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SeriousSillyPutty last won the day on October 6 2012

SeriousSillyPutty had the most liked content!

About SeriousSillyPutty

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    St. Louis, MO
  • Interests
    Physics! Informal science education; outreach education; museums & science centers; bike riding, storytelling, NPR
  • Program
    PhD in science education

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  1. Thanks for the lead, busybeinganxious! I'll pass it on to my classmates, too.
  2. Hi folks! I'm taking a class called "Children of Immigrants", and part of it involves surveying (you guessed it) children of immigrants. This includes those who were born in the U.S. with a least one immigrant parent, and those who immigrated themselves with their parents. It is not scientific (and not for publication -- no IRB approval), but I need at least ten people to complete the survey by next weekend. There is one page of general questions, and one page asking about education. Would any of you be willing to do so? If so, will you let me know here, so that I know if I need to start "knocking on doors" and asking individuals? Thanks! Here's the link: http://goo.gl/forms/7hr4qWgSI7
  3. I had that issue with a job... I think the job title was a remnant from before the department restructured or something, because it was really misleading. I think I just told my boss what title I was using on my resume, in case anything came up. In your case, since it's accurate but a bit wishy-washy, perhaps you could do both: Mentor/ Assistant Student Advisor -- or something like that.
  4. My strategy has been to go with food. There was a professor who met with me over the summer regularly on his own time and worked through some content-specific material with me, so I made him cookies. Since I took (a little time) to make them, it seemed like an appropriate way to thank him for his time, without getting too extravagant. If you're not into baking food might include something you couldn't get from WalMart, like some good local beer (if you know they drink beer) or maybe gourmet cupcakes or something. Otherwise, I like Bethadone's idea of the quirky presents that you wouldn't get for just anyone. Are you familiar with ThinkGeek.com? They have lots of nerdy office stuff. I love my beaker coffee mug, and they used to sell Swiss army knife USB drives, though I haven't looked for those in years. Depending on your relationship, if you wanted something a little more professional you could do a donation type thing. For Christmas, I used to "buy" people in my office something from Heifer International ( http://www.heifer.org/ ), then give them something to go with it. So, once I bought the department a sheep (translation: I donated the cost of a sheep to Heifer, and they gave a sheep to someone somewhere who could use one) and then also gave everyone wool socks to open. I imagine Clean Water charities have something similar.
  5. My stats class didn't really try to teach us how to use any program, but did examples in SPSS. Personally, I would have liked to learn how to use R, because it's free but not intuitive enough for me to learn on my own, having never learned something without a GUI. So I say do R, then you can do your work on your own computer, and learn a program that you can use again when you're not a student, without having to pay an arm and a leg.
  6. Thanks for the insights -- and sorry for the delayed response; I thought I had GC set up to notify me of updates, but apparently not. Anyway, PsychGirl's assessment is essentially right, although the summer internship location isn't associated with a university. The general purpose of the internship is help with the educational programs -- so while it could include visitor studies, it most likely will revolve more around actually teaching or designing curricula. Part of the purpose of any internship is to see how things are done in a given situation, and since the situation is pretty unique, my adviser suggested that I may be able to pull some research out of the experience to contribute to a future publication. So it's not that I'm trying to cheat the system -- I do intend to learn broadly useful information from my experience -- it's just that it seems like such an obvious part of the internship experience. And, if I want to do something that's not an obvious part of the internship experience, then I would need to get clearance from the people doing the internship, and it didn't seem appropriate to talk to them about a side project before learning what my real duties will be. Anyway, I've been in such a whirlwind getting ready for the move that I wasn't able to finish the IRB ahead of time. I did call the IRB office and talk to someone, and he said that for exempt status it should only take 2-3 weeks for approval. I meet my summer supervisor tomorrow, so this week I should be able to broach the topic and get a clear insight into what he things is and is not kosher. Still -- if anyone has examples of Research Methods or Analysis sections of IRB forms for participant observation style research in something other than ethnography, that would be awesome.
  7. I'm guessing this is late... but how did it go? When I am really sleep deprived, I find it increasingly difficult to speak in coherent sentences... I get this dull headache in my temples, and have to work harder to find the words I want -- so I will always opt for sleep. But I can see your dilemma.
  8. Thanks for the insights. It's good to know that these things are confusing for most newbies. Because originally I thought it was a small thing, I just talked to the grad student adviser when I started the form and found I needed an official faculty adviser... but it's been awhile since she's done an IRB, and hasn't had to do one with the new system. I'll try contacting the IRB office directly I think, in addition to getting help from the adviser as best I can long distance. Our system also seams more geared toward biomed research, but since I'm applying for IRB exempt status, it provides a template for a participant information sheet rather than a consent form. A (non-academic) friend suggested I wait until I get to the internship and know more of how it will work and what I can do. I have a three-month internship. I like the idea of getting my bearings then writing something after I know what I'm talking about, even if the research period had to be shorter. I'm sure it varies school to school, but do you have any sense of how fast the turnaround could be on an IRB? Thanks!
  9. I give the tragic account of my current situation in detail on the research forum: ... but I wanted to see if any education people had insights directly in our field. The short version is that I haven't been involved in any research yet, but the department head recommended I use my internship this summer as research through being a "participant observer," and recording everything I observe as I participate in the internship. Seemed simple enough, but I have to fill out an IRB. I don't have any experience in this, and it seems like a lot doesn't apply to my situation but I have to make it apply to fill out the form. I think I can apply for IRB exempt status because it's all taking place in a public/educational setting. I'll be observing the other educators, so it will be adults. Any tips for doing IRBs in this field? Thanks.
  10. Oh good! My friends' experiences, coupled more recently with some comments by professors, have gotten me pretty disillusioned. Glad it's isolated.
  11. The short version: Anyone have tips for know good examples of IRBs for "participant observer" research? Extended version: I have an internship this summer with the education/outreach department of a big physics lab (woohoo!). They give a smalls subsistence allowance, but not enough to actually pay for travel/housing, so I asked my department how I would go about getting summer funding from the University, like students do when they stick around for the summer. (This is a PhD program, but people aren't in research groups, and do all sorts of odd things while taking classes.) The department head helped me out and said that I needed to present the internship as research with me as a "participant observer", which would involve writing down everything I did and observed. It seemed like as stretch to me, but he suggested it, and he knows his business. He said I would just have to fill out an IRB. I had never heard of an IRB, but looked it up and surmised that it was paperwork to ensure I wasn't doing sadistic psychological experiments on people. I applied for summer funding, received some, but got bogged down in coursework -- not to mention visa applications and travel arrangements for this internship -- and didn't get to the IRB until the semester ended a week ago. On our IRB system website, it looks like there are three pages: One for a research summary, one for demographics, and one for listing who the researchers are. This is manageable, and I got help with the first page. Turns out that there are several more pages asking for way more detail on pages you can't see from the home screen. Again, if I knew about IRBs, this would be obvious, but this is all a whole new world to me. Most of the questions didn't seem to apply, because I wasn't collecting participants or anything, I'm just planning to do an internship! Plus, I'm applyig for exempt status (which applies to regular educational activities and public observation) so it seems that much more odd to fill out all this stuff about recruiting participants and such. This should have been submitted forever ago, so I just filled it out to the best of my abilities. One thing required a department head signature, so I emailed him asking for it. Big mistake. Here's what he wrote: "Who is the faculty sponsor for this project? I fear that as written it will not pass IRB. You must have clear study procedures. A methods section is essential information as well as analysis descriptions. Do you have a protocol for gaining participant approval. I can not approve this unless you have a fully articulated study plan and a faculty sponsor. Have you seen examples of IRB requests?" He's saying in the most gracious way possible that what I have is B.S. and I really shouldn't be trying to get him to sign something so obviously not ready for prime time. And it's true: I didn't have a clear protocol for gaining approval, because with exempt status I got the sense I didn't need it. I didn't have much for methods and analysis, because I didn't think there was any method and analysis beyond doing the internship and writing everything down -- because that's the sense I had gotten from him when we talked originally. So now I look lazy, I made the grad student adviser look neglectful (after she agreed to be faculty supervisor at the last minute when I learned -- from the form -- that I needed one), I took up the department chair's time on stuff I should have run by adviser first, and have generally made a mess for everyone. Oh. And I'm leaving town for over three months in 23 hours. Now I'm trying to do damage control and would appreciate any and all insights. (Unless your answer is to google my question... I figured that one out; I just thought some actually human beings might point me to the good stuff more quicky.) - I'm going for an internship, and have presented myself in this light to my future summer supervisors. What is acceptable "research" to do under these circumstances, and what kind of procedure is expected. - Do others have examples of IRB forms filled out for similar projects, that aren't primarily designed as research anyway? - It seems a lot of the IRB questions really don't apply to the day-to-day observations I'd be making. If I try to make things more formal (claim I'll be doing interviews and such) then it seems I might lose the chance of IRB exempt status, but if I don't make things more formal, how can I create a procedure? What kind of privacy protocols do I need for something that seems so public? It's extra hard because I have a very limited idea of what the internship will involve... the whole reason I'm going is to learn more about what they do there. Thanks for reading my angst!
  12. If there's nothing like an essay to re-grade, I don't think you'll have much luck... and I don't think one grade will make much of a difference long-term anyway, especially if you're not going to grad school for German. You could perhaps ask to go over what you were scored down for and then retake the oral, but I don't think you'll get very far. A friend of mine is a TA, and a kid complained that he did better than other people but got a worse grade (he didn't take into account how different portions of the grad were weighted). When the TA said the grade was legit, he went behind her back and emailed the prof, who of course forwarded the email to the TA, who told him the same thing as before, but was ticked off this time for his bad move. He then replied that it was "an obvious displace of corruption." Seriously? Weighting that was outlined in the syllabus since the beginning of the year is corruption? What an entitled douche! Don't be that guy.
  13. I've said this elsewhere on the forum but I'll put it here too: Doing stuff with people who like me regardless of school stuff has kept me sane. Granted, this was not only easier but unavoidable to some extent because I didn't move for grad school, but I think it is worth being intentional about finding something other than grad school to spend time on. In my experience, "work expands to fill the space allotted." So if I say, "I'm going to spend all day Saturday writing this paper", I will truly spend all day at the office, but I will also spend about 3 hours worth of 20-minute chunks checking email, reading news stories, going on facebook, getting snacks etc. That's three hours I could have spent doing something more intentional. Do something that you can justify to yourself, and preferably something you can justify to others. I have no idea what combat athlete training involves (sounds physically exerting, and thus scary to me!), but if you can do it with someone then you can do social time and and a hobby together and kill two birds with one stone. For me (maybe because I'm naturally an introvert, and have to be intentional about such things) if I do stuff with someone else then I can say, "I was investing in this relationship, and a friendship lasts longer than a semester, so it is as worthy of investment as a class is." Other things are also worth investing in, I just find people the easiest to justify to myself. Religious or not, I also support the idea of a "Sabbath" -- a weekly day where you do not do school stuff. I don't think I would have had the discipline to do it were there not the spiritual component to it and faith that God would "work things out", but I did have a non-religious friend who also declared a day of no school work as part of her mental health strategy. Once that is a "rule" then you don't have to justify individual activities done on that day. Granted, for me I still ended up doing exciting things like laundry and grocery shopping, but it also kept me from skirting out of volunteering or avoiding time with friends. My line of thought would be, "I don't have time for this, I'm really busy with school; I'll just have to call and tell her I can't do it this week. But, self, you promised you wouldn't do school work on Sunday anyway. If you don't tutor, you'll just be doing laundry, which will end up being Facebook time. Suck it up. Go be with kids who appreciate you."
  14. As others have said, it depends on the state. However, some states post the driver's guide book online. This includes everything you will be tested on for the written test you need to get a permit. Here's the one for Illinois: http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a112.pdf Also, FYI, many states have the DMV (department of motor vehicles) but some (Michigan, I know) just runs everything directly through the Secretary of State offices. In the U.S., almost all cars are automatic transmissions, where I know it didn't used be that way in Europe (is that still true?). Learning to drive a manual / "stick shift" is a good skill internationally (and can give you options for cheaper cars here in the States), but learning an automatic is easier. I also think it would be easier to learn to drive on one side of the road and stick with it, but I'm not speaking from experience.
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