JPS My Symposium at 10:29

My First Solo Symposium: The 2014 Jean Piaget Society Annual Meeting in San Francisco

My First Solo Symposium: The 2014 Jean Piaget Society Annual Meeting in San Francisco

I had three other conferences scheduled for the Spring of 2014, so I was ambivalent about submitting a proposal to the Jean Piaget Society (JPS) Annual Meeting.  When my advisor Colette Daiute described her idea for the symposium it sounded exciting. The other panelists were my colleagues and friends and the discussant, Carol Lee, was a well known professor whose work I’d read extensively. This would also be my first opportunity to present the preliminary results from my doctoral research. Further, I had lived and loved San Francisco for three years before moving back to NYC to attend the psych program at The CUNY Graduate Center.  I still had many dear friends in SF – at least one of whom I hoped would let me crash on their couch!

Jean Piaget Society Logo

Two weeks before the conference our discussant had a family emergency and wrote that should would not be able to attend. However, she would still gladly read our papers and write a response that could be shared at the conference. Normally the discussant is present and shares their feedback, but this seemed a reasonable alternative.

Then one week before the conference all three of the other panelists cancelled due to their own family emergencies. I’m not exactly sure the odds of such a cacophony of calamities – it has to be small though.

This left me, who was already feeling a little drained from the previous three conferences in the spring as the lone presenter. After I recovered from from my initial reaction, which was dumbfounded, I went through my options.

Option A: Same same but different.

I could cancel like everyone else, but in my case it was different because I was only canceling because I didn’t want to be the only person presenting at the symposium – it’s not a symposium if only one person is presenting work!

Option B: Find new Friends?

Colette kindly emailed the conference coordinator who informed her that there was no room in any other symposiums as most other cancellations were  accounted for and necessary shuffling had already taken place. So Option B 

Option C. Go it Alone. 

At first this going it alone seemed overwhelming. I was at the very early stages of data analysis. I wasn’t even sure what I was going to say, or how, or that I had anything even. Either way I would be working with my data, either for the conference or for my dissertation. So I put my head down and finished a first round of coding. A few days before the conference it looked like I did have some results. I had also written an extensive dissertation proposal so the main work was cutting down what I was going to say so that it could fit into a 15 minute presentation. And of course now that I was the only person presenting I could present for longer, I had the room for an hour and a half! Not that I was planning to talk for that long.  I decided on Option C, to go it alone.

The  Presentation Day

What I feared was that it would really be me…alone! The presentation was scheduled for 10:30am on Saturday, the third and final day of the conference. Generally, conference attendance fluctuates throughout the day or days and this is particularly noticeable at smaller conferences like JPS, where there are many fewer audience members in the morning of the first day and in the afternoon of the last day.

So it was 10:29 and this is what the room looked like…no-one:

 

JPS My Symposium at 10:29

JPS My Symposium at 10:29

The Symposium

Thankfully, in the next ten minutes, as I paced around the room, people began to trickle in, and by 10:40 there were about 10 people in attendance! I know, I know, that’s not so many people. Why do all this work, fly across the country, stress out, just for 10 people to attend your talk. Well that’s the life, and 10 is actually not a bad number! It’s also about who the 10 are – and these 10 people were interested and offered insightful comments.

Colette gave a brief introduction and apologized for the people who could not make it and then I gave my talk about how transfer students blogged about their transition to college experience and how their blog posts reflected their cognitive and emotional development. I used PowerPoint not Prezi as I wasn’t sure about the Internet situation at the conference. This turned out to be a good decision as there was no free Internet in the conference room. In case any reader’s are interested, here’s a copy of  My JPS PPT, Digital Sense-Making.

I talked for around 25 minutes.  It was different than a normal conference presentation because there was no strict time constraint and members of the audience asked questions and we engaged in dialogue during the presentation that continued once the presentation concluded.

The conversation ranged from theoretical  perspectives on the diversity of stories and how one person may tell the same story many different ways in part depending on their audience, with one scholar  referencing a TED talk by Ngozi Adiche that I’m looking forward to watching, and also to reading Adiche’s work!

Another scholar wondered about the strengths and shortcomings of using human coded narrative analysis – as I had done – as compared to using a computer program like the LIWCOthers questioned the definition of genre and we explored some of the implications of the definition and why it is important to consider genre when doing narrative or mixed methods research.

Usually conference symposiums allow for about 5 minutes of questions and conversation, but we talked for an hour!

This turned out to be one of the best symposiums I’ve ever been a part of!

Seeing the City

It was also great to see my San Francisco taking lunch hours to explore Chinatown and some of North Beach.

IMG_20140530_133301 IMG_20140530_134410Svetlana - a GC Student and one of the great thinkers who were at my talk - in North Beach

Catching up with my olde Willie Brown middle school teacher friends in the evening was super fun. And of course  kicking it with my great buddy Nick and his wonderful wife Sarah is the best! So in the end,I’m glad I went with Option C!

Nick with Two Giant Beers

Nick with two giant beers

 

Nick's Popeye Muscle

Nick’s popeye muscle as he tries on Patagonia’s latest surfer invention

 

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A Spring 2014 GSTA Blog Retrospective and Useful Index

A Spring 2014 GSTA Blog Retrospective and Useful Index

Winslow Homer  Woman and BlackboardAssessment ASocrates and Platoscissorskeyboardpsych textbooksfoxy writingspring 2014bike rewardsthinking orangutanGSTA LOGO

Dear GSTA Community,

As the semester comes to a close we’d like to thank everyone who read, commented and posted on the GSTA blog. Here’s the list of the posts, which we hope will serve as a useful resource when planning your courses in the fall!

If you have any Teaching Tips you’d like to share please submit them to gsta.cuny.@gmail.com.

Best,

The GSTA Blog Editorial Team:

Philip Kreniske, Kasey Powers, Francis Yannaco and Theresa Fiani

And follow us on twitter@gradsteachpsych or join our Facebook Group!

Encouraging Inter-Student Participation in Large Lecture Sections using Discussion Board Forums

25 Feb 2014

By Danielle DeNigris

 

Teaching Tip: Choose Your Assessments Based On Student Learning Goals

04 Mar 2014

By Emily A. A. Dow

 

A Tool for Understanding Students: the Discussion Forum

11 Mar 2014

By Anna Schwartz

 

Socrates in the Classroom: Helping Students to Discover What’s Already There

18 Mar 2014

By Jeff Kukucka

 

A Mixed-Methods Approach to Child Development Instruction: Reflecting on Research Presented at the SRCD

24 Mar 2014

By Naomi J. AldrichPeri Ozlem Yuksel-Sokmen, & Sarah E. Berger

 

Using Low Stakes Writing as a Learning Tool

01 Apr 2014

By Kasey L. Powers

 

Short on Resources? A Variety of Useful Options for Graduate Students Teaching Psychology

08 Apr 2014

By Theresa Fiani and Rita Obeid

 

Teaching with Technology: Just the Basics Part 1

29 Apr 2014

By Francis Yannaco

 

Flip the Textbook

06 May 2014

By Kasey Powers

 

3 Tips for Supporting Greenhorn Research Writers

12 May 2014

By Philip Kreniske

 

Lecturers Can Run a Successful Course Without a Textbook

20 May 2014

By Hunter Kincaid

 

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Final Class Poem

Final Class Poem   The Five Spot by Billy Collins 

In my final class, at least for the next year as I move on to a be a writing fellow at Baruch, I talked with my students about how I hoped that rather than remember any particular facts about research methods – that they had developed a new perspective on how to approach research articles and research presented in the popular press.

On the bus ride to class I’d been reading a recent issue of The Atlantic on The Confidence GapI thought the article quite relevant as 19//20 of the students in my course were women – many of whom were quite nervous about presenting their final projects .  I questioned if they thought a confidence gap existed between genders and if this gap might contribute to differences in pay? Or perhaps the confidence gap was a symptom of other systemic factors at play?

My hope is that after working through the research methods course my students will be equipped to  grapple with, deconstruct and then take a position in relation to the research presented in The Confidence Gap and in other relevant issues and articles.

I concluded the class by reading an excerpt from a poem featured in the same Atlantic issue, The Five Spot by Billy Collins. Ever since Questions about Angels was high school’s required summer reading I’ve had negative associations with Collins, but The Five Spot seemed to speak to an element of the course and hopefully to how students might think about issues in the world as they move on with their lives. The poem summarized my hopes for myself and my students better than I could in clumsy social science terms.  And as in class instead of trying to summarize these thoughts and emotions I’ll let the poet do this work…so direct from my fridge here it is:

 

The Five Spot by Billy Collins

3 Tips for Supporting Greenhorn Research Writers

3 Tips for Supporting Greenhorn Research Writers

By Philip Kreniske  

repost from the GSTA Blog:

When my students see the syllabus on the first day of class they cry in unison, “But I’m no good at writing”. Writing a research paper is one of the greatest challenges for many psychology undergraduates, and teaching students how to write research papers is certainly one of the greatest challenges educators face. At Hunter College, as at many CUNY schools, all psychology majors must complete a psychology research methods course. At each campus this course involves slightly different requirements, but the one unifying component is the research paper.

Here are 3 tips for teaching the research paper

1. Use a Rubric

Using a rubric and sharing the rubric with students before the paper is due makes expectations and grading criteria clear. A rubric tells students important information about what their audience (me – the teacher) will be looking for and helps them compose their paper accordingly. The rubric is also helpful for me as I grade and later return papers. Along with track changes, the rubric is incredibly useful for dealing with student’s grade related queries. Admittedly, I do not always remember each paper – or why a student earned a particular grade, but one look at the rubric and I can see exactly what I was thinking when I read that paper and I can quickly articulate this to the student in person or over email. This gives the student a better sense of what they need to improve on in the future too. Why not use a rubric? Rubrics – like many useful tools take time to create. So don’t create it from scratch – adapt one. Here’s a rubric I adapted from Seamus Donnelly (a graduate student whom I TA’d for), or here’s a few others from the Hunter psych department, or create your own usingRubistar’s templates.

2. Writing Time and Rewards

I’ve written a number of posts on my personal blog about the pros and cons of Silvia’s (2007) writing approach detailed in his APA published How to Write a Lot. Silvia’s book is geared towards professors and graduate students – though his approach is useful for undergraduates too. Silvia encourages his readers to make a writing schedule, plan out goals and form writing groups.

The writing schedule, or what I call “my meetings” should be regular, at least three or four days a week for about two hours. The time can be used for any writing related activities, such as searching for literature or running analyses. A writing time is not to be used for checking Facebook or responding to emails. During this time Silvia suggests turning off phones and even the Internet (gasp!). Furthermore, I encourage my students to plan appointments and extracurricular activities around this time, as I if it were an actual meeting. To bring this point home I show my students my Google Calender and writing times.

In addition, Silvia suggests charting writing progress and goals and keeping track of completed and uncompleted writing times with an excel spreadsheet. I encourage my students to make goals and spreadsheets for themselves.

To scaffold this I make certain components of the paper – such as writing an article summary – one of their homework assignments. Furthermore, I consistently reference what they should be planning for their weekly writing times, with statements like “this week you should use your writing time to search for sources”.

Finally, Silvia emphasizes the importance of rewarding oneself for completing projects. In the past my students have rewarded themselves by planning dinners aftercompleting a major paper, or, in my case, after passing my second doctoral exam I bought a used bike! The only reward, however tempting, that is not allowed is skipping writing times!

my nirve beach cruiser and boomer's houndabout

3. The Paper Workshop

In my class, I ask students to bring in a working draft the week before each paper is due. During the class period, I lead a workshop where the students critique each other’s work. I think it is important to set very clear guidelines for this workshop and to walk the class through the paper section by section – starting with the cover page. For each section, I ask students to make at least three positive comments and three critiques or questions and if they can to relate these to the rubric. I even give an example of positive comments such as “I like how your running head is in all capital letters”. Depending on the complexity or length of each section of the paper I give students different amounts of time. I usually allow students two minutes to review each other’s cover pages, while I might break the introduction into two five minute review sessions. During this time I often project an APA sample paper for the corresponding section as I walk around the room and check in with groups. After the allotted time, I call on groups (I suggest groups of two and no greater than three) and ask them to share a positive comment from their partner’s paper. I elicit about three positive comments and then shift to asking for questions and critiques. As a class we work through the entire paper.

Concluding Thoughts

Perhaps someday I will meet this mythical being called “the good writer”.  Until then I believe that good writing takes practice, perseverance and planning. Throughout my course I show students the strategies I use to become a better writer. I approach my own writing projects by studying the provided rubrics – beyond the classroom such rubrics more often take the guise of calls for papers or grant guidelines. I plan out what I will do and when, generally by allotting blocks of time and aiming for specific deadlines. Finally, in search of constructive feedback I share my work with my adviser, my colleagues, and sometimes my wife. In my research methods course I encourage students to try out and adapt the practices that have helped me develop as a writer into their own schemas and schedules.

 

Illustration, Fox writing with a quill pen, J. Mason, G. Greatbach, 1852, New York Public Library

4 of 4 Basic Steps to Stats: Writing up the Results in APA Format

After deciding what analysis to run (step 1) Apple pockets and Oranges
and running and interpreting the analysis (step 2 and 3) lode runner
It’s time to write up the results in APA format (step 4)! Illustration, Fox writing with a quill pen, J. Mason, G. Greatbach, 1852, New York Public Library
APA Conventions for All Statistical Analyses:

The specific numbers and letters to report for each analysis are different.  However, all letters, like t, M, SD should be in italics – that’s key for APA style!

Useful Resources:

Here are a few sites that I’ve found to be useful for figuring out how to report certain statistics in APA style.

(A number of my students are using MANOVA’s for their final projects so the number of MANOVA links reflect this. If these links are not helpful a Googlesearch of terms like “reporting a chi-square in APA format” should yield some useful references).

General stats analyses: http://www.psych.uw.edu/writingcenter/writingguides/pdf/stats.pdf

Good for reporting MANOVA https://statistics.laerd.com/spss-tutorials/one-way-manova-using-spss-statistics-2.php

very clear explanation: http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/nursing/Documents/PDF/MANOVAHowTo.pdf

Also good on reporting: http://grimbeek.com.au/Papers/MANOVA%20reporting.pdf

Explanation of Manova and ANOVA http://ibgwww.colorado.edu/~carey/p7291dir/handouts/manova1.pdf

Another great resource is UCLA’s stats site - though the site can be difficult to navigate so at times I find it easier to Google “UCLA reporting a chi-square in APA format” as opposed to going directly to the UCLA page.

Finally, as always, show your results to your peers and professors to get their opinions and perspectives on the selected analysis, the interpretation and your APA formatting.

 

lode runner

Step 2 and 3 of 4 Steps to Basic Stats: Running Statistics

Step 2 and 3 of 4 Steps to Basic Stats: Running Statistics

After deciding on an appropriate analysis - it’s time to run the data!lode runner

There are many programs that can be used to run statistics. This post will deal primarily with using SPSS.

This is perhaps the most straightforward step.

I suggest Googling the analysis, with phrasing along the lines of “How to run an ANOVA”. I’ve found that youtube videos can be extremely helpful for learning how to run new analyses  – especially using SPSS.

One of the Youtube channels I reference is How2Stats, the author keeps the clips short and mainly focuses on the analysis at hand while covering some background material. how2stats youtube icon

Another Youtube channel whose posts I’ve used in the past is TheRMUoHP Biostatistics Resource Channel.

I suggest splitting the screen and literally going through the video step by step with your SPSS spreadsheet.

Disclaimer: I’m rushing a little as I need to share these posts with my psych 250 students ASAP (more to add in the future).

Most of these videos will also explain how to interpret the results. thinking orangutanHowever, there are a number of other sites that detail exactly how to write up results in APA style. I’ll link to a few of my favorites in Step 4!

Illustration, Fox writing with a quill pen, J. Mason, G. Greatbach, 1852, New York Public Library

Apple pockets and Oranges

4 Steps to Basic Stats…Step 1: Selecting an Analysis

Apple pockets and Oranges

Apple pockets & oranges

4 Basic Steps to Stats

In much of my research I use mixed methods designs, meaning I combine qualitative and quantitative information. I’ve also been teaching a psych research methods course for the past couple of years in which students design and conduct their own final research projects and questions invariably arise about what stats to run. I encourage my students to follow a similar approach to the one I use when considering analyses for a particular project or to answer a particular question.

Here are my 4 basic steps to stats:

Step 1: Selecting an Analysis Apple pockets and Oranges
 Step 2: Run the Analysis lode runner
Step 3: Interpret the Results thinking orangutan
Step 4: Write the Results in APA FormatIllustration, Fox writing with a quill pen, J. Mason, G. Greatbach, 1852, New York Public Library

Step 1: Selecting an Analysis

The first, and probably most challenging  step involves deciding what analyses to run.

One useful resources for selecting the appropriate analyses is a page created by Anne Marenco, currently at College of the Canyons and formerly of California State Northridge University.

Scroll down the page and Marenco lays out some excellent tables that can help a researcher decide what statistical analyses to use when. At the bottom of the page Marenco writes out a few Q’s and A’s :

“When trying to decide what test to use, ask yourself the following…

Am I interested in…?:

description (association) – correlations, factor analysis, path analysis

explanation (prediction) – regression, logistic regression, discriminant analysis

intervention (group differences) – t-test, ANOVA, MANOVA, Chi square”

Another similar and useful page is UCLA’s What’s Statistical Analysis Should I Use.

I’ve also found reading through comment pages and blogs is a great way to learn from people who are wrestling with or have wrestled with similar questions.

The Analysis Factor is one blog I stumbled on the other day. Judging from a quick read it looked quite active – and the bloggers seemed really responsive to questions posted in the comments section.

Talk Stats is another active blog where a researcher can post and answer stats questions.

Hopefully these resources will be helpful for thinking through which statistical analysis to use. I also suggest talking to people about your thought process. If you have any friends who are familiar with statistics – share your ideas with them and see what they think – or email your professor and see what they think about your general direction and proposed analyses.

Once you’ve decided it’s time RUN the analyses. lode runner

Posts on Steps 2, 3 and 4 to come!