US Fish and Wildlife Service/Bob Savannah

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008
ILM Rescue

The ILM Rescue document is now available here (click for the web page)

Posted at 01:51 pm by shirley
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Tuesday, March 18, 2008
LO1: Choosing an ILM topic

Looking at the timeline for the module, the actual inquiry planning is completed for assessment at the end of week 3. Allowing sufficient time to complete the report in weeks 8, 9 and 10, the brief is to implement an inquiry in weeks 4, 5 , 6 and 7 (allowing possible slippage in week 8 in emergencies).

Researchers need to narrow down to something specific, and consider what might be achieved within four weeks. For those undertaking an action inquiry, which requires a minimum of two cycles, this indicates that the maximum cycle length must be two weeks - preferable less. The obvious choices are to select a possible action for improvement from:
  • reflection on a selection of critical incidents OR
  • the recommendations from a previous action inquiry module (Level 1 or 2)

The learning outcome for the proposal assignment is:
Present a concise and coherent account of your existing knowledge and understanding of the agreed topic.

At Pass level, markers will look for basic knowledge of the agreed topic with some omissions presented in the ILM proposal.

Researchers need to select a topic where they have sufficient confidence in their existing knowledge not to start with a survey. The mantra is KISS - choose a topic and focus that you already know and understand enough to recognise where you can initiate a small change to improve your own practice. If you still need to do a questionnaire and find out what resources are available, do it before drafting the proposal (during the preceding semester!) as this is part of the preparation stage. Before drafting the proposal, researchers should already know what they can improve and have identified a specific action to start the first cycle at the beginning of week 4.

Advantages of taking a recommendation from your Action Inquiry (or Understanding Action Inquiry) module as a starting point is that this would be an area you already know about, you have probably already studied some of the academic literature and would be in a good position to take further action.

Posted at 05:40 pm by shirley
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Alternatives to Action Inquiry

As this is an ILM, in theory you could select an alternative methodology and then your focus need not be on your own development. I don't advise this as it is an awful lot of extra work to learn another methodology just for this module - but if you want to do this then Robson's Real World Research is a good starting point for selecting and beginning to study a different approach.

ILM - support for alternatives to Action Inquiry - click here

Posted at 05:40 pm by shirley
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ILM coincides with starting a new job

In a work-based course, starting a new job can throw up some challenges. The first step is to talk to your personal tutor. Some questions that might be considered are:
  • What everyday things would you like to do better from the very start of your new job?
  • Have you found any interesting published research about starting a new job?
  • Have you discussed your degree studies with your new employer?

Posted at 05:40 pm by shirley
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Finding literature for your topic

A useful starting point for finding the right kind of research is the university digital library. I know it can be complicated to use, so it can help to have a try at searching more generally then check whether any promising sources are also available through the university library. See the workshops for some advice on finding literature.

Posted at 05:39 pm by shirley
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What's different?

Action inquiry is the recommended methodology for the module, but researchers need to take into account that the expectations are higher as you progress through the degree. Use the ILM to show increasing understanding of not only the range of action inquiry models, but of wider issues in research methodology.

Posted at 05:39 pm by shirley
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Keeping the scope small

it is important to distinguish between the module requirements and your actual job requirements. When an idea for research gets taken over because of natural interest from managers, this can have both advantages and disadvantages. For the module, you will probably need to define your focus more tightly by identifying one simple change that you will introduce in week 4, on which you can collect and analyse data to identify the next change to introduce a second cycle. This may mean that your module proposal will look at one small part of a much larger project.

I can draw here on an evaluation that I'm currently engaged in: the university is looking at a review of learning technologies, and part of the project is a one semester pilot of Moodle. Within this pilot, I'm looking in depth at evaluating Moodle with one Ultraversity cohort. I am also taking part in the wider review, but there will be a report just on the one cohort. For your topic, try to identify one part that will fit the timetable for the ILM module and explore one change to start your action inquiry cycles.

Posted at 05:39 pm by shirley
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