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Kris Popat

Current Focus

From time to time I find value in shifting perspectives on underlying research methodologies.


Currently I am exploring how far analysis using a semiotic or structuralist methods can be taken in different fields. In music semiotics has quite a technical flavour, in some way resembling traditional formal analysis  in it's pursuit of systems.  Nattiez's  tripartite of  poietics, analysis and esthesics is interesting though in that you contextualize the analysis first and at that time choose or develop an appropriate technique based upon the context. I think this could be a fascinating way of analysing the products of educational technology.  Those products might be software produced by professionals or they might be digital movies made by children.  By trying to understand the data as an artifact we can bring into play context, gender, intertextuality and structure in a facinating way.

About Me

I am a musician, learning technology researcher and philosopher.  I have been working at the lab for more than a decade, growing from my musical roots in both academic and technological skill.


I have worked on a significant number of research and development projects which are listed in my profile on the next page.  My research interests lay in two general areas at the methodological level. 

I am interested particularly in the concept of practice as research - trying to understand the relationship between the finished product and the research message that it portrays.  There is a big cross-over between my work as a musician and my  work as a developer in this respect.  Both produce artifacts which are themselves academically interrogateable.  A musical composition has a score and a performance which can be subjected to understanding.  Likewise a piece of software contains, encoded in the object, the philosophies, principles and messages of the designer.  Interesting questions are: how much "meta-language" is required to bring out the new knowledge from these objects and what form can this "meta-language" take to properly demonstrate rigorous research?

The other area of significant interest to me is action research.  This may seem similar to the practice as research interest, but in truth they are very different indeed. Practice as research revolves around the research output.  Your practice being the means to demonstrate the research you have undertaken. Action research is about process and self reflection to improve your practice.  The research in this respect can take many forms but it's focus is on improving practice, particularly with a collaborative slant, and then informing others trying to identify  priciples and issues which are generaliable and then communicable to others.

My work at the lab has revolved heavily around these two research types.  On the one hand I have been involved in and in-charge of the development of software prototypes the purpose of which has been to demonstrate and exemplify issues around creativity, user-interface, process and participation so very much "practice as research". On the other I have worked on projects which have explored  improvement in practice in learning and technology such as being involved in online teaching and learning programmes, the development and dissemination of flexible and distance learning processes. On a personal level I am also highly interested in process in the development of computer software.  I aniticipate the prossiblity of undertaking some action research looking at the development process in a formative way and exploring how these processes, which must involve problem solving, time management, design and more, could be applied in learning - perhaps at HE level.

If you want to know some of the facts about what I have done take a look at my profile page.

You can also see my COS Profile here.


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