Next week I’m heading up to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to attend the LOEX conference for the first time. A welcome change of pace after a crazy semester! Four other business librarians and I are meeting for lunch at the conference to talk shop. Two of those librarians are presenting before our rendezvous, so the five of us will probably meet each other before that lunch. My first best friend from UNCG is attending too, flying up from Texas, so I’m looking forward to dinner with her. (My wife, whom some of you know is the head of collections at WFU, is going to Michigan too, but she will be attending the International Congress on Medieval Studies at nearby Kalamazoo at the same time (she is also the Medieval Studies liaison – now there is an example of embedded work.). Since my undergraduate degree is in Medieval Studies, I’m a little jealous of her.)
Last week was the climax of the semester, with two evenings of presentations to evaluate (ENT 300 on Tuesday, and the first-year Living Learning Community kids on Wednesday – I actually hadn’t meet them yet, since Nataly Blas kindly led their business research workshop in February while I taught my 530 class which met at the same time).
There was our final Coleman Fellows two-hour workshop and webinar on Friday morning, followed by a two-hour afternoon “Bryan School Committee on Research Workshop on Secondary Data Sources for Faculty and Doctoral Students”. I ended up as the opening speaker for the workshop, but Lynda Kellam also had stage time to discuss ICPSR and data management plans, while Anna Craft our Metadata Librarian reviewed our institutional repository and new data storage service. The other four presenters were business and economics professors discussing sources like the Smith Travel Data, Triangle Census Research Data Center, the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth, and our various WRDS datasets. 38 learned people attended. A very useful two hours, and also really good for promotion of our role as research supporters (Lynda and Anna were great).
Also last week was finishing grading the capstone presentations in ENT 530, and also grading the Export Odyssey presentations. Whew. For 530, I just need to finish grading the capstone final reports (a weekend job for me) and then submit the final grades.
Finally, this week I had to finish writing peer reviews for seven librarian colleagues, write my goals for 2014-15, submit my year-end Coleman Fellows report, write two recommendations for students, and organize a Mario Kart Wii staff competition in our new library game room for Staff Development Week in late May. There were a few last-minute consultations with student teams. And then there was the prep work for ….
I’m excited about this. Last month I mentioned working with a sharp LIS graduate student on her proposed independent study on liaison librarianship (it won’t be a practicum, we recently learned). Now I’m working on a proposed undergraduate independent study. The student is a senior with a double major in Entrepreneurship and Dance whom I met when she took ENT 300 a year ago. She took my 530 class this semester. In class one day in April, I was soliciting student feedback on some aspect of the syllabus, and one student suggested I create an advanced follow-up class. On the last day of class, the Entrepreneurship/Dance senior (let me call her C.) ask if I was indeed going to teach an advanced class in the fall. I told her no, but we could try an independent study [ENT 499] on advanced research topics if you are interested. She was, and so we are trying this out.
The business school’s independent study proposal form requires six topics to be addressed:
- Purpose/goals of the independent study.
- A description of the project that will be completed including an outline which demonstrates an understanding of what the study should cover.
- A statement of requirements, if any, agreed upon by the faculty sponsor/supervisor and the student.
- A bibliography which evidences a basic understanding of the proposed area of study.
- A statement of the resources that will be used.
- A schedule of expected progress, including dates for achieving each stage of the study.
At the end of the study, the student writes a final report summarizing the experience and what the student learned. The final report must include a literature review reflecting the “theoretical basis of the subject area of the project.”
C. and I met early this week to discuss exactly what she wanted to get out of her proposed study. She discussed her employment with a local service business (I’m keeping this vague on purpose) and how it will probably need help to survive. So C. wants to create a very detailed research analysis of Greensboro demographics, consumer spending, and psychographics relevant to the business. She will probably analyze the city down to the block group level and include some data visualization/mapping. So C. and I brainstormed how to fit this research work into the official independent study format. She is going to decide if her study should be for 2 or 3 credits.
We divided up responsibility for drafting the 6-topics listed above. C. is working on 1 and 2; I took 3-5. We decided to write 6 last. Here is what I came up with for my topics.
3. A statement of requirements, if any, agreed upon by the faculty sponsor/supervisor and the student.
- The student and supervisor will meet on average every two weeks to discuss progress towards the goals of the independent study.
- The supervisor will respond to emails from the student with alacrity.
- In addition to the final written report, the student will provide a summary presentation of her research and findings to invited stakeholders of the independent study.
I like the idea of C presenting. This would be an opportunity to try out her conclusions before writing the final report. Also, a presentation would give other folks who helped out with the study a chance to learn what C. accomplished. For example, Lynda Kellam would probably help with Census data at some point. Perhaps the head of our big entrepreneurship program would like to come too. I don’t know yet what C. thinks of this idea, though.
4. A bibliography which evidences a basic understanding of the proposed area of study.
Barry, J., & Weinstein, A. (2009). Business psychographics revisited: from segmentation theory to successful marketing practice. Journal of Marketing Management, 25(3/4), 315-340.
Bass, F. (2013). Guide to the Census. Hoboken, NJ: Bloomberg Press.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2013, September 30). BLS handbook of methods: Chapter 16: consumer expenditures and income. [Manual in PDF format]. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/opub/hom/
Census Bureau. (2014, January 30). American Community Survey design and methodology. [Manual in PDF format]. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/acs/www/methodology/
Census Bureau. (2008, October). A compass for understanding and using American Community Survey data: what the business community needs to know. [Manual in PDF format]. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/acs/www/data_documentation/
Davenport, T.H. & Kim, J. (2013). Keeping up with the quants: your guide to understanding and using analytics. Boston:Harvard Business Review Press.
Magretta, J. (2011). Understanding Michael Porter: the essential guide to competition and strategy. Boston:Harvard Business Review Press.
Wenzel, A. (2012). Entrepreneur’s guide to market research. Santa Barbara , CA: Praeger.
Wilson, J. (2014). Essentials of business research: a guide to doing your research project. London: Sage.
Yau, N. (2013). Data points: visualization that means something. Hoboken, NJ:Wiley.
I just bought most of these books with my Coleman grant supply funds and will loan them to C. as needed. The manuals and the Journal of Marketing Management article will round out the scope of C.’s project. Note that this list of reading is to prove the student’s understanding of the field – C. won’t have to read all of these.
5. A statement of the resources that will be used.
For this I just mentioned some of the data sources C would use, as well as “tutorials, webinars, and training sessions from database vendors, government agencies, and business librarian organizations.”
I’ve supervised LIS students before, but supervising an undergraduate will be an interesting new role for me. Assuming C’s study gets approved by her academic department, I’ll post a summary of the experience this fall.
I hope everyone has a good summer.