Friday, September 26, 2003

First day of fall classes for me

First impressions of the new Fall quarter:

Writing for Sociology is going to be boring. The instructor thinks no one knows anything about anything and she could be right about over half of them. She spent a great deal of time on what she called the 8 steps to a research project- including defining things like hypothesis and how collecting the data is one of the last steps (duh!). And instead of being able to choose a research topic and design a project- survey, observational or experiment- she is going to "give" us a topic. I am so tired of undergrad classes that are classified as "upper division", but taught as if everyone there was a freshman and 18 years old. Looking around, there are at least 4 people in their thirties, several in their late twenties, about half in their early twenties, a sprinkling of 20 year olds and me - the one getting AARP invites.

I would like to somehow use my prior observational experiment that I did in psych, but I am sure it would get nixed. I didn't look for other research about it when I designed it. I set it up, pretty much like her "8 steps", but with a lot more detail and care about the design of the entire project including the data collecting sheets. I looked at sex, race and ethnicity, gender, group or alone status, noted partial behavior as well as extra effort and left room for short notes as needed. Though I didn't include them in the final numbers in conclusions, I also have the sex of the observers, day of the week, hour of the day, different areas of campus etc. I never did run the numbers to see if any of those had an effect. I don't know if within my non random sample of 100 that I would have had enough of the other variables to check. It is social-psych but could qualify. Sample was an "opportunity sample", not random, but I have seen other "A" papers for the soc class and they also used a similar sampling for observational stuff. I should have run the numbers on mine, through the stat program on campus and obtained all the good numbers and pretty charts, instead of the ones I had.

As it turned out I disproved my hypothesis, at least on a community college campus. It is one of those kinds of things I was sure someone else had studied, but I wanted to do mine without seeing how someone else did it. I should have gone back later to see how the "experts" did it, just for the extra knowledge. It was enough to gain my prof's respect. I wonder if I could do it again, only use this campus and see if there were differences? What could I improve on design? What other variables should I collect? Could I recruit the actors needed? hmmmm...

The other class is an overview of ten of the most used psych theories and is probably going to be pretty good, even if it will be a repeat of many things I have already had/heard/read. There is 'how to use', practical application stuff and case studies that should also be interesting. It is a mixed grad/undergrad group but there are two of my fellow rehab services folks who are in the class. There are two M/C tests, one paper and that one is heavily slanted with personal examination along with a best liked theory and why along with a few other questions to cover that are also personal in regards to the chosen theory.

An entry to the class sort of survey was given tonight, with question/statements and multiple choices that I was unable to say this or that is always true. She said there were no wrong answers, but to me, anyone who chose only one answer to most of them would probably not make a good therapist. Everything should be about what the client needs, not about what the therapist thinks would be good for the client or how the therapist thinks the client ought to live his/her life. I wound up writing my answers or selecting two or more with a reasoning statement instead of choosing only one answer on over 90% of them. She had said if we couldn't find an answer we liked that we could write. I was the next to the last person to finish, which probably isn't necessarily a good thing.

The instructor has the degree I was exploring. It is a PsyD, which is a psychology doctorate but instead of research and a dissertation it is intensively clinic/therapy focused. The future PsyDoc spends the time working with people and is perfect for someone who probably won't or doesn't want to do - research. I like the clinical experience aspect. My concern is that it is still considered a "new" type of degree and might not earn the same respect from some. The other drawback is potential discrimination in applying for teaching positions. Teaching is something I want to do part time, but I am not interested in the University tenure type positions. I simply want to work with students, not play the university career game. I talked to her a bit about it, and will talk some more. She has had no problems, but her first teaching jobs were here and her undergrad and maybe masters is from here. I also want to put out feelers to other PsyDocs, to see what their experiences have been with this.

It is a long day and it will be my Tues/Thurs schedule for the next ten weeks. I do have a Monday afternoon class. The only good thing is that if I can get my sleep schedule rearranged and my body to cooperate in returning to an early morning person, then I will have a couple of days a week off in addition to the weekend.

Already it is past midnight and though I am tired, I am still awake. This is not a good start to forming a new sleep pattern!

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