I had a meeting with the module tutor today, about my proposed research for the Research Methods module To say I was nervous was an understatement! I sort of expected to be quizzed on my ontological and epistemological standpoint and be questioned on my choice (seemingly random) of methodology.
But no. Hurrah! I gave an overview of my background and interest and then of my research question. The tutor started off by saying it was a widely studied area, so my immediate concern was that there would be no further area to study. The tutor reeled off list after list of reports surrounding the area of vocational qualifications and their perception in relation to A levels. These I'll have to acquaint/reacquaint myself with:
- Higginson report on A levels in 1988
- Tomlinson report which was quashed by the Blair/Brown government in the run up to the 2010 election
He suggested that I tap into the long history on the topic of vocational qualifications and their role in equipping young people to become career-ready, for example Leitch's Review of Skills
He also suggested I read up on Michael Young: A Curriculum for the 21st Century? Towards a New Basis for Overcoming Academic/Vocational Divisions (can't currently access this online anywhere).
We also discussed (well, I listened...) Foucault's discursive practices relating to policy, with the suggestion that policies speak into existence the behaviours and understandings of us all. Policies inform practice and there is a sovereignty of academic qualifications over vocational qualifications; students come to believe in this 'truth' through socialisation.
With regard to the use of IPA, the tutor was happy for me to use this methodology. He stressed the importance of location of my self within the research, and suggested that I ensure disclosure of my background, in the introduction, to identify the lens through which I view and interpret the research. This will be discussed in relation to the theory of reflexivity My own thought is that I need to mention bracketing, if only to explain why I discount it. Furthermore, something I haven't mentioned previously, is that I am the first generation of the family to go to university. This is something worth mentioning. Currently, I remain the only member of my side of t he family to do so.
SO, where am I? In a happier place about my thoughts about how to go about this assignment and research project.
What do I need to do now?
- Reconsider my assignment plan to incorporate policies/discursive practices
- Consider adding info on the various reports highlighted
- Develop my location of self
- Get cracking on the ethics side of things! This is what may well hold me up.