Question Mark

I attended a seminar today by David Whetten in which he gave three key suggestions for making scholarly research more easily publishable by making it more systematic, by learning to think systematically.
Before I forget them, I want to record his three suggestions here, and then over the next few weeks ask the questions I need to in applying his suggestions to the main topic of this blog: the relationship between culture, instruction and technology.

His three suggestions were as follows:
1. Because writing for publication is like joining a conversation in progress at an academic conference reception (example from Anne Huff), listen to a topic that sounds interesting, join as a listener (enough to understand the themes, terms, context, actors), and then propose your “unique” contribution. Implication: Goal of scholarship is to add to scholarly conversation (change the mind of experts) NOT craft scholarly soliloquies (e.g. “I learned a lot…”). You start this by selecting the 3-7 best articles that represent the current conversation in that specific field/topic area, and then tape them above your computer.

2. Lay a solid foundation for dissertation to make sure it is systematic and worth all the effort in the following years: Meeting #1 – Discuss only the research question (Why this question, why these concepts, why these relationships); Meeting #2 – Discuss only 2-3 page outline (Study, Rationale, Methods, Conclusions); Meeting #3 – Discuss formal research proposal. But DON’T start with the formal research proposal.

3. Use graphical modeling to understand the context of the research. Begin by making two models reflecting the context/purpose of the project. The first is a BEFORE picture, the current conception/ explanation of X. The second is an AFTER picture, the expected conception with your added contribution/ explanation of X. Include these elements in the model: What (Constructs), How (Relationships), Why (Conceptual Assumptions), and Who/When/Where (Contextual Assumptions).

Dave Whetten made it clear that these suggestions refer only to one of many types of scholarship, and that perhaps the most exciting type of paradigm breaking research will not happen in this way. But his main point is that a large part, if not a majority of scholarship from PhD students and young faculty members should be this kind of systematic thinking in paying the price of understanding and then joining existing conversations and adding insight and value through your particular contribution.

Key Articles

by Clint on 10/23/06 In response to suggestion #1, it is difficult to decide which the most important writings in an area are, but here are a few of what I think are key articles/books in this conversation:

Aykin, N. (2005). Usability and internationalization of information technology. Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.

Hofstede, G. (1991). Cultures and organizations. Software of the mind. London: McGraw-Hill.

Neuliep, J. W (2006: 3rd edition). Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach.
Ong, W. (2002). Orality and Literacy: The technologizing of the world. New York:

Nisbett, R. (2003). The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners think differently…and why. Free Press. ISBN 0-7432-5535-6

1st, 2nd, and 3rd Annual Symposia on LDS Intercultural Communications and Language Concerns, 1973, 1974, 1975.

Identity by Joseph Shautes, Hiro Tsujioka, and Miyuki Lida, ISBN: 0-19-438574-4 (with student CD); for the teacher: 0-19-437972-8. By Oxford University Press, 2004. Has excellent combination of exercises, audio files, information for both students & teachers on identity, values, culture shock, culture in language, individualism, politeness, communicating styles, diversity, social change, and the global community.

Article in AECT’s TechTrends Nov./ Dec. 2003 (Vol.47 No.6): “Culturally Sensitive Problem Solving Activities for Multi-National Corporations” by Kezia Arya, Anoush Margaryan, and Betty Collis, pp. 40-49. This is a guide of how researchers in the Shell Corporation worked with ethical belief systems, cross-cultural perspectives and methods, culturally sensitive problem solving, and effective ways to carry out solutions. Has many good tables that can be adapted for your projects.