DCS891A Research Seminar 1

Instructors:
Dr. Chuck Tappert   Email: ctappert@pace.edu   Website   SurveyMonkey
Dr. Allen Stix    Email: astix@pace.edu

This is the first of a series of five research seminars, see Research Seminars.

Textbooks:
Leedy, P.D. and Ormrod, J.E., Practical Research: Planning and Design (8th Edition), Prentice, 2005.
Strunk, W. and White, E.B., The Elements of Style (4th Edition), Longman, 2000.

Other recommended but not required books:
Creswell, J.W., Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, Sage, 2003.
Bolker, J, Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day, Holt, 1998.
Rudestam, K.E. and Newton, R.R., Surviving Your Dissertation, Sage, 2001.
Zobel, J., Writing for Computer Science, Springer, 1997.

Classroom etiquette: please turn cell phones off during class time.

Graded Events and Grade Scale

Quizzes: Five quizzes (each with 20 minute limit) are to be taken via Blackboard. The quizzes are designed not only to check that you read the assignments but, more importantly, to increase your capability to quickly process and comprehend reading material. All quizzes must be attempted and at least half of the total quiz points achieved.

Individual Dissertation Assignment: Doctoral dissertations by DPS students are research reports. Evaluate a dissertation in accordance with the checklist on pages 9-10 of the Leedy & Ormrod text. PDF versions of the DPS dissertations are available from the DPS internal website, or directly from Online DPS Dissertations. Please choose a dissertation from the following list of those that we are familiar with: Bashir Ahmed, Rick Bassett, Larry Bliss, Kathleen Bravo, Suman Kalia, Todd Kolb, Jonathan Law, Kwang Lee, Tom Lombardi, Mary Manfredi, Hany Saleeb, David Ulmer, and Patrick Wong. As practice, we will evaluate a paper summarizing a dissertation as an in-class exercise at our first session. This written deliverable is due at our second session.

Individual Library Assignment: Conduct a literature search and draft a review. The search should identify seven to ten pieces, including work that is seminal as well as work that lays the foundation for the ad hoc problem. The review should be composed in accordance with instructions for "Evaluating, Organizing, and Synthesizing the Literature" and the guidelines for "Writing a Clear and Cohesive Review" on pages 77-79 from Leedy & Ormrod. This written deliverable is due at our third session.

Individual Writing Improvement Assignment: Using simple sentences, avoiding unnecessary verbiage, and using words correctly as well as adhering to the rules of grammar and punctuation as needed for precise expression, correct and clarify a given piece of prose. Use tips from Strunk and White. This written deliverable is due at our fourth session.

Individual Assignment to Reverse Engineer an Idea Paper from a Dissertation: Choose a DPS dissertation written by a student from the following list: Bashir Ahmed, Rick Bassett, Larry Bliss, Kathleen Bravo, Suman Kalia, Todd Kolb, Jonathan Law, Kwang Lee, Tom Lombardi, Mary Manfredi, Hany Saleeb, David Ulmer, and Patrick Wong. Then, write an idea paper (an idea paper is a brief proposal) on which the dissertation might have been founded. Use the instructions for writing a research proposal given by Leedy & Ormrod in chapter 6, looking closely at the guidelines on pages 121-124 and the "Common Weakness in Research Proposals" identified on pages 126-127. Be certain to explain why the problem is important (Fred's "so what?"). This assignment will be presented and discussed in detail at our fourth session. This written deliverable is due at our final session and must also be posted on the web.

Incompletes: in order to be fair to those students who complete the course in a timely manner, our policy is to reduce the grade of those students taking an incomplete by a letter grade for each semester, or portion thereof, that the incomplete is in effect.

Graded Events
Event Possible points per person
Quizzes on Readings 100 points
Dissertation Assignment 100 points
Library Assignment 100 points
Writing Improvement Assignment 100 points
Reverse Engineer an Idea Paper
from a DPS Dissertation
100 points
Total 500 points


Grade Scale
500 points = 100%
Grade Assigned Score Definition
A  93-100% 465 or more points Dominates the Material
A-  90-93% 450-464 points Masters the Material
B+  87-90% 435-449 points Good Understanding
with Flashes of Stellar Work
B  83-87% 415-434 points Good Understanding
B-  80-83% 400-414 points Aptitude for the Subject
Less than 80%
Incomplete/Failure
below 400 points Weak for Graduate Work