Just thinking about my research

Now Playing: Aaye Ho Meri Zindagi (Raja Hindustani)
Topic: Research questions

I have no idea what I want to talk about – but I’m bored and so I thought I would post something here. Well, so far I’ve gotten about 4000 words done for my literature review – but most of it ain’t that great – its just me writing very verbosely and saying many things twice. But as James say, its at least 3500 (well at the time its was!) words on paper that won’t have been there before … so that’s some kind of encouragement.

I think James might be worried about me a bit … I met on Friday – up to that point I didn’t think I was faring that badly, but he wants to see me enthusiastic about something, but I must admit there is nothing I find that I could have a burning passion for.

There was the socialization concept with Biglan’s classification of disciplines that Smart and Elton used to explain the differences between disciplines. I mean that sounds ok – I think there is a gap somewhere around there – not sure if I’m burning for it though :).

There is also Galbraith and Haines use of the three types of problem: mechanical, interpretive and constructive – very nice concepts: but still not sure if passion exists there.

Hmm … what else there is the cognitive load theory that John sort of warned me off since it is a huge literature quagmire (my words not his!) … but that sounded kind of interested – but might get into conflict with other people’s views, so best not raise that ants’ nest.

So, what else peaks my interest? I don’t know … I know in the end I just want to compare black box and white box software and see how this fares in the learning of linear programming, but from what conceptual angle I’m taking it from I don’t know. I could perhaps use Galbraith and Haines questionnaire on mathematics-computing attitudes which seems like some kind of fun – will get some quantitative data to play with – but not sure how it will get me to answer the questions of black-box and white-box software.

Actually, more I come to think about it … I definitely want to see how disciplinary studies molds a student for different uses or perspectives on the use of black-box and white-box software – and this might be the socialization theory. Disciplines do shape students mind, but also their background – so all that is saying that disciplines is a covariate (if found to be significant) in the way that students use software – particularly I think from the discipline they emerge from. In that sense – if we are looking at what discipline they emerge from – we should find stronger socialization at the graduate level – such as in MBA programmes teaching linear programming and masters programme teaching optimization and masters programmes in engineering concerning with teaching production management etc. Obviously will have to look at the socialization of the persons discipline before they enter their masters degree and the current discipline that their masters degree is in. Therefore, one should expect that the socialization concept should be stronger for the master’s students and less for undergrad students learning linear programming and probably increases from their Year 1 to Year 3.

As such, one should expect their mathematics-computing attitude to be shaped by the different years they are in (i.e. higher up they go – more socialization with that discipline – will their high school subjects influence this also?) – particularly with respect to black-box and white-box software. Indeed I expect the business people to be again a more soft-applied approach – hmmm … this looks good – a factor analysis of the mathematics-computing attitudes should help in investigating what dimensions could be found – won’t it be great if three dimensions were found with respect to the mathematics-computing attitudes and they relate to the hard-soft, hard-applied and life-nonlife dimensions. I know John thinks the last dimension is a bit loopy but it would be great to see that … but won’t it be nice to also see how approaches of study (not sure how this will actually act – but there has been some literature that this differs from disciplines but not using a Biglan’s framework – as far as I could see – although the SOMUL project may have done some of that) may interact with the mathematics-computing side – I know a lot of purely quantitative stuff – but I can try it for a pilot and see how it works … and probably go more wide scale after if it proves good – but I can still intersperse this with some real life observations or interviews (because I do want to do this – but just not seeing how it will fit into my study).

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