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DM – put together October 9, 2011

Posted by thinkphd in : DIS9324B , 1 comment so far

Today, I turned in my completed DM to Dr. M. Last week, he saw everything except the Abstract, Chapter 5, and a couple of the Appendixes. Today – he got the whole bologna!! He will look, make suggestions, I will make changes, then on to the committee!

Chapter 4 was a real kicker because my data did not yield beautiful stats. I had to get some help understanding what the data meant and figuring out what procedures to use. Some of the assumptions for MANOVA were violated and so I ended up with nonparametric Mann-Whitney to supplement the results. Ultimately, there was not a statistical difference in the two groups.

Initially, I was crushed because I felt like my results may not be showing anything. But the more I thought about it, it was apparent that there was a change…. a change from old managerial principles to new ones. Companies with sustainable strategies used be considered cutting-edge leaders. Now, they are just like the other guys. Over time, the other guys crept up on them by mimicing certain strategies, then normalizing them. And so, the last sentence of my DM Chapter 5 reads:

In support, this study revealed that firms without public reporting of sustainable activities have imitated the actions and strategies of those that do, and sustainable initiatives have been adopted as normal strategic imperatives for business success.

The Scholarly Kitchen October 2, 2011

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The Scholarly Kitchen is an interesting website you might want to check out. Its mission is to “advance scholarly publishing and communication, and the professional development of its members through education, collaboration, and networking.”

Supported by the Society for Scholarly Publishing, the website showcases recent research and changes in various scholarly fields. However, you will find lots of interesting and non-stuffy stuff on this website. For example, the September 30 entry was a video should some pretty fantastic street dancing (Pumped Up Kicks – Dubstep)!!

If you are stuck right in the middle of your dissertation or your concept paper or any other paper that is DRIVING YOU CRAZY, navigate over to the Scholarly Kitchen for something good to “eat”!

Congratulations to new Delta Mu Delta Lambda Eta Chapter members! September 11, 2011

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Yesterday, we inducted 13 new members in our Delta Mu Delta chapter. Congratulations to the new members! We are working to build our chapter and offer “local” or NCU-specific scholarships. If you interested in learning more about the Lambda Eta Chapter, send me a note or post a comment here.

I believe that honors and awards can be very effective motivators, and serving in a leadership capacity is a growth opportunity. I am the Secretary for the Chapter and I have met quite a few interesting people through this role. Let me encourage you to join and take part in an honor society like DMD!

SurveyMonkey September 3, 2011

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I used SurveyMonkey for data collection. I chose the Select plan at $17 per month. The Free plan only allows 10 questions per survey and 100 responses. This plan does not have Excel download. The Select plan allows unlimited questions, unlimited responses, and skip logic. Skip logic is necessary for every dissertation survey because if the participant refuses to accept the Informed Consent Acknowledgement, the participant should not be allowed to take the survey. This plan also has Excel export and the survey can be downloaded by PDF. SurveyMonkey invoices every three months.

Now that I am finished with data collection, I am reverting my account to the Free plan. Survey hosting is one of those expenses that no one told you about. It would be great if the school had a hosting account. I think responses might be better if the web address had .edu instead of some of the crazy hosting service names, like SurveyMonkey. This name does not sound professional or academic!

All in all, this hosting package was sufficient. Keep in mind that it takes time to set up the survey because it could not be uploaded from Word. I recommend that you create the survey and have a friend take the survey to check it for misspellings, poor logic, etc., before initiating a pilot study. I had a misspelled word that I never caught until the pilot study, and what an embarrassment!

Entering the world of NONPARAMETRIC August 28, 2011

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Oh my, I’ve been working on Chapter 4 statistics and it looks like my data is nonnormal…so will I have to enter the world of NONPARAMETRIC? What dangers lurk in that galaxy? Will I be taken captive and forced to morph into a NONPARAMETRICON?


I spent so much time working on understanding MANOVA that in all honesty, I have not investigated nonparametric possibilities. However, I have read a number of articles indicating that often data collected “in the wild” turns up as nonparametric rather than parametric. In some of the analyses, it appears dissertations have been completed using parametric when they would have been better suited as nonparametric. Unfortunately, the scenarios and problems completed in stat classes are mostly parametric sprinkled with a few nonparametric models.

It appears as though the Mann-Whitney U will soon become my best friend. SPSS analysis is revealing the same conclusions as my work with MANOVA…it appears there is little (or no) difference in my two groups. This is surprising as I had supposed there were some similarities, but not to this extent.

So next time you see me, I may look a little different; morphing into a NONPARAMETRICON of house Mann-Whitney U is quite painful!

Statistics make my head hurt August 21, 2011

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I have worked almost all weekend on my DM chapter 4, “Findings.” There is so much to consider when doing an analysis. I have some little reminders here on my desk, like “when the p-value is low, the Ho gotta go.” Silly, huh? Just trying to get my mind around the procedures to follow and what the numbers truly mean is quite a task. Right now, my mind is kind of blurry and it is definitely time to set chapter 4 aside.

Statistics make my head hurt!

Kathryn Schulz: On Being Wrong August 7, 2011

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This is a great video – Kathryn Schulz gives an inspiring speach at TED, and reminds us that being wrong is very much part of being human.


Statistics resources July 31, 2011

Posted by thinkphd in : DIS9324B , 1 comment so far

I have collected many websites over my journey that have helped me through some tough stats problems, data collection, etc. Here are a few that may help as well:

Alan Reifman’s Collection of Practical Statistics Resources

David Ritchie’s Data Analysis page

David Ritchie’s Data Display page

Application of Statistics in Educational Research (ASER)

Is that an Assumption or a Condition?

Daniel Arkkelin’s textbook “Using SPSS to Understand Research and Data Analysis”

Companion Website to Andy Field’s textbook “Discovering Statistics Using SPSS, 3rd Edition”

StatPages Free Statistical Software

SPSS On-Line Training Workshop

Philip B. Stark’s SticiGui

Glossary of Statistical Terms

Statnotes: Topics in Multivariate Analysis by G. David Garson

Laura Kazan’s SurveyMonkey to SPSS and Excel

Data collection – end is near July 23, 2011

Posted by thinkphd in : DIS9324B , 1 comment so far

The end of data collection is near as I sent out my last invitations today. I plan to close the survey on July 31. I have been playing around with the data collected so far and thinking about the conclusions that are forming.

I am very excited about my research and hope that it will give some guidance in strategic initiatives. It would be fantastic if all businesses included social and environmental initiatives in their annual planning. Awareness is certainly needed as well as incorporating these criteria into contracts, budgets, and other activities. Ultimately, sustainability includes achieving responsible growth for the business and for society, in such a way that activities do not reduce the ability of future generations to survive.

~~ Wisdom today pays off in a more sustainable tomorrow! ~~

Now to step down from my soapbox, I am looking at how others have presented MANOVA data and observations. This morning, I have been reading about missing values and how to handle this during analysis. Dr. M had a “first look” at my dissertation manuscript (DM) this week without the analysis chapters, and he found no significant issues. It is funny how I miss a misspelled word even after reading my DM a hundred times! Dr. M is a very good proofreader. Some of the dissertations that I have been reading have spelling or missed punctuation, and I certainly do not want any of that in my paper!!

I have to take a fourth dissertation course (DIS9324B) and that starts on August 8. I hope to work on analysis in August, and start the committee reviews in September. This course ends October 31 – keep your fingers crossed for me that I can complete all the work and defend before then!!

It’s very hot here in Virginia and the pool looks blue and cool. Husband and I will enjoy that later today after the sun begins to move out of the middle of the sky.

Updating the DP – Creating the DM July 10, 2011

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This weekend, in addition to sending out more survey invitations, I also worked on updating my DP (dissertation proposal) to turn it into a DM (dissertation manuscript). One of the first things was to change tenses from future to past, as in “the survey will be sent” to “the survey was sent.” I also worked on the dreaded table of contents (TOC) to add Chapter 4: Findings (Results, Evaluation of Findings, Summary) and Chapter 5: Implications, Recommendations, and Conclusions (Implications, Recommendations, Conclusions). Of course, I do not have the information that I need yet to work on these chapters, but I like to build the skeleton and then fill in the rest. I try to stay organized in my writing and research (even though I can’t seem to keep an organized desk).

This afternoon, I was trying to get the DM wording right regarding the issues I am having with data collection – I am trying not to be negative or sound disappointed, but simply factual. I will keep at this until I get enough surveys!! My husband and the Post Office Lady are becoming best of friends. We have bought so many stamps, ink, and mailed so many letters and postcards! We have a rural post office so everything is sorted by hand. The Post Office Lady likes that we are upping her mail count because the government is threatening to close many rural post offices, but I am sure that she groans when she sees Husband come in with his bundle of mail.

Husband and I swam a little in the pool this afternoon, and he got lobster-red on his shoulders. Ouch! I also Skyped for the first time; Daughter #1 just got an iPhone. There is a delay with Skype so we actually talked over each other a couple of times, but I think we will get the hang of it. Later on, the Internet connection got slow and I had to call Hughesnet. The tech rep walked me through changing some settings and I am able to stay connected longer. Now you are all caught up on thinkPhD’s exciting life!

Why MANOVA? July 4, 2011

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I chose to use MANOVA (multivariate analysis of variance) for my dissertation study to find out if those firms engaging in public sustainability reporting have different purchasing social responsibility (PSR) strategies from those that do not publically report. MANOVA is a multivariate analysis tool used to analyze data that with one or more independent variables on two or more dependent variables. The independent variable I am using is participation in public sustainability reporting, and the dependent variables are the dimensions or constructs of PSR, which include concerns for diversity, the environment, human rights, philanthropy/community, and safety.

I have seen this example illustration of MANOVA several times: If we wanted to see if a new teaching style is better strategy to teach reading, we might want to look the values of reading scores, student satisfaction, grades in other classes, etc. These are the dependent variables, and teaching style is the independent variable. Rather than performing ANOVA multiple times, MANOVA allows hypothesis testing (Ha there is no change, and Ho there is a change) on all variables at one time. MANOVA will tell us if the new teaching style is making a difference in scores, student satisfaction, grades in other classes, etc.

Back to my dissertation….I have read articles that seem to indicate that firms reporting publically are somehow better at sustainable actions than those that do not report. So my hypothesis is that there is no difference in dimensions of PSR, and the alternate hypothesis is that there is a difference in dimensions of PSR. So essentially I am asking if those who talk about what they are doing are any different from those that do not!

Need more survey-takers! July 2, 2011

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I sound like a broken record! Here is the issue, I have sent out over 1,000 invitations, posted links in relevant places, and yet I do not have enough participation for adequate power…

An a priori power analysis was conducted using G*Power 3.1 software to determine the appropriate sample size for the study. Assuming a medium effect size f2 (V) of 0.25, a two-tailed test, an alpha significance level of 0.05, a power of 0.80, two groups, and 6 response variables, at least 62 surveys must be included in the study using multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA).

…I need at LEAST 62 and I have about HALF that number of completed surveys. I am even offering a $100 Visa gift card! I have even written to various supply chain groups and asked if I could post on their websites or write a blog post but I do not have replies yet. I am beginning to wonder if people do not read their mail? A friend suggested that many companies have mail rooms and sometimes mail is presorted and thrown in the trash; I find that hard to believe, but what happened to all my postcards and letters?

So, if you are a purchasing manager in a publically traded firm, will you PLEASE take a few minutes and complete this online survey? THANK YOU!!

Invitation and chance to win: Sustainable Procurement Survey June 16, 2011

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You are invited to participate a dynamic new research project entitled “Dimensions of Purchasing Social Responsibility in Sustainable Supply Chain Organizations.”

I am a doctoral student at Northcentral University in Prescott Valley, AZ., and for my dissertation, I am reaching out to purchasing managers of publically traded firms located in the United States. The purpose of the study is to identify links between purchasing social responsibility (PSR) and public sustainability reporting.

If you are a purchasing, sourcing, or procurement manager, and your firm is publically traded, please take a few minutes to complete the “Sustainable Procurement Survey” at the link below. Answers to survey responses will be anonymous and confidential.

At the close of the survey, you will have an opportunity to enter a drawing for two books about sustainability. I will be happy to answer any questions and provide an Executive Summary upon request.

Thank you in advance for completing the survey and forwarding the link to your procurement colleagues, customers, and friends.

Please click the link below to access the Sustainable Procurement Survey.

Sustainable Procurement
The invitation above is what I posted on LinkedIn. I have seen a little bit better participation in the last few days, but I do not have a minimum (from G-Power) number of finished surveys. Please pass on the link to the survey to your friends in procurement!


Slow data collection June 12, 2011

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Data collection is much slower than I thought it would be. In the past weeks, I sent out letters and postcards addressed to Purchasing Managers at 500 companies. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of those have taken the survey. I will mail out 200 more invitations on Monday. After consulting with my chair, I submitted my survey link to one of my groups on LinkedIn. Here is the link to my post on Procurement Professionals.

I don’t think the problem is the invitation itself. The invitation letters and postcards look very professional. I had several people to review them to make sure that they are worded correctly and attractive. I even signed every letter to personalize them.

I do not know why people do not respond to requests to take a survey for academic purposes. A friend suggested that there may be a general lack of respect for research…some do not understand it or see the need for it. In my daily work-world, I never hear anyone say anything about the “latest research” or journal article. I only hear this kind of talk when I am with my academic colleagues.

Over the years, I have filled out many survey requests for universities, dissertation students, and other research groups. I believe research enlightens us and makes our work more effective when we are on the right path.

I would like to hear from readers as to how you encouraged survey response for your quantitative dissertation. What did you do to make the invitation attractive? How did you increase the response level?

Is college too easy? June 5, 2011

Posted by thinkphd in : Teaching , 1 comment so far

This op ed article in the Los Angeles Times, “College, too easy for its own good” raises some interesting points. Have colleges become more interested in satisfying the college CUSTOMER over the college STUDENT? Have colleges moved away from EDUCATING and toward SATISFYING? If this is true, then we should all be concerned about higher education.

This article states that half of students reported that they never had to write a paper over 20 pages, most classes did not require reading over 40 pages per week, and about a third indicated they studied alone five or fewer hours each week. Wow – I am amazed at this! I went to college in the late 70s and did not find this to be so – on the contrary, my non-science classes were the only ones that did not require extensive paper writing (but we did do analysis and reports). Most of my classes had two books or more and some instructors required 100-page readings per day. I got up most mornings to study at 4AM until my 8AM class, and then studied in the evening. I was not content with average grades and so I approached college responsibilities as my ticket to get on with my life and out of my situation.

Unfortunately, I agree with the article in regards to college administrators being concerned about retention rates, facilities, and graduation rates. My children went to universities with fantastic facilities, and I often worried how the schools paid for those amenities. Usually, it was an endowment or grant but of course, maintenance costs belonged to the schools.

So is college too easy? In my personal experience, no. At Troy University in the 70s and again in the 90s, studies were difficult and required significant engagement. At Northcentral University, I am being challenged even more than at Troy. I ask myself everyday if I will ever complete this PhD…it seems like it is taking forever! I hope that today’s students ARE being challenged and working hard to earn an education.

I learned this a long time ago – if you do not seek excellence in ALL that you do (home, school, work, etc.)…..you cannot expect to find excellence in ANYTHING you do.

Your thoughts?