Tuesday 22 February 2011

Wrestling with ideas for an inquiry

Someone at the campus session mentioned they were having difficulty coming to a topic for inquiry. The ensuing discussion showed that this was quite normal at this stage in the module. Inquiry questions can take quite a while to arrive at and inspiration can come from engaging and collaborating with others on the module via SIGs, blogs, facebook, wikis etc. Professional networks - teachers, mentors, places of employment can be muses as well. Some questions are quite naturally driven by personal purposes which is the motivation for an inquiry. A trick here is to consider de-personalising your inquiry and refocus on it from that deeply personal imperative to one that would have wider professional resonance / meaning.



How can I change my career path?

What are the challenges to shifting career from performing to teaching.

Are existing skills transferable?

How can I expand my business?

What are effective marketing strategies?

What are models of franchising?

What are the statutory requirements/obligations on arts managers?

How can I overcome injury and stay in the profession?

How is injury dealt with in the profession?

Are dance masters / teachers too pushy?

How important is a knowledge of physiology and anatomy?

How can I deal with a physically disabled pupil in my class?

How can dance teachers ensure inclusivity?

How can dance teachers ensure equity in learning for all?

The literature can shape your inquiry and reading texts and professional journals can help formulate and hone the inquiry.

Every question you ask has, in all likelihood, been asked (and maybe answered) before. But not by you. And not in your professional context, at this time. In considering your inquiry a good question to ask is who will benefit? Clearly you all want to benefit on the one level by using the inquiry towards your degree as well as learning and finding out things for yourself. But is there a wider audience who can benefit? Can your inquiry add anything to the profession? Could it change your professional practice? Could it change the practice of others in the profession? Could it confirm your existing practice? Can you bring the findings and deductions from your inquiry to a perspective employer and say – look – this is what I found out through engaging with a process of inquiry?

In wrestling with your topic for inquiry you should adhere to the following principles:

Make it personally relevant

This is important to as it’s your own idea and question and therefore you will be motivated to sustain momentum throughout the entire process.

Make it doable

Will you be able to access people / resources in conducting the inquiry? Moving onto the final section of the module should clarify this for you. But you should also be talking as early as possible to employers / professional mentors.

Is it ethically beneficial?

How will the world of your professional practice be a better place as a result of completing the inquiry?


Is your inquiry capable of being argued both for and against? Is there are range of opinion / evidence for your to build up an argument from? This could be answered from the existing literature on the topic.

BAPP thus far is leading you towards an inquiry based learning project in the context of your professional practice and this module sees settling on the inquiry topic and establishing what will be the best way to conduct it taking on board an ethical perspective.

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