Methodological challenges encountered in research: Symposium II

Hafdís Guðjónsdóttir

SVANHAF samfélag leiðbeinenda og doktorsnema

Fostering researcher’s reflexivity in research with immigrant students

Anna Katarzyna Wozniczka, doktorsnemi, MVS HÍ

Reflexivity is an ongoing process of being self-aware of own assumptions and beliefs and examine how these may influence the research process. In other words, reflexivity is a form of an inner dialogue and evaluation of the impact of researcher’s behavior, values and perceptions on data collection and analysis. This presentation examines my role as a reflexive researcher while negotiating issues that may arise while preparing and conducting research with immigrant students. It is a personal narrative from my experience of doing a multiple-case study in Iceland. The purpose is to present the path of self-development as a reflexive researcher. I applied critical autobiography which helps a researcher to deconstruct a story in terms of audiences of the research, purposes for telling story and social critique of one’s subjectivity. Data collection included my journal, interviews with students, story-crafting, video-recordings and field notes from observations. During the analytical process, I located four themes that present the stages of development of my reflexivity. Findings indicate that to develop the research, I needed first to learn about myself as a researcher. Giving participants time to gain trust and using diverse data collection tools allowed me to capture stories that otherwise might have been omitted. It was important to constantly renegotiate my role and be careful not to position participants according to personal experience. With the growing number of students with multicultural background in Iceland, there is a need for a further dialogue on how to do research with these students in a conscientious way.

Swimming against the current: A self-study of a preschool teacher

Ásta Möller Sívertsen, doktorsnemi, MVS HÍ

Nearly ten years ago, starting work at a preschool, I was thrown into the deep end of the pool. I did not know what was expected of me. I had a vague idea of the school values, but I did not know how to work according to those values. Soon I realized that I wanted to become a qualified preschool teacher, to be able to make decisions based on professional knowledge and reflection.  I worked as a preschool teacher for a year and a half after graduating with a masters’ degree as a preschool teacher. When I took on a new position, I felt there was something lacking. I wasn’t working according to my values and my heart wasn’t in it. I thought that after graduation I would be recognized as one of the professional teachers but that did not happen. My values and ideas were not in harmony with the preschool’s values and I found myself alone. I am designing and will be conducting a study into my development as a preschool teacher, building on the self-study methodology. Through conducting this study, I aim to enhance my own professional leadership abilities and to gain a deeper understanding of my personal transition from being an unqualified teacher to a qualified preschool teacher. I am the main subject, other participants are children, administrators, head teachers, teachers, and assistants. In this presentation I will discuss ethical challenges I have come across in the early stages of myself study journey.

Making it challenging, or saving it from the challenge: The need for methodological inventiveness in self-study research

Megumi Nishida, doktorsnemi, MVS HÍ

In this presentation, I discuss the necessity of methodological inventiveness in research while reflecting on my own self-study experience from 2014 to the present. Self-study is a qualitative methodology which supports educators’ exploration of their own practice through various creative methods for the purpose of improving their practice as a goal. However, it took me five years to make meaning of my self-study because I did not know how inventiveness would save me from a challenge. To make my argument valid in the context of my experience, I took a retrospective approach for analyzing my artefacts – including my teaching journal, reflective short stories, and the publication of book chapters and journal articles – I employed literary arts-based methods of metaphor and Haiku. When I started studying my practice at an Icelandic preschool in 2014, I kept writing my teaching journal. A year later, I coded my journal to understand my experiences as I did for my master’s project interview data. I found some themes and edited some stories to capture the related moments, but I could not solve my frustration. Five years later, I learned about arts-based methods. I found that metaphors could help me express the complexity of my practice through the narrative story of building the boat. Literature of methodological inventiveness expanded my interest for employing Haiku to examine my teaching with student teachers in Japan and my own practice. It was a challenge to initiate literary-arts methods, but in the end, it saved me from a challenge I was trapped in for many years.