project on an aspect of student understanding.For your final assignment, we would like you to write about a classroom-based research project on an aspect of student understanding. The required length is 3,000 words (+/- 10%), as usual. The word count for assignments includes quotations, but not references or appendices. The assignment will be formally assessed in relation to Masters-level criteria. You will be assessed on:

• your organisation of the material;

• your knowledge and understanding of relevant literature and key issues;

• the criticality of your assignment and its depth of analysis;

• your ability to draw implications from your research for your own and your colleagues’ professional practice;

• the quality of your presentation and the accuracy of your referencing and language.

This will be a small scale study and we are looking for exploratory investigation rather than a definitive set of empirical revelations. The purpose of this assignment is to deepen your appreciation of the nature of student understanding rather than to establish statistical correlations or generalisable conclusions. The aim is to produce a study which will aid your own professional learning and which may also be of interest to your colleagues.

M4U1 Activity 7

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The multidimensional character of understanding

In preparing for your own research study, it would be worth thinking through some of the ways in which the particular methods selected for a research study might reveal different aspects of the same ‘understanding’.

Where understanding is regarded primarily as a feature of dialogue, for example, discourse analysis (see Unit 3 Activity 1) might be a revealing approach. Where understanding is viewed primarily as an internal mental representation, an introspective research technique such as protocol analysis (see Unit 3 Activity 2 ) could be more illuminating.

A key message of this unit has been that the kind of paradigm within which the concept of understanding is situated can make a significant difference to the research technique selected for its study.

On the research proposal form, you will need to begin to formulate your own model of student understanding as a basis for your classroom study. You will also need to establish clarity about the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen methodologies and the extent to which they match, or do not match, your model.

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