Writing the Implications Section: Explaining How Your Study Contributes to Positive Social Change

Before writing the implications section of chapter 5, I suggest you go back and read your significance section from chapter 1. [Learn more about what should be in a significance section.] When you were proposing your study, what potential did you think the data may provide? Now that you have your data, has your perspective changed? You should touch on these themes in the implications section. It is also a good time to review your study alignment. Step back, remember the problem you set out to address. The problem aligned to the purpose, which led to your research questions then methodology. It is in the implication section that you finally share what your study means for society. You finally get to answer the question, “Who Cares?” in relation to your study results. This really is the fun part!

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As should be your habit by now, go to the dissertation checklist. Scroll down to chapter 5 and find the Implications heading. Now, write a topic sentence for this section that aligns with what is required. Here is an example of what that might look like.

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Significance of Your Study Answers “Who Cares?”

With Walden’s positive social change mission, your dissertation research study must be more than simply a study of an interesting topic. It must make a difference. While it doesn’t have to change the world, you will need to carefully and accurately describe how your study will make an impact. Essentially you’re answering the question, “Who Cares?’

You will write an APA level 1 heading titled “Significance” in the prospectus and in Chapter 1 of your dissertation. If you follow the Walden dissertation checklist while writing the prospectus, once it is approved you’ll be able to copy and paste it into the dissertation template and confidently say, you’ve begun your dissertation!

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According to the Walden Dissertation checklist, under Chapter 1, you must address three areas related to significance.

  • Identify potential contributions of the study that advance knowledge in the discipline. This is an elaboration of what the problem addresses.
  • Identify potential contributions of the study that advance practice and/or policy (as applicable).
  • Describe potential implications for positive social change that are consistent with and bounded by the scope of the study.

Here is an exemplar of significance statement from a published article.

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Align Align Align

At the Walden residencies one of the themes you hear over and over again is Align, Align, Align. But what does that really mean? Alignment refers to the elements of a research study building on one another in a logical manner.

At residency 3 you work on the historic alignment tool, or the HAT. This tool helps you accomplish the alignment of the main elements of a research study. One element leads to the next, which leads to the next. If you answer “no” to any of the following questions, the study is not aligned.

  • Is the topic directly related to my specialization?
  • Does the background research show evidence of a problem?
  • Is there a gap in understanding of the problem?
  • Does the problem align to the purpose?
  • Does the purpose align to the research question?
  • Does the theoretical or conceptual framework logically help answer the research questions?
  • Does the research question drive the methodology?

These are the exact questions your mentor, methodologist, and the URR will be asking when reviewing your premise, prospectus, proposal, and final dissertation. So, how do you keep alignment in the forefront of your mind when entertaining potential ideas for a research study? An important step is to realize that the central research question will determine the wording of both the purpose statement and the dissertation title.

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The purpose statement, the central research question, and the dissertation title should all be parallel, and quite possibly word for word the same.

Purpose = Central Research Question = Dissertation Title

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Using Scholarly Argument in your Literature Review

Literature Review is More Than a Summary of the Research Studies on Your Topic

Think of the literature review as a persuasive argument for why your study needs to be done. However, scholarly arguments are not like the persuasive essays you may have written in the past. Instead, you use facts, found in empirical research to show your reader what is going on in your field and within your topic. Your argument will be stronger based on the quality of the resources, how you organize the facts, and the logic you use to connect facts to your study.

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However, there are a number of qualities that scholarly arguments should not include. The first is vocabulary that evokes emotion. While you should be passionate about your study, you are writing an academic, scholarly argument. The facts, not emotion should make the argument. Next, scholarly arguments should not be degree-indicating. Do not use words such as, very, fantastic, amazing etc.. Continue reading

Tagging Part 2

Tagging Part 2: Digitizing Tags for a Reliable Cross-Referencing System

In my Tagging Part 1 post, I define what a tag is, describe why you should consider using tags, and then give examples of how to assign tags to research article you read for your dissertation. In this post, Tagging, Part 2, I will address the number of tags you might assign each article, and then how to use the tags as part of a larger, digital cross-referencing organizational structure.

Tags Part 2

How many tags should I assign to each article?

It depends. For example, you might have found this article…

Fram, S.M. (2013). The constant comparative analysis method outside of grounded theory. The Qualitative Report, 18(1), 1-25. Retrieved http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR18/fram1.pdf

…and decided to tag it with the big picture tags

mych1; mych3

But you might also want to further determine where in those chapters the article may help. Therefore, you could ALSO add APA Heading tags. I might choose

myNoS; myDataAnal

To further narrow the usefulness of the article, you might choose to use the Library Sub-Question Letters as an additional tag.

LibSubQE

FYI: LibSubQ-E is “Why is the methodology I’m proposing the best choice to address the problem I’ve identified?” You can learn more about LibSubQ’s in my NoteTaking post.

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Develop Tags that align with dissertation topic.

Introduction to Tagging

Developing a System to Cross-Reference Articles

What is tagging?

Tagging is the term I use for assigning text tags, to literature, articles, and resources, that you may want to cite in your dissertation. Think of tags as keywords YOU assign to an article to help you cross reference it so you remember to use it later. I strongly suggest you do an abstract review in order to gain an overall picture of your topic, and to clearly determine the literature gap. At this phase in the process you’re not reading the article, only the abstract and maybe skimming portions of the article if the abstract is too vague. It is during the abstract review that you should assign tags. Using tags is a way to flag research, so you can group related articles on the same topic together. Tags are at the heart of an effective cross-referencing system.

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Abstract Review–organize and cross-reference your literature

Once you have your dissertation prospectus approved, you’ll be moving into high research gear! It might be daunting to think about all you have to do, but inch-by-inch, its a cinch. In this post, I will describe how you can use an Abstract Review to jump start your research process, by setting up a structured method of identifying and organizing the articles you find, and cross-referencing them to look at in more detail later.

Abstract Review Throughout this post, I will refer to specific slide numbers of my Voice Thread on Organizing your Lit Review, that I talk about in a my note taking blog post.

Early Goal: Use the Abstract Review to identify articles on your topic to prepare for the construction of your dissertation outline.

The graphic below is an overview of the literature research process. You are starting at the star; working to identify and obtain articles. During the Abstract Review, you are trying to accomplish the first three stages. Your job is to work on getting a good feel for what literature is out there regarding the major topics of your dissertation. Read chapter 8 of Dr. Dawidowicz’s book, Literature Reviews Made Easy so you see how you’ll use the information you’re organizing during this phase of the process.

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AutoCorrect: Save Time and Finger Jams

Why Use Autocorrect?

When I was writing my dissertation, there were certain words my fingers just didn’t like to type. One such word was “asynchronous.” And unfortunately it was in the title of my study, and I used it A LOT. I have since found a wonderful tool embedded in Word where you can “teach” your computer to auto-correct words for you! Imagine how great it would be if all I had to do was type asy/ and “asynchronous discussions” would automatically appear. Imagine the efficiency!

What Does AutoCorrect Do?  AutoCorrect allows you to assign a “text tag” to be replaced with a text of your choosing.

How Can You Use AutoCorrect? I like to use AutoCorrect to speed up my grading. For example, when I come across a sentence where the ideas are not clear, I insert a new comment and type

huh/

and Word replaces it with

I’m not sure what this means. Please rephrase for clarity.

 See how much nicer that sounds?

Here’s another example I use a lot. (Maybe I’ve used it on one of your papers?) I type in

anthro/

and Word replaces it with

This is an example of an anthropomorphism. Theories, concepts, paper sections, and literature reviews can’t “do” anything. Work on rephrasing this. See Walden Writing Center Website and this blog post

Notice I can include links? Are you starting to get a feel of the power of this tool? Read on to figure out how to make it work for you during the dissertation phase.

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Power of Google Scholar for PhD Students

If you haven’t yet harnessed the power of Google Scholar, you need to. There are lots of little ways that Google Scholar can help you find what you are looking for, and to help you reach “saturation” of the literature. Walden library suggests you use Google Scholar to supplement your database searches, not replace them!The Power of Google Scholar for PhD Students

#1 Tip: Pay attention to the links under the citation.

Use the “Cite” link to find the APA formatted reference. Always double check it, as it may not be exactly right, but its a good place to start. And you can also import the reference information into various bibliography software programs.

Cite_GoogleScholar

CiteReference_GoogleScholar

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