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Using Clean Language Interviewing to Model Curriculum Design in Higher Education: Curriculum Design is Like What?

Walker, C (2021) Using Clean Language Interviewing to Model Curriculum Design in Higher Education: Curriculum Design is Like What? Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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The design of the curriculum within Higher Education affects hundreds of thousands of students each year. Yet it is complex, messy and under-researched. Whilst skills and knowledge development have been explored in the literature, little has been done on how curriculum design happens within teams. Using Grounded Theory, this study set out to develop a model to advance the practice of curriculum design (CD) utilising the voices of those responsible. The study also used personal reflection to explore a set of strategies to advance Clean Language Interviewing (CLI) as a research tool. Purposive sampling was used to identify 34 participants: 5 senior figures in teaching and learning leadership and 29 team members from 11 programmes across 4 universities. Findings show how important, and difficult, it is to get the conditions for curriculum design right. From the analysis emerged a model of principles and processes related to curriculum design that supports previous research on skills and knowledge. In addition, ‘how this happens’ and ‘why this doesn’t happen’ came to the fore and the theme of alignment was borne out. This focus on the less tangible elements of curriculum design - the behavioural actions and attitudes that suppress or enable it to take place - offers a unique perspective to the research area. Personal reflection resulted in a new description of the skills underpinning CLI: coding in-the-moment comprising of four key principles: tethering; coding; navigating; and modelling. These allow the researcher to traverse the data, interrogate codes and create meaning from participant’s mental models. The intentions and activities of CLI are shown to echo and support those of Grounded Theory; CLI offers a means of data-collection that systematically keeps the researcher’s attention grounded in the concerns of the interviewee and out of premature theorisation. This study offers a three-part model of curriculum design, which could be used at both team and institutional levels, alongside four key principles to support using CLI as a research tool. Both elements of this study offer originality and significance to the extant body of research whilst offering opportunities for development for researchers, academics and those with responsibility for curriculum design.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Clean Language Interviewing; Curriculum Design; Clean Language; Alignment; Grounded Theory
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Sport Studies, Leisure & Nutrition (closed 31 Aug 19)
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2021 09:23
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2023 10:13
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00015690
Supervisors: Nixon, S and Walsh, B
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15690
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