Solomon Four-Group Design

Creswell’s Educational Research (2012) textbook is required reading for one of my PhD courses. I was in the midst of reading chapter 10 (experimental designs) when I noticed that he does not describe the Solomon four-group design. Unfortunately, this design is not often introduced textbooks. In my library of 17 research textbooks, only two describe this between-groups design. Additionally, information on the Internet is sparse, and it does not have a Wikipedia page.

The Solomon four-group design can be used to mitigate threats to external validity, particularly the affects pretesting has on the overall study. This may also lessen the Hawthrone effect, where participants are motivated to improve because they are part of a study.

To be valid, this design must have randomly assigned participants. According to Trochim and Donnelly (2008) two groups receive the treatment, or stimulus, and two do not. Additionally, two groups are pretested and two are not (p. 203). This is more easily understood visually. Continue reading

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Fantastic Resource of the Week

In one of my first PhD classes we briefly talked about the impact factor that some journals have. Commonly known as IF, the impact factor is calculated based on the average number of journal articles that have been cited in other scholarly work in the last several years. After a quick Google search, I discovered that the IF is calculated by one of the world’s largest publishers: Thomson Reuters.

I had also heard that a letter (and I couldn’t remember which of the 26 it is) is also used as some sort of impact measurement. It was my lucky day when, as I was reading a recent article in the British Journal of Educational Technology, I noticed the IF and the H Index. I’d found my missing letter

With that small piece of information in hand I soon discovered SJR SCIImago Journal and Country Rank (http://www.scimagojr.com/index.php). I felt like a kid in a sandbox as I began playing with the various search functions.

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Writing Accountability

November was a very productive month as I move closer to completing my masters of education thesis. On Twitter I discovered a group of academic writers using the hashtag #AcwriMo (short for academic writing month). As I began following the hashtag I read posts about people’s writing accomplishments, which started to influence how many words I was writing. Could I keep up with everyone? Was sharing accomplishments really that helpful?

Source: Microsoft image

On November 6 I discovered that not only did people tweet their writing accomplishments, but there is also a Google Doc where the writers state their monthly writing goals and the log how many words they have written each day.

By the end of November there were about 370 participants from around the world logging their writing accomplishments. Like the others, I also logged my accomplishments and also found out something important about academic writing: It is not an isolate endeavour. Sharing my goals and daily tally were important to me because it gave me a sense of belonging and, on days where I didn’t feel like writing, it spurred me on because I didn’t want to be left behind.

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Writing Tip: Literature Review Word Selection

I recently wrote the literature review chapter for my masters thesis. While it wasn’t the first research lit review I’d written, it had been a few years and I was, admittedly, more than a bit rusty. Feedback from my supervisor indicated that while my logic was well presented and the chapter flowed well, I had to take my writing up a notch.

I thought of the tools at my disposal and quickly came up with a three-point plan.

1. Read research papers for writing style and not content
2. Re-read my previous research papers
3. Generate a word list

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