Conversations with my Future Self – Reflections of my MALAT Experiences
Unit 1, Cultures of Inquiry, Pre-Residency, July 14
I moan, I complain, and I twist myself into knots – But between you and me, I don’t think I would have it any other way. Either by fate or by design, life leading up to my two week residency at Royal Roads is overflowing with work, life, and school projects come due.
In amongst all of life’s general cacophony lies both my introductory reading, and first assignment for my introduction to research course, the first unit of study consisting of reflections on cultures of inquiry. According to Bentz and Shapiro (1998) “a culture of inquiry is a chosen modality of working within a field, an applied epistemology or working model of knowledge used in explaining or understanding reality.”.
If you are too shy to ask, according to the Oxford dictionary, epistemology is “the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion.” But being my future self, when you read this, you should already be intimately aware of what epistemology is, and several different cultures of inquiry for that matter.
My assignment for unit 1 was to create a mind map or infographic representing my selection of three cultures of inquiry, two that resonated with me, and 1 that was new or different. I chose to try my hand at an info-graphic and chose phenomenology and ethnography as my personal interest selections, and action research as something new to me.
Ok, so phenomenology and ethnography spoke quite strongly to me because of my experiences at work. Marine industry folks have an incredibly tight knit communities, and I know of some pretty big projects run for them (thrown at them?) that failed. Reading into phenomenology and ethnography spoke strongly to me as to why they failed, and it encouraged me to critically reflect on how projects could be shaped in the future. Low and behold, as I moved to action research, it read as a manual on how to do exactly that.
To boil it all down, I believe that adopting the methodologies of these traditions will not only help my future research, but everyday project planning and execution. Not bad for a few weeks of pre-reading.
All this, and I haven’t even got to campus yet. It’s going to be a pretty interesting 27 months.
Colin Craig, tired, cranky, but caught up with work projects.
Bentz, V. M., & Shapiro, J. J. (1998). Mindful inquiry in social research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications