If I Could be more...


If I Could be more
Than what I am
If I Could be better
Than what I might become
Than maybe I Could be
Like the Great I Am
A God, A God, A God

Grasping tightly to brush, fingers
Dipping feathered ends into can
Slowly stroke the canvas of life
Colors and shapes and lines
Reimange the world
Hands paint pictures on grains of rice
I said, hands paint pictures on grains of rice.

Taking a stand and refusing to simply
Allow words to pepper speech
With meaningless nouns of repentance
Tongue takes action, driving verbs and reverbs
Past clinched teeth, until until
Lips tell the story in a single sentence
In a single sentence.

If I Could be more
Than what I am
If I Could be better
Than what I might become
Than maybe I Could be
Like the Great I Am
A God, A God, A God

If hands could design structures with just a spec of mud,
If fingers could Write a song using a single note,
If heart had enough compassion to
feed millions of hungry with a loaf of bread and fish,
prevent the trafficing of women and men,
eliminate terrorism and racism from consciousness
Remove the gap that exists between the rich and poor.

If I Could be more
Than what I am
If I Could be better
Than what I might become
Than maybe I Could be
Like the Great I Am
A God, A God, A God


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The Literature Review Puzzle

Scientific thinking is the means by which one views the world from various perspectives (scientific disciplines) to acquire new knowledge and increase understanding. Scientific research is a systematic and, in many cases, a fairly rigorous process of analyzing phenomena, asking questions, collecting data, and developing answers. Scientific research is often defined by the scientific method, which essentially describes the process by which scientific research is conducted. There are many models that describe the scientific method, but it typically consists of a few important steps:

Step 1: Observe what is going on in the world around you.
Step 2: Ask questions about what you observe (who, what, where, why, how).
Step 3: Create models that help conceptualize your observations and questions.
Step 4: Test your model for proper representation and prediction of the world you've observed.

The scientific method is a continuous and iterative process because the world is always changing and one simple model can never account for all possible variables or for all influencing factors.



An important activity that takes place within the scientific method is research to find out what is already known about the world being observed. At the point in the scientific method where questions are asked, the researcher begins to research the literature to find out if anyone else has asked the same or similar questions and what, if anything, was discovered. This research phase is often referred to as the literature review and consists of activities to review material across a spectrum of professionally written articles to personal blogs related to the topic. So let's break down the literature review process.

Like the scientific method, there are several models that describe how the literature review process works, but it essentially consists of activities that help frame the problem, collect research data, and identify patterns amongst the collected research data. The literature review begins with the research question, and from the research question, the primary topic or focus of the question is derived. In the book, The literature review: Six steps to success, Machi and McEvoy use the analogy of putting together a puzzle to describe the literature review process.

Once assembled, the puzzle displays a picture of something. Pictures might include images of various things. In the case of the picture above, the picture includes images of big rocks, clouds, trees, and water. Each image represents a concept. The tree is a concept. The water is a concept. The rocks are concepts. A concept is simply an idea that has definition and meaning. From the perspective of the world around us, concepts represent shared ideas. We all see the same things in the picture above, and we all define the images in the picture the same way.



In the literature review puzzle, framing the problem consists of activities to identify the topic, core concepts of the topic, and the boundaries (terms and ideas) of the topic. We can think of the topic as the picture itself. Framing the problem is a way to focus the lens of the camera, so we only get what we need in the picture.  The next step is collecting the research data. Here we search everything from professional research articles to personal blogs to discover what is already known about the topic and see what questions have already been asked. We then take all of this data, and we find the patterns in the literature. This helps identify the themes and the consistent thinking and the relationships that exist across the breadth of the literature. From here, the researcher continues with the scientific method. More on the scientific method is subsequent posts.

References
Machi, L. A.; McEvoy, B. T. (2016).  The literature review: Six steps to success (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.


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From Personal Ideas to Research Topics


Scientific research is the means by which one views the world from various perspectives (scientific disciplines) to acquire new knowledge, increase understanding, and improve society.  Scientific research, as approached from varying theoretical and conceptual frameworks, is influenced by a broad range of epistemological perspectives and is comprised of a broad range of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies that lead to the development of new knowledge that can be used to describe, explain, and predict future events. However, all research begins with personal interest and it is personal interest that provides the means to remain focused during what may be a long journey to uncover some small truth about the world around us.

Personal interest alone does not meet the standards of scientific research. We can convert a personal interest into a researchable topic by grounding the personal interest in the a specific field of study. The philosophy of science is comprised of communities of thought. These communities represent a group of people who share a way of viewing the world. This shared paradigm is comprised of various artifacts that include various theories, concepts, documentation, and other relevant content used by the members of a community to improve their application of a specific body of knowledge.



Over time, these communities develop philosophical traditions and it is within these philosophical traditions personal interest must be grounded. In order to move personal interest into a philosophical tradition, we must convert the language and concepts of personal interest using the terminology and ideas of philosophical tradition. The above graphic depicts how this should happen. The concept is based on ideas presented by Machi and McEvoy (2016) in their book The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success. Personal interest passes through four phases of conversion that include keyword linking, definitions, and relevant theories and theorists matching. Once complete, the result will be a researchable topic that adheres to scientific standards.

1. Keyword. Use a subject-area thesaurus to find the synonyms that link appropriate academic terminology to the keywords of the interest statement.

2. Terminology. Using the results of the thesaurus search, consult subject-area dictionaries to determine if the definition of the terms selected fits your needs.

3. Theories. Using the newly found terminology, consult the subject-area handbooks for theories relating to the topics of the academic field. Subject-area handbooks can be organized in three ways.

  1. Chronological discussion of relevant theories as they evolves.
  2. Topically organized theories.
  3. Current discussions, hot topics, and emerging theoretical considerations.

4. Theorists. Using the keywords and terms, consult the subject-area encyclopedias for an overview of the subject, followed by a detailed discussion of relevant theories, relevant contributors and authors for further study.

References
Machi, L. A.; McEvoy, B. T. (2016).  The literature review: Six steps to success (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.


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