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Sten Ludvigsen InterMedia , University of Oslo
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Sten Ludvigsen InterMedia , University of Oslo

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  1. Research leadership: Productive research communities and the integration of research fellows- mediation – as core – mediation and objects – emotions ….. StenLudvigsen InterMedia, University of Oslo

  2. Research leadership: Productive research communities and the integration of research fellows • Focus: especially productive research groups and communities • Media studies, history – “soft” computer science • Theory: Cultural historical activity theory • Concept of object as our main analytic concept

  3. Research leadership: Productive research communities and the integration of research fellows • Selection of knowledge domains • Media studies • History • “Soft” computer science

  4. Cultural historical activity theory Artefacts Object Output Subject Division of labor Rules Community

  5. Research leadership: Productive research communities and the integration of research fellows • Background • From individual to collective models • Models from other sciences … to social and learning science.. • NoE, IP, CofE, CofI….. large scale …. • Text production • Increased co-publication patterns in most domains also social science and learning and educational research

  6. Research leadership: Productive research communities and the integration of research fellows • Research communities; • Historical (Kvale 1997) – apprenticeship – travels , • Structural analyses where publishing patterns are identified (Kyvik and Sivertsen 2005). • “Everyday life” descriptions (social science studies, ANT). • Here, research work is described as a social activity, situated in practice, and strongly attached to theory, methods and instruments, in order words how scientific knowledge is produced (Latour 1987; Pickering 1995) • Machinery of knowledge construction, (Knorr-Cetina, 1999). • CHAT and epistemic perspective (Saari 2003) - CHAT – long term collaboration between teams • Our stance: How everyday life of research is unfolding, and how the research communities defines and follows their object of research

  7. Research leadership: Productive research communities and the integration of research fellows • Questions: • How does one establish a joint object in a research community? • Which standards are developed, and to what degree do these standards bring structure to the researchers’ work and learning? • What kind of implications will this have on the PhD students’ work/learning environment?

  8. Research leadership: Productive research communities and the integration of research fellows • CHAT – • Cultural and historical understanding of the human genesis through the concept of activity • How different communities and institutions’ create and develops through short term actions and long cycles of activities. • Tensions, conflicts, break downs and contradictions are being emphasized, • object is especially significant (Engeström 1987; Kaptelinin 2005; Leont'ev 1978), • Object as something potentially shared by several parties (Engeström, 1987).

  9. Research leadership: Productive research communities and the integration of research fellows • Two aspects of the concept ‘object’ • Object: routines, standards (Miettinen and Virkkunen 2005) • Object: procedural • When we enter into an activity, we must find an object which enables us to coordinate our actions • Objects in the making… • Structure and processes - micro genesis • Genre – conventions, technical vocabulary

  10. Research leadership: Productive research communities and the integration of research fellows • Interviews as a primary data base for our analysis but as also other sources • The main themes in the interview guide consisted of: • Biography, research community, research topics, research leadership (supervision situation), expectations (standards), aims and motivation.

  11. Research leadership: Productive research communities and the integration of research fellows • Results from the media studies group • The development of conventions and genres of research within one’s own field. • This opens up for what we call the negotiation space. • Strong ambitions and different kinds of collective working methods are used to develop the research. • Three types of tensions can be identified: • The first is related to time. Different participants are operating with different time horizons, depending on their institutional affiliations. Here norms about individuality and autonomy becomes an important issue. This influences the opportunities to participate in collective research and writing activities. For example, the PhD students have to prioritize finishing their own projects before they are able to move on. • The other tension can be described in relation to symmetry and asymmetry. On a social level, all can be seen as equal, but professionally the research community appears to have a distinct leadership. This is made clear, and is seen as obvious by the participants. This is a tension between the rhetoric of equality, and how the research is in fact framed and focused.

  12. Research leadership: Productive research communities and the integration of research fellows • Media studies cont.: • The third tension is related to a degree of division of labour in the construction of the object of research. What is the single researcher’s object of their own research, and what constitutes the joint research? • The way we interpret this is that the project, as a collective activity, can be described as a negotiation zone, where all the participants are given the opportunity to give their voice to their research agenda. But given that one has joined a research community, the negotiations aren’t open. • For the PhD students and the post doctoral fellows, this means that they must also enter into a set of joint activities, working with cross cutting problem areas within the projects, even if their own projects suffer from doing so.

  13. Research leadership: Productive research communities and the integration of research fellows • History • Research groups more as networks • Individual research projects • Prof. have their own projects • Autonomy as norm

  14. Research leadership: Productive research communities and the integration of research fellows • Historycont. • Tensions about what's the objects • Content – what's historical research (more knowledge domains is moving into modern history) • Individual versus collective work • The individual as the key to scientific progress • Seminars and individual supervision

  15. Research leadership: Productive research communities and the integration of research fellows • Computer science • Tensions: • When it comes to time, the tension consists of prioritising between the research leaders’ own research, strategic work, international participation and branding, co-writing with other senior researchers as well as guiding PhD students. We can describe this as a strong asymmetry between professors and PhD student.

  16. Research leadership: Productive research communities and the integration of research fellows • Computer science • Tensions: • Research community stands out as hierarchical, with a clear work division between researchers on different competence levels. There is little openness for other researchers than the seniors to negotiate within the field of knowledge. • This is strongly related to the fact that conventions and genres are established in regards to the products such as scientific articles. The results from this centre are collective and institutionally based, which means that the collective result is superior to the work each individual researcher contributes.

  17. Research leadership: Productive research communities and the integration of research fellows • Computer science • Primarily, they have the same objects for their research. • The PhD work is followed up closely whenever their work is contributing to the research leadership’s agenda. • PhD students’ work and learning environment is closely integrated into the collective knowledge development of which the research group takes part.

  18. Research leadership: Productive research communities and the integration of research fellows • Computer science: • PhD students’ learning environment is characterized by a relatively small space for negotiation. • The objects change, but the change processes is not open to all the participants in the community. • The main emphasis is placed on an overlapping of the research leaders’ and PhD students’ focus. • This means that the PhD students increase their opportunities for support, and at the same time the pressure in regards to the production of a collective agenda, increases. • In this community it is difficult for the PhD student to be a remote participant. • The degree of overlapping with the research leaders must be significant enough to create strong common areas of focus.

  19. Research leadership: Productive research communities and the integration of research fellows • Discussion and conclusion • How negotiation spaces are established, maintained ……… • Emerging objects that direct and redirect the work and the meaning making for the researchers • In the community in media and communication research, the most important thing seems to be the negotiations concerning the constitution of the object. The constitution of the object is not given, and is also gradually changed throughout the PhD students’ progress, individuality as a norm is still strong in this community. The negotiation space can be described as open, given that they adhere to the set of thematic frameworks that this research community is based on, the individual PhD student will have many choices. • Individuality and autonomy is strong norms university as knowledge institutions

  20. Individual and collective doctoring Individual model of doctoral education • Doctoral students pursue personal study project unrelated to that of supervisor by relying on weak supervisory links • Pursuing a monographs without peer review Collective model of doctoral education • New cohorts of doctoral students pursue collective research problems related to their supervisors evolving network of research projects • Pursuing an article thesis consisting of 3-4 four internationally refereed journal article (an established practice in many european from natural to social sciences)

  21. Individual versus collective model of doctoral education Individual model of doctoral Education • Students are expected to figure out themselves how to go about doing academic research • They often have only very weak links with supervisors and professional research practices • Many students interupt their studies • Those students who succeed develop impressive agency Collective model of doctoral education • Doctoral students are socialized to collective knowledge practices that channel and guide the participants’inquiry efforts • Supervision is distributed in terms of horizontal )between peers) and vertical (between cohorts of students) support and guidance, in addition to that of supervisor (+ shared laboratory space) • Students may be a bit dependent on collective practices (challenge of becoming independent) • Interagency: independent doctoral student who experience being a part of a community are doing better that collective doctoral students experiencingisolation

  22. Research leadership: Productive research communities and the integration of research fellows • Social organization matters.. how and why • Back to the concepts • Emerging object • Genre, conventions, standards • Structure and processes • In which ways is the work differentiated and how do it cumulate