And so it begins…Reflections on last term’s work.

Introduction to 7003… The purpose of this blog is to document my research process at this stage of my masters journey.  However, as an experience common to any student, the path of research never runs smooth. Therefore this blog is certain to capture not only the direction my research will take to eventually form the basis of my FMP, but the complexities, challenges and surprises characteristic of any authentic research journey which I am sure to uncover along the way.

As the title makes clear, Reflection and Development (7003) is designed to build on a REFLECTION of the research questions, methodologies and techniques initiated, explored and developed in the term 1 modules, Research and Method (7001) and Exploratory Practise (7002). Ultimately the aim of this research process is the creation of a series of outputs/ research ‘tasks’ which should form the foundation of my FMP.

The Module Structure…

7003 consists of two stages over the course of this term, each requiring separate outcomes.

Stage 1: ‘Concept Development’

  • This encompasses the initial inductive phases of any creative research framework, where ideas are explored, connections are made and concepts begin to be developed, leading to the formation of a research question.
  • The outputs expected at the 16th of March WIP include a DRAFT PROJECT PROPOSAL, outlining the rationale for this part of the course, and a FASHION FOCUS BOARD visually disseminating the fashion focus of my FMP.

Stage 2: ‘Implementation and FMP Planning’ 

  • This encompasses the late deductive phases of a creative research framework, where all research is catered to fulfilling a particular line of enquiry, resulting in resolved outputs.
  • The outputs expected on the 27th of April include (ironically this RESEARCH BLOG), a COMPLETED PROJECT FMP PROPOSAL and a PORTFOLIO of RESEARCH TASKS.

The significance of ‘Reflection’…

As already noted the central component of this module is REFLECTION.  In the context of any research, creative or otherwise, it is generally upheld that reflection comprises the most important part of the learning process…

(No greater confirmation is needed than the fact that this has been confirmed by the heavyweight that is HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL who claimed that…’the results reveal reflection to be a powerful mechanism behind learning confirming the words of American Philosopher John Dewey; ‘we do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience’…we propose that the link between learning by thinking and greater performance is explained by a personal evaluation of one’s capabilities to organise and execute courses of action to attain desired goals…’ (Christensen, 2014)). 

The Reflective Appraisal…

The research is clear.  Therefore in regards to beginning this new, highly personal research process which will ultimately form the foundation of my FMP, it was critical to conduct a reflective appraisal of last term’s research experience. Critical analysis within a SWOT framework, focused on strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities, allowed me not only to identify the natural next steps of my research, but also clearly highlighted what needs to be improved upon in regards to achieving a higher quality of research.

FOR EXAMPLE…

Something which continually emerged from this reflection was my time management and organisation.  Despite my strengths as a creative thinker, which resulted in the development of exciting and innovative concepts for all my briefs, the potential to develop quality research outcomes in relation to this was limited due to my lack of specific focus on the task at hand.  Consequently I was often rushed meeting deadlines, compromising the quality of my outcomes. This was something compounded by my lack of technical design knowledge of programmes such as Photoshop and Indesign, which made the realisation of my creative vision pretty laborious. To address these threats to my research process this term, I intend to make full use of Hilary Collins (2011) framework for creative research.  This methodological model transitions from an inductive to deductive lens; something highly apt to balancing creativity and open-mindedness with the focus and accessibility intrinsic to the intensive business structure of the industry. I additionally intend to learn the ropes of programmes such as Indesign and Photoshop, making full use of the technician support available to ensure I achieve my creative vision within the time available.

Alongside this SWOT analysis, we were also expected to create a Research Map; an infographic documenting the progression of our masters journey so far.  I chose to structure this infographic around a ‘path’ visual which begins with my initial interests and intentions for this masters, and moves on to the themes and research I actually focused on for modules 7001 and 7002. Firstly, this will function as a point of reference, as I begin this next research process. Secondly, as something which will be updated upon the completion of 7003 and 7004, this will present a visualisation of the overall research route of my masters journey, underpinning my FMP.

I am really excited about this module.  Whilst I enjoyed the variety of last terms briefs and learnt loads from the experience, I can’t wait to immerse myself into the themes, ideas and practises that led me to this masters in the first place and begin to realise my ambitions!

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