Psychology RES: Using Resources
Psychology RES: Using Resources
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College of Doctoral Studies
RES-815 Topic 2 Discussion Question Vignettes
Use these vignettes to inform your initial post and ongoing discussion for the second discussion question in Topic 2.
Walter Webb is in his first semester as a doctoral learner at Grand Canyon University (GCU), and he does not have much experience with research. Although he has a master’s degree, that program was dominantly project-based and did not require an extensive research component. His first assignment asks him to contrast three empirical articles about transformational and transactional leadership. He is unfamiliar with the terms “empirical,” “transformational,” and “transactional,” but decides to read the research articles anyway hoping to find the meanings of these terms as he reads. After reading the first article, he is more confused than when he began because the terms are not explained specifically, and the research relies heavily on quantitative measures. The second article is similarly confusing, but he notices both studies reference some of the same names of individuals who have contributed to the terms “transformational” and “transactional.” The third article is a qualitative research study that relies heavily on vignettes for its communication of data. Walter likes reading about the participants but does not fully understand the researcher’s subjective narrative style of communicating the data. Psychology RES: Using Resources
Walter begins his research by typing each of the terms into his Google search bar one at a time. Each time, he finds the same three websites at the top of the results page: Wikipedia, About.com, and MindTools.com. He visits each webpage and reads the definitions, as well as the history behind the concepts. He recognizes the repeated names from the first two articles and learns that these people developed the leadership concepts. Walter is feeling good about his research and wants to get started on writing his paper.
Walter begins writing, but after approximately 15 minutes he realizes that he does not know about what to write. He discusses the two leadership styles and the founders, but he cannot think of anything else to write. He returns to the articles and begins to pull some interesting quotes and inserts them into his paper. Unfortunately, Walter is getting frustrated and is becoming anxious. He decides to do a little more research and finds a great YouTube video that demonstrates the difference between the two leadership styles using an animated dramatization. He adapts the example into his narrative and cites the video as a resource. Walter finishes up with a conclusion that repeats the definitions of the terms one more time. He submits the work and awaits his instructor’s feedback.
A couple of days later, Walter is shocked to see a below average grade with a considerable amount of feedback commenting on the lack of research and analysis. Walter’s confidence is shaken, but he contacts his instructor to find out more about the areas in which he needs to improve. His instructor asks Walter about his research process and why he used these popular websites. Walter explained his choices and outlined his shortcomings regarding research. His instructor explained the importance of using only scholarly resources to develop a doctoral-level narrative. He warned Walter against using sites lacking credibility, accuracy, and relevance such as the popular sites Walter used in his initial paper. While some students are unable to make this adjustment, Walter took his instructor’s advice, raised his level of information literacy over time, and eventually developed into a fine researcher.
Sally Smart is Walter’s classmate, and she embarked on the same assignment as Walter. Her previous degree required her to write a master’s thesis which relied heavily on research to support her ideas. Sally was also unfamiliar with the terms “empirical,” “transformational,” and “transactional,” but she elected to find out what the words meant before she began reading the three articles. She used information from the Internet to get a basic understanding of the terms. She took some notes of key concepts and contributors, and then scrolled down to the reference sections and further readings sections of each of the webpages she viewed. Being familiar with the research process, she opened her RefWorks program and created a reading list for this assignment by logging reference information for one book and three articles. Feeling confident in her understanding of the concepts, she read each article and recorded detailed notes that included page numbers and paragraphs. Afterwards, she viewed the references of each article and made relevant entries into her RefWorks program. Her reading list now consisted of one book and six peer reviewed articles.
Sally then determined to search out the book and the peer reviewed articles in the GCU Library. However, because this was Sally’s first time using the GCU Library, she watched the videos on how to navigate the search functions of the system and read the supplemental instructions to make sure she did not miss anything important. Upon completion, she opened her RefWorks program and began to enter the titles of the articles into the GCU Library search engine. She read the abstracts to each article and decided that two of them appeared promising for a complete reading. She downloaded the articles to her computer and began a search for the book. GCU did not own a copy of the text, so she placed a request for the book through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Realizing the book may not arrive in time to complete the assignment, she focused her immediate attention on the two articles downloaded to her computer. Again, she took detailed notes and wrote down additional references she could examine.
The three articles assigned as course readings and two supplementary articles Sally located during her own search all referenced the same two researchers. So, she decided it would be a good idea to find out a more about these two scholars by doing an Internet search. She found out that one of them had written a seminal work on transformational leadership, the same book she ordered through ILL, and the second author recently built upon the seminal author’s work. Having a firm understanding of the research topic and articles, Sally decided it would be good to create an outline for her upcoming paper. It was a comparative analysis that would require her to create headings in APA format. She visited an APA related website to learn about the most current APA requirements concerning a research paper and created a template on her computer. She began to write the introduction and made sure all the pertinent information was present. She established her academic tone on the assumption that her audience was unfamiliar with the three articles but would likely have doctoral-level reading expectations.
The book arrived in the mail, but she did not have time to read the entire text. She reviewed the Table of Contents and identified one chapter that could contribute to her paper. She skimmed the chapter and took her usual notes. Sally finished the research component of her studies and began writing. She gathered her notes and wrote her paper. The writing process came pretty easy for her because she had so many ideas about which she could write. She supported her analysis with the outside reading material and completed the document with 3 days to spare. Instead of submitting it right away, she stepped away from the document for a day, and then returned to edit and proofread her work. She fixed the shortcomings and submitted her document. A couple of days later, Sally was pleased to receive an above average grade with complimentary feedback applauding her ability to balance facts with strong analysis. Her confidence was strengthened, and she looked forward to the next assignment.
Sally and Walter’s knowledge bases began at the same place, but Sally was able to apply information literacy skills to her study of the topic at hand. Throughout the doctoral program learners will be asked to locate, read, analyze, and write about research on a regular basis. Learners ultimately must apply skills of information literacy to conduct a successful research project that will generate new knowledge within their fields of study.
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