Sunday, 12 July 2015

Welcome to Reflecting in Mindful Inquiry

Lower Lake, Kananaskis - photo by Lori Kemp

Welcome to this space, Reflecting in Mindful Inquiry.  This blog is a part of my journey in the MA in Learning and Technology program, specifically as part of the Introduction to Research course.  I hope to use this practice as a reflection on the learning, which based on the first week, I anticipate being vast.

The text book for this course, Mindful Inquiry in Social Research, introduced me to many new terms and concepts in research, including cultures of inquiry, research methods, research traditions and epistemological frameworks.  I realize that these concepts are large and deep and that in one week I have only scratched the surface.

I appreciate that the authors have taken a somewhat holistic approach to the introduction of research.  The idea of Mindful Inquiry resonates with me, particularly mindfulness in the sense of being aware and working with focus and attention, concepts which the authors describe as being an inherent part of Buddhism.   Mindfulness extends beyond the notion of taking responsibility for one’s own actions, thoughts and experiences, and calls one to be considerate of how those actions, thoughts and experiences affect others.   From a research perspective, this requires thoughtful consideration in all aspects of the cycle, from identifying the purpose and articulating the question, to determining the appropriate cultures of inquiry and the research methods, and evaluating and communicating the knowledge. 

These initial thoughts on Mindful Inquiry have brought me to this blog page as “Reflecting in Mindful Inquiry.”  I considered a few variations of this idea such as "A Reflection of Mindful Inquiry" or "Reflecting on Mindful Inquiry."  I have settled on my chosen title in hopes that it will ground me in this space, as I consider my connections to the learning from within a place of mindfulness and awareness.  The image that comes to mind when I consider this idea is a place of centeredness, connecting with and moving through the considerable surrounding activity (I think I feel a second blog post brewing!). 

From my perspective, reflection will be key in working, living and inquiring from a place of mindfulness.  It is in my nature to reflect upon things.  I prefer to be able to step away from a problem to consider it more deeply, and to look at it from different perspectives.  I can think of several situations when I have left a meeting or discussion and after further reflecting on the details for sometimes only a few minutes, coming up with alternate contributions that would have been preferable to the “on the spot” contributions.  Reflection can take time.  I must say that I have found it challenging to reflect (to the extent that I would prefer) on the ideas and concepts that we have been exposed to in the first week of our program, within the short time that we have.  The learning curve has been quite steep, and my mind is just getting warmed up.  That being said, I am seeing that the activities that we have been asked to do (such as this blog) are activities of reflection themselves.  I am looking forward to this journey that has only just begun. 

Bent,V.M., & Shapiro, J. J. (1998). Mindful Inquiry in Social Research. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciated the holistic, mindful approach as well, It was a comforting introduction to a book that was very full of information. I also appreciated that the authors believe that research comes from us - it is not something distant - and that we will be changed by it.