Research Evaluation

Using Handout on Issues for the reflective critique

Personal growth, self-awareness and approaches to learning

So far all education has been directed. It was about being told what is important and then what to then do. Now within subject boundaries and stretching them (stretching is justified because barriers are artificial), you decide what is important and of interest and then pursue the planning of the project. This is very different and has consequences for personal development. It is self critical learning. It is also doing what management positions want on a CV - an ability to plan, to manage, to make and keep deadlines, to work along with someone (like a tutor) and not from them. It is about the researcher. It is about autonomy yet within a context and handling professional relationships.

Once learning was factual. Prior to teenage years we believed that the world is full of facts. After teenage years we get questioning and then we realise those questions become so complex that it is questioning itself that is important. GCSE is the first time project learning begins, A Levels assume different viewpoints exist and you can argue between them. At degree the process of living in the questions begins. It gets even deeper later. Answers are not so much facts as a body of knowledge and the argument so far. Even to discover this is to argue it.

Research finds answers but also more questions... Every piece of research suggests what comes next. Social facts are themselves social questions (why hypotheses are so important). So reflection is like being a detective in a detective story of something you want to solve - and to solve it is simply to move on a little via research.

Independent learners and researchers should self-reflect. Suppose you wrote for your self-critique what I have just written. Would it be false? Your reflection must be your own. But must your reflection be totally original or just a little? What processes does the researcher undergo?

In General...

  1. Learning goals are changed as a degree student
  2. You have personal needs here being met
  3. You develop as a learner in depth and kind
  4. You get more critical in a positive and negative sense
  5. Study gets harder or easier
  6. You talk to people and feel more informed and less prejudiced, but they think you're an egg-head of just catching up - or not as the case may be
  7. You're an ethnomethodologist or love demonstrating by statistics
  8. You like detail or the big picture, or set one within the other
  9. You have kept a diary and it's changed your learning (or you have not)


  1. You grow in knowledge, possibly knowing more and more about less and less
  2. This is the study you are interested in or frankly you have to do something
  3. You react to the area of interest or its necessity
  4. The study helps intellectual growth presumably
  5. The job is more important or gets in the way
  6. You have ways of deciding what to do next as what to do next is part of independent study
  7. You handle more complexity and design/plan for more complexity
  8. There is specialisation and generalisation or just one of those
  9. Much of the research is about you as a critical interpreter as well as gatherer of data
  10. The research (being planned) is about another entity - or is it about you?

Regarding a career, work now, work placement, voluntary work, work to come...

  1. The research planning gives career ideas in job content (a good job, your interests)
  2. The research planning gives career ideas in ways of doing a job (management)
  3. The CV gets a boost if work matches/ will match independent decision making
  4. The research planning suggests contacts and other ways of job seeking
  5. The research only underlines how unfulfilling in comparison available jobs are likely to be
  6. These are just pointers and no more. There may be more to your experience that is worth reflecting upon.