Presentation on theme: "Helping students identify a research topic 10 September 2009 Gherardo Girardi London Metropolitan University Project funded by the Economics Network."— Presentation transcript:
Helping students identify a research topic 10 September 2009 Gherardo Girardi London Metropolitan University Project funded by the Economics Network
Overview The problem Theoretical framework The experiment Results from the questionnaire Conclusion
The problem Research Methods is a module taught within the MA International Business at London Metropolitan University It is assessed by means of a research proposal followed by a research project Students are free to select a topic of their choice Every semester, a large number of students struggle to choose their topic, some quite seriously What can we do to help them make identify their topic?
The theoretical problem John Sedgwick (my co-lecturer) and I wondered if the students needed to better identify their motivations for choosing a topic. A useful framework is the onion rings model of Korthagen and Vasalos in Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 2005 (see web page), which highlights the importance of being aware of one´s identity and of having a sense of mission as key motivating factors for teachers. The literature on intrinsic versus extrinsic motivations is relevant
The thoretical problem Human development theory is of some help in identifying one´s motivations for choosing a certain topic: Psychoanalytic theory (Freud, Jung) Conditioning theory (Pavlov, Skinner) Cognitive theory (Piaget) Evolutionary theory (Darwin, Bjorklund) Contextual theory (Brofenbrenner)
The experiment I developed an exercise which helps students identify a topic by helping them identify their motivation(s) for choosing a topic. I classified motivations into different categories (see physical copy) I organized students into groups and distributed the exercise. Students had to decided which appoach(es) they felt were most useful. Group leaders had to report their findings in front of the class. Individual students filled in a questionnaire.
Conclusion The exercise I attempted does not appear to be described in the literature. Results from the questionnaire suggest students found the exercise useful. Students said they would like to see more examples of each motivational approach.