All posts by Alvior, Mary G.

Dr. Mary Gillesania Alvior has a PhD. in Curriculum Development from West Visayas State University. She earned her Master of Arts in Teaching English Language at De La Salle University, Manila as a scholar of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in the Philippines. She is a retired senior faculty of the Graduate School at the Palawan State University and a former Director of the Curriculum and Instructional Materials Development Office. From August 2013 to June 5, 2016, she worked as an English instructor at Jubail University College - Female Branch. She had also an opportunity to be a member of the committee that evaluated and developed a PYP English curriculum for all the sectors under the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, namely: Jubail Technical Institute, Jubail Industrial College, and Jubail University College (male and female branches). Currently, she works as a lecturer at the St. Theresa International College, Thailand.

Reducing the Items in the Research Instrument

There are instances that you need to reduce the items in your research instrument. If the items in the instrument that you have prepared are too many, chances are, your respondents would not read it thoroughly and eventually give you a poor result. Let’s admit that nowadays, respondents don’t like to answer too many questions. For them, it is a waste of time. With this in mind, how can you lessen the number of items in your questionnaire? Here are your options:

1. Validate the contents of your research instrument.

Aside from measuring the validity of the instrument, content validity can help you decide which items must be deleted, thus reducing the items in your questionnaire. Content validity can be done by the experts in that field that you are trying to investigate. But who are considered “experts?” These are the people who have doctorate degrees in that field and have practiced their profession for many years. Usually, a minimum of three persons must take a look at your instruments.

However, if your paper is towards fulfilling a master’s degree requirement and there is no one who has a PhD in master studentthat area, those who have master’s degree can be taken as experts. If master’s degree holders are still unavailable, the panel of examiners may allow you to avail the help of those who have been practicing their profession for not less than ten years as “experts” in that field.

These people are knowledgeable as to the depth of the contents of the subject area that you want to investigate in and must be adept as to which items should be included to determine a particular variable (construct) and its sub-variable (sub-construct) in your study. They can also tell you which of the items from your questionnaire could be deleted.

2. Do factor analysis for data reduction.

If you choose to do a factor analysis, this will help you determine the construct validity of your instrument and help you decide, with the help of your statistician, which items are to be culled out from your instrument. To know more on this, see What are the Psychometric Properties of a Research Instrument?

3. Have both content and construct validity.

Having the two types of validity, I believe, will make your instrument better. As a researcher, you are the one to decide or with the help of your research adviser, which items must be deleted using the results of content and construct validity.

Generally, instruments which underwent the content and face validity are much shorter and can give more accurate results than one which did not. Thus, this gives you more confidence in the interpretation of your data.

Paraphrasing Passages in Research Writing: How Is It Done?

How do you paraphrase passages? This article explains and provides examples to illustrate how it is done.

This is a sequel of an article entitled, “Writing a Research Article: How to Paraphrase” in which the steps are explained on how to paraphrase sentences. But, how about when you paraphrase a passage? Will the steps be the same?

Yes, all the steps previously discussed can be used in passage paraphrasing. To start with, I will present a passage taken from the article of Dr. Regoniel entitled, “How to Conduct a Focus Group Discussion”. This particular passage is under the sub-topic, a trained moderator or facilitator.

“The moderator may not necessarily be the researcher himself but someone familiar with the issues to be discussed. Hence, he should confer with researcher before conducting the FGD process. He should have a good background knowledge of the participants and must not involve himself in the discussion, such as arguing with the participants. His main role is to introduce and explain the questions, clarify the issues raised, confirm responses, encourage the expression of ideas, among other related functions. He summarizes the process at the end of the discussion”.

So, how can we do it?

Since that passage is taken from a reliable source, your next step is to get the key words. From there, you can get the main idea and the supporting details. The use of T-chart can help you figure it out. Please see the sample below:

Use Key Words

The key words are focus group discussion (FGD), trained moderator (though the word trained is not present in the passage, it is part of the key word because the passage described not only a mere moderator but a trained one, and it is stipulated in the sub-topic), qualities and roles of moderator.

 Get Main Ideas

The main idea of the passage is the qualities and roles of a trained moderator in focus group discussion. But, we can chunk the main idea into two: the qualities and the roles of a trained  moderator.  Below right are the illustrations:T chart

Use Synonyms When Appropriate and Have your Own Grammatical Structures

The passage below has been paraphrased for you. Can you guess the synonyms being replaced and the grammatical structures used?

“The moderator does not need to be the researcher himself but someone who is aware of the issues to be presented. So, he should discuss first to the researcher the process for focus group discussion before conducting it. Likewise, he must know the background of his participants so that he can have a meaningful interaction with them. It is also suggested that the moderator must avoid discussing and arguing with the participants. His main role is to introduce and explain the questions, clarify issues raised, confirm responses, encourage expression of ideas and summarize the process at the end of the discussion”.

One of the ways to have your own grammatical structure is the change the sequence of information.  This was not discussed in my previous article because I believe that this is more appropriate in passage rather than in sentence paraphrasing.

Cite the Author or the Source of Information and Change the Sequence of Information

 In order to have a legitimate paraphrase and not a plagiarized version, the possible paraphrase of the original passage would be the following:

According to Dr. Regoniel, the moderator must avoid discussing and arguing with the participants. His main role is to introduce and explain the questions, clarify issues raised, confirm responses, encourage expression of ideas and summarize the process at the end of the discussion.

 It is also suggested that he need not be the researcher himself but someone who is aware of the issues to be presented. In this case, the moderator should discuss first with the researcher the process for focus group discussion before conducting it. He must also know the background of his participants so that he can have a meaningful interaction with them.

Therefore, the plagiarized version of a paraphrase is when you failed to acknowledge the author or source; when you directly translated the words from one form of English wording to another, when you used the same sequence of information or in some cases, the same words and phrases.

References:

1. Jameson, J. (2004). Researching and reporting.  Saudi Arabia: University English Program King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.

2. Purdue OWL. Paraphrase: write it in your own words. Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/owlprint/619/

© 2013 October 17 M. G. Alvior

What are the Psychometric Properties of a Research Instrument?

Here is a differentiation of reliability and validity as applied to the preparation of research instruments. 

One of the most difficult parts in research writing is when the instrument’s psychometric properties are scrutinized or questioned by your panel of examiners. Psychometric properties may sound new to you, but they are not actually new.

In simple words, psychometric properties refer to the reliability and validity of the instrument. So, what is the difference between the two?

Reliability refers to the consistency while validity refers to the test results’ accuracy. An instrument should accurately and dependably measure what it ought to measure. Its reliability can help you have a valid assessment; its validity can make you confident in making a prediction.

Instrument’s Reliability

How can you say that your instrument is reliable? Although there are many types of reliability tests, what is more usually looked at is the internal consistency of the test. When presenting the results of your research, your panel of examiners might look for the results of the Cronbach’s alpha or the Kuder-Richardson Formula 20 computations. If you cannot do the analysis by yourself, you may ask a statistician to help you process and analyze data using a reliable statistical software application.

correlation

But if your intention is to determine the inter-correlations of the items in the instrument and if these items measure the same construct, Cronbach’s alpha is suggested. According to David Kingsbury, a construct is the behavior or outcome a researcher seeks to measure in the study. This is often revealed by the independent variable.

When the inter-correlations of the items increase, the Cronbach’s alpha generally increases as well. The table below shows the range of values of Cronbach’s alpha and the corresponding descriptions on internal consistency.

Cronbachs alpha

(Note: The description is not officially cited and taken only from Wikipedia, but you may confer with your statistician and your panel of examiners. If the value of alpha is less than .05, the items are considered poor and must be omitted).

Instrument’s Validity

There are many types of validity measures. One of the most commonly used is the construct validity. Thus, the construct or the independent variable must be accurately defined.

To illustrate, if the independent variable is the school principals’ leadership style, the sub-scales of that construct are the types of leadership style such as authoritative, delegative and participative.

The construct validity would determine if the items being used in the instrument have good validity measures using factor analysis and each sub-scale has a good inter-item correlation using Bivariate Correlation. The items are considered good if the p-value is less than 0.05.

References:

1. Kingsbury, D. (2012). How to validate a research instrument. Retrieved October 16, 2013, from http://www.ehow.com/how_2277596_validate-research-instrument.html

2. Grindstaff, T. (n.d.). The reliability & validity of psychological tests. Retrieved October 16, 2013, from http://www.ehow.com/facts_7282618_reliability-validity-psychological-tests.html

3. Renata, R. (2013). The real difference between reliability and validity. http://www.ehow.com/info_8481668_real-difference-between-reliability-validity.html

4. Cronbach’s alpha. Retrieved October 17, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cronbach%27s_alpha

© 2013 October 17 M. G. Alvior

Writing a Research Article: How to Paraphrase

Whenever you write a research paper, you need to paraphrase passages or articles from different sources in order to make the article more credible and scholarly. But, what is paraphrasing? Why is it important? And how can you make a good one?

Paraphrasing is a way of retelling another person’s idea in your own words. This means that you must keep the original meaning being conveyed by the writer while rewriting it using your own style and grammatical structure.

It is also important that you tell the readers where your information originated. If you are unable to do so, you will be guilty of plagiarism. Plagiarism means using someone’s ideas without acknowledging him/her properly – whether it is intentional or unintentional. Plagiarism is like committing a crime. Thus, you must be careful in paraphrasing the work of others anticipating the legal implications of your actions.

How to Paraphrase

Now, how can you write a good paraphrase? As a neophyte, you should start first with sentences and apply the following steps:

1. Get a sentence from a credible source.

Your source may be a book or online document that comes from a reliable website. Then, read and re-read the sentence until you get the main idea. Find the key words. If you are not familiar with the words, use a dictionary or a thesaurus.

2. Find the synonyms of words that are not familiar to you.

Make sure that the synonym is appropriately used in the sentence and to a given context. A dictionary may give you synonyms but not all of them can be used interchangeably.

For example, the words commence and begin. These words are synonymous but during graduation exercises, you cannot alter the word commencement by using the word beginning. In the same manner, the terms value and importance are synonyms. But in Mathematics, it is not appropriate to say, find the importance of X.

Another way of using the synonym is to change the forms of the content words. Content words are the nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. If the word used by the writer is a noun, you may change it into an adjective and the sentence construction will eventually change.

Why don’t you try the exercises below? You may check your answers using Merriam-Webster‘s online dictionary and thesaurus.

a. Change beautiful (adjective) into noun, verb, and adverb.
b. Change determination (noun) into verb, adjective and adverb.
c. Change decide (verb) into noun, adjective and adverb.
d. Change determinedly (adverb) into noun, verb, and adjective.

3. Have your own grammatical structure.

Simply changing the vocabulary is not considered paraphrasing. You should have your own writing style. Use your own words.

Some ways to have your own grammatical structures are:

a) change the active verbs into passive,
b) change the word order,
c) change the phrases into single word or adjective,
d) reduce a clause,
e) expand a clause,
f) combine clauses, and
g) make two sentences out of one.

Exercises to Practice Paraphrasing

Observe the difference between the original statements and the newly constructed sentences after applying the different ways to change the grammatical structure in the following examples:

1. Change active to passive constructionsemantics

Original: The researcher can measure the giraffe’s neck in two different habitats.
Ans.: The giraffe’s neck can be measured by the researcher in two different habitats.

2. Change the word order

Original: The researcher can measure the giraffe’s neck in two different habitats.

Ans.: In two different habitats, the researcher can measure the giraffe’s neck.

Original: Recently, lobsters served in restaurants are smaller.
Ans.: Recently, smaller lobsters are served in the restaurants.

Original: Recently, lobsters served in restaurants are smaller.
Ans.: Smaller lobsters are served in the restaurants recently.

Take note that in sentences 2 and 3, you have to make changes on the following:

a. change the pattern of the words by placing the adjective before the noun (smaller lobster), and
b. change the word order by placing the adverb at the end.

3. Change the phrase into single word or adjective

Original: A researcher with so much passion in his work will likely become more successful than others who are not.
Ans.: A passionate researcher will likely become more successful than others who are not.

4. Reduce clause

Original: Knowledge is something that we need not only learn in school but by self-study and passionate interest in discovering more than what is made available to you.
Ans.: Knowledge is something not only learned in school but by self-study and passionate interest in discovering more than what is made available to you.

5. Expand clause

Original: One of these excellent writing tools that can help you focus on your writing is FocusWriter, a distraction-free word processor.
Ans.: One of these excellent writing tools is FocusWriter which has a distraction-free word processor that can certainly help you focus in what you write.

6. Combine clauses

Original: If the researcher is confident that he has sampled randomly and that the sample approaches a normal distribution, then a t-test is appropriate to test for difference.
Ans.: If the researcher is confident that he used random sampling to come up with a normal distribution, then a t-test is appropriate to test for difference.

7. Make two sentences out of one

Original: Younger people tend to recall things better than aging researchers who spent most of their time studying and narrowing their frame of mind as a result of specialization. If you are a professor, choose a student who performs well in class.
Ans.If you are a professor, choose a student who performs well in class because he is young and have a good memory to recall things.

The steps given are only appropriate for sentence paraphrasing but are very important in paraphrasing the passages which will be discussed in the next article.

References:

  1. Jameson, J. (2004). Researching and reporting.  Saudi Arabia: University English Program King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.
  2. Purdue OWL. Paraphrase: write it in your own words. Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/owlprint/619/

Note:

Original statements in examples 1, 2, and 4-7  are used with permission from Patrick Regoniel.

© 2013 October 14 M. G. Alvior