Masters: Part 1: The boring bit

They all said it would be boring. They groaned and moaned and rolled their eyes. They sighed deeply. So I can’t say I wasn’t warned when I enrolled for a Research Methods paper this year. This is a compulsory precursor to completing a thesis, to complete my Masters. So, a necessary hoop (necessary evil?) through which to jump.

This journey towards my Masters started back in 1992, when I was a fresh-faced student, just qualified with my BA Hons in English/Euro Literature (mais oui!). I had been accepted to complete my Masters in Shakespearean studies (oh, the romance of it all, I thought at the time!).

But when I asked the bank manager for a loan, the conversation went something like this:

Him, smiling: “Congratulations on being accepted to pursue a Masters. So, what subject will you be exploring?”

Me, as excited and keen as only a twenty-something can be: “English – Shakespeare actually”.

Him, smile fading: ” And what job would that be leading to? Any ideas?”

Me, feeling less excited than 10 seconds ago: “Er…hadn’t really thought about it. But I love English. And Shakespeare. A lot.”

Him, sternly and with an air of a man who knows his business: “Well, if it were Maths or Science, no problem. But there’s not much call for jobs with an English background. So I’m afraid we won’t be able to lend you the funds for your studies.”

Ad that was it. I waited another 16 years until I had an opportunity to try again. And this time, I chose Education. Plenty of work in them there hills.

I’ve now finished the Research Methods course (and the other four papers before that). And it wasn’t so bad. In fact, that ‘dull’ paper was hugely rewarding, and I wasn’t the only student on the course who thought so.

And if you give me a sec, I’ll be able to think of why it’s the best paper you can study if you’re in education.

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Image source: AttributionNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Bas.K

7 thoughts on “Masters: Part 1: The boring bit

  1. Well I liked research methods (done on weekends) cos the lecturer was awesome! And he did it weekends cos his day job was … researching! Seriously I think it was the best paper for education because it makes you look a little deeper plus it makes you ask some hard questions about practice – as in “is this just more fun or is it actually making a difference?”. And you get better at asking more “why is it making a difference?” questions. But honestly the best thing I came away with was Dr Neil Dagleish’s (sp?) intro to educational history as a research area. I never looked at scribbling a note (or reading one) in the margin of a report the same way after that. And it gave me a deep appreciation for context and to be respectful of the past.

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  2. Hi Karen,
    We did the same online paper together with Gary F. last year 🙂
    I found my way here (to your blog) from the VLN site, and it gives me hope 🙂
    I’m doing my research methods paper in summer school @UOW which I’m really looking forward to, and by the sound of this blog you are doing your masters in 2012 – so am I.

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  3. Thanks for your comment, Sonja – I will chase up that reference you shared. And I totally agree with your comments about the depth of thinking – I’ll be wrapping another post around that very idea soon.

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  4. Yes, Trish, it was Garry’s course – with Beverley Bell. The first two or three weeks are breathtakingly intense (brace yourself!) but it gets better and then you feel all proud for having grappled with the material and won;-) Best wishes for the summer!

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