MARA Competency I
Understand research design and research methods and possess the analytical, written, and oral communication skills to synthesize and disseminate research findings.
“ I would argue that anyone who does not strive to add to [the recordkeeping profession’s] discrete body of knowledge – theoretical and practical – by undertaking research and disseminating its outputs for the benefit of others is not a true professional.”
Caroline Williams, Director of the Liverpool University Centre for Archives Studies (2007, pp. 155-156)
What do you understand this competency to mean?
Throughout the MARA program, I have learned how to write using APA formatting style used in the Information Sciences. Part of this competency regards the ability to communicate formally, using analysis and synthesis of peer reviewed research, and learning how to conduct ethical and valid research is an additional layer, that was emphasized in most courses throughout my studies in the program. My Research Methods course was essential for understanding where bias can be found and eliminated – or at least recognized. Research is essential for adding new knowledge to an area of study. It was a wonderful convergence of my research focus of Knowledge Management and Communities of Practice that led to my successful understanding and completion of this competency.
“Knowledge production is no longer dependent primarily on researchers, but is also present in public spaces of individual scientiﬁc creativity, the space between science and ethnoscience, professional and lay knowledge, the market, and public discourse” (Moravec, 2008, p. 127). Much research has been done examining how organizations can use social networks and collaborative interactions in a knowledge management system to capture organizational knowledge. Knowledge management results in significant savings to organizations, especially those in creative, knowledge-based industries. Knowledge management systems can be used to innovate and encourage creative solutions to problems when an organization’s members interact collaboratively with a group of peers. The results of this research will be used to be determined if the composition of a group in a learning community influences the success or failure of sharing knowledge. These findings could be used to form learning communities that enable more effective knowledge sharing.
What course assignments or other work products are you submitting as evidence of your mastery of this competency?
I have chosen several works that showcase my research design skills. I have included a survey form I formatted for a group project. The questions were written collaboratively, and I have included the written statement about how we developed the questions. I have also chosen to provide the research review I conducted to determine a gap in research that I could pursue to provide answers to the body of knowledge surrounding Knowledge Management. Finally, I have included my final research proposal, which I actually conducted during the development of the proposal after ascertaining that a teacher does not need to have special permission to conduct research regarding teaching methods within their own classroom. I conducted the polished study in the Spring, after completing the proposal during Fall semester.
Why did you select these particular work products as evidence for your mastery of this competency?
From MARA 285
Implementation of Web 2.0 technologies in archival repositories (Link to web form)
This is a survey form that I formatted using GoogleDrive Forms. I worked as a part of a group that included two other individuals. Together we came up with the questions for this survey. I am skilled at creating forms, so I volunteered to create the actual survey in a format that allows multiple trees of answers. The questions are not only valid for the the purposes of gathering information from archives about their use of web 2.0 technology, but the survey is fun to take as well. This survey is an example of my research design and an example of a tool to collect data for analysis.
From MARA 285
Knowledge Management: A Review of Literature
This literature review explores how organizations have developed strategies to manage both information and knowledge assets. It is organized into three sections: first, it introduces the concept of Knowledge Management; second, it discusses the issues surrounding knowledge management, knowledge sharing, and communities of practice; lastly, it identifies examining the makeup of the members of the community of practice as a direction for further study. This literature review is an example of how I am able to communicate my understanding of extant research in the field of Information Science and present it in a context that other Knowledge Management professionals will find most useful.
From MARA 285
Final Research Proposal: The Influence of Learning Communities on the Transfer of Knowledge
This research proposal addresses the question: how does the composition of a learning community influence the transfer of knowledge? It defines Knowledge Management and collaborative knowledge exchanges. The research employs the use of the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory, a widely used and well-respected industry standard, to characterize the members of learning communities. Then through observation of learner group sharing within a Knowledge Management System, it strives to determine the effect of the composition of members within a group on a learning community. My final research proposal is an example of my research design and a tool to collect data for analysis.
How do your selections show not simply learning but also application?
My research project proposal looked at the relationship between how high school students, possessing varying personality types and motivations for learning, form groups. My research also attempted to determine if the acquired understanding is a reflection of the group formation, or some other variable. I actually conducted the research twice in my classroom; the results of the research were used as a basis for forming groups in my digital communications classroom to enable more effective knowledge sharing activity. Interestingly, student-formed groups were much more successful in providing proofs of their acquired knowledge. This was contrary to my assumption that teacher formed groups would be more productive – placing a combination of learning styles together that complemented of contrasted others in the group – but predicted by Sheehy, a South Dakota English Teacher, he believes that the most successful knowledge sharing communities are those that are informally structured by the members of the community itself (2008). My research could be viewed as a microcosm of the larger world, including industry. It would be interesting to observe knowledge exchanges within professional knowledge sharing communities mirror the patterns found in groups of younger learners.
What have you learned?
I really enjoyed learning about research methods. I was able to use the course to develop a research process that I tested on my first semester courses and then, after redesigning the parts that didn’t work, I was able to run for my second semester students. The data was very useful in reporting to the Career and Technical Education department at the end of the year, as well as redesigning the learning activity for the current school year’s unit of study. I believe that I will find it useful to create surveys, and conduct research in my professional life as an information professional.
Moravec, J. (2008). A new paradigm of knowledge production in higher education. On the Horizon (18/3) 123-136. DOI 10.1108/10748120810901422
Sheehy, G. (2008). The Wiki as Knowledge Repository: Using a wiki in a community of practice to strengthen K-12 education. TechTrends 52(6), 55-60.