A Colloquim Approach to Determining Research Preparedness in a Graduate Programme Curriculum

Melinda F Lumanta
University of the Philippines Open University
Los Baños, the Philippines

The colloquium, as a class format, has been characterized as a learner-centred, supportive and collaborative model (Higgins & Face, 1998). It provides flexibility for learners to select topics of interest; engages them in conversation with each other which reflects what is interesting and important to them; and encourages the exchange of ideas in a collegial manner.

This paper explores the use of an online colloquium format to determine the readiness of students to conduct a research-based thesis/dissertation. Interaction among the course participants in an online student-led colloquium on research issues and tools was plotted and mapped using a network analysis programme. Studentsí postings were analysed using content analysis to determine research preparedness as revealed in the use of research-related terminology and the strength of arguments based on the research method proposed.

The initial results indicate that the level of interaction among course participants was largely unidirectional and primarily intended to provide feedback and inputs to the colloquium moderator who presented his/her proposed dissertation topic as a case in point. Research preparedness was shown to be associated with such factors as early identification of a research topic and the research tradition to be pursued.