Category Archives: MSc

Some things to consider when analysing and writing up

Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Can’t Think Straight – Gilbert O’Sullivan
Topic: Data Analysis

Well these are little juttings I made whilst doing some things – so what to make sure I keep them in consideration:

(i) I have to look up some plausible reasons for using a 5 point Likert scale versus a 7 point scale like Albritton et al. Hmm … can’t find any good papers to say why I shouldn’t except one that says I should sort of use the 7 point – but they were actually trying to support their use of the 7 point scale (some people Wyrwich and Tandino). However, I could indicate that since the analysis was intended for chi-square and there were so few intended respondents, there was a higher likelihood of having empty cells and hence the reason to making it a 5 point scale. Also, we used ‘fence sitting’ to ensure a response and minimize the middle point as there is a tendency to use the middle point more in a 5 point scale.

(ii) Now we have a low response rate in the email questionnaire. Doug was saying that this is always true in comparison with a paper questionnaire but got to check this out. The problem with comparing with known data is that most people knew the list they were sending too – that the questionnaire had direct relevance to them – there was some uncertainty about relevance regarding my list. Anyway, found some literature that says the average response for email questionnaires is in the 20s to the 30s %. So, we’ll see.

(iii) It might be also useful to compare level of courses with responses that I received for the ATI to check if there is any difference in the way the courses are delivered

(iv) I also have to consider what I would have done differently if I had to do it all over again (simple send it during the course term!!!)

(v) I’ll also have to compare the distribution of the responses to the list I have to see if the absent responses were random – and how the distribution is towards discipline.

(vi) Persons might have seen the stuff on simplex algorithm, graphical solution etc. and thought that is what I meant by coverage and may have said they didn’t cover the solution – not sure if that will influence the outcome.

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Got my masters certificate

Mood:  spacey
Now Playing: Some Bhangra sounding song
Topic: Certificates

So, yesterday got my masters certificate in the mail here in the OU … was expecting it sort of since Gill said she got hers on Monday … it was nice to get it .. didn’t really get a particular feeling on seeing it … thought I would have felt a bit more celebratory (well Mum and Pa thought I should have been) – but I think it doesn’t mean much with the PhD still needing to be completed.

Must say although the certificate is sort of pretty looking its printed on rather flimsy paper – thought at least the paper would have been stiffer … it feels like A4 paper.

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Got accepted for the ICTM conference

Mood:  lazy
Now Playing: Bholi Si Surat (Dil to Pagal Hai)
Topic: Seminars

So, on Friday afternoon the ICTM panel finally wrote me back and said that my abstract has been accepted and that I could present. Good! So, discussed it with Doug and John at our last meeting on Monday and they’ve both agreed to my going, so just got to go through CALRG and get approval etc. And then my next task must be to learn Turkish :).

I also have to write a paper which cannot be more than 5 pages and submit it by the 1st April. Well, have starting to write the paper so far, but just my introduction and research design is about 2 1/2 pages … so got to fit discussion, conclusions and references in the next two pages – so, got to see how that goes. Might have to shorten some things I imagine, but the writing of it is not going too bad but feeling brain dead at the moment.

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Filed under MSc, Presentations, Seminars

Passed U800

Mood:  bright
Now Playing: Rainbow Rider (Tanya Tucker)
Topic: Thesis writing

Not sure where this topic fits in … but hey, just got results for my dissertation got 82 … passed with merit … so that completes my masters!!! I hence automatically upgrade to Ph.D (never mind that we’ve been doing Ph.D work since October) – but now we know the work we’ve been doing since October is no longer in vain :D.

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More on the methodology

Mood:  chillin’
Now Playing: Some indian song – that I know – but can’t remember the name 🙂
Topic: Methodology

Well, continuing from yesterday as to my methodology. Well, my sample was aiming to be indicative rather than representative as the distribution of LP lecturers in Britain (or elsewhere is not known) – or there disciplines. 100 was chosen as an arbitray value – I should really do some power analysis to check out what size the population should be to get a good effect size. Anyway, 100 was chosen. Now, why did I decide to branch out into different countries? That I can’t remember why!! Got to go check my meeeting notes. Alright found it out, the reason why we went to different countries was to boost the number of respondents – and that was James suggestion (7th March, 2005 meeting). But it seems I’ve got my brain confused – I really thought I was going to be comparing different countries – well, guess we can do that too. To test to see if there are differences in how LP are taught in different countries probably because of different teaching approaches??? Anyway, to boost responses there doesn’t seem to be any reason for choosing the 100 criteria. So, I guess the reasoning could be to test teaching approaches in different countries and was using 100 as an indicative value for different countries and also to be used to boost overall responses.

Now, the survey was sent electronically as this was a cheaper and faster method and allow contacts in Australia, New Zealand and USA. Also, information could be directly stored into database and hence minimize inputting errors and increase reliability (well of data input). Also, this was able to meet the limiting time – to get lecturers during term time and ensure that if persons had queries can quickly resolve problems and fix any problems in the questionnaire (wording or instructions).

Initially, the ASI questionnaire was to be sent to lecturers and be dispensed by the lecturers to the students. These lecturers will be the ones who had answered the questionnaire. However, since the request for distribution was sent late this meant that lecturers were no longer teaching students and found it impossible to dispense the questionnaire to students. Hence, an alternative method of sending the questionnaire URL to the lecturers and they forward it to their students was devised. This ensure that the students anonymity was preserved (not sure if I was suppose to pass through the ethical boards of the universities for this – anyway – its going to happen without their approval!!). The lecturers could not provide the student’s mailing list to ensure privacy and anonymity. The exchange for the lecturers doing this was that they will get a summary of the results of thier students.

Anyway, got to go catch the bus to go home

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Meeting with John about data analysis

Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Surfin’ USA (The Beach Boys)
Topic: Data Analysis

So, had my meeting with John this afternoon and James came along to the meeting as well. Well, I discussed with John my idea of converting the disciplines into soft and hard, pure and applied, life and non-life. He indicated that they were doing something similar in the the SOMUL project and that the person’s work they were using was Tony Becher for decided the disciplines (he only told me this since I was using Biglan’s categorization) – I think it might be similar or Becher using Biglan’s work for his classification. I remember the name Tony Becher though because I have a paper by Neumann et al which Becher co-authored concerning disciplines.

Anyway, James have some reservations of using this classification since he doesn’t think a lecturer think of themselves as being applied or pure at all -that name only comes because the department chooses to use the name applied in their title. Well … to some extent I think that is true – but that doesn’t prevent the shaping of course to reflect its applied nature and teachers conforming to that situation. I think there is literature (can’t remember where) that indicates that lecturers do change their position of lecturing a course depending on its department or discipline (or something like that) – I think that was in the Lindblom-Ylanne et al paper.

Well, I think John is pretty much sold on the idea of the disciplines – so he decided to give me some ammunition to combat James opposition by recommended that I speak to a Yann Lebeau who worked with him in the SOMUL project to help provide me with literature concerning the choice of how subjects are placed into which kind of discipline (i.e. soft or hard etc).

Well … with respect to the logistic regression … John wasn’t too certain what is the best road to take since he haven’t done logistic regressions in quite awhile. He suggested for those questions that have a small number of answers with ‘not sure’ to treat it as missing data (such as for the coverage and the delivery questions) and then I can treat the other 4 options as ordinal and hence can use ordinal logistic regressions. He, however, cautions I must check and see what the assumptions of logistic regressions are upheld and even if it isn’t and I go ahead and use it to remember to include in my discussion that I am treating this data as being normally distributed etc. when it is know it is and the results may not be quite correct.

Further, he suggested that I look up some non-parametric tests to check and see if I can use this for testing my data – he mentioned some kind of non-parametric one-way ANOVA which I can’t remember. Oh I’ve found it on the net – its called the Kruskal-Wallis One Way ANOVA . However, the problem with this is that it can only deal with factor I believe … wait let me check my facts … oh no that is not true since you can have a two way Kruskal-Wallis, well at least according to that website. However, I think it becomes more complicated than that – John did suggest using multivariate analysis … but that will assume that the scales were continuous – now John said for him the ATI they used (Intentions and Beliefs), that they were using underlying continuous scale and hence the values were continuous. I’m not sure if I am up to that point to believe it is continuous so will stick to it being ordinal at this point. In that case the ordinal logistic regression (well at least for the LP part)should be best … I can’t remember – but I have a feeling that the logistic regressions are non-parametric test since it uses chi-square values – if I remember carefully. Well, it does use Chi-square – so it is indeed non-parametric in nature and there is no need to uphold the assumptions of normality etc. But one website indicates that I should have at least 50 cases for each independent variable – sheesh – I don’t have that – so not sure what I am going to do in that case. However, there is a suggestion to use discriminant analysis instead but I think in that case I will lose the ordinality – plus need to be normally distributed and equal variances etc. Anyway, will have to examine normality and if it upholds might go with discriminant analysis because according to the website it is more powerful – but I’m more comfortable with logistic regression … we’ll see what I use.

Anyway, John also suggested in the case of ATI where persons left out about two or three questions we can assume it is not sure (but in order to this – you must do a missing value analysis and then decide where the cut off point is!). John also suggested that I can combine the values for Intentions and Beliefs and do a two part multivariate analysis (or was it called a double multivariate analysis) – since he said essentially they were the same thing (well got to base this on literature since he was basing his talk on that Norton et al, didn’t find any difference between them).

Further, in particular with respect to the questions on the delivery simplex algorithm etc. – John suggested (since I have the ‘not sure’ and the ‘not taught’ options and which might well be answered alot and cannot be treated as missing values) to combine the values and try to get an ICT variable – i.e. the amount that ICT is used in different disciplines.

Updated: Tuesday, 21 June 2005 3:46 PM BST

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Filed under Data Analysis, Meetings, MSc, Supervisors

Not sure about my data analysis!

Mood:  quizzical
Now Playing: Time Marches on (Tracey Lawrence)
Topic: Data Analysis

I’m looking at my analysis of my data for my LP section. So, what I did, I got Biglan (1973) paper (both of them) and decided to categorized my disciplines according to his methodology that is into hard vs soft; pure vs applied; and life systems vs non-life system. Well, I had some problems in decided which category the disciplines fitted into. For example computer science I felt it should be hard, applied and non-life system. But is computer science considered a pure or applied subject. I wasn’t certain about that. Anyway, he had some categories of disciplines in a table so follow that to some extent. What I did too, was that I went to the course websites and see what it is about and what department they were in to fit it in better if I was unsure – such as things that had built and natural environments (just to tell you – I decided those were life systems).

Well, after I did … decided to look at how the responses were distributed for the coverage and delivery for formulation, solution and sensitivity analysis. Well, I decided to do ANOVAs but something just wasn’t going so right with it – because you know this is ordinal and nominal data rather than continuous. So, looked at a bit how to do analysis with that – at first tried some loglinear analysis – wasn’t sure what results I got … well, finally decided to do logistic regression – which seems to be the way to go. I’m doing ordinal logistic regression using the PLUM module in SPSS and it seems to be working out to some extent … except I’ve discovered one problem with my logic … my ordinal variables (i.e. my responses to delivery and formulation) may not be truly ordinal since I have the ‘not sure’ variable at ‘5’ … so, I was wondering what to do with that!

Well … I thought maybe I should make it a missing variable (I’ve given the value of 999 for my missing variables) – well, I am seriously considering doing that – well, I meet John tomorrow so we’ll see what he says.

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Filed under Data Analysis, MSc