Fay, Richard (PhD alumnus)
See also my profile in LTE main blog. Along with Eljee, I act as the unofficial co-ordinator of this Doctoral Community Blog.
I’ve been a member of the LTE group since 1994 and I based my (very) part-time doctoral studies on a project that I co-ordinated for the group. At that time, LTE was known as the Centre for English Language Studies in Education (CELSE) and the project involved a 10+ year collaboration between CELSE and the Hellenic Open University (HOU) through which the HOU licensed CELSE MA TESOL distance learning materials for the HOU’s first ever programme, a comparable MA TEFL.
My approach initially was ethnographic and involved many periods of short-term project sojourning Greece as a privileged outsider. Over time, the ethnographic shifted however towards the narrative inquiry approach reported in my thesis. During the course of my studies, my focus also shifted from a large culture approach looking at how Greek distance eduaction differed from CELSE’s ‘Anglo’ approach and instead adopted a small culture approach see Adrian Holliday’s work).
My research questions were as follows:
- Q1: What understandings of the factors encouraging and discouraging the development of the CELSE-HOU project are to be found in the narratives of its participants?
- Q2: What underpinnings for understanding the project are to be found in my narratives of conceptual development related to the project?
- Q3: From the insights gathered in response to Questions 1 and 2, what can be learned about the characteristics of the project’s emergent cultures of distance learning and collaboration?
When I began my research into the project as focused by the above questions, I had to develop my researcher competence in relation to narrative research. During the process of developing this competence, an additional focusing Research Question emerged. Although its presentation below disturbs the chronological flow of my research story, I want to present it here so that all four Research Questions are gathered clearly in one place:
- Q4: What insights about narrative research methodology can be gained through examining the participants’ project narratives?
Update June 2010: I finished the PhD in 2004 and after the long slog doing it part-time whilst working, I took some time off studying but, glutton for punishment, in Sept 2009, I started a part-time Masters in Musicology specialising in Ethnomusicology with a strong research element to it. It’s proving to be hard to find tme for it but great fun trying and I’m really enjoyng approaching familiar themes (e.g. fieldwork, insider/outsider perspectives) from new angles. I’m thinking of building – for the dissertation – on a pilot study I did this last semester which explored the perspectives of some lyra-players on their instruments, music, and the Cretan-lyra tradition so written about in the Ethnomusicological literature.
For those of you that don’t know, I have a musical life outside LTE – writing music and arranging it for the Hard Times Orkestar …..