Monday, February 27, 2012

Planning my literature review for my EdD

One of the thing I have to do over the next month or so is write a literature review for my EdD of 4,500 words that will be the basis of a chapter for my thesis. Here are some thoughts I have about how I am going to progress this literature review

Research question
Midwives are required to engage with professional development activities in order to keep up to date with research evidence and remain competent in their practice. These requirements are legislated but the framework for how midwives meet these requirements is different from country to country. The Virtual International Day of the Midwife is an annual online conference that is organised and facilitated by a small group of volunteer midwives and educators. It runs for 24 hours on May 5th with the aims of celebrating the International Day of the May and providing an alternative means to face-to-face activities for midwives to learn and meet professional development requirements. However, what is unknown is whether this event facilitates learning; how it facilitates learning and what learning is happening. Thus, the question for my EdD research will be something along the lines of: what is the impact of the Virtual International Day of the Midwife?
  • Does the VIDM facilitate learning?
  • How does the VIDM facilitate learning for participants, speakers, facilitators and organisers?
  • What learning is happening?
How learners learn in the digital age
  • Connectivism – exploration of this developing theory
  • Difference between social constructivism and community of practice 
  • Criticism – similarity to other work by people such as Vigitsky 
  • Empirical evidence 
  • ?Look at Activity Theory and how that compares with Connectivism 
  • How connectivism relates to the VIDM and professional development of midwives.
Professional development for midwives
  • Definitions - Midwifery – New Zealand and globally; PD
What do we know about PD in a general sense (for similar professions eg medicine, nursing or teaching)
  • What is effective PD
  • What the barriers to effective PD
  • What is the evidence about conferences
What we know currently about professional development for midwives
  • What are midwives learning needs?
  • How PD is currently organised
  • What is effective PD
  • What the barriers to effective PD
Discussion about the different frameworks, looking at New Zealand, Australia and UK.
  • How do the frameworks reflect what we know about PD, both in a general sense and for midwifery in particular?
  • What are the gaps between what is required and what is provided, or what midwives have access to.
Online professional development
  • Definition
  • What we know about it in a general sense
  • What we know about it in midwifery- what we know about the VIDM that has already been published/presented
  • Midwives' use of internet and computers, use of social media, open access
  • Advantages of online PD – access, flexibility
  • Disadvantages – digital literacy, access, language
  • Empirical evidence
  • How connectivism ties in, and how it is all applied to my project.

What I have learned and how this learning has helped me develop my research questions further. 

What do you think I have missed out? Have you come across any key literature that you think I should look at?

Image: 'I can stop whenever I want'


ess jay said...

all the midwives ive ever met have made a point of showing me how small their hands are.

and hardly any of them were witches.

thats all i know about midwives.

i hope this helps.

Sarah Stewart said...

No help at all, but thanks anyway, LOL :)

Helen said...

It sounds like very interesting research Sarah.

When I think about going to a conference, one of the reasons is networking and meeting other people, and often this turns into learning, collaboration and working on projects together. I wonder if this is an aspect that you might include in your research.

I am nearing the end of my PhD research which is about how social workers use reflection. I am often asked whether being reflective makes any difference to their practice, and to their clients, and I wish I had focussed more on this during my research. I wonder if this is worth considering for your research - finding a way to measure the value or effectiveness (not sure of the right words) of the learning.

Good luck


Sara Murray said...

My only thought Sarah is that you're trying to cover a huge amount in very few words. This assignment doesn't have to be your lit review chapter for your actual research. Simply define the limitations of it up front and only review the lit around those limitations. eg. for mine, I said I was only going to look at literature around the "relationship" within a mentoring/practicum experience. That way I missed out heaps and heaps of stuff about mentoring that I may eventually use but didn't in this case. Does that make sense? xxS

Sarah Stewart said...

@Helen Congrats on almost finishing your PhD. What do you mean you wished you had focused more on reflection...I thought that is what your PhD is about? And how would you see me bring reflection into my research?

@Sara I know what you mean. The fact is...I'm struggling to work out what my research questions is for this assignment...what would you suggest?

moira stephens said...

Your plan follows a logical path but feels like you go beyond your questions leading to a big, big review. It may be more managable to really focus on your questions - keep focused - that will in depth rather than trying to go too broad. As a colleague once said - it's a doctorate not a Nobel prize:)

Fiona said...

Hi Sarah,

I think one of the most interesting areas here is the differences (if any) between networked learning and Communities of Practice. If you haven't already looked at it, Etienne Wenger stuff on COPs - albeit quite old now is interesting.

I do find it challenging to think of Connectivism as a real paradigm shift. It still "feels" like social constructivism to me. Although I do understand Siemens point that the knowledge is held outside the brain in networks rather than socially constructed in people's heads - it must first have been constructed somewhere! I am currently setting up a few professional networks where I will try out different approaches, so I’d love to hear how you get on in your research.

I found this article quite useful too:

Best of luck with the research

Sarah Stewart said...

@Moira I am really struggling at the moment because there are two things happening for me at the moment. There is this literature review essay that is only 4500 words which is my immediate focus. And there is the wider literature review for my EdD research. Obviously the essya will feed into my mian review. So I am struggling with coming up with a very tight question for my lit review essay...not at all sure how to keep it tight. Whjat I do want to use this review for is to really get my head around conenctivism and decide if it is the appropriate theoritical framework for my research.

@Fiona Thanks for the comments which were really helpful. I really like the diea of comparing a COP with a network of practice...maybe that is the angle I could come from. Ummm...thinking...thinking...

Anonymous said...

what are the benefits and limitations of VIDM as a professional development activity for midwives?


Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks Rae, you've pretty much hit the nail on the head with this succinct question. I had a long chat with my supervisor today and added to that question is one about why midwives engage with the VIDM as PD? Are these midwives different from those who go to F2F PD?

So for this essay, I will need to focus on midiwfery PD and online PD in general, looking at models of PD, and finding a PD conceptual framework. Connectivism has been ruled out by my supervisors, although constructivism hasn't. Whatever framework I decide on has to include a social element to PD because that is what midwives have fed back that they enjoy so much...networking with other midwives.

Carolyn Hastie said...

I like Rae's question too. That paper you posted Fiona is very interesting. I really enjoyed reading that. I'm wondering why your supervisors ruled out connectivism Sarah?

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Carolyn, my supervisors do not see any difference between connectivism and constructivism, and feel it is a risk. My primary supervisor wants me to take a theoretical framework from literature about professional development. So that's what I'm looking for at the moment...