Tag Archives: creativity

Mixed Methods – When Students Want to Stand Out

Hey guys,

~~ Whatever thoughts came to mind while reading, I recorded ~~

MIXED METHODS ARTICLE REACTION:

After skimming through this week’s assigned research article, “When students want to stand out: Discourse moves in online classroom discussion that reflect students’ needs for distinctiveness” by Li-Tang Yu, et al., I definitely felt a personal connection to the objective of the study, exploring how students with different needs for uniqueness participated in online classrooms, or virtual learning experience. My first question before delving into the introduction section was, “What constitutes a student to have ‘different needs for uniqueness?’

At first guess, I assumed this specified group of students to each have either a learning disability, mental illness, or some form of cognitive impairment. Perhaps, students with physical-limitations due to chronic disease or sudden injury, or maybe those who have neurodivergent qualities found on the autism spectrum disorder. Harnessing the motivation to participate in an online class is a challenging task, especially for the students who lack the confidence in themselves to speak up and ask for help. As I continued on reading this study, I was continually bombarded with zoom university flashbacks. What a wild and eerie time ~~

 I remember, although I struggled to adjust at first, I enjoyed the time spent learning in online classroom platforms. In the comfort of my own home. Bathroom break on my command. Time felt slower, and I felt more in control of my learning and weekly time-planning. My difficulties adjudging (or “assimilating”) to and back from the online learning world to the physical classroom, in a way, supports what Brewer (1991) had said about Synder and Fromkin’s (1980) Uniqueness Theory, which is that social identity is derived from two opposing forces, assimilation, and differentiation form others. This makes total sense – humans carry with them an embedded biological need or want to belong, to be a part of a safe community with like-minded individuals. Yet, humans also want an occasional ego-boost so that they feel different, noticed, and perhaps, appreciated.

I will end this blog post with this quote, “Because individuals are said to vacillate between wanting to belong and wanting to stand out and be recognized for their unique contribution to a group, Kreiner, Hollensbe, and Sheep (2006) suggested that one’s need to be unique is likely to affect identity work, which in turn seems essential to the internalization of academic discourse (Duff, 2010)” (by Li-Tang Yu, et al., 1). This quote emphasizes the unfolding connection between the need and want to belong, and yet to also feel uniquely different is a defining identity characteristic, which will inevitably influence or impact the internalization of academic discourse. By the way, I don’t know, if what I’m saying or trying to articulate here in this blog post, even makes sense ~~

UPDATE ON RESEARCH PROPOSAL DRAFT:

Okay, so now I’ll try and sum up what’s going on with my research proposal drafting process, in which I obviously plan to work on more so later today. I have a lot of words and ideas on pages right now, which is good yet overwhelming me with how easily I can lose track of my own thought-writing-planning process. As for the sources for my literature review, I have accumulated 14 solid research articles so far, and have annotated seven of them [in which are still considered in the drafting citation phase]. The seven annotated articles were thoroughly skimmed through several of times and chosen to be cited within my introduction section because of their closer relevance to my inquiry question, similar participant demographic, or thoughtful discussion on the different thinking styles and states of human consciousness.

My introduction is still a mess; paragraphs with great detail and quality content sporadically placed throughout my document. I’m a messy writer, and often write what comes to mind or feels write, then go back to read some of the research articles in hopes to revisit my messy draft for refinement, deleting paragraph-ideas that no longer serve the direction of where my research inquiry question is intending to go. I have refined my research question multiple times, and now feel satisfied with it. I feel fine in terms of finding research article sources, annotating, and finding connections within and between them.

However, I am struggling with the construction and organization of my methodology section. I’ve planned out some draft ideas of data collection methods based on the phenomenological approach to research design. I’m definitely researching a phenomenon – the emergence of cognitive creative functioning and influence on self-identity amongst Kean University students.

I’m choosing to do a small focus group sampling size of ten students, who each leisurely practice a form of artistic-creative expression. The ten students can be from either an undergraduate or graduate program at Kean. I would like to plan for only two students to engage in the same form of artistic-creative expression. This means 10 different students but only 5 different forms of creative expression will be analyzed in my study. This way I can conduct deep cross-comparative analysis between the creative processes of students engaging in the same form of creativity (e.g., two students painting or drawing as a form of creative expression) and between those engaging in different forms of creative expression (e.g., dancing as a form of creative expression vs. writing).

I plan on implementing structured and unstructured interviews with participants before, during, and after their engaged experience of creative production. For this to happen, there will need to be three separate phases or stages of the interview process. The first stage will be a structured individual interview, with some open-ended questions with each participant. The second stage will involve unstructured, conversational questions while directly observing and note taking the engagement and production of creativity at hand (individually, not as a group). And the third stage will be the reflective focus group gathering, where I pose questions as a frame of guidance but will ultimately let the participants lead the discuss on their creative experience, associated feelings or attitudes all throughout, setbacks or unforeseen challenges, insights, or revelations of any kind. My observational notes on the creative productions and the reflective focus group discussion will count as data for this study, and I will use thematic analysis to identify common themes, or patterns of meaning that come up repeatedly.

That’s all I got for this week ~~ my brain feels heavy, and my eyes now hurt but hey, we are almost to the finish line ~~

Xoxo,

Francesca Di Fabio 🙂

Let’s Talk Phenomenological Research Design & Ideas for My Research Proposal ~

~~ PART 1 ~~

Right away, specifically the first line of this research article, “A Phenomenological Research Design Illustrated” by Thomas Groenewald, I instantly could agree, and can personally relate too, “Novice researchers are often overwhelmed by the plethora of research methodologies, making the selection of an appropriate research design for a particular study difficult (Groenewald, 42). I feel the weight of this line right now as I’m midst collecting sources and research on the topic concerning unconscious and conscious states and creativity. There are several underlying subfields I can tie into this topic, like suppressed childhood emotional trauma, and how such experiences impact the cognitive function of generating creative ideas. However, if I were to analyze the impact of “suppressed childhood trauma” on the conscious and unconscious functionating of generating and selecting creative ideas, this research inquiry question would involve more discomfort on behalf of the subjects, and would not be considered a “minimal risk” research study  

So, I continued to think on my central research topic idea (the human conscious levels & creativity). I re-arranged some of my inquiry questions so that they direct an understanding toward the creative writing processes or artistic-creative processes of college students who actively engage in a form of art-expression. Perhaps, my research subjects could be students from Kean University who actively practice and participate in some form of art expression, which could be writing, painting, drawing, crocheting, singing, or playing an instrument, creating pottery, or taking photos.

I would then maybe design survey questions and open-ended response questions that would essentially verbally walk me through their creative mental processes and how they prepare to connect with such cognitive states. I would have to spend a lot of time making sure that my survey questions are appropriately geared toward questioning the research phenomena I wish to understand. I would then do a deep analysis on the recorded answers to understand their cognitive creative processes and how their creative mental states impact their overall well-being or mental health (or how they feel about themselves after engaging in their form of art expression). I’ve also considered, perhaps, implementing an in-person observation, where I would observe my selected subjects in action while they compose or create their chosen form of art. I would have to pre-prepare specific categories to keep an eye out for during my in-person observations like their facial gestures, body language, the number of times paused for deeper thought and consideration, and their overall focus and attention span. I’ve gathered around 8 research articles (and conducted studies) on my topic of inquiry.

My research inquiry question went from  “How do unconscious thinking processes impact or directly affect the formation or selection of creative and innovative ideas and thoughts?”  to, “How does the unconscious processing of childhood trauma influence cognitive creative functioning and the emergence of creative ideas in adulthood?”  to then,“How does the unconscious creative processes of college students impact their overall mental health and wellbeing?”

I realized that studying internalized, suppressed trauma will be exceedingly difficult.  However, I’m still interested in how unconscious mind states or how unconscious processes impact the quality of creativity, and the generation of such ideas. For example, when I’m stressed because of arthritic pains or personal family issues, I find it much harder for me as a writer to locate ideas and search within for some sign of motivation or inspiration. So, with that established reality, my inquiry question now stands at: “How do unconscious thinking processes among college students at Kean University influence their cognitive creative functioning and the emergence of creative ideas in early adulthood? As a result, how do the unconscious creative processes of college students impact their overall mental health and wellbeing?”

Humans are creative beings filled with endless potential and curiosity. However, when confronted with the realities of life (etc., work, school, chores, personal responsibilities), the endless opportunity for creativity becomes very much limited. Hence, why I would love to investigate this research topic to understand the diversity in unconscious creative processes, and in hopes to find remedies or ways in which to help creative individuals re-connect with their form of art expression when under stress or any environmental turmoil.

~~ PART 2 ~~

Alrighty, a lot has already been said and if you’re still reading this blog post, you are super dope  I’m going to now direct my attention to this week’s selected research article, A Phenomenological Research Design Illustrated” by Thomas Groenewald. First off, I appreciate how this research article’s aim is to educated novice researchers (like us) about the phenomenology method approach to research design and implementation. One of the main reasonings to why Groenewald conducted a research design that essentially functions as a researcher’s guide on conducting phenomenological research was because “[he even] experienced major difficulty in finding literature that provides guidelines on conducting phenomenological research” (43). So, technically, Groenewald’s research serves to fill the missing gap in literature regarding research teaching and learning practices on research methodology.

Phenomenology is a qualitative research approach that seeks to understand and describe the experiential, lived aspects of a particular phenomenon more deeply. It is evident that phenomenology seeks to understand beyond the external factors involved in a particular phenomenon, as Edmund Husserl (1859 – 1938) argued, “that people can be certain about how things appear in, or present themselves to, their consciousness” (Groenewald, 43). Interestingly enough, “To arrive at certainty, anything outside immediate experience must be ignored, and in this way the external world is reduced to the contents of personal consciousness. Realities are thus treated as pure ‘phenomena’ and the only absolute data from where to begin” (Groenewald, 43). I’ve noticed some similarities or connections between my research topic inquiry question, and the contents that make up Husserl’s philosophical method, or phenomenology. My topic question aims to analyze a conscious-subjective experience unique to one’s thinking patterns and forms of self-expression; therefore, perhaps, I could possibly use phenomenology as my chosen research method.

I’m resisting the urge to add more to this blog post, but I’d love to hear some feedback or advice on my research question & if ya’ll think I’m headed in the right direction. I feel like I’m blindly leading myself through all this research, and ahhh – I just don’t know . . .

**Link attached to image**

Xoxo,

Francesca Di Fabio 🙂