Showing posts with label masters research. Show all posts
Showing posts with label masters research. Show all posts

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Papers: Creating a glossary of terms

After writing my last article on using Papers I thought to myself, I need to write a glossary of terms at some point, maybe Papers can help.

If I use the search function in Papers, I can search for the term and view how other authors have interpreted them.

I started with 'microblogging' and came up with 8 documents:

Then I clicked on the first document, on the right hand side a list of pages and entries appeared where the term 'microblogging' was used:

The entry itself was highlighted at the bottom of the page.  This entry did not have a good definition so I clicked back on my search list and tried the next entry:

In searching for the glossary item I discovered a table that I had missed and thought may be useful later in defining what microblogging was and why microblogging was important from Halse (2009).

My first glossary item came from a post from Romania of all places:

"Microblogging is a Web2.0 technology and a new form of blogging, that let the users publish online brief text updates, usually less then 140-200 characters, sometimes images too. The posts can be edited and accessed online, or sent as SMS, e-mail or via instant messaging clients. Usually the microblogs authors embed their posts as a widget on blogs or sites." (Holotescu, 2009)

A second item:

"Microblogging is a variant of blogging which allows users to quickly post short messages on the web for others to access. These messages can be restricted to a certain number of individuals, sent exclusively to a specific contact, or made available to the World Wide Web." (Costa, 2008)

Both came from conferences, indicating that completed formal research may be still coming and that microblogging is a relatively new phenomenon.

Quite a cool use of the search function, something that would have taken ages trolling through multiple pdf files or rewriting from sticky notes attached to paper.

I will need to look further into why ellipses are turning up in reference lists though.


Costa, C., Beham, G., Reinhardt, W., & al, E. (2008). Microblogging in technology enhanced learning: A use-case inspection of ppe summer school 2008. Proceedings of the  ….

Halse, M. L., & Mallinson, B. J. (2009). Investigating popular Internet applications as supporting e-learning technologies for teaching and learning with Generation Y. International Journal of Education & Development using Information & Communication Technology, 5(5), 58–71. University of the West Indies.

Holotescu, C., & al, E. (2009). Using microblogging in education. Case Study: Cirip. ro. 6th International Conference on e- ….

Papers: Finding lost articles

Here's something I do a lot.  I'll read an article, quote it in a document and then forget where I quoted it from.   Then I'll have a rummage, fail to find the document and have to remove the quote, undermining the argument I was trying to build.

This happened to me this morning and I had an idea.  Perhaps Papers can find it for me.  The quote was:

" However, most Yers ...".

I selected "Papers" at the top of the left hand pane to bring up all articles.

Then in the search box typed my quote:

And up came the relavent document:

I was then able to click on the document and find the quote that I had highlighted previously.

This may sound like a trivial task but I can see that this would also be very useful when checking the validity of quotes when proofing a document.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Papers: Using Collections

Papers collections can be a bit confusing at first, but once you figure it out, finding articles is considerably easier, especially when you are reading 50-60 papers a week preparing for a literature review.

A collection (folder) of articles can be created by

File->New Collection->Manual Collection

All unfiled articles are automatically added to the "Unfiled Papers" collection

To add an article to a collection, drag it from the main pane to the collection.  Once filed it will disappear from the "Unfiled Papers" collection.

If you make a sub collection (a collection in a collection) articles will be automatically added to parent collections.  I found splitting Case studies and Editorials handy, since case studies typically have more depth (useful for a literature review) and reviews/editorials are wider reaching (useful to get a big picture look at where research trends are developing).

Things to remember about collections:
  • If you delete an article from a collection, it will again appear in "Unfiled papers".
  • If you delete an article from "Unfiled papers" it will be moved to Trash.
  • If you move an article directly to Trash, it will be deleted from all collections (but can be restored from the Trash).
  • If you delete a file from Trash it is permanently deleted.

This can all be disorientating at first (with articles appearing all over the place), but once figured out, it is quite useful.

A useful tip when wanting to move a file between collections is to delete an article from a collection and then add it to the desired collection from "Unfiled papers".  This will save you from having multiple copies of the same paper in different collections (but takes a bit of courage the first time).

Another interesting feature is the detection of duplicates.  If you download the same file twice, Papers detects it and prompts you to delete it.  The indicator is on the far right hand side near the bottom when looking at an article or in the main pane on the left hand side column.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Papers: Citations and Referencing (Mac)

I'm a fairly lazy researcher and loathe the tedious process of referencing - like many in the new generation, I enjoy finding and using a new idea, care little of the source, file the articles poorly and then find it difficult to reference them properly.

Luckily technology has come to the rescue.  EndNote, Papers and Sente can do some of the menial tasks in the past I may have written applications to do for me.  They do the work of filing and scraping references from online journals and all I have to do is verify the results to make sure it is correct and adequate.

My first efforts were with Papers for iPad which made the process relatively easy, and now that I have Papers for my mac, creating bibliographies and citations is a trivial task - at about the level of complexity I am comfortable with.  It's not to say EndNote and Sente are not better, it's just that I am familiar with this relatively cheap ($49 for a student version) option with iPad support.

I know why referencing is important, I do - I just don't care that much, the implementation and spread of good ideas is what a research practitioner is about; and a good idea can come from anywhere not just a renowned journal or academic.  Being able to recognise a good idea is a mark of a real practitioner, especially where early adoption is concerned.  If you can't do this, you end up implementing ideas that are aging and reaching end of life cycle, taking high risks on projects that are likely to fail or using ideas that have little merit.

Back to the problem at hand.. Papers installation and setup is quite simple.  It took me a little longer than this to figure it out, I hope this can help save you a little time.

Install papers from here. A 30 day trial was available at time of writing.

In the Papers application go Papers->Preferences->Access and enter the university library journal search url at the bottom of the page.

Now go to File->Open Library Website

Use your search page to find a journal article.  The journal search pages are widely different but the process is usually quite similar.  Here's one example:

Papers will attempt to scrape the page for the citation and is generally quite good.  To increase accuracy of the citation download a citation file (the endNote/RIS citation format works well)  and Papers will automatically detect the downloaded file and use it instead.  Quickly you will find that although not perfect, it is superior to manually recording citations.

Next click on a fulltext pdf representation of the journal article.  Papers will add it to the citation and the unfiled papers section for later reading.  Each pdf/citation can be added to a collection for use when generating an article or research proposal.

Once the article and citation is downloaded, the tab will be renamed with the name of the author (an important check to ensure the right citation is linked to the right article - sometimes it gets confused and overwrites the library website tab, restart the app if this happens).  Sections of the article can be highlighted whilst reading the article and notes can be added for later use.  The journal articles get automatically renamed and can be filed in folders (collections) to aid in relocating the article file later.

You can also add a bookmarklet to other browsers to add articles directly from a browser.  This also works quite well but lacks the workflow listed above.
Liking creature comforts, I enjoy reading articles on the couch on my iPad.  Papers allows me to link to my iPad effortlessly and annotate articles.  Grab it from the appStore.

The true heart of Papers though is in the ease of adding citations to articles that you are writing.  This works in Pages and Word, even Blogger!  Within any of these apps press control twice and a citation menu appears.  Type the author or title and then select the article that you are working with - it inserts the citation directly into the document.  When you are finished adding citations, go back to the citation menu and at the touch of a button a reference list can be created.

For the article above to get the the reference in APA format for Blogger would be "control, control" then

The citation is:

(Nehme, 2010)

The reference found is:

Nehme, M. (2010). E-learning and Student's Motivation. Legal Education Review, 20(1/2), 223. Australasian Law Teachers Association.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hattie's Meta-analysis

Hattie's meta analysis is something as teachers we will hear a lot about. It is a study that brings together a wealth of research in one place. We won't hold it against him that he did it in New Zealand.

My reading of his findings is that he finally cuts through the nonsense and gets to the core of what makes a difference beyond what is normally done in the classroom and also what is detrimental to a normal classroom.

It is an astounding in that it confirms what many crusty teachers have called the "bloody obvious" and stripped away the rhetoric. His commentary on his statistics is well thought out and constructive. I feel a bit for these teachers that have felt the brunt of the new wave of teaching (that fell flat well before the shore). They were right and all you new wavers were wrong. :-)

Well.. it's not quite like that, but here are some of his findings.

d= -0.1 - 0.16 (what a student would learn if not in a classroom)
d= 0.16 - .4 (benchmark of a normal classroom)
d= .4 + (desired improvement beyond a normal classroom)

Improvements can be made by:
  • Having a cohesive classroom (0.53) p.103
  • Maintaining a positive climate (0.52) p.102
  • Strong teacher-student relationships (0.72) p.118
  • Teacher clarity (0.75) p.126
  • Clear goals (0.56) p.164
  • Concept mapping (0.57) p.168
  • Mastery Learning (0.58) p.170
  • Effective Feedback (0.73) p.173
  • Worked examples (0.57) p.172
  • Formative evaluation of teaching programs (0.9) p.181
  • Questioning (0.46) p.182
  • Spaced practice (0.71) p.186
  • Peer tutoring (0.55) p.186
  • Effective study skills (0.59) p.189
  • Meta cognitive strategies (0.69) p.189
  • Self verbalisation and questioning (0.64) p.193
  • Direct instruction (0.74) p.204
  • Problem Solving teaching (0.61) p.210
  • Interactive video (0.52) p.228 (such as mathsonline)

Things that don't work:

  • Student control over learning (0.04) p.193
  • Individualised instruction (0.23) p.198
  • Inquiry based teaching (0.31) p.209
  • Problem based learning (0.15) p.211
  • Cooperative learning (0.41) p.212
  • Team teaching (0.19) p.219
  • Computer assisted learning (0.37) p.220
  • Web based learning (0.18) p.227
  • Audio Visual (0.22) p. 229 such as slides, video presentations
  • Distance education (0.09) p.232
  • Home schooling (0.16) p.234

One reservation that I have is that it is hard to evaluate where the quick wins could be for a school. A number of small gains (such as the 0.45's) may require less change than a large gain. Some of the strategies that are not achievement driven may provide motivation to complete higher gains in other areas. I don't think it was ever Hattie's intent to make it a recipe book for success, but can give clear indicators to where effort needs to be made.

The book is well worth a read:

Visible Learning : A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. John Hattie. Routledge 2009.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Literature Review

Research is one of my favourite pastimes, sitting in a library with purpose is quite a fun thing. Yesterday I sat and read about some of the issues faced by disadvantaged students. As I work on my literature review for my masters I'll keep updating this post.

1. It's not a new problem.

The Coleman Report in 1966 was a seminal report in investigating disadvantaged youth in schools (commonly referenced). I need to read it!

To address the issue in Texas, standardised testing was introduced and showed a high degree of success, but at the expense of a narrowing curriculum (Smith, 2005). This was again seen in the UK (Cox, 1999).

The Australian Government recognises disadvantaged student performance as a problem and have produced a paper outlining some effective measures that can be taken. I need to find references, I've read DEEWR articles in the past(here), now I need to use them!

In general though, Australian mathematics education fared ok when in 2000 we were compared to 31 OECD countries (OECD study, 2003), Australian education was significantly higher on the PISA scale for 21 countries and only significantly lower for two (Japan and Korea).

Students that study in state schools have significantly lower funding that independent and private schools (Edwards, 2008).

2. Environment is a key factor

In a US study, a pre-primary student given extra assistance by a university eventually graduated with two degrees. Nothing spectacular here except her parents had sub 40 IQ (Wickelgren, 1999).

3. Students require attitude adjustment

In a Queensland study in 1995, an observer recognised that until students are assisted in changing their perspective they cannot begin to appreciate any assistance given to help them gain access to university pathways (Campbell, Cook and Dornan, 1995).

I saw as a result of my action research in term 1 & 2 that students need to understand what academic behaviours are and why they are important. This can result in quite spectacular short term success. These behaviours in themselves are not enough to ensure ongoing success as retention requires repetition and a long term committed approach to provide lasting benefits.

4. Students require a range of motivational support

There is no one way to motivate students. Many theories exist and none are perfect. Common theories are Expectancy x value theory, Attribution cognitive theory, Attribution Achievement motivation theory and Achievement goal theory (King, 1998).

5. School can both improve future prospects and reinforce existing expectations.

For some students schools can inspire them to levels higher than their parents. For others, schools will reinforce similar job prospects to their parents (Campbell, Cook, Dornan, 1995) and schooling reproduces the structure of inequality itself (DEEWR Component A, 2009, p.29).

High SES students are over-represented and low SES students are underrepresented because students from different SES backgrounds are differentially prepared by schooling for entry into university (DEEWR, 2009, p.29)

6. It is possible to improve university pathway access

There's nothing easy about it, but it is possible with the proper long term approach. Now the task is to create a way to find that correct method for our school.