tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:/posts QS PRN 2022-11-26T20:52:48Z Shea tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1908956 2022-11-26T20:52:48Z 2022-11-26T20:52:48Z Thanksgiving break

Wrapping up a week off work. While I did not devote much time to completing my dissertation (like I had originally planned), it was nice to have time with family and friends.   

Brought the succulents inside due to overnight frost warnings. They now occupy the workbench that I once used for my letterpress machines. It's a fitting metaphor—nature reclaiming the machines. 

Now, to dive back into this dissertation before winter break and apathy sets in for good.   

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1903065 2022-11-13T23:02:25Z 2022-11-13T23:02:26Z it probably could get worse

I say this to myself a lot. 

I especially say this to myself when things get hectic. For example, when I think about the progress I have made on my dissertation and research, I think it could get worse. Here I am in mid-November and I am still polishing the first chapter (Introduction) while diving into the second chapter (literature review). 

And, I wonder how I am going to finish by May. So, ya...

It probably could get worse  

Is it a pessimistic perspective? Perhaps. 

Is it a coping mechanism? Maybe. 

Is it a declarative statement that always holds true? Not necessarily. 

Maybe it is simply a reminder that things could go the other way, too. It probably could get better



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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1897066 2022-10-30T22:45:17Z 2022-10-30T22:45:17Z things i see

It seems that this month has flown by...tomorrow is Halloween. Tonight is the neighborhood pumpkin carving party, and I'm a bit melancholy that my kid isn't here to participate. He's busy being a college sophomore, and working his part time job. And, I am happy that he is thriving. I suppose it's selfish of me to wish he was here to carve pumpkins and possibly go trick-or-treat. Although, it's hard to let go of those Halloween memories of years past. It feels like it was only yesterday that he was wandering around the neighborhood with wide eyes and a bucket full of candy. 

The melancholy will pass, but my dissertation work remains. Earlier this week, my draft Chapter 1 was returned to me with plenty of suggested revisions and edits. I knew this was coming, yet it stings to be told that your attempt is insufficient. My draft needs to "narrow the focus" and two of the sentences needs to be clarified because the "wording is awkward" but one of the dissertation committee members did write that my first draft was a "great start." She also reminded me that this is a marathon, not a sprint...so "don't get discouraged." 

Honestly, I'm digging deep to get myself out of that pit of despair. The process has been a slog. I mean, three years of nonstop classes was tough. And, now I'm faced with researching and writing my keystone paper with three people telling me how and what I need to change in order to graduate. I'm excited to finish this dissertation—and I will—but I'm tired. So, here are some things I saw earlier this month. It's the little things...and sometimes the little things can be everything.     

  • sunrise during my morning commute
  • string of teardrops succulent flower 
  • a badass praying mantis by the gate to the sideboard
  • Meyer lemons turning color 
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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1894689 2022-10-24T05:10:53Z 2022-10-24T05:12:03Z Reno

UNR homecoming 2022 

Stayed at the Peppermill. Had a nice dinner at Oceano and a cocktail at Fireside Lounge on Friday evening. Saturday’s game was cold, left at the half after seeing the only UNR touchdown. San Diego State won 23-7 but it was a nice visit to Reno.

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1891203 2022-10-15T23:45:46Z 2022-10-15T23:45:47Z succulents
Picked up these beauties today. Also came home with a couple rat traps because I think there’s one trying to make a nest under the hot tub. 

Back to reading, annotating, and writing a Chapter 2 (literature review). That’s my Saturday. 
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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1888926 2022-10-09T19:22:12Z 2022-10-09T19:22:13Z work

This is where I will spend countless hours over the next few months...working through a mix of digital and analog resources, to cobble a dissertation worthy of acceptance. 

As I get closer to completion, I realize that the reward is no simply the doctoral degree, but the knowledge gained along the way. While that sentiment about knowledge gained may sound like a cheesy inspirational poster, it does resonate with me.  

It has taken a lot of work to get to this point. And, it will require much more work to see it through. 

"Get to work."

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1880911 2022-09-18T22:13:54Z 2022-09-18T22:13:55Z this is ground
Sad to see another small business fold due to the pandemic. I won this portfolio years ago (2010?) in a twitter contest…I’ve used it daily. Kinda wish I could pick up one in a brown leather. 
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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1880886 2022-09-18T21:06:18Z 2022-09-18T22:00:31Z Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter One sets the stage for your study and should address the following elements:

Background of the Study

This section highlights the foundations and general context of your study so that your readers understand what your study is about. This section addresses the following questions: What is the topic/general problem? In what settings does this problem occur, and who does it affect? What did you find in the literature about the problem? What is already known? What are the current best explanations of the problem? What issues remain to be understood?  

Problem Statement and Significance of the Study

Problem statement is a general issue, concern, controversy that narrows the topic. It is a rationale for the problem based on past research and practice. What is your study about? What problem(s) is your study going to address, how, and why? Significance of the study places your study in a broader context: What is the study’s significance beyond your immediate sample? What potential contributions/implications can this study have for your field? 

Theoretical Foundations and/or Conceptual Framework

According to Imenda (2014), “the conceptual or theoretical framework is the soul of every research project” (p. 185). It determines how researchers formulate their study problem, purpose and questions, how they investigate the problem, and what meaning they ascribe to the collected data. Studies that use deductive approach (typically quantitative) rely on a theoretical framework to draw upon concepts that they measure; studies that use inductive logic (typically qualitative) construct conceptual frameworks and may use multiple theories that guide the inquiry. Some researchers use the terms interchangeably. Regardless of the approach taken, the conceptual and/or theoretical framework of your study - “the system of concepts, assumptions, expectations, beliefs, and theories that supports and informs your research” - is a key part of your design (Maxwell, 2004, p. 33). It is a visual and/or written product that tells your readers how you understand the phenomenon under study and previous, relevant research which serves as a foundation for your proposed study. Remember that a theoretical or conceptual framework is not a single book or an article you found on your topic, but the web of interrelated ideas, claims, and findings. 

Note: This section is addressed in depth in Chapter Two. In this chapter, your goal is to briefly signal to your readers what conceptual/theoretical framework the study is going to use to understand the problem.

Researcher’s Positionality

This section addresses how you are situated with respect to your inquiry. What you write about and how you write reveals a great deal about your knowledge and interest in your topic: “We can strive to remain objective, but must be ever mindful of our subjectivities. Such is positionality. We have to acknowledge who we are as individuals, and as members of groups, and as resting in and moving within social positions” (Bourke, 2014, p. 3). Tell your readers how you are situated in relation to your topic and your participants: Are you conducting research within your own organization/institution? Do you have established relationships with the research participants? 

Purpose of the Study

A purpose is the major objective or intent of the study used to address the problem. This section clearly defines the dependent and independent variables, relationship of variables, or comparison of groups for quantitative studies. For qualitative studies, this section describes the nature of the phenomena to be explored. The purpose of the study must be aligned with the research questions and methodology. A study could determine, compare, establish a relationship, explore, understand, describe, but it cannot “prove.” 

Research Question(s) and/or Hypotheses

Research questions narrow the purpose of the proposed study into specific questions that the researcher intends to address. Quantitative studies develop hypotheses (declarative statements in which a researcher makes a prediction about the outcome) and variables (both independent and dependent). If the study is qualitative, state the research question(s) the study will address, and describe the phenomenon to be studied. 

Prior to listing the research questions or hypotheses, in one or two brief paragraphs reiterate and/or summarize the problem under investigation and the purpose of the proposed study. Then, include a leading phrase to introduce your specific questions such as, "The following research questions guide this (qualitative) study": 

  • R1:
  • R2:
  • R3:

OR

The following research questions and hypotheses guide this (quantitative or mixed methods) study:

  • R1:
  • H1:
  • H0:
  • R2:
  • H2:
  • H0:

Rationale for Methodology

The Rationale for Methodology section justifies the methodology the researcher plans to use for conducting the study. It argues how the chosen methodological framework is the best approach to address the research questions and the problem statement. This section also contains a description of the research sample being studied, as well as the process that will be used to select and collect the data on the sample. In other words, this section provides a preview of Chapter Three. This section succinctly conveys the research approach to answer the research questions and/or test the hypotheses.

Definition of the Terms

This section addresses the key terms that are central to the dissertation topic and those that readers need to know to understand the proposed study. Typically, only definitions of terms are provided for specialized/select usage and/or for terms with which readers may be unfamiliar. Any acronyms or abbreviations must be written out in the text the first time they are used, as well as defined in this section. Scholarly references are used. 

The term to be defined should be italicized: Definition of the term should appear one space after the colon. 

Another term: Definition of the term here. 

Summary and Organization of the Remainder of the Study

This section summarizes the key points of Chapter 1 and provides supporting citations for those key points. It then provides a transition discussion to Chapter 2 followed by a description of the remaining chapters. For example, Chapter 2 will present a review of current research relevant to the problem and questions to be or that were investigated. Chapter 3 will describe the methodology, research design, and procedures for this investigation. Chapter 4 details how the data was analyzed and provides both a written and graphic summary of the results. Chapter 5 is an interpretation and discussion of the results, as it relates to the existing body of research related to the dissertation topic. 


All this micro-information has macro-story potential




Chapter 1 is the Introduction. This should focus on the problem, the topic, the research questions, the methodology intro and the definition of terms. You must view the template for exact sections to be included in Chapter 1. Read a completed dissertation to see what an example looks like. (10-15 pages).

Begin with Chapter 1. Based on your schedule, try to write Chapter 1 within five weeks from today. This takes commitment. Please try to work at least 90 minutes three evenings a week on your dissertation. Once you have a first draft, send Chapter 1 to just me. I will read it, comment, and share with the committee for additional feedback-- we will give you lots of feedback.  Then once I receive their feedback, I will share it with you—your revisions will demonstrate that we are all clear on the topic, the problem, the research questions and the methodology, we will approve you to go on to Chapter 2. Chapter 1 is not easy to write, some students feel frustrated with the several revisions that occur in chapter 1—do not be discouraged. Throughout, ask yourself: Is my writing clear, concise, complete, accurate, and engaging in a scholarly/professional way?


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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1880813 2022-09-18T20:39:55Z 2022-09-18T20:42:37Z September

At the beginning of the month, I began to write Chapter 1/Introduction for my dissertation. And, I started wondering if this space (or perhaps an alternative site) could be used for my dissertation and research project. If nothing else, a site like this might provide value by explaining the purpose of the study or hosting surveys related to the study.

Meanwhile, here is a photo dump of things of things I've seen, along with a screenshot of text conversation I had last week. So far this month as of the Type-High Day [9/18]

* photos: type cabinet & .918 sticker, smoked maple whiskey, text chat, Mosquito Fire, and a commute in 289 AQI 

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1869838 2022-08-17T23:35:10Z 2022-08-17T23:35:11Z August

I have (finally) managed to form a dissertation committee for my doctoral program. I have my chairperson, methodologist, and my reader, as of yesterday. Summer session ends on August 26 and Fall session begins August 29. So, if the goal is to complete and defend my dissertation within one year (i.e., earn my diploma), that means I have only two semesters to get shit done. No pressure, right? 

I did manage to sneak away to Lake Tahoe earlier this month. It’s nice to occasionally forget one’s adult responsibilities, and the existential dread that accompanies it. So, here’s some pictures I took. 

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1869869 2022-08-04T23:00:00Z 2022-08-17T23:41:13Z Rodeo Beach

Escaped the valley heat. Drive to Marin Headlands and had a picnic on the beach. Got a little sunburned and spent 4 hours driving home due to wrecks on I-80. Totally worth it. 

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1851696 2022-07-06T00:25:06Z 2022-07-06T00:25:06Z July


Passed my comprehensive exams. Decided to take a trip to Santa Rosa, and came back with COVID. At least the trip was exciting, and provided a nice distraction from forming my dissertation committee. 

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1839373 2022-06-06T21:39:58Z 2022-06-06T21:49:12Z phases

Passed both Comprehensive Exams! This means I am officially a doctoral candidate, and in the ABD (all but dissertation) phase. 

It’s been a month filled with phases. And, I won’t elaborate but I’m hoping that it’s true that all things pass. “It’s just a phase.” I suppose I should take that perspective if to grind this thing out inside a year, and grab that diploma in June 2023. 

In the meantime, here’s a few pictures of my favorite Sierra Nevada foothill winery…going through phases of its own. 

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1831390 2022-05-20T01:39:20Z 2022-05-20T01:39:20Z Folsom Lake

A nice day for a nice day…on the water 

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1829114 2022-05-13T16:14:13Z 2022-05-13T16:14:13Z May

This month has brought change, and only two weeks have passed. Comprehensive exams almost compete. I passed Exam #1 and barely failed the other. Upside: I have another week to revise and resubmit Exam #2. No pressure, right? The successful completion of Exam #2 only dictates whether I can continue to my dissertation or wait out the summer semester and try again in the fall semester. 

This past Saturday also marked the first Kentucky Derby my parents have hosted in their new residence. That is a big change, since they have hosted 100+ people for as long as I can recall. Rich Strike, the long-shot with 80-1 odds, won in spectacular fashion. What a change from years past when the horses who won had much better odds. It gives me hope. 

I have been trying to change jobs, and I feel like Rich Strike. I feel like the long-shot, but I know there’s still a chance. 


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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1825787 2022-05-02T23:33:56Z 2022-05-02T23:33:57Z walks

Now that the weather is warmer, and the sunlight lasts a little longer, I have been going out for walks more often. It's nice to see the trees, the blooms, and the animals. A workday afternoon walk helps me relax. A weekend morning walk allows me to refresh. I highly recommend either one, or both. 

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1820427 2022-04-18T20:43:05Z 2022-04-18T20:43:06Z Easter Monday

A day off work as Spring Break comes to a close, but not a day off of my doctoral program. I am still hammering away at the two comprehensive exams that are due by April 24.  I've been slowly grinding out those two, 15-page papers...even blew them off for the four days I was in Palm Springs. And, I managed to pick up a head cold just before Easter Sunday. Good times. 

Back at the writing today. But, I did take a lunch break and repotted the (Tradescantia fluminensis) Nanouk that I picked up at Trader Joes's a few weeks ago. It needed a bigger pot, one that is not a bunny. And, I decided to break off the Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) sprout from its mother and plant it on its own. Not only did it provide a nice break from writing scholarly papers, it serves as a reminder to nourish and recenter on occasion. 

note to self: only 29 more days of school until summer 

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1819674 2022-04-18T20:22:57Z 2022-04-18T20:22:58Z hummingbird

Moment of zen — a brief encounter with a hummingbird, hovering around my Meyer lemon tree.


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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1819311 2022-04-15T23:28:23Z 2022-04-15T23:28:23Z Indian Wells

Took a trip to the Palm Springs area for three nights/four days. A road trip. While the winds blew like hell the last few miles on the way there, it was totally worth it. And, I’m now beginning to understand why people retire to the desert. 

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1817202 2022-04-10T23:13:39Z 2022-04-10T23:13:39Z philately

Scenes from the newly inherited collection of a novice philatelist

I haven’t had much time to examine my grandfather’s & father’s stamp collection, because there’s a whole dissertation to slog through. And, there’s a full-time job that’s eating up a substantial amount of time. Although, when I have a free moment or two, I love to randomly pull a stamp to learn more about it. 

I find some of these stamps fascinating. This one is one of the few cancelled or postmarked stamps, from grandpa’s time as a professor at Stanford. 

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1817181 2022-04-10T19:22:03Z 2022-04-10T19:44:53Z dissertation outline

formatting template by The Meanest TA, PhD

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1816260 2022-04-08T03:33:59Z 2022-04-08T03:33:59Z maintenance

This sign sums it up quite nicely…

It’s a sign

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1815314 2022-04-05T21:04:35Z 2022-04-05T21:04:35Z questions

• How are instructional technologies socially conceptualized?

• Which theories are predominant in specific learning domains?

• What new theory has been developed, and/or is "old theory" adequate to the task of explaining the social impacts and use of the digital?

• To what extent is digital research theoretically or empirically driven?

• Which concepts and key themes cluster and link regardless of theoretical or empirical approach?

• Can a new "theoretical framework" for understanding instructional technology (digital learning) be generated, and is this needed?

• To what extent have interdisciplinary approaches modified or developed theory?

• Which methods and approaches predominate in education?

• Does the availability of large volumes of digital data change how the digital is studied and/or the approaches taken to instructional technologies in education?

• Are certain methods intrinsically linked to certain domains or theories? How are methods tied to the social contexts around instructional technology research?

• Have interdisciplinary approaches modified or prioritized certain methods in the study of instructional technology?

*list of questions adapted from various existing research journals and texts 

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1815010 2022-04-05T02:09:10Z 2022-04-05T02:09:10Z knowable

Meaning is defined by at least three points: the personal, the factual, and the resonance between them. 

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1813276 2022-03-31T22:39:01Z 2022-03-31T22:39:01Z sorting

Sorting things is a fascinating process. Lately, I have been sorting through my Dad’s stamp collection, which includes my grandfather’s stamp collection. 

The two small file boxes in the image above show only a fraction of what I have inherited—there are two large file boxes filled with binders, envelopes, and loose stamps from all over the globe. 

What strikes me as I sort through this collection is not the monetary value of the stamps but the sentimental value. Collecting and cataloging stamps is a labor of love, but it is also a connection to something bigger. 

I wish I could properly convey how it feels to handle this stamp collection. Maybe the tangibility fosters connection. Maybe it’s the attention to detail and beautiful print work that is evident on the stamps. It’s wonderful. 

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1812573 2022-03-29T23:00:00Z 2022-03-31T22:35:29Z 1972

El Dorado National Forest, past the Swansboro Airport and up Mosquito Road, 1972

This must have been shortly after Dad returned from Viet Nam and bought 55 acres here. That parcel has grown to 90 acres now, with half of it bordering National Forest land. 

The rad Pontiac station wagon is long gone. But, the sign is still there. And, I’m still here. 


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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1812041 2022-03-29T02:37:41Z 2022-03-29T02:37:41Z experience

"It is only with experience that you begin to understand everything you do not know."

As I enter the Comprehensive Exams portion of my doctoral program, I realize that I am beginning to understand. Education is an interesting construct. It is personal, and it means different things to people. Education flows along a continuum, and begins to take different meanings as a person grows older. Perhaps the experience truly is the education.

*video: my moment of zen today 

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1809596 2022-03-23T14:05:38Z 2022-03-23T21:12:58Z next year(ish)

“When do you finish your doctorate?”

I’ll finish this time next year. Spring 2023. So, one more year of doctoral studies before I earn my degree. And, that’s only if I hustle. 

It’s a long road…

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1809595 2022-03-22T01:48:15Z 2022-03-22T01:48:15Z dreams

“Students tend to think that once they are done with the coursework, they are pretty much done with the program. This is not the case with the doctoral education. In fact, the coursework is only a preparation (appetizer) for the dissertation research (the main dish). Once done with the [Research Design] class, typically students take their competency exam and, upon passing, the students become doctoral candidates (aka ABDs – “all but dissertation”). This is where the real challenge begins because unlike very structured coursework, the writing of the dissertation is an independent process where the researcher must be self-organized and self-driven to stay on task and to work on this long project for a long time.

How much time do you need? Well, the answer varies. From experience, we know that once you are matched with the dissertation committee, the very best case scenario is that the dissertation takes about a year – This is only possible if you 1) already know EXACTLY what you will be doing for your dissertation; 2) you are super organized and self-driven; 3) you have already done extensive reading and some writing about your topic; 3) you contribute at least 20 hours each week into working on dissertation until you finish. 

More typically, it takes students about 2 years from the passing of the comps to the finish line – Even this timeline requires you to work on your dissertation on a weekly (if not daily) basis. If you procrastinate, or take a few months off, or change your topic a few times, you will likely spend more than 2 years and you are at-risk of never finishing the program.” 

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tag:blog.qsprn.com,2013:Post/1809340 2022-03-21T02:57:29Z 2022-03-21T02:57:30Z 1st day of Spring

spring equinox 2022 

Seasons & change 

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