Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Tuesday afternoon my chair returned my second draft. Since I decided to only use tree theory of individual difference and credentialing theory I, can now move a couple sections around to improve the flow. 

The biggest change is the thing I have been struggling with the most, a method for creating my sample frame and selecting the sample. Each draft I have turned in has had a different method. The problem I have run into is identifying all potential participants. My chair recommended that I look into respondent directed sampling. It is similar to snowball, but has a model to estimate randomness. I will be using it, but need to figure out the logistical details.

Other than that it is just minor changes that I hope to complete today.


While I’m taking a little break from writing my dissertation I thought I would write a post on my workflow.

I am not an apple person, so I do not have an iPad, iPhone, or a Mac. I use windows 7 on my work computer and my laptop, I also have an android phone and a nexus 10 tablet. So this post will outline how I use windows and android programs in my workflow.

The programs that I use are: Dropbox, mendeley, chrome, acrobat pro (on PC) reader (on android), evernote, cutepdf, and word.

I have experimented with other such as qiqqa, and scriver, but they didn’t fit in my workflow like I wanted. Qiqqa took too long to update metatinfo for citations, and scriver didn’t work with word the way I wanted. Fresno State gave me a pretty good word template that I had already tweaked so that it had other styles for me to use, and the headings were set to the correct outline steps.

Collecting research
I started using mendely last year to organize articles that may be use full for my dissertation as well as for other papers that I wrote. I had folders created for each different topics, and as I brought articles in, or read them I would tag them with key concepts. I also set it up to auto save articles in a folder by author-title-year. I had experimented with using sub folders, but none of the options were better than in on folder. If it would save files into folders similar to the ones used in the program it would be helpful, but then you could end up with duplicates if you had a file in two folders. The folder that it saves it into is called research, and within that folder I have a folder called new that I have it watch.

I use a combination of databases through the school, and Google scholar to collect articles. Whenever I found an article that was close to what I wanted I saved it as a PDF. If I was somewhere that didn’t have a PDF option such as an article that was only available as HTML or a data view from BLS I used cutePDF to turn it into one. CutePDF sets up just like a printer, but instead of printing on paper it makes a PDF.  When using Google scholar I set it up to connect to the school library, so that if the PDF wasn’t free in the open web, I could search through the library to find it. I also used the ebsco android app to save files when searching the database from my phone, and would download them latter on the PC. When I’m on the tablet I just download them files and then upload them into the new folder in dropbox.

When I am reading a real book and come across something that I want to remember I take a picture of the passage with evernote and put it into a notebook called dissertation.

Organizing files
Once I had collected files I would start mendeley and make sure the info was correct and do my preliminary tags, and put them into folders. I try and keep my unfilled area empty. Once I started working on my dissertation I created a not dissertation folder, and moved all the folders that did not relate to my dissertation into it. That included folders for other papers I’m writing this semester.

The standard APA style for mendeley has a few issues so I have created a new version that fixes some things.

Reading articles
I read and markup articles in mendeley primilarily, that way I can make notes that show up without opening the file. Whenever I get a file that is just a scanned image I open it in acrobat pro and perform OCR, depending on the quality of the scan I get mixed results.

If I am reading on my tablet I primillary highlight, and make notes only when I really don’t want to forget something. That way when I go back to the PC I can see all my highlights and if I see a comment I open the PDF in acrobat and copy the comment into mendeley.

I do all of my writing in word, using the correct styles I am able to go the the outline view and move things around as needed. I also edited them web standard style to match what I wanted for the reference list so that I wouldn’t have to reformat it every time.

Today I wrote another seven pages or so. I completed several headings and started a couple more in chapter two. I also have chapter one almost done. The paper is currently at 51 pages.

Yesterday I found the visual CLS editor and fixed an issue with the first initial showing because I had several sources with the same last name. That was pretty easy; however, today I needed to cite a court case, and the style in mendeley won’t format it correctly. I guess that I will have to edit the style again in order to make it show correctly. I’m guessing that it will take between one and two hours to complete the change. I’m not sure if I am going to try and make the change before my draft is due on Wednesday, or if I should just focus on writing and acknowledge that it is incorrect and will be changed.

So today was the day to send an update of what I have to my chair. It was not as productive of a day as I wished it would be, but I think its enough for her to see where I’m going and to give me feedback. I have 2 weeks until my first draft is due, and I’m probably 1/4 the way done with chapters 1 and 2. And have barely started chapter 3. It will be a busy next couple weeks.

I am getting to the point where I can effectively articulate my research and study. It was amazing tonight in class as I was able to tie the different things we were talking about to the theories I have been reading.

At the same time another project that I have been working has taken off all of a sudden, so my attention is getting divided right now.

Today was a day spent on theories. I have now stated writing about almost ask of the theories that are relevant to my research. The theories that I am including are human capital, signaling, screening, institutional, credentialing, and individual differences. I am really taking a multidisciplinary approach to this study, these theories come from economic, sociology, and business perspectives. I am also debating the inclusion of self-determination theory from philosophy.

Chapter one received some work also. I also spent a little time importing references for books and websites that I had collected in evernote before moving to mendeley. I also figured out to keep my reference list at double spacing. I just had to update the normal(web) style that the field from mendeley is assigned to.

I think I have also come up for a better title, one that better indicates the tie to education, and the new focus on theories. I think it will allow me to explain what I am doing better also.

Tomorrow I am going to sit in on a final defense in order to see how it goes.

Today was another long but productive day. I spent more time then I had planned working on finishing up the section on changes of engineering competencies and instructional methods. I am pleased with where it is now. After that I started working on writing some if the theoretical frameworks. I started with the theory of individual differences. I also reread Meyers article on education as an institution. Tomorrow I will write that section.

Being in the work room with students from cohort 4 has given me confidence that I can do this. Every time that I have a question I am able to get immediate feedback. It will be different next week when the two people that have been there with me for the last week will be done, and the other people that are there will be working hard to get done in just a couple weeks.

Today I continued reading during the morning, and then started writing after lunch. I figured that it would be better to write about each section as soon as I finish reading about it. I decided that if I waited to start writing until I had finished ready ping everything I would forget some of what I wanted to write about in each section.

While I was reading I discovered that one of the articles that I found used a very similar methodology to the one I’m thinking about using.

I was in the lab for 13 hours today and completed writing just under 5 pages. Most of the time after lunch was spent creating a matrix of the articles on competencies of engineers. I then started to write that section, so far I have written about the commonalities between the majority of the articles, as well as descriptions of two articles. I also wrote the introduction to the section on human capital theory, and an explanation on the job classification that I am interested in studying.

Tomorrow I plan on finishing the section on competencies. Then I will start working on other sections related to the various theories that are connected to my dissertation. It looks like it will be another very long day.