Personality Traits and Psychometric Testing

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By Marilyn Simon and Jim Goes

Personality traits, characteristics, and behaviors have been of longstanding interest in a variety of fields within social science.  Psychologists have understandably dominated the field in understanding personality, but personality and psychometric testing are popular in a wide array of disciplines, including business management and education.  Employers routinely subject potential employees to a battery of personality and psychological tests in an effort to identify those individuals who are most likely to fit the needs of the job and organization.  These are popular topics for dissertations, particularly in management fields.  Yet many students do not appreciate the differences between the two dominant theories of personality.

To help understand these two very different models of personality, and how they differ, we have added a new resource to our library on personality traits and psychometric testing, which can be found in our guides, tools, and worksheets page, and at the link below.

Personality Traits and Psychometric Testing

 

Qualitative is NOT the new Quantitative

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By Marilyn Simon and Jim Goes

Despite the many positive aspects of qualitative research, there is a lack of objectivity and generalizability inherent in the qualitative paradigm. The word generalizability is defined as the degree to which the findings can be generalized from the study sample to the entire population (Polit & Hungler, 1991, p. 645). While qualitative studies are not generalizable, and should never claim to be generalizable, they have other redeeming features that make them highly useful in social science research [see resources listed below that are available on dissertationrecipes.com.]

We find that dissertation students are sometimes confused over when and when not to claim their results are generalizable. Although the ability to generalize applies only to certain types of quantitative methods, transferability can apply in varying degrees to most types of scholarly research. Unlike generalizability, transferability does not involve broad claims, but invites readers to make connections between elements of a study and their own experience.  Transferability can be enhanced by doing a thorough job describing the research context and the assumptions that were central to the study. The person who wishes to ‘transfer’ the results to a different context is responsible for making the judgment of how applicable the transfer is.

On a similar note, dependability is to qualitative research what is reliability to quantitative research; and trustworthiness is to qualitative research as validity is to quantitative research. Your results cannot be dependable if they are not also credible. If you are doing a qualitative study, you need to explain how you will, or did, assure trustworthiness, dependability, and credibility for the data collected.

If you plan to create your own qualitative instrument to be used in structured or semi-structured interviews, or you use open-ended surveys, you will need to make certain that the instrument does what it purports to do, and allows you to answer the research questions and resolve the specific problem you frame. It is important to note that the human person (usually the researcher) is the primary collection instrument. It is the researcher or a research assistant that gathers words (from interviews or open-ended surveys) or pictures, videos, archival documents, etc. and then analyzes them inductively, focusing on the meaning of the data. This is the very reason that qualitative results are not generalizable, because they are subject to human differences and error in interpretation.   

Make sure you check out these related resources on dissertionrecipes.com:

Validity and Reliability in a Qualitative Study

Paradigm Assumptions

Qualitative Research

Analysis of Qualitative Data

Survey/Interview Validation Rubric for Expert Panel

 

Polit, D., & Hungler, B. (1991). Nursing research: Principles and methods. New York: JB Lippincott.

What is a Scholarly Source?

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A wise professor once told me that a key to a successful literature review and an influential doctoral study is selecting credible, on point sources to build the study.  We talk a lot about “scholarship” in doctoral level research, but what does that really mean?  How does one select scholarly sources that are credible, important, and useful in building the case for the research, and in making sense of the results?

There is often confusion among doctoral students about what constitutes an acceptable scholarly source.  We regularly see proposal drafts that reference sources such as Wikipedia, Dictionary.com, or even postings from weblogs as support for the research.   These are not scholarly sources, they are not peer reviewed, and they often consist of personal opinions or “common knowledge” masquerading as scholarly sources.

The most recent addition to our library of resources on dissertation writing goes right to the heart of what makes a source scholarly.  To read all about scholarly sourcing, click the link below.

What is a Scholarly Source? 

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