jump to navigation

Archive for the ‘RSH9102B’ Category

CP revised & strengthened

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

I incorporated the committee’s feedback and turned the concept paper (CP) back into Dr. T today. The work took me longer than I had anticipated; much longer than the few hours I had guessed in the last post. I took the time to consider the feedback and find a way to answer it without destroying the general outline and flow of the paper. I have a tendancy to overwrite, and so am very conscious of word efficiency in the CP. “Say it and move on” is my mantra these days.

I believe the paper is stronger and clearer now. It feels kind of odd to have someone making edit suggestions because I have been working in sort of a “student vacuum” with little interaction with mentors. I wonder what these three learned folks really think about my paper. Did they read it and think it worthwhile? Or did they read it and think, oh man, she is never going to get through University review with this thing?

For all you quant lovers, here are some stats from my CP:

– 85 pages long, including NCU title page, APA title page, and TOC.
– Introduction is exactly 2 pages long.
– Statement of the Problem is 197 words.
– Purpose of the Study is 341 words.
– 6 research questions.
– 17 key terms described.
– Lit review is 10 pages.
– 60 references.
– Annotated Bibliography is 36 pages.

So now we are playing the waiting game again. I don’t know if Dr. T will send the paper back for revisions, or send it on to the next step. I have just 7 days left in this class and still don’t know if I will pass on to the next class (Comps) or remain in RSH9104B. I keep reminding myself to be patient!

Conference call with Dr. S

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

My mentor for RSH9102B, Dr. S, graciously agreed to a conference call to discuss my dissertation. I had hoped to get his insight on my topic and how I planned to develop it. This conference call was a great help to me – Dr. S provided some encouragement and insight that was greatly needed! If you will recall, Dr. S became my mentor halfway through the course, when Dr. M quit teaching at NCU. Dr. S picked right up and provided helpful comments on my papers.

During our conversation, he was able to show me a few things that I believe will really help me focus in on the subject. He recommended that I add a qualitative component to my proposed quantitative methodology. I really had not considered that, thinking it would be time consuming. Dr. S assured me that it would add an important dimension to the topic, making the results/conclusion even stronger. He also suggested that I step back and with a critical eye, look at whether I am too narrowly or too widely thinking about my subject. He reminded me that my job was to get the doctorate; not create a long and involved study, as there would be plenty of time for that later.

Dr. S complimented me on my critical thinking and writing skills. I told him that I appreciated his thoughtful comments, rather than simply commenting on a missed period or an APA violation! Those things are easily correctible, but depth and content were far more important and mentors should comment on those much more frequently.

I am very glad that Dr. S took the time for a conference call. I am looking at my paper differently now, and thinking about how to zero in and share something new. He made me very happy when, during the conversation, he actually restated my concept in his own words….HOW EXCITING TO KNOW THAT SOMEONE ELSE “GETS” MY IDEAS!

Submitted #12 Woo Hoo

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

Ahhhhh….feels REAL GOOD after submitting the final assignment in a class!!! I finally finished up the 12th assignment, “Propose a Research Method Design” and turned it in tonight. I put this one through several revisions, and I think I ended up with a good product. This assignment pulls from several of the previous assignments. I added a few more headings (a few more than the last post), here is what I used:

Statemet of the Research Problem
Purpose of the Study
Research Questions
Research Design
Selection of Participants or Subjects
Strengths and Weaknesses
Reiliability and Validity
Less Desirable Designs

I also used APA 6th edition instead of 5th edition, with the major differences being header styles and types, and using two spaces after periods. I also requested the next course RSH9103QNB with a Jan 1st start date and completed the post course survey.

And so I can cross off one more course in my journey to a PhD.

Final assignment in RSH9102B…almost complete

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

It’s hard to believe that I am working on the final assignment in RSH9102B…”Propose a Research Method and Design.” This assignment is worth 20 points (20%) of the course grade. Basically, it is drawn together from parts of all the previous 11 assignments in the class. I have divided this paper up into Statement of the Research Problem, Purpose of the Study, Research Questions, Methodological Approach, Strengths and Weaknesses, and Conclusion. I am still drawing from the topic paper down as RSH9102B-8, and have not changed my dissertation topic much at all. I suppose you could say that I am “refining” it, or narrowing it down.

After a long day at work, it’s hard to focus on my papers/assignments, but I really do try. However, my neck and back hurt after sitting at a desk all day and then a desk here at home working. It seems like I have been going to school forever…and I am looking forward to choosing to write rather than writing because I have to.

I will finish this paper up tomorrow and turn it in. Between now and when the next class starts in January, I hope to catch up on some reading, both in my topic and for fun. On the fun side, I am reading “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde.

It’s almost Christmas and so we are looking forward to seeing myparents, the children, and our grandson! We’ve done all our shopping but with work and school not one thing is wrapped!!

Reading novels is good exercise

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Gavel   I just published a book review of By Reason of Insanity by Randy Singer. You can read my review on Associated Content here.  Or my quick review here on Goodreads.

Even though I am knee-deep (neck-deep?) in papers and research preparing for my dissertation, I do take off time to read non-academic things. Student readers – you should, too! I think that we get so stressed with reading and writing and working under a deadline all the time, we forget to read just for the fun of reading.

Reading novels is also a great exercise in learning how to develop a story, and weave ideas and events in an orderly fashion so that they make sense. Well – isn’t that a little like a dissertation?! Literature keeps the reader reading and looking for resolution. So if you are a little rusty with plot development in your dissertation or school assignment, consider reading some pure fiction to get your mind thinking about logical development.

I have a Kindle 2 and downloaded the book for free from Amazon. I enjoyed the book because it is a thriller and while reading I DID NOT THINK ABOUT SCHOOLWORK!

Now…back to work on RSH9102B Assignment 12!

RSH9102B-10: Mixed Methods Research & activity outcomes

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

I finished Activity #10 on Sunday; in the syllabus it states, “Based on your readings, describe the context of when mixed methods research is appropriate.” However, just as I started to write (after reading the appropriate chapters), I looked at the activity outcomes, which state:

  • Justify quantitative research designs when appropriate.
  • Justify qualitative designs when appropriate.
  • Examine the role of mixed methods research in formal inquiry.
  • Assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of each research methodology.

These outcomes are certainly more than just describing “when the context of mixed methods research is appropriate” (as the syllabus states in the directions)! So I included the activity outcomes in the paper, using them as a kind of outline, with the overarching theme of “when” mixed methods is appropriate.  

I have done a little bit of syllabi and curriculum design, and this divergence between the assignment and the activity outcomes is not a good idea. What often happens is the instructor ends up not grading to the activity outcomes so if a student includes them, they are marked down, if they do not, they do not receive the benefit of learning the full coursework. A paper that explains only when mixed methods is appropriate is very different than one that justifies mixed methods, quantitative, and qualitative, and assesses strengths and weaknesses of each. 

My new mentor has been traveling and he admitted he will catch up on grading soon. He has had to jump in pretty fast and I am sure he has many papers to grade. I turned in #7 and am waiting for a grade, then #8, #9, and #10 ready to go. I have one month left in this course so it looks like I will start RSH9103B around Christmas time.

But this is a special week as our son is visiting from out of town, so I doubt if I will get any work done on #11 at all this week!

New mentor Dr. S + making progress

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Midstream in RSH9102B, I have been assigned a new mentor. All of a sudden, Dr. M is not listed as my professor – now I have Dr. S. I was given no explanation as to the reason for the change.  I had turned in assignment #6 and waited patiently for six days for it to be graded. I checked on Friday, and saw it posted as graded under Dr. M, but Dr. S was listed as my professor on my learner page. I checked my regular email and found a note from the registrar advising me of the change. I found Dr. S’s published dissertation, which I downloaded and will add to my reading list.

I turned in the 7th assignment “Design a Research Study Plan” early this morning after final proofreading. I worked on and finished activity #8 Experimental Research, as well as activity #9 Exploratory Research. The 10th paper is Mixed Methods Research, which departs from the read-and-answer-questions format of #8 and #9. My mind is pretty tired right now so I won’t start on #10, which involves discussing the context of when mixed methods research is appropriate.  Right now, the only thing I can see that is appropriate is a cold beer.

Or two.


Babbie’s Survey Research Methods

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

I picked up a used copy of Earl Babbie’s Survey Research Methods (1997) to help me understand surveys more completely and I almost fell out of my chair when I saw page 204. At the bottom of the page, Figure 11-1 it says “Standard Punch Card for Recording Data.” My oh my I had not seen a punch card since my undergrad days at Troy State! I took a Fortran course (which was considered to be “the” language for science – I was an environmental science major) and those cards were my worst nightmare. You had to sit at a punch machine and punch out hundreds, no thousands, of those cards to run a program. Then you would stack up your cards in order – mind you – and take them to the window of the computer room – and turn them in. And then pray that your program did not fail and you would be able to set up statistical analyses for your experiments.

On page 204 and following there is a whole discussion on using punch cards and the “entrance of computers.” For all you young folks, here is a punch card and a card sorter:

Punch card punch card sorter

Weekend Update: Turned in #6 working on #7

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

I completed the ethics paper which was activity #6 in RSH9102B yesterday. It actually took me longer than I thought it would take to finish it up. I ended up with 7 pages in which I discussed the Belmont Report and the Common Rule, and applied those principles to my study. I covered what I believed to be the major risks of conflict of interest and informed consent/privacy protection.

Today, I started on activity #7, which is Design a Research Survey Plan. The syllabus directions are not very clear once you get to reading them: “Using the checklist displayed on page 156 of the Creswell text, design a plan for the procedures to be used in a survey study.”

First of all, the checklist is not on page 156, its on page 147. Secondly, it was unclear if I am to develop a survey based on my proposed topic or make one up. I sent a note to Dr. M, and got some guidance. I ended up writing as though the study would be used in my own qualitative research. There are 20 questions in the Creswell checklist. I created a short introduction and then typed the 20 questions, and started writing at least a paragraph after each one. I have completed through question 11, and hope to pick back up and complete this paper tomorrow evening (although it may take me two evenings because I have to deliver some Avon to my customers tomorrow after work).

I know that some people can pump out these assignments quickly, but I read all of the chapters first (8 chapters in this assignment crossing 4 texts) and then brainstorm the topic. I come up with a general outline and then flesh it out as I write. I suppose my method is working because I am carrying a 4.0 GPA. However, there just never seems to enough hours in the day to get all this work done!

CITI CourseCollaborative Institutional Training Initiative

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

Yesterday afternoon and today I worked on the CITI course as required in Activity 6 in RSH9102B. CITI stands for Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative and the course is the Course in the Protection of Human Research Subjects. The syllabus states that this course requires 4-6 hours to complete – and it took me about 4 hours of concentrated work to finish it up. I started out just reading and answering the quizzes, but found out pretty quick that my recall was not what I had expected (especially with the really boring reading that was required). So I started printing out the reading and quizzes and did much better. I could take over any of the quizzes I wanted to and found out then that some of the quizzes will change questions or the answer selections will show up in subsequent quizzes mixed up.

I finished up today and have my certificate of completion. The next step in this assignment is to write a “scholarly paper” in which “any ethical concerns for the human subjects in the intended study are discussed.” I am not sure how many pages or how in depth this paper should be because the syllabus does not tell me that. Most of my research will focus on facts rather than human subjects, but I can certainly write a paper referencing the Belmont Report and other ethical concerns.

HOWEVER, today is an absolutely gorgeous autumn day and OUTSIDE is calling me…..

Autumn in VA

Paper 5: Measurement and Scaling Concepts

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

Ugh. Another read-and-answer the question paper today. In all, there are 15 questions to answer, with a minium of 125 words per response…and the paper is to be 1-2 pages in length. What? Are you kidding me? The average word count of a 12pt TNR font double-spaced paper is 250-300 words per page. So we are talking about 600 words. Now if we do the math…15 questions x 125 words = 1,875 words….or 7-8 pages. Either NCU can’t count or there is a major typo in the syllabus. You know, it is these kinds of things that DRIVE ME CRAZY. We are expected to be detailed, accurate, and right 100% of the time in our assignments, yet a syllabus can have nutty errors in it? Now don’t get me started talking about the fact that the syllabus contains references to page numbers that are in previous editions of the texts…..

RSH9102B-4 External, Internal, and Construct Validity

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

I took a little different approach to collecting research and pulling together my 4th paper in NCU’s RSH9102B. I recently downloaded MS Office 2007, and one of the programs in the suite is OneNote. OneNote is essentially an electronic notebook that you can use to copy/paste/collect info in one place. It took a few minutes to figure out how to set up my notebook, but essentially I created a tab for this activity, and divided it up into sections (External Validity, Internal Validity, Construct Validity, Syllabus info).

My standard method of working through these types of assignments is reading the book and collecting notes, quotes, and critical info in a paper notebook. It is a lot of writing but I am so used to writing and learning at the same time that it comes as second nature. I really like the way I can copy and paste into OneNote, instead of recreating diagrams in my paper notebook. I especially like the search function. For example, in this activity, there was a good bit of defining the terms, and each author (Creswell, Trochim & Donnelly, Zikmund, and Cozby) defined the terms a little differently. They all also identified shades of threats to validity. I was able to type all this info into the tabs and then search for the terms when I was ready to put them in the paper.

Based on this experience with OneNote, I think I will use it again for future essays. I did not use any of the templates, but I think I might try one of the academic templates or create my own. MS Office online even has a Cornell Note Taking template!

Oh, and I did turn in Activity 4 tonight. I am looking ahead to Activity 5, which is another read-and-answer-the-questions thing. I am to read Zikmund chapter 13 and answer questions 1-6, then Zikmund chapter 14 and answer questions 1-8, and 13.

Summer’s Last Dance: A Poem

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

Summer’s Last Dance

There’s a party going on outside my window
As Summer celebrates with a final dance
She wraps herself in bright colors
To remind us of her glory
Yellow for the hot sun on an August afternoon
Red for the wild warm mornings
Brown for the birds chirping about new fuzzy babies
Green for the promise that Summer will return
Not soon but after a while
You see, she will work through winter
Sewing new clothes for the salsa of autumn
The dance of Summer.
Autumn in VA

RSH9102B – Activity 3: Conceptual or Theoretical Framework

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

I just completed and handed in Activity 3: Conceptual or Theoretical Framework assignment, since I received back the graded Activity 2. At NCU, you cannot turn in the next assignment until your instructor has graded and returned the last one you submitted. I know, bummer. But that is OK if you are working on an assignment while your mentor has one. I try not to wait to get one back before I start on the next.

Activity 3 kind of threw me for a loop because I took at least an hour just thinking and pulling together the opening. In the end, I discarded what I had written anyway. I really struggled with what this assignment required; here is the syllabus wording:

“Based on your topic paper developed in RSH9101B, write a Theoretical Perspective section for your envisioned dissertation research. Theoretical frameworks provide a basis for the study, examples include social and psychological theories, organizational theories, economic theories and educational theories. For guidance, refer to chapter 3 of the Creswell text.”

After reading the chapter two times, I decided to map the assignment as Example 3.1 on page 59. I used two theories; one was a later study which built on the first. The theories involve “arcs of integration” in a supply chain.

Now I am looking at Activity 4 or 12:

“Read (a) Creswell, Threats to Validity, (p. 171), (b) Trochim, chapter 3 and chapter 6, and (c) Zikmund, Chapter 13. Based on your topic chosen in RSH8961-B, write a paper in which you compare and contrast the characteristics of external, internal, and construct validity. Also, please identify the threats to external and construct validity. Please discuss how validity issues could impact your envisioned research.”

Holy cow! The Creswell page 171 has nothing to do with this topic! After consulting the index, it looks like the section beginning on p. 162 is the correct Creswell reference. According to the chart on p. 163, there are six threats: history, maturation, regression, selection, mortality, and diffusion of treatment. Looks like I have some reading to do to get ready for this assignment.

And you guessed it; it’s worth 5 points.

Facts and Theory, Concepts, and Variables: A measly 5 points

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

I turned in Activity 2 for RSH9102B just now: Facts and Theory, Concepts, and Variables. This activity involved answering 6 questions from chapter 3 in Zikmund’s Business Research Methods. This assignment took several hours to do, yet is worth just 5 points. There are six 5-point assignments, five 10-point assignments, and one 20-point assignment in this course.

The course outline on my student webpage tab called “activities” advises me that I should turn in this assignment on/about Oct 13 and the next one on/about Oct 19. Just looking at the dates on the assignments, it would seem that I would need to devote more to that 20-pointer but the recommended time is just 7 days between the 11th and 12th assignments. I wonder how they come up with those dates? They really don’t seem relevant to me and I have never made an effort to follow them. My typical writing time is weekends, specifically early in the morning while Husband is still asleep. I don’t get much writing done during the week because of work and second job (teaching).

It’s great to know that I am moving along with my coursework. I am so-o-o-o-o ready to be finished going to school…I have been in school for 28 years!