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Developing a Research Stream. Joe Valacich Washington State University August 3, 2003 Agenda. Some General Career Advice The Research Process Developing a Research Stream Developing Theory Designing Studies – Getting the Most from Your Data Collection Effort! Writing It Up

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    1. Developing a Research Stream Joe Valacich Washington State University August 3, 2003

    2. Agenda • Some General Career Advice • The Research Process • Developing a Research Stream • Developing Theory • Designing Studies – Getting the Most from Your Data Collection Effort! • Writing It Up • Top-Ten Ways to be Rejected • Some words to live by

    3. Some General Career Advice

    4. Lessons I learned… • Attend conferences, be proactive, get to know the “players” – IS disciple is dominated by a small number of people • Hit the ground running!!! – tenure is a 4 to 5 year process, not 7! • Have a sense of urgency!!! • Become “known” for something – focus • Always work on the paper closest to being published • Make it a family effort – celebrate success, find balance! • Research should be fun! 

    5. How to Become Valuable to Your School • Work hard / be available • Focus your research • Become a good teacher / advisor / colleague • Volunteer for hard assignments • Volunteer to review • Involve yourself in curricula development • Work with senior colleagues (take the lead) • Develop / Talk / Listen / Involve Industry Contacts

    6. How to Become Valuable to Some Other School • DO EVERYTHING LISTED ON THE PRIOR SLIDE!!!

    7. In general… • Work hard • Find a balance • Juggle multiple projects at the same time • Be proactive • DELIVER

    8. The Research Process

    9. The Research Process … a series of interlocking choices in which we try simultaneously to maximize several conflicting choices… Key choices • generalizability with respect to populations • realism for the participants • precision in control and measurement of variables McGrath, 1982

    10. The Research Process • Unfortunately, the very choices used to maximize generalizability, realism, or control will reduce the other two… • In other words, all research strategies and methods are seriously flawed… Thus, every research strategy is a three-horned dilemma…

    11. The Three-Horned Dilemma …every research strategy either avoids two horns by an uneasy compromise but gets impaled, to the hilt, on the third horn... or it grabs the dilemma boldly by one horn, maximizing on it, but at the same time “sitting down” (with some pain) on the other two horns...

    12. Eg., Laboratory Experiments and the Three-Horned Dilemma • Generalizability • Very low (typically) • controlled and selected population • Realism • Very low (typically) • deliberately contrived setting • Precision • high (the whole idea behind a lab experiment!)

    13. Play to a method’s strength • Laboratory experiment: precision • Survey: generalizability • Field study: realism

    14. Developing a Research Stream

    15. Key Skills Research requires three skills: • Conceptualizing Theory • Research Design • Writing Build a Team with all Three

    16. What is a Good Research Project? • Asks new questions or old questions in a new way or in a new situation leading to different answers • Has a story with a message that is interesting to the AE, reviewers, and readers • Is the first step/next step in a research stream • Fits your research risk/return portfolio

    17. What is a Good Research Project? From a Personal Level: • Do research that is fun • Do research to be published • Do research that addresses a fundamental issue • Do research that is interesting whatever the result

    18. What is a Good Research Project? Publishing the Results: • Write to be read • Write to be cited • Write to change practice

    19. What is a Good Research Project? • The definition of a Nobel prize in Physics: “Oh shit, why didn’t I think of that?” Simple ideas are ideal • Scientific discovery does not start with the word “Eureka.” It starts with the words “That’s funny.” Investigate anomalies

    20. Sources of Research Projects(Garbage Can Model of Research) Theory Previous Research Personal Experience Resources Methods

    21. Developing Theory

    22. What is a Good Theory • Theory is the why of the study • Theory is not a summary of prior research

    23. What is a Good Theory • A good theory explains the relationships among a set of constructs • And explains why those relationships exist • Big “T” theory vs. Little “t” theory

    24. Classic Approach • Theory is conceptual, abstract and tentative; based on prior theory and empirical results. • Three steps… • define concepts and write propositions that state the relationship between them • devise testable hypotheses and methods to measure concepts • gather and analyze data in an attempt to verify hypotheses

    25. Designing Studies

    26. Getting the Most from Your Data Collection Effort • Think 1, 2, … n studies ahead • Stick to a theme (don’t change topics until you’ve played it out) • reusability: theory, measures, learning • Share Cells • Example...

    27. Study 1: Individuals vs. Face-to-Face Groups Individual Face-to-Face Group Baseline Dialectical Inquiry Objective Devil’s Adv.

    28. Study 2: Face-to-Face vs. CMC Groups CMC Group Face-to-Face Group Baseline Dialectical Inquiry Objective Devil’s Adv.

    29. Study 3: Objective vs. Carping Devil’s Advocacy CMC Group Individual Face-to-Face Group Objective Devil’s Adv. Carping Devil’s Adv.

    30. Sharing Cells CMC Group Individual Face-to-Face Group 1 1, 2 2 Baseline Dialectical Inquiry 1 1, 2 2 Objective Devil’s Adv. 1, 3 1, 2, 3 2, 3 3 3 3 Carping Devil’s Adv.

    31. Designing for Statistical Significance (MaxMinCon) Maximize the difference of the treatment means t = X1 - X2 s /  n Minimize the error variance Control systematic variance (Kerlinger, 1986)

    32. Executing Studies • Pilot Test, Pilot Test, Pilot Test • Measures • Manipulations • Recruiting Subjects • Incentives • Overbooking • Random Assignment to Treatments • Configuring the Environment • Double check everything

    33. Writing It Up

    34. Standard Structure (be innovative in content not style) • Introduction: 1-2 pages • Theory: 7-10 pages • Method: 3-5 pages • Results: 2-3 pages • Discussion: 7-12 pages 50-60% 40-50%

    35. Spin (the data never speak for themselves) • Find the message (“unique selling proposition”) • Find new theory if necessary • Find metaphors for key ideas

    36. Presentation (writing sells ideas) • Find exemplar paper(s) • Know your audience (reviewers) • Stay “on point” (discard good ideas that are not essential) • No surprises (you’re not writing a mystery novel) • Avoid amateur style (quotes, strawmen, exaggeration, negativism, old papers, dissertations)

    37. Implications (go beyond your data) • Present implications for practice (what would you tell your class to do or not do?) • Speculate for future research (why did these results occur, boundary conditions, next studies needed)

    38. Cultivation (no paper is final until it is in print) • Solicit opinions widely • “Test market” and refine the message at conferences • Work with the reviewers and AEs to improve the paper

    39. Top-Ten Ways to Be Rejected

    40. Top-Ten Ways to be Rejected(Theory Development) 1. Avoid theory in favor of empirical results 2. Miss key papers in your literature review and theory development 3. Include many red herrings 4. Plagiarize from the reviewers’ articles

    41. Top-Ten Ways to be Rejected(Study Design) 5. Openly and directly criticize the work of others. 6. Theorize one set of constructs and measure another 7. Describe your methodology in vague terms 8. Fail to admit the faults of your research. 9. Forget the lessons of the three-horned dilemma! In other words, try to design one study that has high realism, generalizability, and control… This cannot be done!

    42. Top-Ten Ways to be Rejected(Writing it Up) 10. Draw conclusions that differ from your results 11. Submit a paper longer than 35 pages 12. Include numerous typographical errors and fail to format your paper to the journal’s editorial standards 13. Write obscurely and repetitively 14. Avoid sharing your ideas with colleagues 15. Respond to the reviewers with a one page “We did what you said” 16. Have 16 items in your top ten list

    43. Words to Live (work) By • “Your career is a marathon, not a sprint race.” Terry Connolly, 1988 • “In this career, it is OUTCOMES, not PROCESS, that matters.” E.W. Martin, 1990 • “It is far easier to MAINTAIN a reputation than it is to GAIN a reputation.” J.F. Nunamaker, 1989

    44. Words to Live (work) By • “For tenure decisions… if it is close… it is NO!” Dan Dalton, 1994 • “Your publication record is you primary PORTABLE wealth…” Paul Gray, 1995 • “Every paper that is not fundamentally flawed can find a home.” Joe Valacich, 2000

    45. Conclusion • Focus, focus, focus • Get the theory right, first! • Pilot test • Reuse, reuse, reuse… • Have Fun! 

    46. For more information…