Understanding the Affective and Cognitive Domains of Researching, and Making These Work FOR Ourselves and Not Against Ourselves

As a blossoming researcher, how are you treating yourself, emotionally and psychologically speaking? What are YOUR tips for staying in a mode and mindset of self-care?

The Research Skill Development Framework of Cognitive and Affective Facets can help you learn better how to treat yourself well–even as you are in development. Below I share a post I recently shared in response to a Phinished thread prompting us to post what’s helping us manage as we complete the journey. I hope you find something within it that’s a help! Blessings!


So, I love the table attached below. (Please click on the image to ENLARGE it for viewing.)



It’s from this web page http://rsdf.wikispaces.com/Describin…of+researching
There is a RSD (Research Skill Development) Framework PDF available here: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/rsd/
And its developers request that this citation information accompanying its sharing: Willison, J. and O’Regan, K. (2007). ‘Commonly known, commonly not known, totally unknown: a framework for students becoming researchers’. Higher Education Research and Development, 26(4), December 2007, pp. 393-409.

I never thought about it before encountering that table, but I find it all QUITE helpful regarding self-evaluation: From this info, I now know a little bit BETTER how to do self-evaluation that is PRODUCTIVE (causative of positives and growth!) and less . . . emotional or “self-unkind” and detrimental.

Anyhow . . . according to the RSD model, there are AFFECTIVE facets to the COGNITIVE SKILLS entailed in research, and these affective facets run from a spectrum of DEFICIT to EXCESS. This model seems to be saying there is a sweet spot of affect for each cognitive skill/task, as follows:

  1. Skill/taskEmbarking on research . . . Desired affectInspired (on a scale from disengaged (deficit) to unfocused (excess)
  2. Skill/taskFind information and generate data . . . Desired affectDetermined (see the table image above for the scale)
  3. Skill/taskEvaluate information/data/process . . . Desired affectDiscerning (see the table image above for the scale)
  4. Skill/taskOrganize information and manage . . . Desired affectHarmonizing (see the table image above for the scale)
  5. Skill/taskAnalyze and synthesize . . . Desired affectCreative (see the table image above for the scale)
  6. Skill/taskApply and communicate, considering ethical, cultural, & social dimensions . . . Desired affectConstructive (see the table image above for the scale)

This was VERY helpful for me. Downright illuminating!:

I was able to look at my uni and see what cognitive skills they help me to develop and which they cannot or do not help me develop. I decided that I am responsible for my self-development. Even though I sometimes wish these things were treated more explicitly, there may be great and totally sensible reasons why they are not. I’ve learned to withhold judgment until I’ve had to do a thing my own self. (I’ve learned: I don’t know WHAT it’s like having to advise and teach grad students in that environment. I don’t know WHAT hurdles the faculty surmounts and WHAT battles faculty members fight in order to help my peers and myself.)

Regardless, I am responsible for myself . . . for developing these cognitive and affective facets to my advantage, whether with help from my uni or elsewhere.

What can I do to help myself? I can seek out mentors. I can monitor my affect by asking myself “Where AM I on the spectrum right now regarding the task/skill in which I’m engaged at the moment? Am I being excessive regarding this task/skill? If so, why? And how can I stop?”

Another thing I can do with this is to conduct a needs-resource analysis: “I’m anxious. Why? If it’s because a skill of mine is underdeveloped, where/how can I improve it? If it’s not THAT (because I know I’ve got the skill), but it’s just that I’m ‘thinking wrong’ about it or my progress to the end of experiencing detrimental affect . . . how do I turn it around? Do I join a writing group for perspective? Do I post for help and vibes at Phinished? What?”

I hope to be able to be mindful of these and help my students–at least with awareness and direction to help regarding these facts–should I ever advise a thesis-er or dissertater.

So that is a brief explanation of how I began in utilizing the RSD Framework. I wish you perspective, stick-to-it-iveness, and adaptability! I hope you all are finding great ways to be kind to self: Every now and then I have to remind myself: “Mickey, there are some things only YOU can do for yourself. No one can eat for you. Likewise, no one can stop self-badgering you. And that is important because you are always WITH yourself!!! So, it’s YOU who has got to do that–to stop any self-badgering. Don’t self-badger; Instead, skill develop!!!”

What are YOUR tips for staying in a mode and mindset of self-care? And what are your thoughts about the RSD Framework, either the cognitive facts, the affective facets, or both? Please post away by clicking on the comment bubble icon above this post.

Blessings and vibes, all!


2 thoughts on “Understanding the Affective and Cognitive Domains of Researching, and Making These Work FOR Ourselves and Not Against Ourselves

  1. Pingback: It’s Project Management, Stupid! | The BLOSSOMING-Fledgling Researcher

  2. Pingback: Uso del análisis de tareas cognitivas para mejorar las descripciones instruccionales de los procedimientos « amcgmx

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