Last update 29th October 2012 (title change) – this is a work in progress!
Provisional Title: –
Developing electronic portfolios within a not-for-profit organisation: a single-site case study evaluating the impact upon the organisation and the individual through action research.
My PhD thesis is focused on e-Portfolios. These are systems accessed via a web browser that allow individuals to publish and record their achievements from the past as well as produce plans for the future, and make these available to existing and potential future employees, managers and colleagues. (Though there’s now a whole debate forming in my mind about what an e-Portfolio is, a product, a concept, a website, ah the joys of PhD study).
Much of the existing research on e-Portfolios is within school and Higher Education, and across many different disciplines students are encouraged to develop an e-Portfolio as part of their Personal Development Planning. There is also a focus on graduate employment and not those that enter the workforce earlier, via apprenticeships or other recruitment programmes. There are however exceptions to this; careers that have a significant element of Professional Development (such as architects, teachers and nurses) are expected to maintain a portfolio, at least at the start of their chosen careers.
I intend to carry out a study over approximately a year, with ten individuals within the same organisation, from a range of disciplines and levels, from apprentices to mid-career professionals. I will visit these people three times through the year, helping to develop an online portfolio, which they can use to showcase their work and identify training needs for the organisation. I have secured access to an organisation based in the West Midlands, and the head of development within the organisation is enthusiastic for the project, and at the time of writing the individuals are being approached to take part in the study.
The methodology used is Action Research in nature, and it is anticipated that three cycles of Action Research will be necessary… to establish the concept of e-portfolios, develop the content, and reflect on the e-portfolio and what the impact has been upon the individuals. The Action Research will be ’emancipatory’ in its widest sense… more on this later