5: Reflective Researcher
5a: Reading and Evaluating Research
Reflection paper: Philosophy of Leadership and research section answering such questions as, What is the responsibilities of a leader to read literature without bias, to assimilate information, and to evaluate information for relevance and reliability? What leader skills are implemented in this process?
5b: Conducting Research
Research paper on Adventist LEAP
Reflection paper: Philosophy of Leadership and research section answering such questions as, How do leaders conduct research? What leadership/management skills encourage/foster cooperation with subjects of the research? What methods of persuasion can/should be employed? What leadership –based relational skills will facilitate cooperation?
5c: Reporting Research
Foundations (from IDP)
Research paper on Adventist LEAP
Thesis paper: Philosophy of Leadership and research section answering such questions as, What leadership philosophies are utilized and recognized as contributing to the successful finishing of a thesis paper and research project? What theories/methods are used when reporting research in order to accurately reflect the information gleaned?
Research is the big toe of the foot of praxis. If we had no research, we would have less theory on which to build our praxis. Praxis, as I have come to believe, is the heart and soul of good teaching - and perhaps of good living! If we live a self-examined life (which, according to Goleman, Boyatizis, and McKee in Primal Leadership, a leader with high emotial intelligence should do), we need to constantly look to research to see if our practices line up with the best theory and philosophy, and then go try this theory/philosophy out to see how it works in our situation.
Cresswell tells us that because educators strive for continual improvement, we should look at the process of "adding to knowledge" through research as something of value (Educational Research, 3). It is exciting to realize that others can gain insight into the issue presented in any research, and use this insight to make better decisions in their daily lives and practice. This raises the issue of ethics in research, and makes the case for a researching being honest in reporting what he/she finds (Cresswell, 14). Bias is likely present in any research, even that which we consider "scientific" (see discussions for LEAD636 week 3, post # 4551, 4573, and others; see also Freed's epistemology model). If that is the case, then the most important thing for a researcher to do if he/she knows there is bias is to identify it up front. This would be consistent with a leader's ingetrity level. In fact, integrity should guide a leader in every step of the research process. How does a leader conduct research? With integrity: A leader is honest with data collection and reporting, is fair with all facts and all people. A leader's integrity should also motivate him/her to use fair methods when conducting interviews. According to Cresswell, "During an interview, the researcher should remain neutral and should not share opinions" (418). This requires integrity on the part of the leader/researcher as well.
Probably the most significant skill set for a leader to have in fostering a sense of cooperation in the research process is the ones identified in Primal Leadership as "emotional intelligence." Self awareness (emotional self-awareness, accurate self-assessment, self-confidence), self-management (emotional self-control, transparency, adaptability, achievement, initiative, optimism), social awareness (empathy, organizational awareness, service), and relationship management (inspirational leadership) could all take a role in research. A reseacher who is self-aware will exude self-confidence, helping the research subjects to feel confident that he/she will accurately report what they think/feel. A researcher who has a high degree of social awareness will help his subjects feel like he understands what they are saying, and will organize his materials (literature review, etc.) in a thoughtful and logical manner.
For additional reflections related to this competency, see the following: