Monday, April 8, 2013

The use of theory

Last Friday the meeting with my mentor took place. The conversation was instructive, and my motivation is put back on!

We talked among other things about the use of literature in research, which, so it seems I didn't completely understand in the last couple of years. My use of literature was mostly practical. I used it to read about a certain subject or to clarify a definitions for an assignment. Oh, and when a teacher asked for a piece of theory about a certain subject, you just write something about it with the subject in it. Using literature hadn't meant more to me than that.

It seems I missed something. Literature (and mainly theory 'made' in literature articles) can be used to precisely define the structure of your own research. It may seem very logical, but for me it is not. There's more literature can give you. Reading is not only to get to know the subject, but also to get informed about the pros and cons that arose from research. These different conclusions about different elements that will play a role in my own research can be used to make a frame of theory in where the rules are laid out. The frame can tell me if it is, for example, important to take into account the size of a school, or the fact that all teachers are woman, or that schools have only one school level (like the Gymnasia) of have different school levels. This will help me to choose the elements that matters.

When someone is reading your research, one does not only know exactly what literature you used, but also how it's put together. And, how you combined and shaped different elements of those various researches. This together makes a new variation of building blocks, from were a new building element (my research) can be added. The conclusions from my research can be used for other research, in where my new building block can be added to the wall of theory they will build.

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