The article, “My Best Teacher” observes Denscombe’s ground-rule that research should have aims and questions that are clearly stated (Denscombe, 2010, p. 4). The first sentence of the abstract clearly informs the reader about the article’s intention to analyze 59 articles appearing in the UK Times Educational Supplement titled, “my best teacher”. The abstract of the article highlights the fact that the research is seeking to identify some of the most common qualities that ‘best’ teachers are expected to have. The abstract says: “the research identifies the common qualities/characteristics of ‘best’ teachers, compares the field of endeavour of the interviewee with the discipline of their ‘best teacher’ and examines ‘light-bulb’ moments; times when teachers especially inspired their students” (Gossman, 2011, p. 2). The author indicates the research focus and direction as well, as is suggested in Denscombe’s rule (2010, p. 4), by mentioning the qualitative thematic analysis, reporting of the frequent personal qualities that contribute to one becoming a better teacher.
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Any reader who goes through the abstract section of the article gets a clear vision of what is involved in the rest of the article. In other words, the abstract of the article clearly answers the question of, “what is the article all about?” within a few sentences comprising the initial paragraph. A reader is provided with a crucial basis upon which he or she may conduct an evaluation of the research early on before beginning to read the rest of the article. The author strives to offer some new insights, although the article is itself basing mostly on secondary sources of information. He succeeds in binding previous research with new findings in an effort to introduce some aspect of originality and uniqueness.
The use of questions by the author to probe specific areas seeks to mainly offer the anticipated new insight. For instance, he asks: “do teachers hope to have their names shortlisted in print media at some point as an acknowledgement of being someone’s best teacher?” “Is the article read for purposes of affirming one’s own practice in terms of what individuals term as ‘best’ with reference to their teachers?” “Is the article read with the objective seeking the best practise to be implemented?” The author’s intention of using these questions is to attempt to link proof with originality, as per Denscombe’s highlight (Denscombe, 2010, p. 6). Perceptive
The author uses the ‘literature review’ section as a way of linking up with originality. He builds on existing knowledge, although the article focuses on offering something different. As Denscombe points out, efforts must be made by a researcher to refer to what is already written on the area to build the confidence that no reinvention of the wheel happens in the research (Denscombe, 2010, p. 5). The use of old resources, some dating back to as early as 1931, affects the effectiveness of the research.
However, unlike what Denscombe (2010, p. 4) advises, the researcher fails to ascertain the relevance of this piece. He does not mention anywhere about any constraints, such as time limitations or lack of funds that might have an effect on the quality of his works. The purpose of this research is to investigate how teachers while relating with students, manage to achieve the best out of it. The author, therefore, remains alive to Denscombe’s rules by giving out findings, which can help teachers and learners too (Denscombe, 2010, p. 7).
Research should involve specific questions that are drawn upon the existing literature review (Denscombe, 2010, p. 8). In adhering to this requirement, the author has identified three critical questions, which he describes as his tools of provoking thought and discussion. Firstly, he queries whether teachers hope to ever have their names acknowledged in print to be somebody’s best teacher. Secondly, he poses the question of whether such an item containing the best teachers’ names is read to affirm an individual’s own practice regarding what the individuals consider to be the best amongst their teachers. Finally, the author seeks to identify whether such an article or item is read with the hope of identifying the best practice worth being implemented. Gossman (2011) effectively utilizes these questions to exhaustively conduct his investigations.
The purpose of reviewing the literature is to illustrate how teachers can emerge as the best in their careers. Critical literature review entails picking the most important sources that talk about the research topic (Denscombe, 2010, p. 32). The author has picked other articles apart from Gosisman’s article in “Tean Journal”, which forms the basis of this research as well.
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The research does not display any discrimination of religious, political, or cultural aspects. Instead, Gossman strictly focuses on the subject of his discussion. The research mutually benefits the participants and researchers as teachers learn about the best tactics for becoming the best, while the researcher expands his work and knowledge. Human rights empowerment is equally achieved as participants are not forced into taking part. Professional values applicable to research have been honored. The research methodology is explicit, while the project is peer-reviewed already by the TES newspaper. As the researcher notes (Gossman, 2011), the article registered an enduring appeal among the readers.
The research, however, does not succeed in seeking insights or new knowledge. Although the author’s resolve appears to attain this objective, the research does not offer an insightful discussion. Instead, it appears to be summarising what other research works have done. In terms of the project’s funding, there lack no indication to imply that conflict of interest might have risen. Responsibility plans for the research ensure that answerable behavior is achieved. The author gives ethical findings that do not promote any immoral practices. The proposed analysis, on the other hand, does not fully match the data requirements. Much of the discussion that would have otherwise been generated from the data does not show proper alignment. It is possible for any reader of the article to assume that the discussion was borrowed from a different source other than the data findings showed in the research.
In terms of the ethical principles required in research, Gossman achieves accountability because his audience, especially teachers, learn how to become the best in their careers. He has issued solutions to teachers on how they can achieve the best results while undertaking their roles. Confidentiality has partially been achieved as the author uses general terms, such as a sample, to describe his research subjects. This is critical as it helps in obscuring the actual identity of these subjects, although in some instances, he has revealed names. In one of the paragraphs, he says, “Peter Ustinov was interviewed a month after the publication of his biography and Kelly Holmes after her return home from winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games” (Gossman, 2011, p. 4). This is total disclosure of the subjects and does not observe confidentiality at all.
Evaluation of Ideas
Gossman (2011) identifies important themes from the numerous literature materials that he reviews. For instance, he introduces the seven principles that teachers instructing at the undergraduate level are expected to adhere to. According to (Denscombe, 2010, p. 32), one of the existing ground rules suggests that researchers must identify the important issues, as well as themes that relate to the work. Thus, the researcher is ensuring that as he continues with his discussion, he sticks to literature material that speaks about the relevant themes.
Gossman’s idea of evaluating the literature that he consults, nevertheless, fails to meet the holistic threshold that Denscombe (2010, p. 32) mentions. The researcher is not indicating to his readers the specific interpretation that can be assembled from his research and the literature reviewed as a whole. As Denscombe (2010, p. 32) notes, it is the researcher’s objective to generate an overview from his literature before he can proceed to conduct the research.
Linking the Literature Review with Existing Theories
The purpose of the literature review is to assist an author to relate practical problems with the existing knowledge. The literature in this research covers relevant aspects that information about how good teachers differ from others. As Blaikie (2010, p. 18) points out, the strategy in linking up the literature review with theories is to offer a logic that answers particularly the ‘what’ as well as the ‘why’ questions. Gossman (2011), for example, mentions, “However, the educational experiences of any individuals should be of interest to other teachers and it is not unreasonable to suggest that it is the desire to be someone’s ‘best teacher’” (p. 4). These are clearly his initial attempts to link up the information he has reviewed with the known theories that are currently existent. However, as a reader, it is difficult to find new findings between what the research concludes and the existing theories. While the author has made his findings, which relate to what the literature reviewed has highlighted, it is not easy to see the linkage with the theories.
The research questions introduced by the author ought to have helped in drawing the research findings closer to the theories. Nevertheless, the research questions fail to produce the answers expected to show nearness to the theories. The author introduces the questions at the onset of his paper before the literature review, which makes it difficult for the reader to link the two. The ground rules mention the need for research questions to appear at the end because they are the literature review’s endpoint. This location is critical because it offers a platform for the discussion about data reflecting on the specific questions that will be analyzed after being collected (Denscombe, 2010, p. 33).
List of References
Denscombe, M (2010), Ground rules for social research: guidelines for good practice, 2nd edn, Open University Press, Berkshire.
Gossman, P (2011), ‘My best teacher’, Tean Journal, vol. 3, no. 1, pp 1-21.
Rubin, A & Babbie, ER (2011), Brooks/Cole empowerment series: essential research methods for social work, 3rd edn, Cengage Learning, Belmont, CA.
Blaikie, N (2010), Designing Social Research, Polity Press, Cambridge.