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Archive for the ‘RSH9104B’ Category

Next step – Comps

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Dr. T approved my CP on July 19 and so now…on to Comps! I will continue to work on the CP and have it ready to turn in on the first day of the first DIS class. I will start CMP9200B on August 1!! I will be given 4 questions to answer within 7 weeks. Some folks have told me that Comps is super hard, and others have told me they are challenging but interesting. Actually, I am very nervous about that class! I plan to take off a few days of vacation to concentrate on writing and hopefully, knock out at least two of the questions the first week.

I dialed into the NCU Comp Conference Call hosted by Dr. Mary Doran on Tuesday. Each question should be answered in 10-15 pages, and the idea is to synthesize and perform a thorough analysis. The grade will be an S or a U…which means that I have to get at least 80% to pass. If I get less thn 80%, I have to re-enroll and get new questions and a new mentor. So double the work! I sure hope that I can pass Comps. If I do, I will be ABD, “all but dissertation.”

The committee reviews my CP

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Dr. T forwarded back to me the copies of my concept paper (CP) marked by my two committee members, Dr. B and Dr. L. I really did not know what to expect…would they thumbs-down my proposal? find fault in my thinking? see no value in a study of this sort? poke holes in my rationale?

Well, actually, none of the above.

Dr. B commented on some formatting and Dr. L made suggestions regarding supporting some statements with references and moving a few things around. She also commented on some duplications of my purpose and problem statements, but they are in there because those sections were assignments and it was required to duplicate. Dr. B’s comments about formatting puzzled me because his recommendations do not follow the CP template. I sent a note to Dr. T to find out if I should make those changes or follow the template, which is NCU-mandated.

So I will make these modifications to my CP and return the paper back to Dr. T. It is already 10:30 PM on Thursday and I have to get to bed to be able to get up at 5AM tomorrow for work. So I will probably turn my CP back to Dr. T on Saturday. It will probably take me about 2-3 hours to review, plan, and make the modifications. I will also use a change matrix to keep track of the modifications and show that I addressed each recommendation.

To tell the truth, I am kind of excited to be working on the returned CP, even with the changes I have to make – I do not like the waiting-for-returned-work feeling. I wish this process could go faster! If I did not have to work all day tomorrow, I would stay up tonight and make the changes!

Assignment 9 turned in: CP revision

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

When Dr. T returned my assignment #8 back to me, he only had one comment: “Be sure to fully explain the type of research because nonexperimental is not providing full information.” So I added a paragraph and a new reference to address typology of nonexperimental research (Johnson, B. (2001). Toward a new classification of nonexperimental quantitative research. Educational Researcher, 30(2), 3-13. doi:10.3012/0013189X030002003).

Then I turned the revised paper back in just now as #9. So the breath-holding and finger-crossing begins again.

I expected more comments on #8, so I am still not sure if I will pass through this course by July 24. I wish I knew because I plan to take some vacation days to work on comps and need to get those days on my work schedule. Should I plan for comps in August or September? I wish I knew!! My life in business and academia are often juxtaposed because those in academia are on their own timeline and not prone to scheduling as we are in business. That is a pet peeve of mine because I have to schedule tightly to get in work at the corporate building downtown, work as an adjunct, work as a student, and family and personal time. Oh and I can’t forget the two hours of commuting I do every workday.

Anyhow, I am off to pour an adult beverage and sit by the pool and read a girlfriend’s new novel – all to celebrate turning in #9, which felt so far away a month or so ago.

First submission of the CP

Monday, July 5th, 2010

I am holding my breath.


You see, I submitted RSH9104B assignment 8 just now – the first submission of the concept paper (CP) to my chair. All of the RSH course activities have been building to this moment. I think I hear a drum roll….

Yes, my CP is 82 pages of pure excitement!

Here is how the Table of Contents (TOC) ended up:
Statement of the Problem
Purpose of the Study
Research Questions
Significance of Research
Definition of Key Terms
Brief Review of the Literature
Sustainability and Sustainable Development
Sustainable Supply Chain Management: Integration and Collaboration
Corporate and Purchasing Social Responsibility
Research Method
Operational Definition of Variables
Data collection and analysis
Ethical assurances
Appendix A Replication of Carter and Jennings Purchasing Social Responsibility Questionnaire
Appendix B Annotated Bibliography

I have been eagerly checking the Learner page all day watching for the return of assignment 7, the Annotated Bibliography, so that I can turn in the CP as assignment 8.

My class ends on July 24 and I am hoping I have enough time to get the CP approved. The CP is reviewed by the chair and committee within 14 days. The syllabus says that revisions are likely. Once changes are made, it is sent on for University Review, which is a blind review. At any stage I can be asked to make changes which will stall the process. Ouch!

So I guess I will continue to hold my breath….

Working on Concept Paper on the 4th of July

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

I am pulling the concept paper (CP) together today. The CP format is based on a template provided in the NCU Dissertation Center. Although there are some good things about the CP template, there are some aggravating things as well. It is offered at a very high level and some of the statements are vague. There are also hidden and written-over styles (and if you know MS Word you will get that). I wish that the styles were identified in a clearer way (rather than visually), or better yet, the template should have been saved as a template in MS Word.

The table of contents (TOC) gave me a few headaches because the last time I did one start to finish was in MS Word 2003 and now I am using 2007. It took me about 45 minutes to set up all my headings and then I did not want all the 3rd level headings to show in the TOC so I had to change the styles on those items I did not want to show in the TOC.

Well, I am done with the TOC now and am working on proofreading. Dr. T has my assignment 7 (annotated bibliography) and this first submission of the CP is assignment 8. I hope he will return assignment 7 within the next few days so that I can send him the CP. Once Dr. T and the committee approve the paper, assignment 9 is the submission to the University reviewers.

My class ends on July 24 and I am far off my original proposed schedule because I had to turn in assignment 2 eight times before the problem and purpose statements were acceptable. I am hoping that the CP will not cause as much heartburn, but I have read and talked to other students who struggled with its acceptance.

It’s the 4th of July and Husband has been working on the pool – so I am hoping to sit by the pool this afternoon and NOT THINK ABOUT SCHOOL!!!!!!

Justify Research Design

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

I am working on assignment #6 in RSH9104B and will turn it in this morning. I have still not resolved the issue regarding how #5 and #6 “fit” into the Concept Paper (CP) template. I asked Dr. T and his advice was to continue on and we will resolve any issues, and view the assignments holistically when we get to assignment #8, which is the first submission of the finished CP to Dr. T.

I have these sections in #6:

Restatement of the Problem, Purpose, Research Questions, and Definition of Variables
Research Method Justification
Data Collection and Analysis
Ethical Assurances

I am doing some clean up and augmentation on the final draft and will turn it in within the hour. I like to “sleep on” a paper when I work all day or late in the evening on it. What is clear to me at 10PM is not necessarily clear thinking/verbiage the following morning. It’s kind of like being research/writing-drunk because it makes perfect sense at the time but not after my mind gets some rest!

The next assignment is Revise Annotated Bibliography. For you readers keeping up with my schedule, you will see that I am WAY BEHIND my proposed schedule because of issues with the problem and purpose statement. I turned in assignment #2 EIGHT times before Dr. T approved it!! Every revision was a shot in the dark because I had no idea what he wanted to see.

Measurements/Assessment Paper

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

I am working today on the Measurements/Assessment Paper (RSH9104B activity 5); I have to break now and return to it later because we have commencement for the University of Phoenix, Richmond, where I am an instructor.

I find that the syllabus is a bit confusing on #5 and #6, here is the wording:

#5 Measurements/Assessment
Scan your annotated bibliography for information about how others have identified and operationally defined the variables/constructs that are similar to the ones you have identified for your dissertation topic. Write your Measurements/Assessments paper summarizing this literature and include sections that define your dissertation’s variables or constructs. For quantitative research, you will need to address issues relative to measurement validity and reliability. Specifically, you will need to report on and document established psychometric properties for pre-existing measures and how you will assess validity and reliability for measures you create. For qualitative research, you will need to focus on the way in which constructs/themes, etc., are to be assessed in a manner that establishes credibility, dependability, and integrity.

#6 Justify Research Design
Prepare a paper reflecting on the appropriateness of the research design proposed for your dissertation research – including a restatement of the problem, purpose, proposed research design and appropriateness of an proposed research method, research questions, and definition of variables/constructs. For quantitative research, this will include discussion of the operationalization and measurement of variables, precise statements of hypotheses, etc. For qualitative research, this will include discussion of the definition of constructs, criteria for assessment, etc. The proposed mode of data collection and analysis must be discussed for all proposed designs.

When these are compared to the Concept Paper template (all activities build up to the CP), it is not clear which of these fit in the section “Research Method” exactly. I plan to take both what it states in the syllabus and the text comments in the CP template and build the two papers at the same time. I wish the syllabus stated which papers go in which sections in the CP but it does not. In other words, the CP is not an exact match to what the syllabus activities are. It would be great if we had some direction on that. I am also discovering that others are getting different instructions from their mentor/chairs about how to manage these assignments.

I wish I had a quantitative approved CP to look at to see how it all fits into the CP template. I will just continue to work on this and pray that my CP will be accepted.

The next assignment, #7, is to revise the annotated bibliography, and then #8 to pull the concept paper together. Then after revisions I turn it in for committee and University review.

So as I baby-step through this course I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Books recommended for NCU RSH courses

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Here is the list of recommended titles for the RSH courses:

Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISBN: 9781412965576

Zikmund, W. (2003). Business research methods. Mason, OH: Thomson/South-Western ISBN: 9780030350849

Cozby, P. C. (2009) Methods in behavioral research. Boston: McGraw Hill Higher Education ISBN: 9780073370224

Trochim, W., & Donnelly, J. (2007) The research methods knowledge base. Mason, OH: Thomson Custom Publishing. ISBN: 9781592602919

Shank, G. D. (2006) Qualitative research: A personal skills approach. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall. ISBN: 0131719491

Schram, T. H. (2006) Conceptualizing and proposing qualitative research. Upper Saddle River, N.J. Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall 0131702866

Patton, M. Q. (2002) Qualitative research & evaluations methods Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. ISBN: 978-0761919711

Creswell, J. W. & Plano Clark, V. L. (2007) Designing and conducting mixed methods research + The mixed methods reader (bundle). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISBN: 9781412960229

Note: This is a bundle that includes a Mixed Method Reader. Be sure to use the ISBN number that gives you both the text and the reader.

Here are some titles that I recommend:
Babbie, E. (1990). Survey research methods. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company. ISBN: 0-534-12672-3

Vogt, W. P. (2007). Quantitative research methods for professionals. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN: 0-205-35913-2

Vogt, W.P. (2005). Dictionary of statistics & methodology: A nontechnical guide for the social sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA. ISBN: 978-0-7619-8855-7.

Black, T. R. (2009). Doing quantitative research in the social sciences: An integrated approach to research design, measurement and statistics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISBN: 978-0-7619-5353-1

A fellow student recommends:

Simon, M. (2005). Dissertation and scholarly research: A practical guide to start and complete your dissertation, thesis, or formal research project. ISBN: 0757525016

Do you have others to add to the list? Post them!

Additional work on assignment 2

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

I continued to work today on my revision to assignment 2 in RSH910B. I think I am closer with this latest revision; you will recall that Dr. T rejected my first submission. I have done a better job of tighter writing. I hope to turn in the paper tomorrow. In the meantime, I continue to work on the other papers due in this class.

Today, I sent an email to Dr. Craig R. Carter at the University of Nevada, Reno, requesting use of a survey/questionnaire he designed and used in several studies. I hope that I included the right mix of professionalism and begging!! I have never asked anyone if I could use a survey instrument and so I just was not sure about the protocol. Dr. Carter outlined the questionnaire scales in several papers, so one can deduce the questions; however, I would like to use the same PSR survey if possible because it is validated and I will be replicating it with another sample.

You know, its funny how much time my mind churns on my topic. I seem to be constantly thinking about it. I wonder if it is normal to go to bed thinking about it and waking up with it, too?

Tonight I made waffles and bacon; can you believe that I actually cooked something? My husband usually makes supper because I work (and he does not) and with no children at home, we are pretty easy to please regarding what to eat for dinner. I do enjoy a good wheat waffle and bacon; I guess I just needed some “comfort food”!

Abridged Literature Review

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

The syllabus states that the abridged literature review should be divided up into themes or sub-topics for organization into a “coherent narrative discussion” with 7 to 10 of the most important works or studies. Oh my, only 7 to 10? I have many more than that! I will of course have more but right now I have LOTS more but will shave it down later.

Here’s a basic outline of my themes:

Sustainable Development
Sustainable Supply Chain Management (or perhaps The Supply Chain Becomes the Value Chain)
Corporate Social Responsibility
Purchasing Social Responsibility and Sustainable Procurement

I am starting with the history of how sustainability and sustainable development entered the scene, transforming supply chain management; then I will cover how CSR led to PSR/SP. I am not sure if I will reference the foundational study of Carter and Jennings but I might close with that (the C&J study outlines PSR drivers that I will be using in my study; I’ve already mentioned them in assignment 2).

It’s Sunday and I’ve been working on my lit review off and on; let’s see what else I did today…I planted tomatoes, made guacamole, read some of “The Girl Who Played With Fire” by Stieg Larsson, ate some Mother’s Day candy my sweet Husband gave me this morning, talked to my children and Mom on the phone, checked my email, posted something on eBay, trimmed some out-of-control bushes in the front yard, planted three yellow Leopard’s Bane flowers in the front flower bed, read some Black (“Doing Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences”), and paid some bills.

I am so NOT looking forward to going back to work tomorrow – it’s way too much fun at HOME!

Disappointed, to say the least

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

I received my RSH9104B second assignment back from Dr. T: REJECTED. I am disappointed, to say the least. He made very few comments but the ones he did make chilled me. He indicated that I have SERIOUS PROBLEMS with the research problem, purpose, questions, and hypotheses.

I was not expecting this at all. I had expected comments to help define and clarify my topic, but this is major.

And so as soon as I got the paper back this morning, I began a re-write, changing my dissertation method from applying a questionnaire about purchasing social responsibility to a group, to using two groups and analyzing if there would be difference between the groups when taking the same questionnaire. I thought that in my rejected paper I had clearly written what the problem and purpose were, but in this re-write I am developing those parts in depth. I keep asking myself, is the “why” I see the need to do this study obvious?

I also changed my research questions because Dr. T indicated that at least one was a qualitative question, not quantitative. I started the question with “What are…” and so I can see how that will be qualitative based on the distinction in Creswell on page 133. I changed my question to start with “Does….”. I also had used the word “examine” which was judged not sufficient and not a power verb. When I wrote the paper originally, I looked up other quantitative dissertations and almost all of them use the word “examine.” So, using a suggestion from Creswell, I used the words “compare” and “relationship” and hope that these are more sufficient and powerful.

I had hoped to work on the fourth assignment (lit review) today, but instead I have re-read relevant Creswell and Black sections regarding problem, purpose, questions, and hypotheses. Then I re-wrote much of the paper. I am still not sure about the format because the assignment says “topic paper” but Dr. T said to use the “concept paper” template, which has sections that are not included in the required sections as noted in the syllabus. For example, both have a lit review but that is not listed in the required sections for the assignment. The CP uses the term “Purpose of the Study” and the TP use the term “Purpose Statement.”

Nonetheless, I am disappointed but not deterred. I can do this.

Critical and Unique Terms

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Assignment 3 of RSH9104B is to define terms that are critical and unique to my dissertation topic. The information in the syllabus includes an example of a definition of “combat verteran” in a hypothetical concept paper (CP) of “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Iraq War Combat Veterans”:

Example: Combat Veteran. A combat veteran is defined as a person who experienced “any level of hostility resulting from offensive, defensive or friendly fire military action involving a real or perceived enemy in any pre- or post-designated theater of combat (war) operations” (American War Library, 1988, p. 3).

The CP template shows the section “Definition of Key Terms” before “Brief Review of Literature.” Here is the format, which is APA third-level heading (indented, boldface, lowercase paragraph heading ending with a period):

Term 1. Definition (APA citation).

So far, I have a list of 16 words to define as “critical and unique terms”:

corporate social responsibility (CSR)
corporate sustainability
human rights
purchasing social responsibility (PSR)
stakeholder theory
supply chain management
supply management
sustainable development
sustainable procurement
sustainable supply chain management (SSCM)
sustainable supply management

This assignment is due no later than the end of week 2 and should be up to 4 pages. I am working on this assignment today and should finish it.

I’ve been struggling with motivation this week as I have waited since last Sunday to get assignment 2 back, which is the topic paper revision. That paper is the first time my chair gets to see my topic. I am so nervous to find out if he thinks it is a good topic and do-able. If he comes back to me and says the topic stinks, that means that I would have to modify it. Mentors are allowed 5 days to grade the assignments and today is Day 5. I really want to stay on schedule in this class and so if I get it back today that will help my motivation! If he had turned it back to me earlier in the week, I am sure that I would have already completed this critical and unique terms assignment.

RSH9104B Concept Paper Timeline

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

RSH9104B has nine assignments and comes with a suggested timeline. My start date was Saturday May 1 and ends Saturday July 24. Even though the class is 12 weeks long, all the preliminary papers and the first submittal of the Concept Paper (CP) must be completed by the beginning of Week 7, which is June 13. The rest of the course is dedicated to the Chair and Committee Review, updating the CP, then the University Review.

Each cycle of Chair and Committee Review and University Review are up to 14 days in length, meaning that the course only allows for two reviews if they take the maximum of 14 days. Plus, for all the regular standard assignments (#1-7), mentors have up to 5 days to grade and return papers. It sounds like this schedule is going to be VERY VERY TIGHT!

Many students end up having to take RSH9104 courses more than once or get an extension if the hold up is caused by the reviewers. The CP is worth 40 points in this class, which precludes the student from getting extensions if he does not turn in the papers per the recommended timeline. I am crossing my fingers that I will be able to keep up this tight schedule! And I am hoping that Dr. T and the committee are free enough to tackle my CP when the time comes!!

My May and June are already filling up with things: we close on a sale of rental property in Alabama, Husband is going to a Racing School at RIR (a birthday gift from me), plus work sapping my brain cells, and I am trying to start back dancing as a fitness/health thing. I did schedule some Schoolwork vacation days for May 6 & 7 in addition to the weekends that I normally use for writing and research.

Here is the schedule that I designed for the class (click on the link and it opens as an image):

RSH9104B Schedule

If you would like to have the RSH9104B Schedule as an Excel file that you can modify for your own path through RSH9104B, just email me (thinkPhD at yahoo dot com) or comment below and I will send it to you.

Now back to writing a Letter of Recommendation for a student planning to work on her MBA and then more work on Assignment #3: Define Critical and Unique Terms.

LOA ended: RSH9104B started

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

My leave of absence (LOA) ended on May 1 and RSH9104B started the same day. This is the last of four RSH courses; the next class is the comprehensive examination course and then the DIS (dissertation) classes after that. My plan for the month of April was to get a head start on the assignments for this class. I only partially fulfilled that desire. I didn’t get as far along as I had hoped. My April turned out to be very busy but I did complete the first two assignments, and have started on #3 and #4.

Assignment #2 is “Revision of Topic Paper,” which refers back to the topic paper from RSH9101B. You may recall that I had what I believed to be a pretty good topic and then as I worked through the next two courses, it became clear that I would not have access to the data/information that I would need, namely a list of all of the participants in the Wal-Mart Packaging Scorecard. This information has not been released to the public so I could not send a questionnaire to participants.

So I have completely revised my topic, while still maintaining the sustainability or “green” piece. The new topic is related to purchasing social responsibility (PSR). Green business is an interest of mine, as reflected in my education and career: I have a BS in Environmental Science and an MBA, and I work for a paper company selling the non-primary products (damaged, rejected, obsolete, scrap, recyclables, etc.).

The mentor for RSH9104 classes is always the dissertation chair; in my case, it is Dr. T. I turned in the first assignment yesterday, which consisted of submitting the names, contact information, and a short bio highlighting their potential relevance to my topic. I have completed the next assignment but am not sure if he wants the full topic paper template with table of contents (TOC) or not. I am going to send him a note to se if he wants the paper formatted using a TOC or not.

The third assignment is “Define Unique and Critical Terms.” I have a list of terms but I plan to let Husband read my topic paper and let him identify terms that I may have missed. Right now, I have 14 terms but am not sure how many is the “right” number.

Good progress

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

I made good progress on my topic revision, in prep for turning in the second assignment in RSH9104B. The more I work on this topic, the more I believe it is do-able. It is not my first choice of topic, but my goal is to get my PhD, and then I can work on other topics that interest me. I ordered some books this week and will be working to publish some reviews. I finished up Environmentalism and the New Logic of Business by R. Edward Freeman, Jessica Pierce, and Richard H. Dodd as well as Writing Your Dissertation by Derek Swetnam.

Environmentalism and the New Logic of Business was interesting because it spelled out some of the critical problems facing us on the environmental front. I particularly like the “Shade of Green” idea; firms might be “legal green or light green,” “market green,” “stakeholder green,” “dark green,” or any combination of those.

Writing Your Dissertation was such a high-level overview of the process that it was not relevant to me in my situation. I should have read this book two years ago. If you are a new graduate student or considering grad school, the book may interest you. Otherwise, choose another book. In contrast, I am now reading Destination Dissertation: A Traveler’s Guid to a Done Dissertation, and I am finding this book much more relevant.

Tomorrow morning my goal is to grade papers for the GEN/480 class I am teaching now, and finish up the second assignment in RSH9104B. I hope to also start and finish the first assignment in that class as well.