Categories
Research

When to Stop Searching the Literature: Three Tips

When do you stop searching the literature? This article provides three tips to help you decide whether to go on searching the literature or not on your research topic.

1. Stop searching the literature when literature contents are repetitive

As it is common nowadays to use online databases, you may stop searching the literature once the same articles appear even when you vary your keywords on a particular topic. You can be confident that whatever you have missed may not matter that much.

Examples of online databases to explore include the following: Google Scholar, Scopus, Directory of Open Access Journals, ProQuest, African Journals Online, arXiv, BioOne, among others. Wikipedia lists an extensive collection of academic databases for free or via subscription.

My personal experience in using Google Scholar showed relevant articles for my chosen topic in the first 20-30 titles or links. Reading the meta description for each title helps me decide whether to read the abstract or not. The meta description is that snippet of information found just below the title of the article.

You can exhaust your literature search by looking at the bibliographic entries of articles. That is, if you can access the whole paper. Open access articles may be available. While subscription journals are still considered suitable reference materials, open access articles are gaining ground. The European Commission promotes open access publishing gains to better and efficient science as well as innovation.

2. Consider your submission deadline

To be pragmatic about it, you need to deliver the goods within a specified period. If you are given a month or even a few weeks to search the literature, you do not have the luxury of time to write an extensive literature review. If you are doing your review within a semester in the process of writing your thesis, then, by all means, keep to that schedule. Your “free time” may be windows of one to two hours of reading in a day as you comply with the other requirements of the course.

Saving time (Source: https://xkcd.com/1205/ )

It would help if you had adequate time to synthesize the literature. Come up with your conceptual framework within a reasonable period. After reading about 20-30 references, you may likely have already conceptualized something significant. Keep to your deadline. Planning a strategy on how to do things on time can help you achieve your task.

Finding a meta-analysis, for example, can save you a lot of time. A meta-analysis systematically assesses the results of previous research to derive conclusions about that body of research. In effect, it brings relevant literature together in one study. Thus, a synthesis facilitates literature search. Just update or enhance the composition to come up with your conclusions or synthesis.

3. Gap in knowledge has been found

Stop searching the literature if you have found the gap in knowledge in the topic that you are exploring. A research gap pertains to areas of study that have not been explored. Minimal studies have been done so far to understand the phenomenon. It takes a while to discern such a gap, so you need to be patient in reading the literature and note down the significant findings.

Knowing when to stop searching the literature depends in part on your familiarity with the topic at hand. Hence, it pays to study something that you already have an established level of familiarity as you go through your academic pursuit. That is the mark of being a specialist in your field.

©2020 January 25 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (January 25, 2020). When to Stop Searching the Literature: Three Tips [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2020/01/25/stop-searching-the-literature/
Categories
Ecosystem Dynamics Environment

Agroecosystem and the Rise of Agroecology

Due to the lack of exhaustive reference material on agroecosystem for my ecosystems dynamics class, I decided to write this post. I defined agroecosystem, characterized it, and introduced agroecology as a sustainable way of producing food. Agroecology is crucial in meeting the ever-increasing demand for the nourishment of almost 8 billion people in the world.

Definition of Agroecosystem

According to Gliessman (2014), agroecosystem is a created ecosystem. It is an ecosystem that is altered and manipulated to establish that piece of land for agricultural production. At the core of an agroecosystem is agriculture. An agroecosystem is not restricted to the immediate site of the agricultural activity (e.g., farm), but rather, the region that is impacted by this activity, usually by changes to the complexity of species assemblages and energy flow as well as to the nutrient balance.

Traditionally, an agroecosystem, notably one managed intensively, is characterized as having a simpler species composition. These ecosystems have simpler energy and nutrient flows than the natural ecosystem. Likewise, agroecosystems are often associated with high nutrient input. Much of the nutrients exit through farm loading to eutrophication of connected ecosystems not directly engaged in agriculture. Some major organizations are handling the agroecosystem. Current farming methods have resulted in overstretched water resources, high levels of erosion, and reduced soil fertility (Audiopedia, 2016).

agroecosystem
Fig. 1. Farmland in Quezon, Palawan, exemplifies an agroecosystem.

Agroecosystem Characteristics

Human management alters a natural ecosystem’s structures and functions. Thus, agroecosystems usually are more challenging to study than natural ecosystems. Agroecosystems are human-made ecosystems that differ from natural ecosystems in many significant ways in terms of emergent properties related to its structure and function.

Table 1 compares natural ecosystems and agroecosystems using some key emergent qualities of natural ecosystems and the changes once converted to agroecosystems.

Table 1: Comparison of Natural Ecosystem and Agroecosystem in Terms of Emergent Properties (Gliessman, 2014; InTeGrate, 2018).

The Rise of Agroecology

Agroecology applies ecological concepts and principles in the design and management of sustainable agroecosystems. It draws on both natural ecosystems and traditional (local or indigenous) agroecosystem. It is a research approach that can be applied to converting unsustainable and conventional agroecosystems to sustainable ones. Both traditional and natural ecosystems have passed the test of time in terms of their long-term productive ability. However, each offers a different knowledge base from which to understand this ability.

There are many examples of traditional agroecosystems that demonstrate how culture and its local environment have co-evolved over time. These ecosystems strike a balance on the needs of people which are expressed as ecological, technological, and socio-economic factors.

Both systems demonstrate people’s concerns about the long-term sustainability of the system, rather than solely maximizing output and profit.

Sustaining Food Production through Well-Managed Agroecosystems

Responsible farming for food production promotes adherence to the sustainability principle. Sustainable agriculture, evidenced by the practice of Agroecology to provide the food needs of a growing population, appears to be a feasible solution.

However, there is an increasing realization among modern societies that production should focus not on just the volume of food produced but the kind or quality of food produced. Food preference shift from meat-based to a mainly vegetable or plant-based diet is recommended to achieve food sustainability.

The trend is a result of the negative externalities brought about by profit-oriented modern agriculture. Eutrophication, water pollution, and concerns about human health ensue.

References

Audiopedia (2016). What is agroecosystem? [youtube]. Retrieved on 10/28/2019 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYw5nEmQ6Tc.

Gliessman, S. R. (2014). Agroecology: the ecology of sustainable food systems. CRC press.

InTeGrate (2018). Natural ecosystem and agroecosystem comparison. Retrieved on 10/28/2019 from https://tinyurl.com/y4v5wmbc.

Categories
Research

Mind Map: A Tool in Conceptual Framework Development

It takes considerable time to figure out an appropriate conceptual framework for a study. The difficulty partly arises from a person’s unfamiliarity with the topic at hand. Hence, the following article on how to use the mind map can make the process of conceptual framework development easier.

One of the first things one should do when conducting meaningful research is to identify knowledge gaps in the selected topic. However, unless you make a thorough review of the literature, it is easier said than done. A comprehensive review of the literature is one where you can see clearly what aspects of the topic have not been studied yet.

How can you systematically undertake such a thorough review of the literature and identify where the gap exists?

Mind Map: A Literature Review Tool

Mind mapping the topic while reading the literature helps. Find a central issue, most sensibly the dependent variable, which is the focus of the research.

For example, a teacher may be interested in finding out why students in his or her class come to class late. Tardiness is not a unique phenomenon that the teacher can claim to be the first to identify. Some other teacher-researchers may have already looked into the problem in other places. Hence, a review of the literature of factors affecting tardiness can already be made.

It is possible, however, that the root cause of the problem in other places may not exist in the specific situation where the teacher carries out her tasks. Or, even after instituting new policies based on the review of factors affecting tardiness, the issue is not resolved. There may be a factor or set of factors that influence the students’ prompt arrival in class.

An example mind map may look like Figure 1 below where the central theme, tardiness, is the main topic. You may add the number of literature that supports particular predictor variables.

mind map
Figure 1. Mind map of factors affecting tardiness (click to enlarge).

The mind map shows that many studies have been done on the effect of predictor variables on tardiness. Further, among the predictor variables studied, several independent variables have been identified as significant predictors of tardiness. As not all of the predictor variables are accounted for in one study, there may be other variables at play which may have been left unstudied.

Example Conceptual Framework

For example, during a parent-teacher meeting, several parents raised the problem of internet overuse among their children. As an insight from the meeting, the teacher thought that internet use might be one of the reasons why pupils come to class late. Students tend to sleep late at night or early in the morning, playing online games.

From the mind map given in Figure 1, note that one of the factors identified is internet use as a predictor of sleep quality which in turn affects tardiness. Thus, a conceptual framework emphasizing the use of the internet plus two other significant predictors of tardiness may serve as study guide. Figure 2 shows the paradigm of such study. Internet use is highlighted as one of the independent variables.

Figure 2. Paradigm of a study on factors affecting tardiness.

The e-book on conceptual framework development featured in this site provides more detailed examples focused on other research topics.

References

Gemmill, E. L. and M. Peterson (2006). Technology use among college students: implications for student affairs professionals. Retrieved on October 20, 2019 from https://tinyurl.com/y2cks6dk

Mizan, S. S. and D. G. Shendell (2011). Absence, extended absence, and repeat tardiness related to asthma status among elementary school children. Retrieved on October 20, 2019 from https://tinyurl.com/y6rfl5l6

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (October 20, 2019). Mind Map: A Tool in Conceptual Framework Development [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2019/10/20/mind-map-a-tool-in-conceptual-framework-development/
Categories
Education

Blog as Reference Material for 21st Century Learners

I developed SimplyEducate.me, a research-oriented blog, to facilitate student learning taking advantage of easy online access to educational articles that I carefully created. After six years, the blog metamorphosed into a legitimate reference material that served students and teachers alike in many educational institutions worldwide. The articles were organized into e-books that helped generate funds to make the operation of the website sustainable.

The age of information revolutionized the way students learn. Learning is no longer confined to the four corners of the classroom. It is common knowledge that whenever students are faced with assignments to work on, chances are, students will surf the Internet (Rhoades et al., 2008) to get the information they want from over 1.8 billion websites in the world (Fowler, 2017).

However, not all of the materials published on the internet are curated. The article or write-up that the student finds in the first ten links may be presenting misleading information. An opinion given by the writer may be construed as fact by the reader (Graham and Metaxas, 2003). In particular, information from blogs may not always be reliable as many of these are strongly opinionated and can lack professionalism.

Source: xkcd.com

Blog as Reference Material

A popular article published in a blog may not necessarily provide factual information. But psychologists found that people may not go to lengths to verify the information they have just read, even lies.

A landmark study by Hovland and Weiss (1951) noted that in time, people tend to disassociate the content and the source. A once “untrustworthy” material taken initially with skepticism is accepted. Lies are easily remembered than truths. Thus, internet-savvy educators need to institute safeguards to wean their students from “untrustworthy” sources of information.

Modern, information technology-oriented educators can enhance the learning quality of 21st-century learners by providing tips on how to discern factual from false information (Regoniel, 2017). Further, in response to the increasing popularity of the world wide web as a source of reliable information worthy of being cited as reference material, the educators themselves can produce well-written educational materials that their students can rely on.

I took this path and created my science blog as a venue to share my research knowledge and experience to students in the university as well as other places across the globe. I wrote short articles, averaging 400 to 600 words, based on a tedious synthesis of curated material found online. Guest authors, mainly academic, also joined and published similar articles.

The blog that I started as a hobby in October 2012 evolved into a legitimate source of reference material. Published articles got cited in international scientific journals, book chapters, books and e-books published by Springer, Proquest and ERIC. A short article titled “Conceptual framework: a step by step guide on how to make one” published in 2015, garnered 34 citations as of this writing.

The internet enabled people to access information at their fingertips. Science-related information that educates students and professionals no longer need to spend a fortune to answer one question that persists in their brain. Blogs can supply ready answers to hungry minds.

References

Fowler, D. (2017). How many websites are there in the world? Retrieved on January 18, 2019 from https://tekeye.uk/computing/how-many-websites-are-there.

Graham, L. and Metaxas, P. T. (2003). Of course it’s true; I saw it on the Internet!: critical thinking in the Internet era. Communications of the ACM, 46(5):70–75.

Hovland, C. I. and Weiss, W. (1951). The influence of source credibility on communication effectiveness.
Public Opinion Quarterly, 15(4):635–650.

Rhoades, E. B., Irani, T., Telg, R., and Myers, B. E. (2008). Internet as an information source: Attitudes and usage of students enrolled in a college of agriculture course. Journal of Agricultural Education,
49(2):108–117.

© 2019 September 26 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (September 26, 2019). Blog as Reference Material for 21st Century Learners [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2019/09/26/blog-as-reference-material-for-21st-century-learners/
Categories
Education

Science Blogs: a way to disseminate scientific information

What is scientific information unless read and understood by a higher number of people and applied to their lives? This article describes the power of science blogs as an offshoot of the internet, disruptive technology that changed people’s lives since its introduction in 1990.

Open Science Blog on Research Findings

Open science blogs are potent media that can aid scientists in disseminating their findings. With a little but working knowledge of content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, one can readily upload his or her thoughts, opinions, perspectives, or even data for discussion on a particular topic of interest.

Using blogs, a knowledgeable science writer can translate scientific findings into a form that a layperson can understand. Evidence-based perspectives influence how people think and act. Discoveries present interesting information that people can use for their specific purposes.

Consequently, more author exposure is possible with the ease by which one can self-publish articles worthy in a science blog as references. Putnam (2011) noted that science blogs promote quick dissemination of research, increases cooperation, and potentially makes the author’s research stronger.

Blogs offer opportunities to disseminate scientific information fast. There is no need to wait in the long queue of traditional scientific publishing, even the open access ones. Thus, the cost of publication is small, but the gains in learning something new or groundbreaking is high.

A caricature on blogs.

Peer-review Process

Meanwhile, some people criticize the science blog’s authenticity as these are not peer-reviewed. Peer review ensures production of quality articles (see post on the benefits of peer-review). But readers take care of this concern, through their comments. Some may even be authorities in their respective fields.

To illustrate this situation, see the lengthy comments on Canadian microbiologist Rosie Redfield’s critic in her science blog of a NASA finding. Colleagues responded to the post and gave their confirmation or criticism of the ideas presented in the article. The blog’s author, as well as other readers, responded or reacted to the critic’s concern. No conventional scientific journal can feature this kind of interaction between people.

Carsten Könneker, lead researcher and science communication expert of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany noted that “Blogging is only one digital format for science communication. Scientists who don’t make use of any of these formats are missing out on immense opportunities” (Brown and Woolston, 2018).

Finally, this blog allows me to present my ideas and share my experiences not only to my students but students from all over the world. The feeling of satisfaction from readers who find my articles helpful is immeasurable. At times, I write articles about my research findings. In effect, this blog functions as a science blog.

Science blogs, therefore, are powerful media to share scientific information. Join the community of science bloggers. Write your thoughts here.

Brown, E. and Woolston, C. (2018). Why science blogging still matters. Retrieved on January 19, 2019 from https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-01414-6.

References

Putnam, L. (2011). The changing role of blogs in science information dissemination. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, 65(4).

© 2019 June 1 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (June 1, 2019). Science Blogs: a way to disseminate scientific information [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2019/06/01/science-blogs/
Categories
Education

Academic writing skills: five tips to enhance your paper

Academic writing skills need time and effort to hone. But how would you develop your skills to write like a seasoned scientist? As a university professor, I found the following five tips useful in writing articles and long academic papers easy, fast, and professional looking. Read on to find out.

Ten Tips in Developing Academic Writing Skills

1. Use technological aids

The age of information brings with it lots of technological aids useful in writing academic papers. Just minding the underlined words in your paragraph and reading the suggestions offered by MS Word using its spelling and grammar function can help improve your academic writing skills. Take time to correct your spelling and grammar using the tips, and definitely, you will deliver a better paragraph.

While I am confident that I can write and express myself well in English, I once subscribed in Grammarly to improve my grammar. My once too busy schedule and a change in routine at home prevented me from writing regularly and making full use of the app. Hence, I stopped using it.

However, knowing that my blog, this website, gains more traffic with each blog I write and realizing that additional income significantly supplements my regular job, I resolved to post articles once again frequently. I re-subscribed in Grammarly to help me compose my articles better yet. Pieces that are virtually free of errors get ranked well and gain more views. I believe it is a good investment for a blogger like me.

2. Use Free Sources of Literature

Google Scholar is an excellent aid to help develop academic writing skills. It is an indispensable online, freely accessible search engine that lets you browse digital copies of articles related to your research interests.

Decades back, I have a hard time looking for related literature and judge whether a topic is worth pursuing. Google Scholar makes it easy as it archives articles from scientific journals. Just read the metadata and decide whether it suits your theme. You may read my previous post titled How to Start a Review of Literature and see how to make full use of the search engine.

If you cannot afford the price of the article you are interested in, you may use free online sources like the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), CORE, Science Open, and Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), among others. Open access articles allow you to read the essential contents of the scientific paper like the methodology. Hence, you can improve your academic writing skills by citing relevant scientific articles.

3. Use Statistics in Your Write-up

The use of numbers in your write-up makes it more interesting. Summarizing them in the form of tables, graphs, or infographic even make information much more enjoyable. According to an infographic by MDG Advertising, articles with relevant images get 94% more views (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Infographic on the impact of relevant images in articles.

4. Look for Mentors to Hone Your Academic Writing Skills

Finding a good mentor to give you feedback on your write-ups helps a lot. Have constant interaction with a colleague who has a keen eye in spotting spelling, grammatical problems, or even your logic.

Asking people to comment on your paper makes peer review a critical process in developing your academic writing skills. Even small but significant punctuation errors reflect on the accuracy and reliability of your article. Common mistakes like the use of colons, semi-colons, and the correct written form of “et al.” say a lot about you as an academic writer.

5. Maintain a Habit of Writing

Practice makes perfect. You cannot perfect your trade with just a few essays here and there. Develop your writing style and establish a habit of writing.

Allocate specific time frames to write, and do it whether you are inspired to write or not. It will help if you know when is the best time to write. I usually allocate two hours to write an article. But I noticed an article written in 30 minutes gained a lot of views!

Are you a morning person or a night person? Knowing your writing preference relieves you of mental blocks. Make sure that you can do your writing without interruption on those times to avoid breaking your flow of thought.

Recognizing the time when you can best compose an article makes the task easy to do. For sure, with constant practice, your academic writing skills will gradually improve through time.

To summarize everything and I recap, remember the five tips I have just described. I know these tips helped me write high traffic articles in Simplyeducate.me. The tips also enabled me to write books which took a lot of time to produce.

Do you have more tips in mind that works for you? Please share in the comments below.

© 2019 May 25 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (May 25, 2019). Academic writing skills: five tips to enhance your paper [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2019/05/25/academic-writing-skills/
Categories
Environmental Issues

Natural Remedy to Mango Pulp Weevil Infestation: Evolution at Work?

Plants evolve their own defense to threats to its survival (Ryan, 1990). To prevent attacks to their fruits as a vehicle of sustaining the species, plants secrete substances that make them vulnerable to pests. Either they produce substances that are toxic to animals such as alkaloids, saponins, volatile oils, resins and phenolics. Or maybe a highly acidic sap that can kill intruding insects? This article presents the case of highly acidic sap that probably helped control mango pulp weevil infestation.

Mango Pulp Weevil

The latter mechanism may be at work in the recent experience I’ve had with mangoes grown just within our lot. Almost five years ago, I posted an article titled “Mango Pulp Weevil: A Pest Control Problem in Palawan Island” I saw first-hand how the mango pulp weevil (Sternochetus frigidus) escapes from the mango pulp to again re-infect other mangoes with its pulp destructive reproductive strategy. The mango weevil grows within the mango pulp! This reproductive strategy is damaging to the mango industry where many farmers depend as a source of livelihood.

Hence, out of curiosity, after years of not benefiting much from mangoes grown in our yard, I harvested fifty mangoes from our naturally grown mangoes. No pesticide was sprayed on the two 29-year old trees through the years. I wrapped the harvested green but mature mangoes with paper and cut a diamond hole to monitor its ripeness as the days go by.

Categories of Mangoes

Anticipating the presence of mango weevil, I listed three categories on whiteboard: 1) uninfected, normal mangoes, 2) infected mangoes, 3) mangoes infected with other mango diseases. I added the last category noting that there is a tendency of the mangoes to rot (Figure 1) even before they ripen.

mango rot
Figure 1. Mango with rotten part at stem portion.

After consuming and giving some mangoes to family and friends while asking for their feedback on the state of the mangoes, the following are the results:

Uninfected, normal mangoes: 48
Infected with mango weevil: none
Infected with other diseases: 2 (mango rot)

More Acidic Sap in Mango Controls Mango Pulp Weevil?

While this may be just anecdotal evidence, it is possible that the mango has developed a natural immunity against the mango weevil. Apparently, the mango sap has become more acidic than usual as when I harvested the mangoes, trickles of acid from the harvested portion hit my face. I felt a little burning sensation but regarded it lightly. However, after taking a bath and looking at the mirror, I noticed ugly streaks of burnt skin run through my face (Fig. 2). I never thought it could happen although when I searched online, indeed mango sap can cause phytoallergy among mango harvesters. Thankfully, the burnt skin healed after several days.

burnt skin
Figure 2. Skin surface burnt by mango sap.

While detaching the mango from the petiole, spurts of white sap burst forth from the fruit. There is strong pressure of escaping sap from the mango. So detaching a mango from its attachment should be done carefully to avoid skin contact with the highly corrosive sap.

Mango Sap Hypothesis

I recognize that a rigorous study need to be done to affirm this observation. The hypothesis for that full-scale study would be: The highly acidic sap of mangoes can kill or at least prevent mango weevil eggs from being inoculated in the mango pulp. The mango may have developed natural resistance to the mango weevil as pest. This may be a demonstration of Barry Commoner’s third law of ecology: Nature knows best.

References

Ryan, C. A. (1990). Protease inhibitors in plants: genes for improving defenses against insects and pathogens. Annual review of phytopathology28(1), 425-449.

© 2019 May 23 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (May 23, 2019). Natural Remedy to Mango Pulp Weevil Infestation: Evolution at Work? [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2019/05/23/natural-remedy-to-mango-pulp-weevil-infestation-evolution-at-work/

Categories
Education

Variables of the Study in the Research Paradigm: Which Ones to Include?

One of the doctor in educational administration students in my advanced statistics class once asked: “How do you choose the variables of the study? Which ones should be included in the research paradigm?”

This concern comes up when dealing with research problems involving several variables. Such studies employ multivariate analysis like multiple regression, factor analysis, discriminant analysis, among others. Many quantitative dissertation papers use these statistical tests. Therefore, the variables of the study need to be properly identified prior to data gathering.

Of course, to put everything in its proper context, the paradigm of the study appears in the later part of the formal research paper. Choosing the variables of a study requires a good understanding of the topic under investigation. A good understanding of the topic comes after a thorough review of related literature. However, you need to be clear beforehand on what issues or problems you want to investigate.

Thus, choosing the variables that will form part of the paradigm requires clear thesis statements.  Given that the graduate students’ pursue a doctoral degree in educational administration, they must look into issues or problems related to their specialization.

In view of the foregoing, a doctor of education degree prepares individuals to serve as leaders in schools or colleges, or work for school districts or government organizations. Doctor of education holders usually do research for policy making purposes. Hence, exploration of educational administration topics precedes any research activity.

Variables of the Study

Research titles reflect the variables of the study. For example, the following issues or problems on educational administration may be looked into by graduate students of educational administration:

  1. Efficacy of peer supervision,
  2. Factors affecting the impact of professional development programs on teachers’ performance,
  3. Factors affecting students’ self-efficacy in elementary education,
  4. Classroom factors affecting students’ academic achievement, and
  5. Factors affecting the effective integration of information technology in the classroom.

The above titles expressly state or imply the variables of the study. Specifically, in the specific order given above, the variables considered include:

  1. peer supervision or arrangements where peers work together for mutual benefit;
  2. professional development programs, teachers’ performance;
  3. factors affecting students’ self-efficacy such as performance experience, vicarious experience, social persuasion, imaginal experience, and physical and emotional states (Bandura, 1988), students’ self efficacy;
  4. classroom factors, students’ achievement; and
  5. factors affecting the use of information technology, effectiveness of information technology.

Meanwhile, for statistical tests to be properly applied, the variables must be measurable. The variables belong to any of the four types of variables namely nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio.

Finally, an illustrated example hammers the idea in. The following paradigm demonstrates the relationship of variables in the study on students’ self-efficacy:

variables of the study
Factors affecting self-efficacy [Source: LaRocca (2017)].

Finally, I believe that practice makes perfect. Try to work on the other four examples to test your understanding.

References

Bandura, A. (1988). Organisational applications of social cognitive theory. Australian Journal of management, 13(2), 275-302.

LaRocca, B. (2017). Self-efficacy tookit. Retrieved on September 24, 2018 from https://www.transformingeducation.org/self-efficacy-toolkit/

© 2018 September 24 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (September 24, 2018). Variables of the Study in the Research Paradigm: Which Ones to Include? [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2018/09/24/variables-of-the-study/



Categories
Education

Why undertake a literature review?

A literature review related to the topic chosen by researchers occupies an entire section of a thesis. Why undertake a thorough literature review? This article explains why.

The conduct of research requires a literature review. The review enables you, as a researcher, to get a good grasp of the topic at hand. Hence, to make the review useful in building up the conceptual framework of the thesis,  visiting libraries would be a good idea. Read the latest scientific journals relevant to the academic discipline where you belong. You may also surf the internet to read full scientific articles for free, especially with the preponderance of open access journals. You may also find Google Scholar very useful in finding related literature. Further, useful sources of information include government websites, particularly those that offer statistical data.

Reinventing the Wheel

Reviewing the literature prevents the duplication of previous work done on the topic identified.  Thus, literature review saves money, time and effort. It prevents the “reinvention of the wheel.” This idiomatic expression means that doing something that others have already done is a waste of time.

Landmark Papers: Most Cited

Researchers consider some research publications with high regard. These publications are referred to as landmark papers. Landmark, must-read, papers have become popular among researchers as sensible sources of information. Usually well-known authority figures in the field author these publications.

However, the popularity of a paper does not necessarily mean that the arguments, hypothesis or theories presented by that author eludes correction. Contemporary researchers, armed with new insights from evidences gathered through meticulous research or experimentation, can debunk the philosophies advanced by an authority figure and render them as myth.

literature-review
Aristotle says it so.

Theories from well-known personalities can always be challenged as new information comes in. For example, Aristotle, one of the greatest intellectual figures of western history, proclaimed that women have fewer teeth than men. Of course, he missed counting the teeth to verify his statement.  Until… somebody challenged the idea by just suggesting “Let’s count.” A simple experiment ended the idea from a well-known figure.

Point of Saturation of the Literature Review

Familiarity with the research or investigation made by other researchers enables you to understand the issue at hand better. Upon reading a substantial number of research studies, there comes a point where no further new information could be gained. If you have experienced this, you have reached the point of saturation. Thus, you can confidently say that you have read enough scientific papers related to the topic.

In conclusion, the literature review sheds light on what has been done so far about the research topic. It reveals “gaps” that warrant further investigation. Good research practice presents this “gap” in knowledge in the introduction of the study. Statement of objectives or statements of the problem to address that gap follow. Hence, a follow-up study produces new information.

© 2018 August 19 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (August 22, 2018). Why undertake a literature review? [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2018/08/22/why-undertake-a-literature-review/
Categories
Health

Resting Pulse Rate of 45: Is it Normal?

Is a resting pulse rate of 45 alarming? I narrate my story to explain why it is not so.

I just woke up early in the morning in anticipation of my weekend run. While I take the effort to run at least two to three times in a week, the hectic responsibilities in the office would not make it possible. But there is an inner resolve that I will go back once again to such routine.

The quiet of 4 o’clock in the morning relaxes my mind and I feel the calm in my body. I feel good.

Earlier, I bought a wrist blood pressure monitor to replace the old one I had used for regular checking of my blood pressure wary of possible circulatory problems. But this was defective, meaning, it records higher than the conventional sphygmomanometer by 20mm Hg upon comparison. So I was forced to return it to the drugstore and had it replaced by the more reliable Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor HEM-7121 of Omron. Omron claims that this gadget provides accurate and comfortable upper arm blood pressure measurement with its so called enhanced IntelliSense Technology.

The saleslady admitted that indeed, many of those who bought the gadget heard the same complaint as mine. That local, cheaper brand blood pressure wrist monitor displays alarmingly higher blood pressure than what it should be.

Resting Pulse Rate of 45!

Looking at the display after taking the third measurement of my blood pressure as it settled in about 12 minutes, the blood pressure monitor showed 123/80 readings of my systolic and diastolic pressure. And my resting pulse rate is only 45! In my previous post in 2014, it was 44 beats per minute.

According to the National Institute of Health of the US, the normal resting pulse rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. Anything lower than that is a troubling condition called bradycardia or abnormally slow heart action – a symptom of heart disease.

geeks
Exercise for geeks (Source: xkcd)

But is this something that I should be concerned of? Not really, as I had been regularly running three miles without stopping for the past five years. I consider myself belonging to well trained athletes with resting pulse rate ranging from 40 to 60 beats per minute. Well conditioned athletes like Daniel Green registered a resting pulse rate of just 26 beats per minute.

Now I can hear the rains pouring outside. My exercise for the day may be averted, but I can still wait for an hour for it to subside. Alternatively, I can just run at the roofed bleachers of the sports complex to complete my regular three, sometimes four, miles in roughly 30 minutes.

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services of the US recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. That’s roughly 30 minutes everyday. But you can add more time of both intensive and moderate workouts to reduce weight. Benchmark your resting pulse rate to see your progress through time.

Happy running.