Getting stuck in

flickr photo by ironypoisoning shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Although there’s a little over three months before my official start date, I’m keen to get out of the blocks and see no reason not begin reading. Actually I guess that process already began during the preparation of the research proposal, where some of the areas with which I needed to become intimate revealed themselves. The areas which currently appear to be high on the agenda include:

  • actor-network theory
  • sociomaterial approaches
  • social media in general and twitter more specifically
  • social network analysis
  • teacher professional learning and professional development, from both structured, formal fields and more ad hoc, informal
  • digital ethnography

Some of the above will frame the theoretical aspects of this research, some guide the methodology and some will perhaps span both. “The literature” to which I will turn will inevitably include books and chapters therein (foundations), journal articles which may be theoretical, empirical, meta-studies (the state of play), conference papers, but also theses and dissertations written within the field (to suggest what I’m aiming for). I find great enjoyment chaining from the references in the initial texts to new ones, finding new avenues and perhaps different perspectives. Until I’m on roll at SHU and have access through the institutional repository however some of those avenues may be blocked by paywalls and may have to wait until the barrier is raised.

Given the time frame and that I’m currently still in full-time employment, I suspect I’m likely to only scratch the surface, but my intentions are that I’ll be able to explore boundaries within which the study will take place, have read some of the seminal works from the field and begun to read more critically, analytically and reflectively. What I definitely need to do is create a mechanism for capturing interesting nuggets to which I might wish to return or that I consider to be particularly significant. In the past, I simply copied and pasted them into a document, together with a link back to the source. EverNote and OneNote immediately spring to mind, though I’d rather go less proprietary if possible. Simplenote perhaps offers an alternative, is free, cross-platform and offers various apps. Maybe I need to think more about the platform in which I’ll be undertaking the majority of my serious writing and look for a link with the notetaking application. (Think a future post will need to consider the IT aspects)

In conclusion, I’m currently reading Sociological Theory (Ritzer & Goodman, 2003). Recognising that my background is in the physical sciences, rather than social, I suspect have a bit of catching up to do.

Ritzer, G., Goodman, D., 2003. Sociological Theory. McGraw-Hill Companies,Incorporated.

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