ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
Getting inside the mind of an expert management researcher
Your learning through the two-way process of academic discourse
Who do we think you are?
Who do you think your audience is?
What’s distinctive about researching management?
Induction into a western tradition of academic scholarship
What’s your ‘academic comfort zone’, and how could you expand it?
Official expectations that you will develop your critical frame of mind
Expectations check-up
How well does your work match-up to your assessors’ expectations?
Are you a more critical thinker than you realise?
Experiences of thinking critically in your academic work
Helping yourself learn to think like an expert management researcher
Comparing lists of Dos and Don’ts
Maximising your learning by linking critical reading with self-critical writing
Expectations check-up

A very important source of official expectations about you is the set of criteria for assessing your written work. If you are a postgraduate or research student, do you know what these criteria are? If not, look them up in your student handbook or on your institution’s website. These criteria may relate to the assessment of assignments, an examination, and a dissertation or thesis. So they are worth getting familiar with and keeping firmly in mind when working towards assessment. If you are starting out as an academic, how aware you of the criteria to be used for assessing your writing for publication or proposal for research funding?

How clear are you whether the assessment criteria imply developing your critical frame of mind by following the logic of enquiry as it applies to the field of management?

Try the following check-up exercise. First, read through carefully the criteria that will be used to assess your writing. Then ask yourself these questions. In each case, write a brief note for yourself indicating what evidence (if any) you can see that the criteria provide for your answer. Remember that the criteria may not explicitly relate to each question, but they may still implicitly indicate an answer.

Do the criteria for assessing my writing imply that I should demonstrate that I have developed a critical frame of mind by:

Tick if yes

Adopting a sceptical stance towards what I read in the literature, not automatically accepting the authors’ conclusion?

 

  • Why do I think the assessment criteria imply this?

Evaluating authors’ arguments by checking to see how far they have provided sufficient backing to make their conclusions convincing?

  • Why do I think the assessment criteria imply this?

Making selective use of the literature I have evaluated to inform my own enquiry?

  • Why do I think the assessment criteria imply this?

Asking focused questions that are informed by my evaluation of the literature?

  • Why do I think the assessment criteria imply this?

 

Designing my own piece of writing to provide (literature-based, empirical or theoretical) evidence that will help to answer questions that I have asked?

  • Why do I think the assessment criteria imply this?

 

Developing my own argument where I try to provide sufficient backing to make my conclusion convincing to my assessors?

 

  • Why do I think this?

 

Creating a linked-together structure for my written account which will enable me to present my argument as clearly and convincingly as possible?

  • Why do I think this?

 

It is likely that in order to meet some or all of the assessment criteria fully, you must demonstrate that you have acquired a critical frame of mind and have followed the logic of enquiry in your academic writing.

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