Is your office killing you?

You only have to search Google images with the key words “dilbert open plan” to find some Dilbert strips that make you giggle – I found the strips of May 31, 2011, November 2, 2012, May 14, 2003 and October 17, 1998 particularly funny.  But look down at some of the comments and it all gets a little more serious – on the most part, people don’t like working open plan.

All the Dilbert gags aside, I’ve just spent a few weeks carrying out a literature review into the health harms/benefits of different sorts of office.  It led me to conclude that this isn’t a laughing matter…

The short story is – depending in part on your personality and the particular nature of your work – but on the whole…

If your office is shared, larger and/or has a density that makes it feel crowded – your health is at risk.  Your health is more at risk if your own workspace in that office is further from a window, nearer to circulation areas and/or the distractions of shared facilities.  If you are by the window – especially if you have a green view – you seem to be protected a little.  If you have some control – over your own light, your own temperature, your own ventilation – then it helps again.  It gets worse if control is removed, for example you have no input into the decor of your office or you are told no personal items on your desk. Continue reading

Assignment One: write a research proposal

okay the doctorate has started!  I’ve had the introductory ‘summer academy’ and now have the follow on assignment.  I understand that this is in part to help us try out and hone in on the ‘academic style of writing’ but also to put some of the things we covered at the academy into practice – literature reviews, research questions, quantitative research, qualitative research, systematic literature reviews were all covered in relatively short one hour lectures.  This research proposal is for hypothetical research – not the ‘real’ one we will end up doing, so the point is to learn how to write research proposals.

But although we were set the task of ‘write a research proposal’ and I understand how all these things are parts of it – I came away with a few burning questions – what is a research proposal for?  what is its purpose? what does a successful one look like?

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Developing my thinking about the development of thinking

Just recently I’ve read a couple of articles.  They are both about the development of thinking in an educational context.  One is about developing critical thinking (Moon, 2005) and the other is about the teaching of systems concepts  and therefore of interest to the development of systems thinking (Salner 1986).

Both of the articles use theories of adult cognitive development or epistemological development as the foundation for their arguments.  In short, they argue that critical thinking (Moon article) and understanding of systems concepts (Salner article) are not possible until the adult has reached a certain stage of development and have integrated particular epistemological assumptions into their world views.  Both articles are written from a ‘pedagogical’ perspective so go onto discuss what educators can do to create the conditions where post-18 students can progress the development of their thinking – even if they are not consciously aware of it.

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