Research: Evidence for Scholarly Research Ability
My scholarly research ability could be best illustrated by participation in the following projects:
- A Corpus Analysis of Online Student Self Introductions
- A Study of Online Student Retention Rates
I. A Corpus Analysis of Online Students Self Introductions
The study of online students’ self presentation started in the fall of 2005 and concluded with the publication of research findings in September of 2007. The research project was carried out in collaboration and under supervision of Dr. Carla Meskill. The study examined the form and the content of student self introductions in nine fully online graduate courses in education. Particularly the study focused on the differences and similarities of the structure and content of autobiographies composed by three groups of students – pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, and doctoral students.
This study was the first research project throughout my doctoral program in which I actively participated from the very beginning to the very end. I started by securing IRB approval and subject consent, at that point totally unfamiliar procedures. The collection of data included archiving text files in accordance with IRB requirements. To be able to carry out the corpus analysis of the collected texts, I acquired a working knowledge of concordancing and became familiar with the Simple Concordance Program (http://www.textworld.com). I was responsible for statistical analysis of data, putting together all tables and graphs and participated in hand coding. Besides providing input into the interpretation of results, my contribution to article writing included formatting images, text and references in accordance with journal requirements. The article entitled The Presentation of Self in Everyday Ether: A Corpus Analysis of Student Self-Tellings in Online Graduate Courses was published in the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, volume 11:3 – September 2007.
The article and the letter of support attached below serve not only as evidence of my scholarly research ability, but also as verification of scholarly cooperative work.
Letter of Support
The Presentation of Self in Everyday Ether
II. A Study of Online Student Retention Rates
In spring 2006 I was invited to assist in the collection of material related to online student retention rates. The project supervisor, Jennie Dautermann of SUNY Center for Professional Development, was interested in conducting an extensive literature review to inform SUNY administrators and practitioners by generating effective strategies for increasing retention rates among university students.
My responsibilities included searching, selecting and writing detailed annotations for each located scholarly article and journal report. More than 50 annotated works were then analyzed and the summary table of variables related to retention was then generated (see attachment). To help administrators, practitioners and scholars interested in the issue navigate the extensive reference list; the summary table also included a list of methods of data collection and instruments. Articles presenting theoretical models of retention, and those dealing with practical strategies of improving retention, were separately highlighted. This work taught me how to more effectively conduct literature reviews, annotate articles and find ways to summarize points of convergence and divergence in more easily understood lists or tables. Both the partnership and the results were positive.
The retention project sparked my interest in the quantitative methods that could be used to examine factors that influence course completion rates. In spring 2007 I took a course EPSY 630 Statistical Methods II where we were required to write a research proposal. I chose to write a proposal and simulate a study of the effect of credit load and employment load on successful course completion rates. The major benefit of this work was that I could apply knowledge I acquired when taking two courses in statistical methods into real-like quantitative study. To collect data I was able to use my classmates whose completed questionnaires were analyzed with SPSS. The most challenging but extremely valuable part of this project was to write up results, discussion and implication sections in the language that would be appropriate for a solid quantitative study. The research project received grade A.
Below please find the letter of support from Dr. Jennie Dautermann, a summary table of retention variables, and the research proposal for EPSY 630. These documents show evidence of my collaborative ability, the development of my scholarly thinking and the clarity of my academic writing.
Jennie Dauterman's Support Letter
Table of Retention Variables
EPSY 630 Research Proposal