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  • drdianehamilton 6:44 am on November 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Professors’ Expectations: Helpful Writing Tips for College Students 

    Writing

    Students often struggle with writing essays.  Some have difficulty with structure. Others dread dealing with APA formatting. I teach everything from bachelor-level to doctoral-level courses.  The following contains some helpful writing tips that I have found may make writing essays a little easier.

    Citations and References:

    Many of the courses I teach require that students master the use of citations and references.  I have found that students often become confused about how to include these.  One common mistake that students make is to include a reference page without including any citations.  That is not correct. The problem with that is there is no way to determine what part, if any, of the paper was paraphrased or cited from that source.  Students sometimes think that listing a reference is a way to show that they used that information for the paper.  However, there is more that must be done than simply including the source on the reference page. There must also be citations.  Citations may be paraphrased or directly quoted.  If there is a reference, there must be at least one corresponding citation.

    • A paraphrased citation looks something like this: Hamilton (2014) explained the importance of citations.

    Students may also want to include directly quoted material.  I teach some courses where I allow this and other courses where I only allow paraphrased citations.

    • If directly quoted citations are allowed, they look something like this: “Citations may be paraphrased or directly quoted” (Hamilton, 2014, p. 1).

    I prefer that my students paraphrase their citations. This may help demonstrate that they understand the content. However, it is important that if any information is paraphrased or quoted directly from a source, the author and year information must be included (list n.d. if no date is listed).  There may be specific guidelines listed in the APA manual for listing page numbers and other identifying information. Students should be aware of the following:

    • Do not list citations without references.
    • Do not list references without citations.
    • Do not list the author and year information at the end of the paragraph and assume it covers the entire paragraph of content.  Author and year information must be included for any paraphrased sentence or directly quoted block of content.
    • Citations and references must be in APA format (for most courses). Do not include footnotes if APA is required.
    • Do not number the references; list them in APA format.
    • Alphabetize references in APA format.
    • Long direct quotes have unique indentation requirements.  I recommend avoid any long direct quotes. They are usually used by students to fill up space.  Professors may not like that.
    • Be sure the alignment of references is correct on the reference page. The first line of each source should be at the left margin and every line after that indented ½ inch.  See APA guidelines for help.
    • Use peer-reviewed scholarly journals for citing.
    • Double-check with the Owl Purdue Writing Lab for help with how to cite unusual sources.

    It may be a challenge for students to get into the habit of citing correctly.  There are some sources like Perrla that may help.

    Use of Appropriate Sources:

    Another common citing mistake is to use less-than-scholarly sources. Although I enjoy writing blogs and doing research, I do not recommend that students use this or any other similar site as a source in their research papers.  Blogs may sometimes contain news-worthy information. However, usually they contain opinion and other information that has not been peer-reviewed.

    There are many sites that students use that are not considered appropriate sources for research.  Blogs are just one of them.  The following list contains some sources that students should not use:

    • Blogs – Blogs are meant for things other than research. They may be helpful in giving insight into how to do things.  They may be fun to read in terms of content.  However, students need to realize that some blogs may not contain accurate information.
    • Wikipedia – Wikipedia is a common student favorite.  It contains some very good information. However, the content is written on a wiki. A wiki allows more than one person to add or change information.  Any wiki should not be used as a source for citing.  Wikipedia may have some very good sources listed at the bottom of the page.  If students start at Wikipedia to research a topic, they could look at the bottom to find the original source of information. At that point, students can search their school’s library for that source to see if it comes up under peer-reviewed scholarly sources.
    • eHow, Quora, or other Q&A Sites – There are plenty of Q&A sites that allow people to answer questions on the Internet.  Just because there is an answer on these sites, does not mean that the answer is correct or has been reviewed by anyone.  Think of these sites as you would a blog.  They may or may not contain accurate information.  Therefore, they should not be used to cite.
    • Dictionary – This is a source students tend to like to cite.  Although it is accurate and will give a good definition, some professors look at this as a kind of “cop out” source.  It is easy to look up a definition in the dictionary.  It is better to show scholarly research that explains the subject in more detail.
    • Books – Some books should not be used as sources.  If there is a textbook assigned to the course, it is usually a good source to cite.  However, not all books are considered “scholarly”.  It is best to stick to peer-reviewed journals if there is any doubt.

    Some professors will allow just about any source for citations.  Others are extremely picky.  To be safe, it is a good idea to get in the habit of using only peer-reviewed scholarly sources.  For more information, check out:  What is a Peer-Reviewed Journal.

    Schools usually have an online library where students can find appropriate sources.  Near the search bar, there may be a box that can be checked to ensure that the search only delivers peer-reviewed scholarly sources.  The wise students stick to the school’s library for research.  It is as easy to search as Google and the chances of coming up with proper research are enhanced.

    Other Common Mistakes:

    I notice that many students make similar mistakes.  I make comments on their papers to address these issues.  Many of them disregard my comments and continue to submit the papers with the same mistakes.  I thought it might be helpful to create a checklist of some of the most common mistakes that I see and give some guidelines as how to correct them.

    • Tense – Students should stick to third person rather than first or second person unless the paper is specifically about them. In this blog, I write in first person. I use words like I, me, us, and we. Those are fine in this type of setting.  In undergraduate and graduate courses, students must be able to write as if they are an observer.  It is also incorrect to write in second person. Second person includes words like you and your.  Students must learn how to write in third person.  Do not write a paper that begins with something like: I chose to write about this because blah blah blah. There is no need to mention the author (aka the student).  Just write about the topic.
    • Paragraph/Overall Structure – I often include a link in class that directs student to this Youtube Video that explains how to write a well-constructed paper.  It is important not to have an overly long or overly short paragraph.  I have seen students submit entire papers that included only one paragraph.  I prefer to see paragraphs include around 4-8 sentences.  If citing is required, it is better to begin a paragraph with a statement and then follow it with citations.  The citations are there to support any points.  Students must make their points before they can support them.  Students often forget to set up their papers to include an introduction, body and conclusion.  I recommend watching the Youtube video for help with this and many other structural and writing issues.
    • Microsoft Word Issues – Students often have difficulty with formatting issues.  I have created the following videos that  may be helpful with some of these problems:  How to Remove Extra Spaces from in Between Paragraphs, Working with Headers and Page Numbers, How to Change Period Spacing.
    • Using Scholarly Sources – Students may have difficulty distinguishing between the kinds of sources that are allowed for citations. If students’ first inclination is to search for answers on Google or if Wikipedia is their best friend, I recommend that they check out their school’s library search engine instead.
    • Font Issues – Students must be sure that their papers meet APA guidelines.  The font needs to be set at 12 point.  There should not be any special bold, ALL CAPS, or underlined information that does not meet these guidelines.
    • Confusion Between Citations and References – I recommend reading:  What is the Difference Between Citations and References. The reference page must be titled References and not Works Cited.
    • Amount of Citations – Students often do not include enough citations.  They must be able to demonstrate their research and back up any points.  I find that many students like to write in a story-telling fashion.  Others may already know information about a topic and write based on experience. It is important to cite even if you are a subject expert.  Some may be tempted to cite too often.  Every single sentence should not be a citation.  That is called patchworking.  It is important to make a point and then back it up with citations to demonstrate your research.
    • Follow Rubrics and Guidelines – If there are specific requirements for the assignment, it is important that students follow the guidelines.  If five pages are required, then submit at least five complete pages.  The title page and reference pages do not count toward page requirements.  If the professor has posted any additional requirements in class, it is important to go through that checklist to determine that all requirements have been met.

    Graduate-Level Expectations:

    Graduate-level students may be required to have a higher level of writing expertise.  These requirements may cause students to become frustrated. Some of my online students have not taken courses in a very long time.  Many of them have not learned how to write properly in APA format. I have a surprisingly high number of students who have difficulty with sentence and paragraph structure. Graduate students should not use contractions.  For example, words like cannot should not be written as can’t.  Papers should be written in third person unless it specifically states that the assignment should be written in first person. Students should support all major points and information that is not common knowledge with peer-reviewed scholarly sources.  The school’s library should be the main search source. Whenever information is not common knowledge or is paraphrased, it should be cited. 

    I have had some students who get annoyed when I take off points for these issues.  I post my requirements on the first day of class, so that there are no excuses for not following my guidelines.  However, there will always be some students who feel it is their right to write incorrectly.  They may not truly understand the narrative mode issue or how to cite in APA format.

    At the graduate level, it is up to students to learn these things.  It is important to write in a scholarly tone.  I think students should write as if their paper could be printed in a journal.  It is important that students do not write in an informal tone.  Some students like to insert personal anecdotes or other information that is not appropriate for the assignment or this level of work.  Unless the instructor specifically states that papers may be written informally or in some other format, graduate-level students should stick to a scholarly third-person tone that is supported consistently throughout with peer-reviewed research.

    There may come a time when an assigned essay involves something that the student has experienced or already has studied.  For example, an assignment might be to write about a famous entrepreneur.  I have many students that are fans of Steve Jobs or Oprah Winfrey.  They may know everything there is to know about these people because they have followed their careers.

    Many students make the mistake of writing in a storytelling-fashion, based on their own interpretation of what they think they already know.  If it is a graduate-level assignment, usually citations and research are required.  That means that students will need to find sources to support their writing.

    I commonly I see students write something like this:  I chose Oprah Winfrey because she makes me feel blah blah blah.  There are several problems with this sentence.  First of all, the paper should be about Oprah and not about the student.  There is no need to write in first person.  Unless the professor specifically stated that students should explain their feelings, the assignment should stick to what Oprah has accomplished.

    Students often like to refer to their feelings in their writing.  They also like to include personal anecdotes.  For most of the classes that I teach, this is not appropriate.

    Sometimes a student will drop me a note that states something like this:  “I already know everything about this subject, so I didn’t include citations.”  I understand what they mean. However, even if the student knows everything about a topic, the point of the assignment is to show what they have learned through research.

    Students must get into the habit of finding solid scholarly sources to back up what they have written.  Without citations, they have written opinion and not research.

    There are certain expectations of higher-level students.  They should be able to write in complete paragraphs that include around four to eight sentences.  Students should cite consistently throughout each of those paragraphs to support major points.  A strong introduction and conclusion should be included.

    When students cite, it is a good idea to paraphrase those citations whenever possible.  Some students try to fill space by including many long direct quotations. I have corrected papers where students had about 10% of their own information and the rest was directly quoted from another source. This is not acceptable. Some schools do not allow more than 10% directly quoted material.  It is easy to copy and paste what others have written.  That does not really show that the student has learned anything.  It is far better to paraphrase citations to show that the information has been processed and understood.

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  • drdianehamilton 4:10 pm on November 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    NCU Interviews Dr. Diane Hamilton 

    NCU Interviews Dr. Diane Hamilton

    For more see the full article at Northcentral University Higher Degrees Fall 2013

     
  • drdianehamilton 10:27 am on July 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , MOOCs, , Work Life Balance   

    Online Classes Offer Balance 

    shutterstock_83082013

    Online classes offer a variety of advantages for working adults who have enough on their plate without adding the stress of finding time for an education.  Probably the hardest part of attending a traditional university, for me, was finding time to fit it into my schedule.  I worked the traditional workday and then I had to make it to three-hour class four nights a week.  This was brutal because by the time I drove home and got to bed, it was close to midnight.  I would have to get up at 6 am and start all over again.  Thankfully I was in my early 20s at the time.  I honesty do not think I could handle that sort of schedule now.

    Traditional courses took at least four hours out of my day (to just attend class).  Then I had an hour or two of homework each day that I had to squeeze in either before midnight or on my lunch breaks.  At minimum, I probably spent at least five hours a day dealing with school-related issues.  In online classes, since there are no lectures, and there is no driving and parking, etc., I probably spent about two hours a day.  When you are a working adult with family responsibilities, saving three hours a day is huge.

    Traditional schools may be a great thing for people who have the time and money to afford them. Unfortunately many people do not have that luxury. Some students will have to obtain financial help whether they attend traditional or online courses.  The advantage of online courses is that students have more time to work to pay for the loans.

    I have read many articles about the value of a traditional education versus an online education.  Many of them have been written by professors who work in brick and mortar classrooms. I understand their perspective.  There may be some wonderful things to be learned at a traditional university.  The problem is that it is not that simple.  In today’s society, traditional roles have changed. Women may have much more responsibilities outside of the home.  The stress of raising a family, working, and trying to squeeze in time for education may make the choice of a traditional college a poor option.

    It is not appropriate to make blanket statements about all online courses based on limited experience. I have worked for many different online universities. They are not all the same.  Some offer a better education.  Comparing MOOCs to traditional online courses is like comparing apples to oranges.  The same is true about comparing unaccredited universities with accredited universities.

    Accredited online courses offer people a quality education and a life.  I do not believe that sitting in a lecture hall adds that much to the learning experience.  All of the driving, parking and sitting in class, took away precious time that I believe did not add to my educational experience.  All it did was stress me out and leave less time for others. Thankfully I finished my traditional education before my children were born.  Once I had a family, distance education became an option and opened up incredible opportunities for me.  It is interesting that traditional universities now offer more online courses.  The same institutions that had “issues” with online education now provide it.  The good news is that everyone is waking up and realizing that online education offers the best of all worlds for those who want it.

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    • Shawn Dragonaire 4:33 pm on July 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I completely agree with your perspective on this specific topic. I have also been taking notice of more traditional non-profit colleges and universities starting to offer online course and gradually expanding into full programs. Thanks for sharing with us and it will be most interesting to observe how online degree programs start to become the accepted norm in public and private traditional colleges/universities within the next 5+ years.

  • drdianehamilton 1:36 pm on December 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Generation Ali, , , Muhammad Ali, Muhammad Ali Center   

    Generation Ali Passes the Torch to Millennial Generation 

    genali-logo

    Muhammad Ali has been called the most recognizable man on earth. While he is still considered the champ from his boxing days, he has continued to inspire people around the world.  His belief that others can achieve greatness led to his most recent venture the Generation Ali Global Citizenship Scholarship Program.  This program, due to launch December 7, 2012, is aimed at the millennial generation. According to the Generation Ali site, the program is about “Fostering tomorrow’s leaders to achieve personal greatness, contribute positively to their communities, and change the world for the better.”

    According to Alltech, Donald Lassere, president of the Muhammad Ali Center stated, “Muhammad Ali has proven that one person can be a spark that lights the flame of inspiration and change the world. Generation Ali will take up the torch and continue Muhammad’s legacy by inspiring a new generation of leaders to create better lives, better nations, and a better world.”

    In order to apply for this program, applicants must

    • Be a high school senior or graduate or post-secondary undergraduate.
    • Plan to enroll or are currently enrolled in full-time undergraduate study at an accredited United States two- or four-year college, university or vocational technical school.
    • U.S. and international students encouraged to apply.

    Ali’s Facebook site shows a graphic that mentions $10,000 scholarships. Ali stated, “This is it! The Greatest Scholarship of All Time is here! Start spreading the word. Online application starts December 7th! U.S. and international students encouraged to apply.”

    To find out more about his program, check out the video Generation Ali and go to GenerationAli.org.

     
  • drdianehamilton 10:31 am on August 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alex Zhardanovsky, , , , , , , , ,   

    How Businesses can Maximize Online Presence 

    While business leaders may constantly hear they need to maximize their online presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, there may be more that they could do to succeed.  Just having a Facebook or Twitter page is not enough. These sites need to be managed and constantly promoted.

    Technology entrepreneur Alex Zhardanovsky was recently interviewed by Fox News about ways businesses can improve their online presence. He explained that Facebook can be used like a newsletter.  He stated, “The nice thing about Facebook is that if you spend money building a Facebook page, you have an audience that does not go away.” This gives businesses an advantage of the old style of having people click on a link and then closing a page where they may never return again.

    Facebook allows for more of a conversation where businesses can reach customers on a consistent basis.  The best part is it is a free way to build a relationship with people that may later become paying customers. Facebook Fan pages are a very important thing for business to create.  Businesses can post interesting content so that people will want to interact on that page.  Facebook also allows companies to target specific demographics.

    Zhardanovsky recommends using a company called AlphaBoost to help companies build better advertising.  This site allows potential advertisers see how the competition’s ads are performing.  They can see the likes, clicks and views of the competition’s ad. The thought process is that if the business is similar, they will receive a similar reaction to a comparable ad.  He explained that once companies get the “likes” from posting a similar ad, then that is when they can differentiate their business from the competition.

    To hear more tips about Twitter and other social media platforms, check out the video interview by clicking here:  Small Biz Tips from Top Tech Entrepreneur

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  • drdianehamilton 11:23 am on April 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Bandura, , , , Goal orientation, Goal setting, , Jean Piaget, , Social Learning, Social learning theory   

    Perception and Motivation in Goal Achievement 

    It may be challenging for students to find motivation to reach set goals. People may be intrinsically or extrinsically motivated to succeed.  However, there are different theories about what motivates behavior.  Some people believe that reinforcement is necessary for people to truly feel motivated to change behaviors. Albert Bandura is a name often associated with discussions of motivation and learning.  Bandura is a Canadian psychologist responsible for social learning theory. Along with Skinner, Freud, and Piaget, Bandura is one of the most frequently cited psychologists. Bandura believed that reinforcement alone did not account for all learning or motivation.  He felt people could learn through observation, intrinsic reinforcement, and modeling the behaviors of others. Intrinsic reinforcement occurs when people receive an internal reward, such as pride, satisfaction, and a sense of accomplishment.

    Part of wanting to achieve a goal is to have the expectancy of reward associated with that goal.  Self-efficacy is another important component that is developed as students feel confidence in performing well.  An article by Nacada.KSU.edu explained the factors associated with motivation include:  Intrinsic goal orientation, extrinsic goal orientation, task value, control of learning beliefs, test anxiety, and self-efficacy for learning and performance.  The authors noted, “The self-efficacy construct postulated by Bandura in his social learning theory has guided extensive motivational research.”

    Students must not only be motivated to achieve the goal, but be able to make the goal measurable.  The mnemonic “SMART” is often referred to in goal-setting. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.  In the article Set Specific Goals to Increase Success, the author suggests using the following formula in order to make goals measurable:  “I will (goal + performance measure) by (specific actions).” If a student wanted to receive an A as their goal, he or she would fill in the blanks with something like this:  I will receive an A in BUS101 by studying 2 hours a night Monday through Friday from 6-8 pm.”  Students often will state the goal without remembering to include the steps required to reach that goal.  By making the goal measurable, students can measure their progress toward attaining that goal.  This creates a roadmap to achieving the goal.

    Reaching goals requires motivation. ZenHabits does a nice job of explaining motivation, as well as ways to achieve it and sustain it during times of struggle.  To find out more about motivation, check out the self-motivation quiz from Mindtools. After the quiz, there is a nice explanation of factors involved in self-motivation including:  self-confidence and efficacy, positive thinking, focus, and environment. The author from the article How Self-Motivated Are You noted, “Self-motivation doesn’t come naturally to everyone. And even those who are highly self-motivated need some extra help every now and then. Build your self-motivation by practicing goal-setting skills, and combining those with positive thinking, the creation of powerful visions of success, and the building of high levels of self-efficacy and self-confidence.”

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  • drdianehamilton 7:49 am on December 31, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    One of the Best Times to Refinance 

    For those of you who are seeking ways to recover some of the money spent over the holidays, refinancing may help. The situation in Europe has caused mortgage rates to drop to some of the lowest rates available in 60 years.  With rates in the low to mid 4% range, it may be hard to envision rates getting much lower.  The Wall Street Journal reported that 30-year mortgage rates hit 4.05% in December.  If a person had a $300,000 loan at 6% and refinanced at that rate, they would have saved $128,880.  That is a substantial savings.  The following chart shows the savings that a person could achieve from refinancing a $300,000 loan at various interest rates.

    Loan Amount

    Interest Rate

    Payment

    Savings Over 30 Years From Refinancing 6% Loan

    $300,000

    6%

    1798

    0

    $300,000

    5.50%

    1703

    $34,200

    $300,000

    4.50%

    1520

    $100,080

    $300,000

    4.05%

    1440

    $128,880

    This information does not include any fees that may be charged by the broker.  Be sure to look at the Annual Percentage Rate or APR.  This rate will include any extra fees that may be charged.  Even if the APR ends up at 4.5%, the person in this scenario would still save over $100,000 over the life of the loan.

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  • drdianehamilton 10:26 am on November 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Deathswitch: Send Messages From Beyond the Grave 

    Deathswitch is a company that provides what they call “an information service in the event of your death or disability”.  According to their site, they will store your passwords and information, while sending you regularly scheduled notices prompting your response to be sure that you are still alive.  Should you not respond after 90 days, they will assume you are dead or critically disabled and then they will contact anyone you have named to receive your information.

    They offer a free account that entitles you to send one message once you are gone.  With a premium account, you can have 30 messages and up to 10 recipients.  These messages allow you to send videos, pictures and documents.

    Although this service may be helpful in retrieving lost information and passwords, it could also include the ability to send e-messages from beyond the grave.  The site even states “Don’t die with secrets that need to be freed.” 

    This opens up some unusual possible ways to contact people from beyond the grave.  Their site states that people will feel better knowing they will hear from you once you are gone.  In a perfect world, this service could be a good way to send loving messages to people.  However, what about those who send the “not so nice” messages?  There can be no rebuttal from the survivors. 

    It is an interesting and patent-pending service.  One of the questions asked on the FAQ portion of the site is, “What if I go into a comma for 3 months and then recover?”  That is something to think about for those who may be considering sending a “not so nice” message.  However, they do claim that the timeframe can be adjusted if 3 months is not the desired amount of time.

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  • drdianehamilton 7:21 am on October 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Doctoral Dissertation, , , , , , , , SPSS, ,   

    Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Doctoral Dissertation 

    Today’s Ask Dr. Diane:  Do you have any suggestions on how to avoid the pitfalls many other doctoral students may have encountered when writing their dissertations?

    As a doctoral chair, I guide students through the process of writing a dissertation.  There are different problems that many of them may face based on the topics they chose to study.  I prefer to chair quantitative, business-related studies, so my suggestions may be slanted in that direction.

    Here are the top 10 things that I think a doctoral student should be made aware of from the beginning:

    1. The process will probably take longer than you think.  There may be a set of doctoral courses required for the dissertation part of your degree.  For example, there may be Class 1, 2, and 3.  They will explain that if you don’t finish 1, you can take 1a and 1b, etc.  Be prepared to take 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, etc.  Remember that every time you take the class, it costs money.  Have it in your budget in case you need extra courses.
    2. Find a good doctoral chair (also called doctoral mentor).  The school will probably have a website that lists professors that you can pick from, to be your chair.  Go through the lists carefully to find one that fits your topic and your needs.  Send them a very polite letter of request to be your chair/mentor.  Do not send a bulk message to a lot of potential chairs.  This is seen as tacky.   I recommend talking to them on the phone prior to signing up with any of them.  If they don’t want to do this, you may want to pick someone who is more hospitable.  Find out if they work at your speed.  I had two different chairs in my journey.  The first one was not a good fit for me.  The second was much better. Keep in mind that you can probably change chairs later if you find out it isn’t working for you.
    3. Become an APA expert.  Most schools require that your paper is in APA 6th edition right now.  Click here for writing help.  When you submit a dissertation, the review board will be beyond picky about this.  Every space, every heading, every table, etc. has to be exact.  Schools usually have writing centers that can help you with APA as well. 
    4. Find a good statistician.  If you are going to do a quantitative study, you will need an excellent statistician for guidance.  It helps to have SPSS software as well. It is important to understand how to do a Power Analysis when deciding on your population and sample size.
    5. Strong editing is a must.  Schools are very picky about anthropomorphisms and they don’t like what they call “fluff” wording.  They want the writing to sound scholarly.  Avoid using words like:  However, In Addition, Therefore.  Do not refer to yourself in the document.  Example:  The research did blah blah blah.  Don’t use the wording “the researcher” unless you are referring to someone other than you.  There should be no first person references in the paper at all. The proposal will be written in future tense so everything you write will be about what will happen.  The only thing that the proposal has in past tense is what others have written.  For example:  Hamilton (2011) stated blah blah blah is OK but everything that you propose to do must be in future tense.  There should be no personal bias.  Use research citations to back up your points.  When you write Chapters 1-3 of the proposal, you need to refer to your study as the proposed study.  Do not forget to include the word proposed
    6. Have a good template.  Some schools use a company called Bold that offers a dissertation template that has all of the formatting set up already.  These templates usually cost under $100 and are worth it.  They have the hard parts like the table of contents set up for you.  Some students try to write their dissertation in a regular Word document first and transfer it over to the Bold document later. This can cause a real headache with formatting and I don’t recommend it.
    7. Set up a schedule and become organized.  I have seen students flounder because they find the process overwhelming and don’t know where to begin.  Setting up a schedule for when you will do things is very helpful.  Set aside a certain number of hours in the week dedicated to your research and writing.   Usually the first doctoral class is set up to create Chapters 1-3 of your proposal.  It may be helpful to begin with Chapter 2 first to research the topic you have in mind. Look for areas in the research where there are gaps that still need addressing.  When you have written about everything others have done regarding your topic in Chapter 2, it should help highlight the exact area where you want to focus for Chapter 1.
    8. Download past dissertations. Looking at past dissertations written by students at your school can be very helpful.  It will give you a template of the format that is appropriate for your school and show you how others handled specific sections.
    9. Keep studies in notebooks.  I personally found it helpful to keep all of the studies I referenced in notebooks. I would alphabetize them by author last name.  I had 5 or 6 different notebooks based on the topics.  For example, since my dissertation was on emotional intelligence and its impact on sales performance, I would have a notebook about sales studies, another about emotional intelligence tests, another about emotional intelligence in workplace, etc. 
    10. Don’t give up.  Think of writing a dissertation as you would writing a book.  It has chapters and has to be approached one step at a time.  You wouldn’t write a book all in one day and you can’t write a dissertation that way either.  Sometimes students fail to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It’s there.  It just takes a while to get there.

    I recommend reading some of the following books:

    APA Publication Manual 6th Edition

    Business Research Methods

    Research Strategies

    Methods in Behavioral Research

     
  • drdianehamilton 7:09 pm on March 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: darkknight, , , Facebook Credits, , , , , , warner bros   

    Facebook Credits and Enhanced Interactive Functions: Future of Movie Watching 

     

    With the recent announcement by Warner Bros. that they will use Facebook as a distribution channel, competitors are becoming concerned.  Netflix has seen a decline in their stock price (nearly $12/share today alone) and now Sony has made their own move by offering “on select digital movie purchase” features.  The BaltimoreSun reported that the Sony films available on Itunes will now allow users to use, “use (1) an “Enhanced Search” that jumps “to exact spots in the movie where [a] keyword appears; (2) a “Clip & Share” function that allows them “to choose among a selection of film clips that can be shared instantly on Facebook and Twitter“; and (3) an ‘Interactive Music Playlist” that connects them “to the exact scene where a song is featured in a film” and to “the iTunes Music Store for easy purchase of soundtrack albums and select songs.”

    Facebook is getting a lot of attention for the recent Warner decision.  People will now be able to pay for the ability to watch movies using Facebook Credits.  These credits had previously been mostly used to pay for games.  Bloomberg reported, “Renting a movie through Facebook costs 30 Facebook Credits, or $3. Viewers have 48 hours to watch the films.”  For more information about how to purchase Facebook Credits click here.

     
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