Initial thoughts on research outline
Last edit: 05:35, 19 November 2007
I've had a chance to read through your draft outline for your Masters research.
A couple of open reflections:
- The degree is being awarded in organisation and management development - While this is not my discipline, I'm not sure how the study connects with an OM problem. You will need to think about the connection here. In other words, what OM problem is the study aiming to address? I think there are a couple of options. Eg. How perceptual barriers impact on OM decision making or better how to overcome perceptual barriers in relation to organisational transformation in relation to OERs. (The Otago Poly would be an excellent case study here.) A more challenging angle would be to look at OM issues within open comunities, ie. how perceptual barriers influence organisational development of an open community like WikiEd. It will be a tougher study - but from my perspective a more meaningful contribution to new knowledge.
- The area of focus for the study is still too wide (quite normal in the early phases of research design.) A useful activity at this phase of the research design is to brainstorm a list of research questions relating to your topic. Simply generate a list of questions or problems which to the best of your knowledge are not adequately explained by the current state of knowledge. Very often the list of questions can be categorised into different groupings which will have in the formulation and refinement of the problem you're researching.
- Moore's technology adoption cycle is a compelling framework -- in some respects a seductive choice because it is an intuitive explanation of how new technologies are adopted within the organisation. It looks so right. That said, it is a view that is contested in the literature and you will need to problematise different perspectives on technology adoption.
- The nature of the problem and its corresponding questions should determine the methodology. Methodology shouldn't influence the problem. I've nothing against an action research approach - but in the absence of clear research problems, I think that its premature to be thinking about research methodology. Get the problem formulation right and the research methodology will flow from that.
I think this has the makings of an exciting study. Individuals are informed by "classical" organisational design yet many are flocking to open self-organised systems to express meaning and participate in solving local problems. There is an interesting "culture" clash - individuals who are part of traditional organisations are interacting in virtual spaces fuelled by a "new" economic model - Wikinomics, self-organised systems, the power of the intellectual commons, long tail economics etc.
Hope this helps.
Thank you for your comments on my research outline.
As you probably realise, I am stretching my boundaries and taking a 'risk' by putting my research outline on the wiki in this way. But I am evolving in both my thinking and behaviour and that is good in many respects. Moreover, I am learning that by "giving out" to our community, I am "getting back" in ways that I could not have imagined...I feel as bit of a pioneer / innovator here; WikiEducator could emerge as a really good forum for the application of learning with a research focus. For example, I took a risk and got incredible feedback from a leader in the field....me thinks that there are great opportunities for similar opportunities for engagement, in other fields and topics. Cool, very cool.
Your comments are well-taken, and I need some time to digest them. I particularly appreciate your noting how the topic has to be fleshed out AND be relevant to the field of OM/OMD, and I ought to consider that, before choosing a 'research methodology (i.e., putting the cart before the horse).