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Review Lecture: Organization of the postgraduate students’ scientific and research work.
The objective of the lecture: Familiarization of the postgraduate students with the main requirements and types of research work for the Master’s degree nominees.
The main problem: Clarification of the main requirements to the Master’s degree thesis.
The guiding idea: Master’s degree theses as the result of independent research activity.
1. Definition and importance of the students’ research work.
2. Master’s degree nominees’ works and its types.
3. General and specific requirements to the Master’s degree thesis.
4. Requirements to the Master’s degree theses in Pedagogics.
The scientific and research work of the postgraduate students is done according to the objectives of the educational process and assists in training of the highly qualified specialists. One of the main requirements for the postgraduate students is the comprehensive development of their creative skills and researching abilities.
The scientific and research work of the postgraduate students is aimed to development of the future teachers and researchers bents for search and research activities, creative solutions of the teaching & educational tasks in the educational institutions, and as well formation of the abilities and skills in application of the research methods for solving of the practical issues in the fiels of education and nurture.
It is assumed by practice of the higher educational institutions that the postgraduate students are often given the tasks for self work with requirements for preparation of:
Structural block-diagram of the lectures;
Topic-based crossword puzzles;
Topic-based tests (single, multiple, alternative and ordered discretion);
The list of definitions for key terms of the course referenced to the original sources;
Annotation of articles (5 – 6 from the one topic), book or separate chapters being closely connected with the topic;
Making abstracts and reports on topics specified by the teacher;
Various group tasks that assume solution or modeling of the problem situations.
Under conditions of the students’ active creative and cognitive activities, the works of the Master’s degree nominees are considered to be more and more like to the researching search. The students prefer creative tasks: preparing reports, abstracts; school experience research; publication of critiques and writing of the Master’s degree theses.
The postgraduate students’ work is the form of self-made creative work selected upon desire of the Master. Depending on the level of the student’s research skills formation the teacher can propose to write: an abstract, critique, essay, review, annotation or the terms of reference for research of certain phenomenon development genesis.
The most elementary form – an abstract – is the report on certain topic including the review of scientific and the other sources related to the chosen topic or description of the scientific work content. It is important to stress the point that the abstract shall include not only interpretation of the appropriate scientific information, but also personal point of view as to the above.
Main requirements to the abstract:
• Comprehensiveness of the article or some topic based works representation;
• Compliance of the main theses and provisions selected by a reporter with the article content.
• Determination of methods selected by a reporter in the time of preparation of the abstract in order to solve the certain problem;
• Correspondence of a reporter’s findings to the set objectives (is the research goal met or no?)
Having used the complicated theses, the thoughts of minor importance shall be stated in way, provided they clarify and give the arguments over the primary ones.
It is proven by research of S. Balashova that the students showing the average level of researching skills shall be advised to write the critiques.
Article – is the minor scientific or journalistic publication being the specific research of the vital scientific, social & political or literature topic. It is considered that such article shall be characterized by reporting of the specific issues accompanied by required theoretical understanding. The scientific article being the critique is a research covering wide range of materials and including rather thorough analysis of the scientific works, where the certain problems, processes and phenomena are reported. It includes the characteristic of sensible pedagogical or the other phenomena, or processes, assessment, findings, observations or suggestions being the result of the analysis done.
The content, form, organizational method and manner of material reporting by the student shall comply with the style of critique. The students known to have the high level of researching skills may be offered to perform more complicated work – the essay.
Essay (Fr. essai – attempt, intention, draft) – is the small prose-style publication with free composition that reports the individual opinions and statements about specific issue, while not pretending to exhaustive and determinative interpretation of the topic concerned.
The results of scientific and research work done for different subjects may be submitted by the postgraduate students in one of the following forms: a scientific summary, scientific report, methodological findings as to researched topic and scientific article.
However, the final result of the postgraduate student’s research self work shall be the Master’s thesis that may be called as the Master’s degree thesis. Determinative feature of the said thesis is the clearly expressed individual character.
The Master’s degree thesis shall be prepared by the student at the final grade level according to requirements of the educational & professional program for specialists to be qualified as ‘Masters’. The Master’s degree thesis is considered to be the qualification-confirming scientific and practical work containing mathematically grounded theoretical or experimental results and scientific provisions that provides an evidence of the student’s ability for independent scientific research in the selected sphere of knowledge.
The results of research performed by the author and summarized in the Master’s degree thesis shall comply with one of the following requirements:
Providing of scientifically grounded observations and findings of theoretical and practical importance that enable reasonable solution of the certain task;
Obtaining of the new scientifically grounded or experimental results being of high importance for certain field of science.
The research results shall be approved by publications in printed mass-media and scientific bulletins, reports made in the time of scientific or scientific and practical conferences, etc.
The Master’s degree thesis shall be submitted in the form of duly drawn up (printed) research consisting of no less than thirty conditional pages of the main text (for environmental & geographical and physicomathematical specialization) or of no less than forty pages (for specialties pertaining to the humanities). The Master’s degree thesis shall be kept within files of the Higher School for at least five years.
General criteria of the said theses evaluation are mainly the same as the criteria of dissertations evaluation. The aforesaid criteria are: actuality of the problem selected for research, its theoretical and practical importance, independence of the research work, availability of the experimental data; innovative approaches to problem research; methodological validity, coincidence of the research methods with the subject thereof; appearance of the text; availability of the grounded findings and correct interpretation by application of the scientific terms.
The adequate and objective interpretation of the accumulated pedagogical facts may be composed only if it is based upon theoretical research methods. Any pedagogical phenomenon shall be considered from the angle of its influence on the total result of the pedagogical work together with the other phenomena. Application of the analytical research methods provides for an option enabling to single out individual aspects, signs, features and peculiarities from any pedagogical phenomenon. The analysis assists to examine the most complicated phenomena, namely to separate diverse facts, compare it and finally, to select the typical ones. Thereby, the research strategy is being built, thus assuming certain alternation of both: empirical and theoretical methods.
The quality of the Master’s scientific and research work is dependable upon the level of the Master’s readiness for its organization and performance. The readiness shall be understood as integrative property reflecting the ability of personality to arrange supervised by a teacher own scientific and research activity in the course of studying that includes the following components: creative skills, competence, mastering the technology of the scientific research and reporting with following defense of the scientific research results.
Creative skills – is the system of the intellectual and creative qualities of the personality promoting the success of the creative activities. It is composed from the following sub-systems:
- orientational sub-systems (motives, interest and demands);
- personal character traits sub-systems (firmness of purpose, working capacity, conscientiousness, etc.);
- skills sub-systems (individual peculiarities of the creative processes);
- creative skills sub-systems.
The following are individual and creative qualities required for the future research:
1). Creative thinking, i.e. ability to produce the new ideas, hypotheses and problem tasks expression methods.
2). Intuition. Direct view to the essence of the matter, selection of the proper solution of the problem without understanding the ways and methods for the above.
3). Creative imagination. Independent creation of the new images being reflected in original and valuable results of activities.
4). Divergence of thinking. The alternativeness, ability to propose a few approaches to solution of the task, skills for viewing the problems and objects under different angles.
5). Originality of thinking, i.e. singularity of the mental qualities, mental activity type; ability to work out thoughts being different of the commonly adopted views.
6). Associativity of thinking. The ability to use associations, including analogies, and devious associations.
7). Intellectual activity. This is the integral cognitive and motivational indicator of the creative personality development level based on the intellectual initiative.
The intellectual initiative is not the continuation of thinking due to external stimulation, but the continuation of the mental activity out of the specified situation that is conditioned neither by practical needs, nor by negative evaluation of the work.
The student’s competence in the scientific and research work shall be understood as special and comprehensive scientific knowledge serving as the methodological basis for organization and performance of research (these ones are different for each direction of the pedagogical research), comprehensive scientific and research skills, in particular, in:
- organization of the own mental activity;
- literature search and bibliographic review of the scientific sources;
- justification of the research topic actuality;
- clear setting of the research goal and objectives;
- operating the conceptual framework;
- competent application of scientific cognition methods;
- defining of the research object and subject;
- formulation of hypothesis, proving or disproving its validity;
- justification of the scientific novelty and practical importance of the research;
- reporting the research results in numerical and graphic forms;
- defending of the own research results in appropriate way.
Gaining the expert-like skills in the scientific research technology requires the system approach to the organization of the scientific research. It is based upon the main phases and methods of the scientific research. This is a creative search that being the didactic process may be divided into following stages: a) search of problem; b) concentration on, absorption in the problem; c) information collection, interrelated data merging; d) material incubation, analysis, understanding and systematization; e) acknowledgement or insight – generation of idea; f) verification and application in way of logical thinking or experiment.
Exposition of the research material is dependable upon the level of the students’ readiness for scientific and research activities.
Observations and experimental surveys of several year’s standing enable us to determine four levels of the students’ readiness for the scientific and research activities: extremely low, low, satisfactory and high.
The extremely low level is inherent to the students who are not interested in the scientific and research activities. The research work is motivated only by the need to get the certain grade. Most of such students have low, sometimes medium level of creative skills development. They have low, sometimes medium level of knowledge and do not seek for its improvement; they have not any skills in application of the research technology and material reporting. The research activity is considered by them to be unnecessary.
The low level of readiness is typical for the students somehow interesting in certain problems. Such students have medium level of the creative skills development and go into the root of matter in perfunctory manner. The organization of the scientific research is initiated by the teacher. The student makes mistakes in the logical & meaningful component of the research; he does not always able to provide integrity of the procedural and the logical & meaningful components. He is practically indifferent to the scientific work. The research results are reported by him in abstract form.
The satisfactory level of readiness assumes the presence of interest in the research work, availability of high or medium level of the creative skills development, awareness about the essence of the research work, however without independent determination of all specific attributes; rather good skills in research and some general scientific methods; trying to strive for integrity of the procedural and the logical & meaningful components in the time of selection of the scientific research organization form and methods; absence of skills for independent scheduling of the scientific research that is conditioned by the lack of competence. These students are known for desire to become researchers. The subject matter is reported in abstract-analytical, sometimes creative form.
The high level of readiness assumes the need for the scientific and research activities, presence of high creative skills, awareness about the essence of the scientific and research activities and skills for independent determination of its specific features, application of the research and general scientific skills, awareness about the scientific research organization main form and methods; providing the integrity of the procedural and the logical & meaningful components in the time of selection of the scientific research organization form and methods; recognition of the importance of the research work social role for the formation of our society. Such students are characterized by creative style and creativity of the work.
Their works are notable for: understanding of the scientific research essence; ability to find out and state the problem, introduce required conceptual framework, define the object, subject, goal, objective and hypothesis with following proving or disproving thereof; ability to select specific research methods, analyze the research results, generalize and make proper conclusions and finally, to assess the application scope for the research model.
Analysis of the postgraduate students’ articles and creative works provides for setting of some levels of the scientific character and creativity being inherent to the above:
- Abstract level (brief written report on main theoretical and scientific provisions as to the research problems) (I-II level of the Master’s readiness for the scientific and research activities);
- Analytical & Abstract level (brief report based on the analysis and creative processing of the literature sources, the analysis of facts and theoretical justification, systematization, classification and generalization. Making critical remarks as to the matter of the published fact on the basis of the above) (III-IV level of the Master’s readiness for the scientific and research activities);
Each student is considered to be the unique personality that may be revealed only during his activity. Whatever work is done (tedious, monotonous, typical or versatile) it shall be necessary to strive for creative application of the students’ skills in such work. The creativity is just the only basis for emotional enthusiasm and spiritual growth of the students. V. Sukhomlynskyi considered that anyone can make progress in harmonious and comprehensive development, erudition and literacy, thus achieving the spiritual wealth and morality, only under conditions if the intellectual, moral and esthetic culture is accompanied by the high level of culture in work and working creativity.
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