George Veletsianos’ session on research

It is probably too early to worry about doing an actual research project, since it’s more than a year away. And yet it already feels like a heavy weight mostly because I am not sure where to begin or what questions to ask. That’s why George Veletsianos’ session was so useful. It helped me realize that it is normal, I am not alone, many MALAT students feel the same.

At the beginning of this course I was not aware of research ethics. By the end of it, I was under the impression that it’s way too complicated.  It was good to hear from George Veletsianos that someone will guide us through the process. He calmed my fears that submitting a research proposal to REB is not in any way similar to going through a judgment day and I will not be sent to eternal hell for ethical violations.

I also found it interesting that I can choose to do my research outside of Canada, since I still have ties to Ukraine, where I was born and raised. Although it seems somewhat limiting, especially considering the very likely possibility that it will be less relevant to Canada and my future career here.

CC video reflections

I have always struggled with the issue of piracy discussed in a video. My views on it have changed over the years and I still switch sides from time to time depending on the context. Could it be due to the possibility that it’s not a black and white issue? In the example of farmers modifying the software, I can agree with arguments on both sides. As a tractor owner, I would wish to enjoy the freedom of doing whatever I wish with my property. On the other side, as a manufacturer I would wish to retain some control over access to the software. Perhaps, both sides are extreme in their approaches and if there was a desire to find compromise, some sort of win-win resolution could be achieved?

Like many students, I have been in situations where paying $100-$200 for multiple textbooks meant making uncomfortable adjustments to an already pitiful lifestyle. They reminded me of how poverty does not help in making ethical decisions. In a survival mode, I found it hard to think about others, my needs were too pressing. As a young student, I was also a consumer with not much to offer to society. When I became an adult and started playing a role of a creator, my perspective has drastically changed. I realized how much time, energy and sacrifice it takes to create anything of value. To have it pirated is painful. Some creators adapted by giving away some of the content for free or even welcoming the unsanctioned distribution of their content, which serves the purpose of reaching a bigger audience. Once they become relatively known, they can harvest income in some other ways. Nowadays, I lean towards this approach.

It was interesting to learn how different layers of Creative Commons licencing address some of these issues. The official CC website is much more in-depth, it’s definitely going into my bookmarks. 

 

What makes a good research question ?

I suspect the answer to this question will vary depending on the researcher. For me it has to have several components:

  • It must stimulate my curiosity. I need to be passionate about the subject otherwise, I won’t be motivated to dig deep enough.
  • It must have practical implications. If the question is too abstract or too general to have a low potential of making a positive impact on daily life, I won’t be motivated to look for answers.
  •  It must be realistic. If there is a very low probability of finding answers, I won’t even start looking into it.
  • It must lead to new knowledge. If the question has been properly answered before, why put any effort into it.
Ideally, these aspects must all be present at the same time. “It is imperative that all four constructs—the problem, purpose, significance, and research questions—are tightly aligned and intricately interwoven” (Grant & Osanloo, 2014)

References

Grant, C., and Osanloo, A. (2014). Understanding, selecting, and integrating a theoretical framework in dissertation research: Creating the blueprint for your ‘house’Administrative Issues Journal: Connecting Education, Practice, and Research. DOI: 10.5929/2014.4.2.9