Argghh … Thesis Writing

Mood:  lazy
Topic: Thesis writing
Well … I got my comments back from my methodology chapter … not entirely favorably … hopefully it gets better as I rewrite it. I need to put a whole section into the validity and reliability of qualitative and quantitative data and how these two differ from each other. And also make clearer statements on how my methods relate to my research questions and why I rejected one methodology against the other … now that’s interesting as I really can’t recall rejecting one against the other – I must have because I remember reading all the different methods and still going back to cognitive load … ahh yes now I remember … I had the choice of instrumentalization from Trouche which I didn’t quite like since a lot more attention was placed on what the student was doing with the artifact – i.e. the strategies involved with using the computer rather than trying to determine the learning. There is also Tall’s procept thing which I really never did get but it was more about thinking about mathematics symbolically and whilst that is perhaps a good way to help students learning mathematics such as calculus which has a lot of symbols I think what I wanted to answer whether the steps in software made any difference to learning (procedural and conceptual) rather than whether it help students to have better symbolic learning.

Hmm … what else did I read about and reject. I did read about distributed cognition – and I only rejected it because I didn’t feel like it … but need some more research-like reason 🙂 . I guess again it is because there was so much emphasis on the instrument in distributed cognition and community – although I just read from Wikipedia it is not necessarily so it can be individually as well. Because as I quote from Wikipedia:

Distributed cognition is seen when doing an arithmetic problem. We use both our mind and hand movements (writing down the problem) as a way to answer the question. The steps of Distributed Cognition are seen when: a) setting up the problem, b) doing the correct manipulation/arithmetic procedure, and c) writing down the correct answer for every 2 digits we have manipulated.

I can very well use this in my research to explain the qualitative side of the research – I have absolutely no reason to reject this right now – so would keep it in mind … Gill is also reading some stuff on it – so might ask her to give me a summary of it.

Right there is also activity theory … and I got discouraged from using it because of Gill’s hatred for the triangles but again I think in activity theory the emphasis is on the instrument and what people are doing with it rather than the cognitive learning involved – I think my research questions has to talk about cognitive learning in order to make this clear why we are rejecting the learning as described by activity theory. I think because is is more socially and culturally motivated present day Engestrom activity theory – and I am not concern how the society and culture shape the learning rather again just their conceptual and procedural learning and everything here is always about the instrument being important … although to come to think about it the real-life comments made by the students might be society and culturally motivated? Nah! I can’t seem to swing that by myself and be comfortable with it.

Right … then there is also the situated abstraction theory by Noss and Hoyles which I’m still looking at – but so far haven’t seen anything really happening in that region … and I think this wouldn’t be something I would’ve even considered but again here it is all about the instrument rather than the learning – I’m concerned with not only how the students learn with the instruments but what they are doing with the questions (well now I am!) – I mean there is nothing in the programmes that would show a great amount of situated abstraction playing a role in their learning … right?

I think so far I’ve confused myself more – I know instinctively I don’t like some of these methods because they just rub me the wrong way – but don’t think that would be a really good explanation in a thesis 🙂 .


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