Thursday, September 22, 2005

a moment to blog

Hello to everyone, as I start to feel finally that I have a handle on the report of research and have a moment to post something to the blog. I found the tabulation of data in Excel to be a very valuable exercise and have really learned a lot by looking for ways that the different information can be analyzed. I started with some of the obvious simple formulas related to my data such as simply getting a percentage of the respondents who answered any particular category of the 4 possible responses to any question. Doing that successfully gave me more ideas. For example, during the discussion section, I wanted to say how many technology types were used by at least half of the respondents. Since my sample size wasn't that large (12 surveys returned) with only 13 different types of technology, I was tempted to just count manually by looking at the different charts. Having learned how to use the "countif" function in class I decided to attempt using it and having Excel do the counting. I highlighted the cells that were pertinent, started the function and used the criteria "countif" the numerical value in the cell was ">50%" and hit the "enter" key. A number appeared in the cell. I did a quick visual count and realized I was one short. The figures on the tables revealed that one of the technologies was used by 50% of the teachers. I quickly understood that I needed to revise my formula and tried at first to do an "or" statement; something like "= or >50%" but got "bubkis" (nothing for the non-Yiddush speakers). Putting my years of critical thinking and math classes to work, I tried the much simpler ">49%" and had my "Eureka" moment. I must say it was quite gratifying. I would like to encourage my classmates to experiment with using the formulas, if only for an academic exercise. (I guess at some point I'll have to find out how to write the equation using = and > together) We won't always have small sample sizes to work with.

Finally, even though I first thought that there wouldn't be all that much to write about in the discussion section from such a small survey and sample size, as I started to look at each chart and understand the implications of the data, I found quite a bit to comment on. I'm pleasantly surprised.

6 comments:

Learning4Life said...

Kudos Barry! I had a larger sample size to my surprize. I was able to plot the information on a graph but had a laspe in memory on how to interpret the data. Well at least you had a "Eureka" moment. Hopefully, I will have one also. Thanks for sharing your results-it's encouraging.

terri said...

Barry,

Really, what can I say about you. I enjoy reading your comments, and I look forward to all the updates that you send me about possible sites. Every last one of the sites that you have referred me to, has been a bonus! This is my last class, and I wanted to say thank you. It has been great knowing you.

Yacinemay said...

Barry, didn't I tell you that you would not only get a good understanding of this process but that you would also enjoy it? I am not the high achiever, you are.

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