This is a suggested Journal topic for this week:
Write a Journal entry on how you are organizing and tracking the data you are collecting from the data collection tool test.
Make sure you format it the same way as the sample journal template attached.
Template and Example by Dr. Craig Barton
Name: Craig Barton Week No: 1
Journal Topic Theme: Think about your dissertation topic, and trace the journey you
and your topic have taken to get to this point in your studies. How did you choose your
topic? How did you come to choose a qualitative approach for your Dissertation?
Thoughts and Observations – Story My thinking processes
Reflecting back to mid 1990s, I was somewhat
desperate to come up with a topic for my
dissertation. I wanted something that I could gain
access to while working full-time (and overtime)
as an engineering professional. I wanted
something that allowed me to combine my
computer technology skills, my interest in
research, and my interests in educational
technology and instruction for adult learners.
My thinking here was distracted by my urgency to
find a topic and my feelings of less than when I
compared myself to others in the same program
who seemed to have no trouble identifying a
substantive topic. Self-effacing and comparative
self-assessment created a very negative mind-set
I happened upon an article by a major oil
company that addressed their discovery of
marketing cost savings by using a segmentation
analysis software tool. They had mailed out a
marketing advertisement to their customer base
and had gotten about a 5 percent response. When
they applied the segmentation tool to the
demographics of their customer base, it identified
about 15 percent of customers as candidates.
Next time they sent mailing only to those
customers and got 80 percent response. So, one
use of the tool saved them ten times the cost of
buying the software.
I was intrigued by the idea that a software tool
could yield such tenfold return on investment. I
am drawn to unique opportunities that might
provide high return on investment.
I did a library search on the tool and segmentation
analysis techniques. What I found that surprised
me was the authors of the segmentation tool
(CHAID) authors were social science researchers
at University of Michigan during the early 1960s.
Computer costs, time on task, and other computer
processing demands were extensive in those
days and thus they did not develop their ideas.
I felt so enthused that social science researchers
were the authors of the CHAID tool. I wondered
why they did not continue their inquiry? I
wondered what might be possible using the 1990s
desktop computer technology available to me?
Asking these questions stimulated my thinking
These researchers were interested in what value
the demographic data from survey instruments.
They literally asked the probing question What
significant data might be gleamed from the
demographics on survey instruments as relates to
the topic theme?
I felt aligned with these researchers and decided
to pick up the inquiry where they left off!
Segmentation analysis techniques (during 1960s
1990s) seemed to capture the attention of the
business marketing industry who had the funds to
support the computer costs. I wondered why more
social science researchers did not pursue
I asked myself the question How might
segmentation analysis tools be of value to
research efforts in my area of study? By asking
questions to myself that seemed obvious from my
development? I did additional library searches and
could not find anything that linked social science
research to segmentation analysis during similar
literature reviews, I began framing a topic of
At the time, few (if any) committees would allow
qualitative or mixed methods research designs.
Even in the 1990s, my institution seemed stuck in
the positivist quantitative paradigm for dissertation
I considered how to define a dissertation project
and how to language it knowing the potential
resistance from committee members in that
I crafted a dissertation project that included mixed
methods, used secondary data (existing
dissertations from the school), linked application
of segmentation analysis for social science
research contribution to my school, included
comparative and evaluative assessments,
included purposive sampling by the Dean of the
school, and potentially offered a new method for
front-end exploratory research.
I was intrigued by thinking how I might configure a
dissertation project that addressed concerns in
advance and linked values of the school, program,
chair, and committee members. I likened myself to
a chef tasked with preparing a stew into which
each committee member wanted to include their
own special ingredient (whether it added value to
the taste or not).
During 1997, I was so enthusiastic with finding a
topic that held unusual potential (and met my
considerations) the journey toward dissertation. I
completed and defended (school required oral
defense of comps, proposal, and final
dissertation) my proposal in six weeks. I collected
data and conducted analysis and completed my
dissertation manuscript in eight weeks. I defended
successfully December 4, 1997. I walked on
December 17, 1997 although my dissertation was
dated for the following mid-year graduation.
I continually crafted positive and compelling selfreflective
questions that pulled me forward into my
project. Actually, my dissertation project journey
then seemed both joyful and mostly effortless.
Barton, C. D. (1998). An investigation of segmentation
analysis modeling as a knowledge discovery
technique for the planning and the design of
instructional technology research. (Ph.D.),
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.
(ProQuest 304488470, Dissertation Number
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