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Archive for March, 2010

Course completed + Looking to RSH9104B

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

I finished RSH9103QNB using the revised topic rather than my original topic. The original topic had two significant flaws – the sample would have included firms subject to Wal-Mart’s Packaging Scorecard and that list is not publically available, and since it was new research, there were no previously validated surveys to use. I will hold this topic for future research; I realized that the purpose of a PhD dissertation is to GET A PHD not to open a new research can of worms.

So I wrote on my second topic, which is based on previous research with validated surveys; however, the population included self-identified sustainable firms and publically identified sustainable firms. Essentially, I am looking at firms which are identified as sustainable and their purchasing activities. I don’t have as much excitement for this topic but my goal is to get a PhD (see GET A PHD above).

I decided to take a leave of absence for 30 days (LOA) and start RSH9104B in May rather than April. The main reason is that this course is very time-bound and many people do not complete it in time and have to take it twice. I want to have my topic polished up and the first assignments completed in April so that I can turn them in at the beginning of the course. I am very busy with work and teaching at the University of Phoenix, so I don’t have time in this next week to pull these things together. I need to do some more reading and developing my ideas and really immerse myself into this paper.

Here are the assignments in RSH9104B:
Activity 1: Submit a 1-page paper identifying Committee Members including contact info and reason I selected them (which is very funny since we do not select our own committee any more – the dean’s office does). This is a quickie turn-in.

Activity 2: Revise topic paper from RSH9101B based on learnings from subsequent RSH classes (and for me that means re-doing the whole thing). I will dedicate significant time in April for this one.

Activity 3: Define critical and unique terms; this assignment requires use of third-level headings, brief definitions, and supporting citations. I already have a good idea of what I need to do on this assignment and plan to have it completed in April.

Activity 4: Create an abridged literature review, which includes 7 to 10 of the most relevant studies/works related to the topic. I think I will have issues here because I have so many relevant studies and will have to prioritize them. This is a brief review which lays the foundation for the Literature Review section in the dissertation.

Activity 5: Measurements/assessment Paper summarizes the literature related to variables and constructs, and includes measurement validity and reliability. I am using a survey that has been used several times. I will include a section on research repetition here.

Activity 6: This paper reflects on the appropriateness of the research design and is called “Justify Research Design.” At first glance it appears to be repetitive but I will have to dig into the assignment.

Activity 7: Revise Annotated Bibliography; this activity makes the assumption that I missed something in earlier papers. LOL

Activity 8: Submit Concept Paper – this one is the real reason I am taking a LOA: it has to be submitted no later than the end of week 6/beginning of week 7. After submission, the Chair and Committee has 14 days to review it, and request changes. This starts the cycle of change and review, change and review, until my Chair permits me to to do the next activity.

Activity 9: In this activity, the Concept Paper (CP) is submitted for University Review. This is a blind review and revisions can be requested over and over. If my paper does not pass University Review in a timely manner (they have 14 days each cycle, which by the way, eats up lots of time), I have to re-take the course.

RSH9104B is really designed for concentrated work on the topic; and with two jobs + my freelancing on the side, it is hard to find the time. I plan to work under a schedule in April to do this work and take a day or two of vacation to make it happen. RSH9104B will start on May 1st with an end date of July 24th. After grading some papers this morning, my plan is to develop a timeline to complete these assignments. This will help me stay focused!

Envisioned Research Plan

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

I am working on the final assignment in RSH9103QNB:

Based on your problem statement, purpose statement, research questions, method, and design identified in RSH9101, RSH9102 and course activities, compose a comprehensive paper in which you discuss the envisioned context and variables in your envisioned research. Also, include discussion of envisioned data collection method and analyses along with the reasoning behind your selection. Finally, propose plans to ensure validity and reliability of your outcomes. The expected length of this assignment is 8-15 pages.

So here is my quandry: Do I work up this assignment based on my original topic, or the revised one that a previous mentor steered me toward because he believed my original topic was not do-able? I am vacillating! So this evening I declared a truce with my dissertation topic and have been organizing the stack of journal articles I printed in the past week. I am bad about printing and setting aside articles for a more in-depth reading. Right now I am punching holes and snapping them into my binders with alphabetic dividers. I use small sticky notes for individual articles’ author names. I have other 3-ring binders with school papers in them cataloged by course number. This all sounds as though I am organized but if you could see my desk you would not think that!

I plan to get up tomorrow morning and get a fresh start on this paper, hoping that my research muse shows up!

Warning: G-Power is a time stealer

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

So today I finished up the 11th activity in RSH9103QNB and got ready for the 12th as outlined in the syllabus:

Consider your study, conduct a mock power analysis using G*Power. Include the results of your power analysis in a word document. Submit these results along with a brief paragraph, approximately 250 words, stating the role of a power analysis in your dissertation, and why you must include a power analysis in your paper.

Sounds pretty straight forward, but little did I know it would take me way too long to even get the program up and running and start working on the assignment. The syllabus directed me here and so I read up on G-Power. G-Power is a tool that a researcher can use to identify the sample size most appropriate for the study, i.e. one that provides enough of a sample, but not too much of a sample. The idea is to find at what level is the size meaningful.

Well, I downloaded G-Power 2 and then after installation a little note pops up and tells me that G-Power 2 cannot run on my Vista system…that is, after it went through even setting up some “missing files” to run the program. So I went back to the website and downloaded G-Power 3. This program also tells me that I am missing some files so I have to wait for those to download. Then the setup informs me that I have to reboot, then it finishes setup. Then I can’t find the program on my computer.

Five minutes later I find the program and run it. And I am not sure what I am supposed to do with it.

So I spend an hour looking up the two pdfs the syllabus gives me, plus reading the tutorials on the G-Power website, plus doing a Google search for any information that I can find about power and G-Power.

I end up spending way too much time just prepping for this activity. I haven’t even started writing yet. Of course, the activity is only 250 words or about a page, but I have to understand the program and G-Power before I can write even a word!