This special guest post in our ongoing QS 101 series comes to us from Dan Gartenberg, our great QS-Washington DC meetup organizer, and his fellow graduate students in the Human Factors and Applied Cognition program at George Mason University. While these are legitimate concerns, QS is science.  And if we keep in mind the scientific method when conducting QS research, this strengthens the validity of our QS projects. When your manipulation affects the likelihood of whether or not you respond to the measure of interest (i.e.
When over the course of a study you have changed in other ways that have confounded the impact of the variables in your experiment. In QS our goal is to actually change and mature.  In our QS project the intention was to lose weight and the mechanism was only as important as it was necessary to understand and use in order to promote our increased weight loss.
In science we usually compare a treatment group to a control group, but what if the treatment is not much different from the control? When the variable that you manipulate interacts with other variables that explain the outcome. When the control group is aware that they are not getting the treatment and in turn seeks out other alternatives. This intuitive premise from science is the basic idea that at the extremes of a behavior you are increasingly likely to gravitate towards the mean.
QSers should be particularly sensitive to this because people frequently try to improve on a behavior when they are at an all time low or an all time high. And these are just some of the threats to validity that QSers can consider to improve their projects.
This entry was posted in QS 101, Uncategorized and tagged dan gartenberg, QS 101, qstop, science, scientific method.
If you don’t have access to online journals, I may be able to provide you with a copy. We recently started a program to invite QS Toolmakers to contribute directly to funding our events. Not sure how good you are at taking the knowledge you have about personal finances and putting it into action? If you can find the means to motivate yourself to begin implementing the financial knowledge you already have, you have the foundation reach any financial goal you desire. If you are going to throw out random percentages, you need to be able to back them up or at least cite the source. A professor of cognitive science argues that the world is nothing like the one we experience through our senses.
He puts that approach on display every year at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Partly that’s because the average person will probably not die in an automobile accident. A pastor and a rabbi talk about kids, poop, and tearing down the patriarchy in institutional religion. No wonder there’s not much theology preoccupied with weird-colored poop and the best way to weather tantrums.
But when employers recently named the most important elements in hiring a recent graduate, college reputation, GPA, and courses finished at the bottom of the list. The event, known in the United States as the fall of Saigon and conjuring images of panicked Vietnamese trying to crowd onto helicopters to be evacuated, is celebrated as Reunification Day here in Hanoi. The sociology of knowledge – the idea that our ability to know the world is influenced by the social and cultural context in which we have conceptualized the world – was very appealing to me. Social construction, at least as presented by Berger and Luckmann, is the application of the sociology of knowledge to everyday life, including how we come to have a sense of our selves.
The sociology of knowledge helped me understand why some people are considered normal (and thus socially desirable) and others are not. Once out of the student environment, I was content to live alone in a cabin in the woods on a pond with my dog. After reading Berger and Luckmann, I felt much more comfortable with a life that failed to conform to social expectations.
To be fair to Hacking, I should give the full context of “a truly liberating idea” (from his book with the aptly punctuated title The Social Construction of What?). Social construction has in many contexts been a truly liberating idea, but that which on first hearing has liberated some has made all too many others smug, comfortable, and trendy in ways that have become merely orthodox.
Just as the overly broad and enthusiastic application of evolution, genetics, or neuroscience to human behavior can create a backlash (on neuroscience, see Alissa Quart’s op-ed on brain porn in the New York Times), the more outre elements of social construction brought disrepute to perfectly valid and valuable ideas.
I was born into, and have lived my life in, a social context that has created my sense of self — my personal identity, personality, subjectivity, sense of agency, the thoughts and feelings I have about myself, the assumptions I make about who I am.
This is the dichotomy I am most interested in: is there a difference when feedback is given asynchronously, in a written form, or when given synchronously, as spoken word face to face?
Do the comments differ in the two modes of peer feedback, and are they used differently in later drafts? Hewett (2000) looked at differences in peer feedback between an oral, face to face environment and an electronic, text-based environment.
Cartney 2010 held a focus group of ten first-year students in a social work course who had engaged in a peer feedback exercise in which essays and comments on essays, as well as follow up discussion, was to take place over email.
Do comments given synchronously through text-based chats differ from those given orally, face to face? Liu & Sadler 2003  contrasted two modes of peer feedback in two composition classes, one of which wrote comments on essays by hand and engaged in peer feedback orally, face to face, and the other wrote comments on essays digitally, through MS Word, and then engaged in peer discussion through an electronic, synchronous, text-based chat during class time.
Jones et al 2006  studied interactions between peer tutors in an English writing centre in Hong Kong and their clients, both in face to face meetings and in online, text-based chats. This set of studies is not the result of a systematic review of the literature; I did not follow up on all the other studies that cited these, for example. Nevertheless, I would like to consider briefly if these studies provide any clarity for direction regarding written peer assessment vs. Besides more studies to see if better patterns can emerge (and perhaps they are out there–as noted above, my literature search has not been systematic), one gap is that no one, so far, has considered video chats, such as Google Hangouts, for peer assessment. Posted in peer assessment & feedback, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and tagged Research Reviews, student writing on March 5, 2013 by Christina Hendricks. Here I look at one last study I’ve found that focuses on the nature of student peer feedback discussions when they take place in a synchronous, online environment (a text-based chat). The participants in this study were five peer tutors in a writing centre in Hong Kong, dedicated to helping non-native English speakers write in English. Face to face tutoring was only available in the daytime on weekdays, so if students wanted help after hours, they could turn to the online chat. They then subdivide these two categories further, some of which is discussed briefly below.
In face-to-face meetings, tutors controlled conversations primarily by asking questions, making statements, and issuing directives. Posted in peer assessment & feedback, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and tagged Research Reviews, student writing on February 26, 2013 by Christina Hendricks.
In this post I’ll look at a few studies that focus on peer assessment through online, synchronous discussions (text-based chats).
In what follows I will only look at the last part of question 1 (the overall quality of writing), as well as question 2.
At the beginning of the term, students produced a writing sample based on a prompt given by the instructor. The authors conclude, however, that the data does not support saying one environment is better than another in terms of improving writing (nor, incidentally, for the rest of research question (1), above). There were more comments made in the oral class, during peer assessment discussions, than in the online chat groups: 40-70 turns per group for the oral discussions and 14-25 turns per group for the online chats (498). The tone of the article here indicates that the talk in the online chat was better than that in the oral discussion. In addition, in the oral groups the author of the paper being discussed often dominated the discussion, while the author spoke less in the online chats, making for more equal participation. Posted in peer assessment & feedback, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and tagged Research Reviews, student writing on February 20, 2013 by Christina Hendricks. This is part of a series of posts in which I summarize and comment on research literature about different methods of doing peer assessment. In this post I summarize, as briefly as I can, a complex study on differences between how students speak to each other when doing peer assessment when it’s in person versus on a discussion board (mostly asynchronous, but students also did some posting to the discussion boards in a nearly synchronous environment, during class time).
This study looked at differences between ways peers talk in face to face environments and computer-mediated environments (abbreviated in the article as CMC, for computer-mediated communication). How is peer talk that occurs in the traditional oral and in the CMC classroom alike and different?
Students in two sections of an upper-level course (Argumentative writing) at a four-year university participated; one section engaged in face to face peer assessment, and the other used computer-mediated peer assessment, but otherwise the two course were the same, taught by the same instructor. Peer group conversations were recorded in the face to face class, and the record of conversations from the CMC class could just be downloaded. One of those groups, the CMC group, engaged in both computer-mediated peer discussion as well as oral discussion at a later point–so this group provides a nice set of data about the same people, discussing together, in two different environments. Hewett found that face to face discussion had more talk about ideas, wider issues raised in the papers, and information about the contexts surrounding the claims and issues discussed in the papers, than in the CMC discussion (276).


Posted in peer assessment & feedback and tagged Research Reviews, student writing on February 11, 2013 by Christina Hendricks.
Here, I summarize a few studies I’ve read that look at written, online, asynchronous peer feedback. This study is a little outside of my research interest, as it doesn’t compare oral feedback to written (in any form). 20 L2 students (students for whom English was an additional language) in a first-year writing course at a four-year university participated in this study. Tuzi combined the results from analyzing the essay drafts and e-feedback (to see what of the feedback had been incorporated into revisions) with the results of the interviews with students, to identify the stimuli for changes in the drafts. Although e-feedback is a relatively new form of feedback, it was the cause of a large number of essay changes. Posted in peer assessment & feedback, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and tagged Research Reviews, student writing on February 10, 2013 by Christina Hendricks. Oral feedback, in turn, can be face-to-face or computer mediated, and the latter can be asynchronous (such as recorded audio or video) or synchronous (such as real-time video or audio chatting). In the next few days I’ll summarize and comment on a few more articles that fall into these various boxes, and then see if I can come up with any conclusions about the different types of oral vs. Posted in peer assessment & feedback and tagged student writing on February 4, 2013 by Christina Hendricks. As Sadler pointed out in a comment to the post noted above, having a set of criteria in advance predisposes students to look for only those things, and yet in any particular complex work there may be other things that are relevant for judging quality. I was skeptical about asking students to evaluate each others’ work without any criteria to go on, so I decided to read another one of his articles in which this point is argued for more extensively. I’ve done some searches into the question of oral and written peer feedback, and been surprised at the paucity of results.
In this article Van den Berg et al report on a study in which they looked at peer feedback in seven different courses in the discipline of history (131 students). The authors coded both the written and oral feedback along two sets of criteria: feedback functions and feedback aspects. By the term ‘aspect’ we refer to the subject of feedback, distinguishing between content, structure, and style of the students’ writing (see Steehouder et al., 1992).
They found that students tended to focus on different things in their oral and written feedback.
Posted in peer assessment & feedback, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and tagged Research Reviews, student writing on November 11, 2012 by Christina Hendricks. No matter how expertly and conscientiously constructed, it is difficult to comprehend how feedback, regardless of its properties, could be expected to carry the burden of being the primary instrument for improvement.
Feedback should help the student understand more about the learning goal, more about their own achievement status in relation to that goal, and more about ways to bridge the gap between their current status and the desired status (Sadler 1989). Yet despite the teachers’ best efforts to make the disclosure full, objective and precise, many students do not understand it appropriately because, as argued below, they are not equipped to decode the statements properly. Back in the day, scientists did not have large labs and took to experimenting on themselves. While personal finances seems to be intuitive to some people, there are many people that have a lot of trouble figuring out what they are supposed to do. The spending and saving are alot of times governed by pleasure spending and the pain of saving and delaying immediate gratifaction. I think I’m on pretty safe ground believing that far more than 95% of people are doing fine with their finances. I found it in a Smart Money Issue.Dont remember the issue I will have to loook in my archives.
So does Bromleigh McCleneghan, a Chicago-area pastor and the author of a 2012 book about parenting and a forthcoming book about Christians and sex. When I was 18, if you asked me the same question, I would have said: Get into the right classes.
Promotional material for new seasons has historically been greeted with rabid excitement by newbies, and satisfied nods from smug readers who knew what was coming down the pike. To say that something is socially constructed simply means that it’s not set in stone for eternity, but depends on shared social attitudes that prevail at a particular location in time and space.
In fact, I found that idyllic.** My work colleagues tried to convince me that this was not normal and that I must change my ways or else. To quote Ian Hacking, I found social construction “a truly liberating idea.” It helped me realize that my so-called problems were not necessarily mine (see The problem is you).
Over the intervening years, social construction has changed in meaning and application and has attracted many critics.
In the early 2000’s, when I tried to loan a copy of Berger and Luckmann to a graduate student friend, she told me “Oh, they don’t believe in that anymore.” I was disappointed to hear this, but unperturbed. When Berger and Luckmann helped me recognize the contingency of this process – the understanding that things could easily have been quite different – I realized my self-concept was more flexible than I had assumed.
They end up being pretty small here on the blog, so I also have links to each one of them, below. They found that written feedback tended to be more focused on evaluating the essays, saying what was good or bad about them, and less on giving explanations for those evaluative comments or on providing suggestions for revision (though this result differed between the courses they analyzed). She found that the talk in the oral communication was much more interactive, with students responding to each others’ comments, giving verbal cues that they were following along, and also working together to generate new ideas. They wanted to know if students used or ignored these peer comments, and what they thought of the experience of receiving the asynchronous, written feedback (they interviewed each student as well). Relevant to the present concern is that the focus group discussion revealed that several groups did not exchange feedback forms via email but decided to meet up in person instead in order to have a more interactive discussion. They found that writing ability increased slightly more for the computer-assisted class over the traditional class, and that there were differences in how the students spoke to each other in the electronic, text-based chat vs. He looked at improvement in writing between a draft of an essay and a revision of that essay (final version) after peer assessment. The authors asked about differences in these  modes of commenting, and whether they had a differential impact on later essay revisions.
This is different from the other studies, which were looking more directly at peer assessment in courses, but the results here may be relevant to what we usually think of as peer assessment. Perhaps the differences between those and face-to-face meetings might not be as great as between face-to-face meetings and text-based modes (whether synchronous chats or asynchronous, written comments). For both tutors and clients, English was an additional language, but the tutors were further along in their English studies and had more proficiency in writing in English than the clients. They did not often ask for explanations, just a kind of check of their work from an expert and a quick answer as to whether something was right or wrong. Earlier posts in this series can be found here and here, and part 1 corresponding to this particular post is here. It also looked at whether there are differences in the ways students revise writing assignments after these different modes of peer assessment and feedback.
Where differences exist, are they revealed in the writing that is developed subsequent to the peer-response group sessions?
The CMC course used a discussion board system with comments organized chronologically (and separated according to the peer groups), and it was used both during class, synchronously (so students were contributing to it while they were sitting in a class with computers) and outside of class, asynchronously. Multiple threads of discussion occurred on the board, and each students’ comments could pick up on several at a time. The CMC groups tended to focus more on the content of what was written, and showed less evidence of working together to develop new ideas about the topics in the essays.
In another post I’ll summarize some studies that compare oral, face to face with written, online, synchronous (text-based chats). Rather, the research focus was to look at how students revised essays after receiving e-feedback from peers and their teacher.
Paper drafts were uploaded onto a website where other students could read them and comment on them. In fact, e-feedback resulted in more revisions than feedback from the writing center or oral feedback.
It was something students could get if they wanted, but only the e-feedback was focused on in the course. For example, Reynolds and Russell (2008) (see this post) would fall into the oral, computer-mediated, asynchronous box.
Royce Sadler on how peer marking could be a means for students to learn how to become better assessors themselves, of their own and others’ work. These courses had peer feedback designs that differed according to things such as: what kind of assignment was the subject of peer feedback, whether the peer feedback took place alongside teacher feedback or whether there was peer feedback only, whether students who commented on others got comments from those same others on their own work or not, how many students participated in feedback groups, and more.
Written feedback over all the courses tended to be more product-oriented than process-oriented, with a focus on evaluation of quality rather than explaining that evaluation or offering suggestions for revision.  In terms of feedback aspect, written feedback focused more on content and style than structure (143).
Royce Sadler points out how difficult it can be for instructor feedback to work the way we might want–to allow students to improve their future work. Formative assessment and feedback should therefore empower students to become self-regulated learners (Carless 2006). For example, Hermann Ebbinghaus, one of the first cognitive psychologists, conducted experiments on himself to reveal the process of learning and forgetting. Individuals need to look at their specific circumstances and learn what motivates them to take action to get their personal finances in order.


There is, however, a huge difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it (and thus the great importance of finding what motivates you).
You likely know you should be doing all the stuff that is listed, so the quiz should give you a general idea of how much you are putting into action.
Unfortunately the answer is never black and white and many things will depend on your particular circumstances as to whether bankruptcy is the best option. While many aren’t, throwing out meaningless numbers like that serves no purpose at all. I agree with you Jeff, personal finance isn’t a rocket science, it requires high motivation. But with the upcoming sixth season, we’ve finally evolved beyond these petty divisions. To say that normality or marriage, for example, are socially constructed means that being normal or placing a certain value on marriage is subject to change and thus open to question. Once I left home to attend college, I started noticing ways in which I was not like other people.
Academic fashions come and go, but truly liberating ideas – those with extensive explanatory and emancipatory powers – win out in the end. My desire to deepen my understanding of the identity formation process – especially the option to reject labels that are not in my interest (such as abnormal) — is part of what motivates me to embark on this research project on the self. And here, I am going to try to put together what that research has said to see if anything can really be concluded about these issues from it. Might one form of feedback be more effective than another in terms of being taken up in later revisions of essays? In the oral discussions, there was more of a balance between evaluating content, explaining that evaluation, and offering revisions. The text-based, online feedback was much less like a conversation, with students commenting on the papers at hand but not interacting very much with each other. All of the students had engaged in face to face peer feedback before the online mode, but the face to face sessions were not recorded so the nature of the comments in each mode was not compared.
The authors were looking at interactional dynamics between tutors and clients, and found that in the face-to-face mode, the relationship between tutors and clients tended to be more hierarchical than in the electronic, online chat mode. And this sort of evidence might be useful for courses that are distributed geographically, so students could have a kind of face-to-face peer assessment interaction rather than just giving each other written comments and carrying on a discussion over email or an online discussion board.
Still, at least some of their results regarding the nature of peer talk in the tutor situation may still be relevant for peer assessment in courses. Data was collected from transcripts of face to face consultations of the tutors with clients, as well as transcripts of online, text-based chat sessions of the same tutors, with many of the same clients. In the on-line mode, clients asked more questions than tutors, made significantly more statements than in the face-to-face mode, and issued just as many directives as tutors. On the other hand, when tutors controlled the conversations with their questions, it was often the case that they were using strategies to try to get clients to understand something themselves, to understand why something is right or wrong and to be able to apply that later.
In the computer-assisted class, students met often in a computer lab, where they engaged in whole-class discussions and peer group discussions using the chat system. Repetitions indicate that one is listening, following along, and being an engaged participant in a discussion. Data was collected from all students, but only the recordings of conversations in one peer group in each class (oral and CMC) were used for the study. I hope some conclusion about the differences and the benefits of each kind can be drawn after summarizing the results. The e-feedback could be read on the site, but was also sent via email to students (and the instructor). In many analyses, the source of most revisions was the students themselves, but e-feedback ranked second some (such as working at the sentence, clause and paragraph levels, and adding new information). This could not only allow them to become more self-regulated learners, but also fulfill roles outside of the university in which they will need to evaluate the work of others. Most of the courses had both written and oral peer feedback, though one of the seven had just written peer feedback.
With ‘Structure’ we mean the inner consistency of a text, for example the relation between the main problem and the specified research questions, or between the argumentation and the conclusion. If I am wrong, I will apologize when you show me the citation where you got the 95% statistic from. The answer: 47 percent of respondents said that either they would cover the expense by borrowing or selling something, or they would not be able to come up with the $400 at all. I had no interest in getting married or having children, for example (this at a time when postponing marriage was much less common than it is today). I wouldn’t be like them?) Insecure in my youthful convictions, I wrote furiously in my journal on the desirability of my solitary way of life.
Opponents asked questions such as: Are scientific theories true because they correspond to reality or are quarks a social construct? They also found that both written and oral feedback focused more on content and style than on structure, though there were more comments on structure in the written feedback than in the oral.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, while the feedback in the written environment was mostly focused on the content of the essay being evaluated, the discussion in the oral environment ranged more widely. There was not as much discussion of the feedback, whether within the team or with the partner teams, in the online format, students reported, and they valued the opportunity for that discussion. Thus, the results from this study that are most relevant to the present concern are those that come from interviews, in which the students compared their experiences of face to face peer feedback with the online, written, asynchronous exchange of feedback. But I also see this as an indication that some students recognized a value in face to face, oral, synchronous communication. The authors stated that the face to face discussion was less focused on the essay being reviewed than in the online chats (but see my criticisms of this interpretation here).
Sullivan & Pratt (1996) found some, but not a lot of evidence that students using e-chats improved their writing more than those using oral peer assessment, but Braine (2001) found the opposite. But that study was about peer tutors and clients, which is a different situation than peer assessment in courses. Of course, the problem there would be that face-to-face interactions are best if supervised, even indirectly, so as to reduce the risk of people treating each other disrespectfully, or offering criticisms that are not constructive.
Personal narratives can both help to make a point as well as forge some connections between discussion group members, perhaps bringing them closer together and thereby helping them feel more comfortable (which could contribute to more productive peer evaluation). At times, students in a peer group would respond to the paper being discussed, but not to each other (271), so that the comments were more like separate, standalone entities than part of an interactive conversation. Students wrote four papers as part of the study, and could revise each paper up to five times.
Another interesting observation is that although the L2 writers stated that they preferred oral feedback, they made more e-feedback-based changes than oral-based changes.
This was a publication from what is now the Institute for Academic Development at the University of Edinburgh, but these newsletters are no longer online.
In the third year, someone came to visit, didn’t leave, and we’ve been together ever since (making me, by today’s standards, statistically abnormal).
The authors note, though, that in the courses in which peer feedback took place on early drafts or outlines, there was more feedback on structure than when it took place on later drafts.
Hewett also analyzed essay drafts and peer comments from both environments to see if the peer discussion and comments influenced later drafts of essays.
They also found that the electronic chats were more egalitarian, in that the author did not dominate the conversation in them in the same way as happened with the face to face chats. They conclude that since the two modes differ and both serve important purposes, it would be best to use both modes. In the chat conversations, on the other hand, initiating and responding moves were about equal for both tutors and clients (7).
Arguments supporting the evaluation refer to ‘Explanation’, and suggested measures for improvement to ‘Revision’. They conclude that for asynchronous modes of commenting, using digital tools is more effective than handwriting (for reasons not discussed here), and for synchronous modes of commenting, face to face discussions are more effective than text-based, electronic chats (219-221). Sullivan & Pratt also concluded that the face-to-face discussions were less focused and effective than the e-chat discussions, while Braine concluded the opposite.
28, 2013)] Looking at the article again, a footnote shows that there were four students in each group. The author compared comments received digitally to later revised drafts, to see what had been incorporated. The point was simply to see how students use e-feedback, whether it is incorporated into revisions, and what kinds of revisions e-feedback tends to be used for.
He also interviewed the authors of the papers to ask what sparked them to make the revisions they did. Different means of feedback should be available; this study just shows, he says, that e-feedback can be useful as one of them.



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