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Archive for the ‘DIS9321B’ Category

Conference call with chair

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

This week I had a conference call with my new chair, Dr. M. He was very helpful and made some suggestions about how to respond to the OAR comments on my rejected concept paper (CP). Yesterday I worked on incorporating those suggestions, which were many focused on the Research Method – Measurement section.

We discussed performing a pilot study, even though the survey that I am using has been validated and proved reliable. After the call, he helpfully sent me a few links to review that mentioned pilot studies were just a task that responsible researchers do to ensure validity and reliability with the population in focus. I will be changing the demographic questions that are part of the PSRQ, so I fully agree that a pilot study is in order.

I have been so very disappointed about not having an approved CP as I enter the second dissertation class, DIS9322B. Dr. M encouraged me not to worry about all of this, but to keep on moving forward. I will!! He even reminded me that when publishing, sometimes one journal will reject a paper, and the next accept it. It just all “depends” on what they are looking for. Thanks, Dr. M for your encouragement!

So DIS9321B ended January 7, and I will start the next course January 10. I haven’t received the syllabus yet because the school has not posted my final course grade of “P” (or “pass”), but I understand that the syllabus will be pretty similar to the one in DIS9321B.

I am hoping that Dr. M will have opportunity to review my latest revision and make his recommendations today or tomorrow. I could make any corrections and then resubmit the CP again to the OAR…so perhaps soon I will have an approved CP….

Perhaps graduation in 2011?

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

I enrolled at NCU on my birthday, May 23, 2006, and finished my first class in July of that year. So for almost five years, I have been working toward a PhD in Business Administration. I have experienced many changes at the school, including tuition increases, administration changes, and the update to APA 6.

I will soon enter DIS9322B; there are theoretically three DIS courses. I say “theoretically” because not everyone can finish their dissertation in three classes. I probably will not because I don’t even have an approved CP yet. That causes some real pain because I worked so hard on the content, and then am having difficulty understanding exactly what the OAR wants me to do! But I am an optimist, so I am hoping that my next CP submission will be the key to moving on. If so, perhaps 2011 will be the year I finish my dissertation and graduate!

I am dedicated to finishing up this degree, whatever it takes! If you are considering a PhD, get off the fence and do it. Plan on 5-7 years of hard work and balancing life. I could not have done this without the support of my family, who sometimes questioned what I was doing, but never wavered in loving me through every frustration.

OAR Comment: Correlation? Association?

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

I am struggling with the OAR comments and have no chair/mentor to ask for clarification or help. Here is one of the comments:

Research Questions: Since the PSR dimensions that will be the dependent variables are described as “interrelated”, the Learner must include a discussion of how those interrelationships (i.e., correlations) will impact the assumptions of the selected statistical analysis procedures (and how the interrelationships will be controlled/handled if they represent a threat to those assumptions) as well as how those interrelationships might impact the interpretation of the findings
.

The variables in the proposal are sustainability status (nominal/independent) and levels of five purchasing social responsibility (PSR) dimensions (ordinal/dependent). The five PSR dimensions are related because they are all part of socially responsible corporate procurement policies. As these are not continuous, from my readings it appears that I cannot determine correlation (as above statement implies) but rather only association. I plan to use MANOVA analysis to identify associations among variables, because the variables are related. I am not sure I understand exactly what the OAR is asking in reference to how the interrelationships will be controlled/handled if they represent a threat to those assumptions. Here is what I have written so far:

There are five assumptions that must be met for MANOVA: the sample must be random, observations must be independent, each variable must be normally distributed, and within-group homogeneity of variance should be the same for both groups (Bray & Maxwell, 1985). Violating the assumptions does not invalidate MANOVA; it reduces robustness (Bray & Maxwell, 1985). Before running MANOVA, data will be tested for normality and outliers, which will be removed. Homogeneity of variances will be computed by computing the error variance (SS error) by adding the sum of squares within each status group (French, Macedo, Poulsen, Waterson, & Yu, 2008). Wilks’ lambda will be used to test mean differences in the two groups based on the combinations of PSR dimensions. SPSS converts Wilk’s lambda to an F distribution; if lambda is significant, “it implies that there is at least one significant contrast between groups and this difference can be detected when the entire set of outcome variables is examined” (Warner, 2008, p. 715).

My chair resigned and I don’t have that resource to consult. I am struggling with understanding several of the OAR’s complex comments. After all, this is a concept paper only – not the dissertation proposal.

CP rejected; changes needed

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

I received my concept paper (CP) back….rejected by the OAR. Here is the first comment:

The Learner has submitted a Concept Paper envisioning a quantitative research study to compare, analyze, and evaluate dimensions of purchasing supply responsibility related to sustainability. This is an important and timely research topic, and if implemented successfully, the findings would be useful for the business community. In general, the Introduction, Statement of the Problem, and Purpose of the Study sections are well articulated and the paper is consistent with Northcentral and APA (6th Ed.) specifications and format. There are, however, clarifications and modifications needed before moving to the next stage of the process as listed below.

I am pleased that the reviewers recognized the value of my topic and the intro, problem, and purpose, as well as APA format were mostly OK. However, there were four items listed below that paragraph that I must address. Some of the things that I need to address were resulted from changes recommended from the committee! I am working on making modifications to the CP now, and hope to have a finished version to turn in by Sunday, Nov. 28. Today is Thanksgiving and so I am off work for four days. I do have to grade some student papers from the COM/285 course that finished up on Tuesday, and work with my mentee at the University as well this holiday weekend.

About two weeks ago, I received a cryptic message from my chair that he was dropping me, or rather he had contacted my AA to drop me. However, the AA had not heard anything from him. She assures me that they will find me another chair. Unfortunately I have had little help from my chair, and now that I do not have one, I am getting no help. Navigating these waters has become increasingly difficult….

A month into DIS9321B

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Today is day 30 in DIS9321B. I still do not have an approved CP, but have been working with my chair on the DP abstract. My chair is not too concerned about not having an approved CP, but I am. My original plan was to have an approved CP by Oct 31, approved DP by Nov 30, IRB approval by Dec 31, and begin data collection in Jan 2011. It doesn’t look like I am going to meet this schedule…

If the CP comes back unapproved, with major rewrites, or significant methodological changes, then that will certainly affect my DP. I am ready to move ahead with IRB approval and start to gather data!! I think that working through data analysis will be difficult because of the statistics. I plan to use a MANOVA which has required some additional study to understand the concepts. I never studied MANOVA per se but it seemed the best choice as I will be comparing responses to a survey on five constructs across two groups.

Today, I turned in the second activity in this course (Update on Progress #1), another copy of the CP as requested by Dr. T., and a modified DP based on Dr. T’s comments. I am keeping track by using the version number in the file name, like this: WolfeCDIS9321B-DP_V3.rtf There is also a change matrix included with each version I submit.

This afternoon, I plan to grade some papers for a COM/285 class that I am teaching at the University of Phoenix. I started on those papers yesterday but did not get very far. My mind was just tooooo tired to finish yesterday!

Submitted DP…holding my breath…

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

I clicked the submit button tonight while holding my breath…my DP is now in Dr. T’s possession! And I can breathe now…my lit review was 42 pages, 2 more than the minimum. So here’s the breakdown:

Chapter 1, Introduction: 21 pages
Chapter 2, Literature Review: 42 pages
Chapter 3, Research Method: 22 pages
I also had 3 tables and 5 Appendixes
total DP = 125 pages

I can’t even estimate how many hours I spent on this paper between reading hundreds of journal articles, writing, and revising. The worst part is that I don’t even have an approved Concept Paper – I still have not heard from University review even though the turnaround time is supposed to be 7 days. It’s been 15 days. I plan to contact my academic advisor about the delay tomorrow.

I am doing well in relation to the timeline – just 2 days “behind.” I believe Dr. T has 7 days to review my DP. So perhaps he will send me some revisions within the week. Next weekend, I will be in Georgia visiting family so it is unlikely that I will be doing many modifications to the CP or DP then.

I am so happy about turning in my DP even though I know that I will have to make changes!

Good work on DP this afternoon

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

I continue to work on my DP this week. Today I took one-half day of vacation and worked all afternoon on the Research Method section. Most of this evening has been dedicated to transcribing the two surveys into a Word doc. I tried to put them in the DP as pdfs but that looked messy so I am typing them in Word. It takes time but looks much better.

I also pivoted the list of companies and created a table for the counts by industry. There are 2,253 companies on the NYSE North America list that will be the population, and I need a sample of at least 62 for my MANOVA.

I also working on the lit review. I am fairly satisfied with my 34 pages, which is 6 pages short. I already know what I will add to that section.

…and I am still waiting to hear from University review of my CP…

It’s October – Do you know where your CP is?

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

On October 1, I started DIS9321B, Doctoral Dissertation Research I at NCU. I turned in the first assignment which was my proposed timeline. Dr. T has already graded that paper. He had some issues downloading my concept paper (CP) from the school website, so he requested that I send it to him via email yesterday October 2. My CP now goes for Office of Academic Research (OAR) review. We call this “University review” and the reviewer will determine if my topic is acceptable, make recommendations, and then – HOPEFULLY – approve my CP. If approved, I can turn in my dissertation proposal (DP). So now I wait, and wonder if I can move forward or if they find some fundamental flaw with my research proposal.

I’ve completed writing the DP Background, Theoretical Framework, and am now working on my Literature Review. My CP had 4 topics and was 11 pages long; I understand that is an acceptable length for the “Brief Review of Literature.” My DP lit review must be MUCH longer – the school requires 40-80 pages. I plan to include 6-8 topical headings.

Writing the lit review is going much slower than I had expected. I think I am trying to be SO correct and SO exacting with my research, which is a good thing, but definitely makes me work slow. Yesterday, I decided to add a section about Sustainability Accounting, Auditing, and Reporting. I had very few articles about that topic and so much of the day was devoted to finding and summarizing those articles. Today I am looking through articles on hand and deciding on the next lit review topic to write about.

A colleague at NCU posted an excellent article about lit reviews, “A Guide to Writing the Dissertation Literature Review” by Justus J. Randolph. This is a very helpful summary of the types of lit reviews, information on how to conduct a lit review, and a discussion on common mistakes. I recommend this article if you are working on or will be working on your lit review. A lit review is not an exercise in stringing together articles and listing this person did this and this research showed that. It is a comprehensive synthesization of relevant scholarly research.

So it’s back to work on my DP for now.

Reflections on Doctoral Candidacy

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

I received my “ABD letter” today…..

Dear Ms. Wolfe,

Congratulations, you have officially attained Doctoral Candidacy status at Northcentral University in the School of Business and Technology Management.

Candidacy represents a significant mileston in your doctoral studies. It is the point at which a Learner is formally recognized as a professional colleague. This notification will become part of your official records.

Best wishes for the successful completion of your dissertation.

Sincerely,
A. Lee Smith, PhD
Dean for the School of Business and Technology Management

I have been reflecting and chronicling my journey to a PhD here in my blog, thinkPhD. I enrolled at NCU on my 47th birthday in 2006 and began my first class on July 1. My first thinkPhD blog post titled “Why?” is dated July 9, 2006.

I had been out of grad school for five years and was working full time and teaching undergrad business classes. Some of my colleagues at the campus had just begun working on their terminal degrees. A friend suggested NCU…so I did my homework on accreditation and online learning.

I could never have attended a school full time because of family and working two jobs. NCU fit my needs exactly because it was self-paced online learning with single-student responsibility (no teams). The price was quite a stumbling block for me and eventually I ended up getting a loan to lock in tuition.

So why go back to school anyway? It’s simple – this is for me. I love to learn and to teach, and plan to do this until I can’t anymore. I love my students and enjoy encouraging them to be the best they can be. My plan is “retire” from my full time corporate job and teach as an adjunct professor. I also want to write and perhaps do some consulting related to higher education. I am a believer in achieving personal maximum attainment!

Today I have been downloading some of the papers that I have written and organizing my computer file system for these documents. It is a walk down memory lane when I think about the classes I’ve taken and the papers I’ve written. I really struggled with some of them and considered quitting more than once. But I didn’t quit – I kept going – and today I am ABD – “All But Dissertation.”

Passed Comps!

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

I turned in my comps exam on 08/30 and Dr. H had it graded and back to me the next day. I passed! One of the questions that I thought I did poorly on, he commented that it was my best. The question that I thought I did the best with, he commented that it was lacking! I thought this to be pretty strange. However, all I had to do was pass, and I did. So I am very happy!

I checked with my advisor and found out that they do not automatically send out the ABD “All But Dissertation” congratulations letters. I have to enroll in the next class, which is DIS9321B. That queues the letter to be sent out. My grade for comps will not post until after the class ends on 10/24. I plan to start DIS9321B on October 1st, so this weekend I will be working on my concept paper so that I can turn it in on the first day of class.

But for now, I am reveling in knowing I PASSED COMPS!!!