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I need help organizing my notes (working on dissertation proposal)


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Hi all,


I am trying to put together a few dissertation proposals about abstract-length. Can I please get some feedback on this one; especially I need help for making it well connected and relevant to my discipline (counseling psychology) and describing methodology and stats in a way that makes sense before turning in to faculty. There are some either/or in there because they are things I would like to discuss with faculty or am open to input on, but please if you have feedback on how to better differentiate between options in there include that feedback too! Thank you so much!!


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to evaluate if technologies that help older adults stay connected are better accepted by residents and CNA’s (certified nursing assistants) in Green Homes (or culture change models) than in traditional nursing homes.


Method: Gather demographic information for elderly and CNA’s (certified nursing assistants) in a traditional nursing home and in a culture change facility (like the six local Green Homes). Provide a training about universal design (available to all) technology like in here: http://www.eldercare.gov/ELDERCARE.NET/Public/Resources/Brochures/docs/N4A_Tech_Brochure_P06_high.pdf and therapeutic aspects of using such media. After this training (in-person workshop so elderly and CNA’s can practice), collect data (either qualitative and/or quantitative) on willingness to use or on patterns of actual use of the technology in the different settings. A pre-test, post-test experimental design can be implemented to test whether participants in Green Homes or traditional settings are more likely to use/support technology after the training; follow up interview questions after the data is collected can also be utilized by using a mixed methods research design (Hanson et al. 2005), like through a sequential explanatory design (Ivankova et al. 2006) to better understand why residents and/or CNA’s are more comfortable using or supporting the use of technology interventions in one type of facility (traditional nursing home) than the other (culture change model). Several demographic variables will be analyzed to see if they are predictive of openness to use or support the use of technology as well.


Support/Significance: The Green House Project of nursing homes aims to embrace ‘‘smart house’’ technology by using “a wide range of prosthetic, communication, and educational devices, including interactive television to bring remote family into video contact with elders,” however, the implementation of technology in the Green Homes has been relatively slow (Rabig et al. 2006). These technologies can be used therapeutically to combat loneliness and stay meaningfully engaged. Increasingly older adults utilize the internet, social media and cell phones to communicate and receive information and Counseling Psychologists are integrating technology interventions into their practice more and more. Connecting with people outside the residence may be particularly important in these home-like settings that only house up to 12 residents as there are also less opportunities to make friends in these environments.


I could really use some help making this into an abstract proposal I can turn in; and preparing for questions faculty might have for me about it.


Publication bibliography

Hanson, William E.; Creswell, John W.; Clark, Vicki L. Plano; Petska, Kelly S.; Creswell, J. David (2005): Mixed methods research designs in counseling psychology. In Journal of Counseling Psychology 52 (2), pp. 224–235. DOI: 10.1037/0022-0167.52.2.224 .

Ivankova, Nataliya V.; Creswell, John W.; Stick, Sheldon L. (2006): Using mixed-methods sequential explanatory design: From theory to practice. In Field Methods 18 (1), pp. 3–20.

Rabig, Judith; Thomas, William; Kane, Rosalie A.; Cutler, Lois J.; McAlilly, Steve (2006): Radical Redesign of Nursing Homes: Applying the Green House Concept in Tupelo, Mississippi. In The Gerontologist 46 (4), pp. 533–539.

Edited by Connolly
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I'm in social-health psychology, btw.


My first thought was that this doesn't sound exactly like a study to compare residents and CNAs in green homes and traditional nursing homes; it sounds like a 2x2 design, in which you are investigating 1) the impact of an intervention - the workshop - on people's willingness to use technologies and 2) the differences between the two types of homes.  And actually, your method seems more geared towards testing the effectiveness of the workshop than the differences between the two homes.  I think you need to emphasize in your methods how you plan to compare the two types of homes.


Also, is the workshop/intervention necessary?  Are the homes that you intend to use already equipped with these technologies?  A simple way to do this is to adminster surveys at both types of homes with questions about attitudes and use of these technologies and compare them.  A more complicated but more internally valid way is to design some kind of experiment that requires the use of the technologies in both kinds of homes to do some sort of task, and compare the two homes.


But only do the 2x2 design if you are actually interested in BOTH the effect of the workshop/training AND the differences between the homes, and in order to do this you'd need to have a control group that didn't do the workshop.


I also don't know what stage you are in of proposal writing, but your advisors will likely be interested in more details on the methods of this study.  What does this training look like - are you going to design it yourself or is there an existing one?  What specific technology use are you evaluating?  (The more technologies you examine, the more complicated this gets.)  What do you mean by accepted?  Do you want to actually measure acceptability (like, do the residents actually want to use it) or do you want to measure outcomes (like does it reduce loneliness, depression, increase engagement)?  Or both?  What do you mean by demographic variables?


You should also include some hypotheses.  What are  your main research questions, and what do you expect is going to happen?


I also find myself wanting more in your significance.  I think that should be moved up before the method, first of all.  Second of all, I cognitively have a difficult time making the jump from "implementation of technology in green homes has been slow" to "we need to investigate this."  Is there any indication in the literature that this may be due to lack of acceptance by CNAs and residents of the homes?  What is it that makes you think it might be due to attitudes/acceptability instead of something else, like costs?

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