Collaborative reports, with penguins

Research methods handbook cover, showing two penguins by a lakeside

When the GO-GN project was founded, it’s initial aim was to help grow a community of researchers in OER. Over the years it has evolved that somewhat, as the community has developed. We now have a good number of researchers and alumni, so as well as continuing to support Doctoral researchers, we wanted to utilise this pool of great people to produce outputs for the OER/OEP community as a whole.

The first idea we had around this came from listening to the various presentations from members and looking at the responses to our survey, where we asked what methodology people were using in their research. The answer to this was ALL THE METHODOLOGIES – that is, there was a real mix across all the researchers. This led us to think that a useful contribution would be to gather as many of these together as we could, briefly explain them and how they were applied in OER research.

Rob Farrow led the collaborative writing effort, and we had contributions from 24 GO-GN researchers globally. We also got the fabulous Bryan Mathers to provide some graphics to make it feel more approachable. He really riffed off the GO-GN penguin theme, and you can download all these images too, to enliven your research presentations. The resultant report is a really practical guide and introduction to many methodologies, which I think is useful for any doctoral researchers, beyond the OER/OEP field. I think this image in particular is a useful contribution to the field:

(Aside – Downes called the report ‘incoherent’ because it wasn’t a 300 page treatise on positivism. Aside from missing the point of the report, I feel using a position of authority to punch down on early career researchers and make them feel bad about contributing to a free, openly licensed resource for everyone just to boost your own ego, is, well, kinda crappy. I know people who’ve stopped blogging because he’s criticised them, so I’m here to tell you kids – if you get called unreadable or incoherent by Downes, don’t worry, it means you’re definitely doing something right. But onwards…)

The second report was to do a review of some recent OER related research articles. This was not intended as a comprehensive review but rather a convenient round-up of some recent stuff. Rob again led on this (he’s good cop/bad cop all in one), and compiled a list of papers, which he then asked members to provide short reviews for. We had 12 contributors this time, and the report came out last week. We only got a Bryan cover this time, but it’s so lovely I’ve had it printed and made into a poster for my study.

Research review cover showing one penguin diving into a swimming pool and another reading on a deck chair

I hope you find one or both of the above useful, please do let us know if you make use of them at all. Producing collaborative reports is much like group work in study, it takes longer and can be difficult to negotiate but the overall output is greatly improved. We intend to do another report next year that focuses on conceptual frameworks (again, our members have a LOT) and another research review report.

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