh, I saw on Turn it in that there's a noon time penciled in, so i reckon i will try again later.

  3. comments include: I need to become more explicitly purposeful and disciplined in my writing...very difficult to ascertain what i did...and how i arrived at these findings (issues therefore with transparency)...needed a clearer focus throughout...

    pt 1. not as report like as it should be as a report....i need to read more research reports....
    pt 2 needed more why....
    pt3 didn't refer to researcher jounral entries at all, i did write one but didn't refer to it (doh!)

    there are some pretty clear echoes of what I've said above, I think. It's not a great shock to get a 58: lowest mark on the MA yet. A disappointing grade, yet a chance to turn this situation around for the dissertation...
    It was a challenge to do this, to write this, and to get to know my new context.

    Also, one small thing that has come up a few times on my MA now. I am colour blind, and occasionally bits of coloured text turns up in the text each time drawing a comment. I am powerless to see these!!! :o)

  4. Hi Ed,

    Not for the first time in my academic career I must agree with Nergiz:) At this stage a pass is a pass and you may be a bit disappointed with your score, but you would be more so if it was a fail and you had to do it again! The important thing is that you recoginsed the potential feedback areas and these became apparent in your feedback you received. Likewise a disappointing one for me and the lowest grade thus far... I am glad this happened now and not after the big one.

  5. Well, you certainly don't have issues with transparency when it comes to sharing your grade, feedback and reflections :-) If I look at the rubric, 58 is at the higher end of "Satisfactory" and with two more points it would have been "Merit". If you are going to continue with this topic in your dissertation, this will be a good step towards it.

    In my case, it was my second lowest grade with 71 (70 being the lowest). I know, it's still good and I did learn a lot in the process. But I'm probably going to do something completely different for my dissertation, so will have to start all over again.

  6. Martin, I can't even imagine how it must feel to fail and have to take out all the notes and papers and rewrite an assignment. I hope everybody has passed.

    Btw, just noticed the time stamp on our comments. People will think we are staying up and writing comments on blogs all night :-)

  7. *agreeing with Nergiz is a rare complaint :)
    Yes, likewise, glad I don't have to rewrite at this stage it could prove harrowing. And, yes, the irony of sharing my 'failings' yet lacking transparency in my paper...this is more procedural, i.e.: not saying exactly what i did...I'd be interested to read one of yours to see, and as the feedback goes, I need to read more research reports generally.
    Like you, I might choose a new topic/method (despite the advice) I reckon there's "a lot" (an imprecise measurement if ever there was one), even with a new topic, that we can transfer frm this to another research project...

  8. That is interesting to hear from you two! I agree that there is a lot to transfer to a new topic... but just the thought of starting over fresh makes me shudder!Saying that though a brave decision now could save the whole year:)

    Actually I need to ask the crew at Manchester about this. I did quite an extensive lit review (more than was needed for this DRC module) could really do with not having to do that again, need to ask if it is salvageable for the dis. Same sentiments as before all the very best... we are on the final approach now

  9. You are both very kind :)
    Ed, you are welcome to read my assignment. I did mine on narrative inquiry as well.
    When it comes to reading articles my problem is that I read too much/many, which makes me feel overwhelmed when writing. I have enough notes for a dissertation, so really a shame that I won't be able to use it now. I was hoping I could save time…

  10. Hi Ed, Martin and Nergiz
    Glad to hear you all passed and happy to say I did too! Totally agree with Nergiz and Martin re importance of passing at this stage and value of feedback received for dissertation and .... thanks for writing your post Ed as so nice to hear from you all.