Research: Not for the Faint of Heart
IP&T professor mentors two of his students as they pursue research projects of their own
Research is not for the faint of heart. Typical projects can take anywhere from two months to more than a year, and the writing and publication processes take even longer. Instructional Psychology and Technology professor Randy Davies knows this firsthand. In addition to doing his own research, Davies serves as the chair of committees for dissertation projects and helps his students conduct and publish their own research.
Lyndell Lutes and Troy Cox are two of Davies’ students who have taken his advice and pursued research of their own. Both have produced articles that have been accepted by journals and will be published soon.
But how does someone go about doing that? Davies has advice for other novice researchers interested in getting their research published. “The first thing to do is make sure you have good research; good research will get published,” Davies said. “The second thing is to choose an appropriate journal, one that is interested in the kind of things you are [researching].”
Doing the Research
Cox, a graduate student in the IP&T program, studied a technique he calls elicited oral response, a way of testing students learning a second language and placing them into a language program. The technique involves the student hearing a sentence and being able to understand it and repeat it back. “We want to let people know that using automatic speech recognition is a viable way to do some testing in situations like that,” Cox said.
Lutes, also a graduate IP&T student, analyzed data to determine whether the “rumors” are true that spring and summer term classes offer lighter workloads than fall and winter classes. “The excitement at the prospect of working with [these] data and analyzing [them] and seeing what [they] would show was exciting because it had actual implications for classes and work going on here at BYU,” Lutes said. The result? Their findings showed that, generally speaking, the workload is the same whether you take a class during spring or summer term, or during fall or winter semester. Students are more likely to find greater differences in workload based on the instructor rather than when the class is taken.
Writing Up the Research and Finding the Right Journal
Lutes says doing the research is the easy part. “Rewriting the article for a non-BYU audience and finding the right journal was hard,” she explained. For help, she asked her doctoral committee for recommendations on which journal to use. Fortunately, on her first submission, Lutes’ article was accepted for publication.
For Cox, writing with a page limit was difficult. “It’s a little painful to cut out work you’ve written,” he said. Cox submitted his article and got feedback from the journal saying he needed to explain something more- an explanation he’d already written, but had to cut out.
Like Lutes and Davies, Cox advocates doing research and going through the processes of getting it published. Cox has presented findings at conferences for years, but explains that this method of dissemination is short lived. “The 20 people sitting in the room know about it, but there’s no permanence, so others can’t look and find the work you’ve done,” Cox said. “Getting published gives your work that permanence.”
Lutes’ work, “Comparing the Rigor of Compressed Format Courses to their Regular Semester Counterparts,” will be published in Innovative Higher Education later this year. Cox’s research will be published in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning.
Davies, who is a contributing author to both articles, will continue to conduct research and publish, but most of all, as he mentors new researchers.
September 24, 2012