## Archive for the ‘Primary Research’ Category

## Dr. Felix Bankole has accepted me as a doctoral student

I am very excited this morning. This past year, my doctoral studies hit some snags, as I was having troubles “seeing eye to eye” with my supervising professor within the College of Education at UNISA. And while the Dean of the College of Education was very understanding, she couldn’t find anyone within the the College of Education who could supervise my research. Most of this has to do with the fact that my research is interdisciplinary, and heavily relies upon data mining methods. So, I started looking at the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, and wrote to Dr. Bankole, and today I received an email that he will take me on!

## My Email to Dr. Nancy Kanwisher regarding Brain Metabolism Optimization for Weight Loss

I saw Dr. Nancy Kanwisher on a TED talk recently about neuroimaging, and I decided to email her about an idea I had for a long time about how we could use all the neuroimaging that has occurred to determine what brain activities burn more calories, and thus could be combined with physical exercise to enhance weight loss. And for those who are doubtful of this concept, one must only know that our brain uses about 1/5 of our calories. Here is my email to Dr. Kanwisher:

## The Introduction/Background to my Revised Doctoral Research Proposal

Today, I finished revising the first part of my doctoral research proposal, as there have been several underlying methodological and technological changes from the original proposal. While I know doctoral research is usually not of general interest, I am still going to be posting the sections of my revised proposal as I finish them, for those who are interested. Please feel free to ask questions if you have them, and I will do my best to explain statistical techniques or the technology, etc. that I’m talking about.

## My Email to my Appointed Mentor from UNISA

I was excited today to receive an email from Dr. Abraham Tlhalefang Motlhabane of UNISA who has been appointed to be my doctoral supervisor. Although, while Dr. Motlhabane has an excellent background in science education, I hope he will have sufficient background in statistical methods to help me get beyond my current limitations, or that maybe other UNISA professors can also help. After he emailed me, I wrote the following email, which I think is a good self-reflection of where I am on this project.

## A call for help about understanding Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) vs. Orthogonal Distance Regression (ODR) vs. Robust Regression

Just when I think I have my underlying mathematical knowledge sufficiently wrapped up to start to write Python code for my doctoral research, I find that there are new questions… In the current case, I was originally going to try and determine the strength of a linear or non-linear correlation by using Ordinary Least Squares, which is usually what is used to find the Coefficient of Determination. But when I started to look at regression functions in SciPy, I ran across Orthogonal Distance Regression (ODR), and when I started to try and research ODR more, I ran across the concept of robust regression. Now I’m trying to understand both of these concepts more, and I could use some help from someone who really understands this stuff, and can explain it in a more conceptual manner, so I can determine which statistical method is most appropriate for my research. Here is what I believe I understand so far:

## A “TED Talk” Explanation of my Doctoral Research

As I work to enter back into a doctoral program with UNISA, I have realized that I haven’t yet had a quick cohesive explanation of why it is so important to me to do the research I am doing. So here is that attempt to explain why I believe what I’m working on will make a significant contribution to the field of education, and beyond that, why it could be something that truly changes the world, and also how others can get involved. Who knows, maybe some day this will become a real TED Talk 🙂

## Thought of the Day: “When conducting research, often a week’s worth of work is ultimately used in only a single sentence or less”

When conducting research, often a week’s worth of work is ultimately used in only a single sentence or less. –Jacob J. Walker

As I shared recently, I completed my initial proposal for my doctoral research, and I realized that through this process of learning a lot more about “best fit”, linear regression, non-linear regression, etc. that often things that took me a long time to understand, would then quickly get summed up in a single sentence, with a citation to the earlier research. But without that work, I would not have understood the concept well enough to summarize it properly in that sentence.

## Compiling a Compendium of Countries

For the past several weeks I have restarted my work on my doctoral studies with the University of South Africa (UNISA). I have scrapped my past draft research proposal, because I was not sufficiently enthusiastic about what would be gained from them, based upon the time investment.

But, now I feel I am working on a thesis that will truly add something of significance to the field of Comparative Education and to the social sciences, in general. Plus, it will result in a data set that can be used in multiple manners afterwards by other researchers, and tools that other researchers can use. I am compiling an open Compendium of Countries, which will contain as much quantitative information I can get about every country of the world.

And then I’m going to see which characteristics of countries have correlations with each other. This I hope will find potential patterns that can be of benefit to recognize and understand. I will post more soon about what I’m learning as part of developing my research proposal.

## Thought of the Day: “Set your goals high and don’t stop til you get there”

Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there –Bo Jackson

## Minesweeper as a Technician Training Tool

Since at least 2007, I have used winning the game Minesweeper as an assessment to determine whether adult students were ready to join technician training classes that I have taught. And in 2010, I conducted a Minesweeper and Hypothetical Thinking Action Research & Pilot Study as my Master’s project, in which I found some initial indications that ones computer ability was correlated with their ability to play Minesweeper. (Although, the sample size of that pilot study was so small, it should not be considered as any form of proof)

And, as I prepare to start a new technician training program with Highlands Community Charter and Technical Schools, I am again using Minesweeper as a prerequisite assessment.