Raw notes from research on Top Level Courses Project - README

Between 2009-2011, I researched the Chinese Top Level Courses Project at OISE/University of Toronto for my Masters in higher education and comparative education. I submitted my final thesis in September 2011.

I am committed to Open Access and open sharing of research. I believe it’s not only the ethical thing to do, but it also makes everyone’s research better and more effective. I have been experimenting with different ways of opening up the research process. One aspect of this is the final product, here you can read about how I tried to make the final product available in a number of different formats, and through different channels (I even had it translated into Chinese).

However, I am also interested in opening up the process of doing research, and sharing more of the raw material that was assembled. You can think of the research process as gathering, sorting and making sense of a huge amount of data, ideas and resources. Finally, you compile it all down into a final product. This is necessary for others to be able to rapidly access your findings, and the evidence you need to support your findings. However, it’s such a waste to throw away all that other material that was generated - perhaps it could be useful to others.

Therefore, I am making available all of my raw notes from the writing process. I use a program called Scrivener to write, and keep my notes. I wrote a script called folders2web to work with Scrivener to generate a web index of the Scrivener file. You can also download the entire Scrivener file here.

The notes are exactly as I left them, the only thing I have done is to redact out anything that could reveal the identity of my participants. I had not planned to publish these notes from the start, and no attempt has been made to organize them or edit them. This means that it is a holy mess. Take it for what it is. If you are very interested in, or researching a topic related to my thesis, you might be able to find interesting ideas here. If you just want to get the gist of my research, reading the final thesis is probably much easier.

The actual draft of the thesis is in the folder draft (note that my web script does not keep track of order, so within each folder, the order is random). Note also that I did some final adjustments to the text in Word after exporting it, so do not rely on these snippets to get the final text.

All my notes which I consulted during the writing, including copied snippets from PDFs, notes from the interviews, and ideas, are in the Research folder. I have also not included the Chinese transcripts of the interviews, since I will need more time to clean these for identifying information - they will be posted in the future.

I take no responsibility for the contents here, feel free to reuse them, and let me know if they are useful, but do not cite me (feel free to cite my thesis, of course).

Contact me at shaklev@gmail.com, or visit my blog.

These notes were made in the preparation of the MA Thesis “The Chinese National Top Level Courses Project: Using Open Educational Resources to Promote Quality in Undergraduate Teaching” by Stian HĂ„klev, University of Toronto 2010.