Author Archives: Marilyn Simon

Take your passion and make it happen


When conducting scholarly research, it is important to understand the role passion plays. Passion can help us stay motivated and focused, but it can also blind us to the truth. If we pick a topic to convince the world of the one true answer to a question we pose, we are probably asking the wrong question and writing a position paper rather than conducting scholarly research. To help you harness the passion in a scholarly way, come check out:

Ex Post Facto Research: Using Existing Data for your Dissertation Research


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By Marilyn Simon and Jim Goes


Are you tired of seeing good data that is not being put to good use? 

Do you want to avoid having to collect new data?

Are you looking for a quick and substantive path to dissertation completion?


If so, you should consider ex post facto research.

Ex post facto data is research data that has already been collected, but not necessarily amassed for specific research purposes. Ex post facto literally means from what is done afterwards. This can be viewed as an experimental research in reverse.

Instead of taking groups that are equivalent and subjecting them to different treatments to determine differences in the dependent variables (a classic approach in experimental or quasi-experimental research), an ex post facto approach begins with groups that are already different in some respect, and searches in retrospect for factors that brought about those differences. In this way, ex post facto research can transform a non-experimental research design into a pseudo-experimental study.

Want more details? See our recently updated recipe below on this underutilized and highly accessible approach to “harvesting” valuable data that has already been collected, and re-purposing it for a different study. Click the red link below to see more.


Ex Post Facto Research: Using Existing Data for Valuable Research


Choosing The Right Research Method


In 1988, I was at a luncheon with a few friends and colleagues.  We were all professionals who were progressing in our fields, but realizing that obtaining a doctorate would provide greater opportunities for advancement. We agreed that we wanted to be taken more seriously by others, wanted to do more research, teach full-time at a university, and take a leadership role in developing policy based on research. In addition we all wanted to become more intellectually engaged and affect positive social change. That day we made a pact to return to school and obtain our doctorates.

We all succeeded in fulfilling our pact. However, it took my colleagues 6 years longer than me to obtain their degrees.  Years later when we reflected on our doctoral journey, it was apparent that my colleagues had selected a “wrong methodology” for their dissertation, and I had selected a “correct methodology.”   One of the reasons I wrote Recipes was to help doctoral learners understand their research typology, which will likely help make the dissertation process a more palatable one.

Take the survey on Choosing your Research Method and see if this helps inform your research journey.