Friday, December 01, 2006

How dimocratically elapse Presidential electoins...

Last week I gave my research methods students a snap quiz. They had no time to prepare. It was very simple, consisting of four questions: What is a research question? What is a literature review? Distinguish between quantitative and qualitative methods; What type of research method is being employed right now in this document?

Twenty students were present and took the test. I have been spending most of the term reinforcing the meaning of research questions and literature reviews. There could be no doubt that most would get it right. After I graded the quiz, I asked the students how many they thought had correctly answered all the questions. Their opinions ranged from 10% to 25%. This wasn't terribly inspiring. However, a third managed to answer all correctly; a fifth made a single error. But around a half made two or more errors. How could this be?

The most common error was to confuse the literature review with the collection of data. Instead of being about what research had already been done, the students were content to say it was (in the words of one student) "all kinds of sources which gonna be used to write a research". As you can see, it gets difficult at times.

So why that weird title? Throughout the term I have been asking the students to draft research questions for me to critique. And here is one I received. I am offering a bottle of wine to anyone who can decipher it.

"How dimocratically elapse Presidential electoins 2002 in the corruption country like Ukraine, in terms of self-determination of people choices about the on of the candidates Yanukovich."

I can't translate it and I've asked others who all failed to get anywhere. The student was, however, quite pleased with the question and couldn't see any problem. Enough.

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"How dimocratically elapse Presidential electoins 2002 in the corruption country like Ukraine, in terms of self-determination of people choices about the on of the candidates Yanukovich."
>>>
"How democratic was the 2002 presidential election process in the notoriously corrupt nation of the Ukraine? In answering this question, the matter of how democratic the process was will be measured in terms of how self-determined people's choices about the candidate Yanukovich were."
>>>
...This is the sort of thing I constantly have to edit. Sigh. Unfortunately, here even after the editing the question remains of what the asker means by how "self-determined" a choice is.

John Flood said...

I stand in awe of your cryptographic powers! I could not have done it.

By the way the offer of the wine still stands if you ever want to email offline.