As I round the corner and head for home I feel Methods in Research has been a bittersweet experience for me. It's no secret this is a tough class with too much expected in too little time. Compound that task with teaching through independent learning, uncertain feedback from fellow students and late-in-coming instructor comments which tell rather than show and the end result feels like an exercise in futility.
Once I blew past the useful but dry text I realized I had to conduct a literature review, write a research proposal and organize it in a creative way. Top that heavy load off with patchy information on how to do all of this and I realized I was already up a creek looking for a paddle. I thought this was about as much fun as teaching myself how to juggle. When is the right time to throw in that third object? I can feel it, but I can't explain it. And apparently neither can anyone else. As I fixed lunch yesterday I thought if this research project was an exercise in intellect (like fixing a recipe) it could probably done fairly easily for it would merely be structuring puzzle pieces which already exist. But I chose graduate school based upon something I am passionate about and were I to lose heart and allow the intellectual process to dominate my learning; I would learn very little and care even less.
My research topic has been silence. In the past I could withdraw into silence with practiced ease. It is no discomfort for me to remain silent. Sometimes my retreats were petty and other times it seemed like a better idea to allow the other person to vent their anger without interruption. However in both cases my silence seems to hurt others and leave me untouched. So I wanted to use this time to find a positive way in which silence could be chosen.
I felt similar sense of frustration when I graduated from college. My major was English and all my life I loved reading. I came to the point in undergrad that I promised myself I could quit reading after I graduated. After I gradated and separated myself from that program I found I still loved to read. Now I find I truly enjoy the thrill of research but perhaps this online format is the pits. Perhaps it is academia and I which do not agree.
Once I saw it was me who had the issues with the program format that no amount of feedback would change, I could not see the point in repeating myself. In silence I have had to come to grips with my dissatisfaction with parts of this program. In silent reflection I have learned the limitations of an online class teaching research methods. In silent reflection I have realized research methods may not have as much meaning to me as practical life applications. I mentally debate with myself which course of silence is healthy. I wonder, if in deliberate silence I will learn more than silent teaching has ever taught me.