It’s a Trilogy

The word count continues to grow, and this book is turning into a monster! The 13 chapters contain roughly 195,000 words. A “normal” size non-fiction books is about 60,000 words. The book has yet to be properly edited, so I expect a couple of thousand words may disappear, but I have more info to add. And the the crux of the problem.

How much information is too much?

KISS fans absolutely love the minutia. The details that, for non-KISS fans, are boring an not relevant are fascinating for KISS fans .

I dislike biographies that leave out the cultural touchstones. The subjects did not live in a vacuum, shielded from events. The subject of biographies are effected by their culture and events that surround them. It would be like writing about the Beatles and not mentioning the Vietnam War. And it is these important events that I haven’t yet added to the all chapters in the book.

In addition to the background info,  several chapters are still too rough and need writing and more info added.

The new plan is to release the book as a trilogy. The first book covers 1950 to the first half of 1982, which was when The Elder cycle ended and the Creatures of the Nights cycle began. Currently these five chapters are just over 76,000 words, The second book begins in mid-1982 as KISS begins working with producer Michael James Jackson and ends with KISS filming the long-form video eXposed in the summer of 1986. These four chapters are just over 60,000 words. The final book begins with the Crazy Nights cycle in 1987 and ends with Eric’s death in 1991, with a small chapter on his legacy. The word count for the final instalment is almost 58,000 words.

So, onwards I will write, until Eric Carr’s story is told in full, in detail, and without bias


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My PhD Journey has Come to an End

Wow, I can’t believe my PhD journey has come to an end. It took much longer than I originally anticipate to complete. Eight years. In many ways it feels like yesterday, but I have grown and changed, as an educators, researcher, and a person, that I am not the same person as I was when I started.

In some ways I was dreading the end because I don’t have full-time teaching job lined up. But at least I have some time to relax and sit with my accomplishment.

I plan to take several weeks off and just concentrate on the one course I’m facilitating this summer and then I’ll start reviewing the assignments, syllabus, notes, and video list for the two courses I usually facilitate in the fall.

I’m looking forward to the next month or so when I can feel the burden of dissertation lift from my shoulders. But of course I always have a project or two on the go, so I’ll like spend most of the times reflecting on my PhD journey, walking the dogs, and working on my book.

Sounds perfect!

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APA 7 – Citations and References

Many universities are transitioning from APA 6 to 7, which is a learning curve for educators and students alike.

Learning in chunks is the best approach as opposed to dealing with all 395 pages of the latest APA manual. I’m slowly introducing my students to APA 7, beginning with the new style of citations and references.

The guide posted below provides examples for resources that my students often use and is not meant to illustrate the wide variety of citations and references available in the APA 7 manual.

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Identifying Meaning Units in Reflective Lifeworld Research

Parts-2, participant 3. Photo by Janet Symmons. CC0 licence

In Dalhlberg et al.’s (2008) whole-parts-whole approach to data analysis identifying and placing meaning parts together is an integral factor to explicating the essence of a phenomenon. However, there remains a paucity of examples for creating meaning units in reflective life research. This sparsity is an advantage and a challenge to researchers using this methodology.

My familiarity with Braun and Clarke’s (2006) thematic analysis laid the foundations of my understanding and practice with meaning units as I read through the interview transcripts of my current project. Unfortunately, after a few attempts, I was left with vague meaning units that didn’t adequately connect with each other. I tossed another document in my computer trash bin and started yet agin.

I needed a break from my computer. I selected several textbook from my bookshelf, along with a notepad, pencil, and eraser, and relocated to my kitchen table. Sometimes a slight change of scenery is like a cognitive breath of fresh air. With a steaming cup of coffee in hand and refreshed mindset, I cracked open a recently acquired used research book and began scanning the pages for useful nuggets of information. Continue reading

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Sampling Recruitment and Phenomenology Research

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I debated how to recruit participants as I prepared the methodology section of my dissertation. The literature indicated the majority of post-secondary educators do not use open educational resources (OERs), which is the topic of my study. Additionally, I wanted to hear from educators who were not necessarily OER advocates, but educators who quietly use OERs in their teaching practices and not consider themselves champions of a cause. Phenomenological researchers do not offer much guidance on sampling strategies. For example, Creswell (1998) suggested criterion sampling (p.118), but that was a given because of the topic. During my eight months of data collection I used three strategies: random, snowball, and purposive.

The established criteria for my study were university educators in Canada who use OERs in their teaching practices. Next, I selected three universities within a 100 kilometre radius where I would recruit participants. These universities served different needs in higher education. One was is a comprehensive university, offering a large number of undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate degrees. The second institution offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, many of which employ blended or online delivery methods. The third university focuses on undergraduate degrees but does offer some graduate degrees. Continue reading

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Phenomenological Methodology Interview Reminders

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I don’t have extensive interview experience. The 16 interviews I’d completed prior to my dissertation were all learning experiences that helped build my confidence and prepare me for the upcoming dissertation interviews. I soon realized how rusty my interview skills were when I piloted my questions in November 2018. The four participants provided valuable feedback and allowed me to practice phenomenological bracketing, which was devilishly difficult as I personally knew all the participants.

In January 2019 I began the interview phases of my data collection, which concluded in August. I conducted 11 interviews using two sampling methods in two phases: random sampling and purposive sampling. I will write about sampling methods in an upcoming post.

During the interview phase, I created a short list of reminders that soon became a habit to read prior to each interview. Continue reading

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Choosing Phenomenological Research

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Phenomenology is not an easy research methodology to grasp. It’s philosophical foundations make it formidable to approach and it’s various traditions can be confusing. Indeed, even the terminology, such bracketing and intentionality, demand phenomenological researchers embrace new meanings for common words.

Reflection lays at the heart of the methodology. Similarly, critical reflective practices are ingrained in educators throughout their academic careers and are often employed in an effort to transform teaching practices (see Brookfield, 2017). Brookfield discusses the four lenses of critical reflective practice, which are “students’ eyes, colleagues’ perceptions, theory, and personal experiences” (p. vii). Embedded in personal experiences are personal interests, which is where I see my connection to phenomenology. Continue reading

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Conceptual and Theoretical Frameworks

Photo by Tero Vasalainen under CC0 licence

Last week I briefly chatted with Madeline Walker, the co-ordinator at UVic’s Centre for Academic Communication, about the differences between a conceptual framework and a theoretical frame. Madeline captured our conversation and recently posted it on the Graduate Student Writers’ Community website.

Madeline’s post is located here.


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Phenomenology Research: Bracketing and Transcription

A master’s student recently asked me for some tips when preparing for data analysis of a phenomenology study. Bearing in mind that she is using van Mannen’s (2014) approach whilst I follow Dalhberg, Dahlberg and Nyström’s (2008) reflective lifeworld research approach, there are differences with how we conduct our analyses. Phenomenological approaches have many similarities, so after pointing out this out, I explained how bracketing (bridling) during the interviews and transcription processes prepare us for data analysis.

Bracketing (Bridling).Bracketing is the term used in many phenomenological methodology approaches and refers to the researcher holding preconceptions and biases in abeyance during the data collection and analysis activities. I found that extremely difficult to do, as I am unable to remove my previous knowledge and experiences from data collection and analysis. Continue reading

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Creating an effective Handout for Class Presentations

It’s the end of the semester, which is a perfect time to reflect on how to improve courses for the next time they are run. In Ontario Tech’s Assessment for Adult Learning in a Digital Context, I ask learners to teach others how to do a certain type of assessment. These peer skill exchanges are conducted in small groups to give learners an opportunity to practice their teaching skills without the pressure of teaching to the entire class.

Part of the requirement is to create a handout so the learners have a resource to refer to when they implement that type of assessment. I found that some students were creating handouts that were a synopsis of their presentation, which isn’t an effective use of a handout. For teaching skills, handouts should be a useful takeaway that attendees can later refer to to help them recall how to implement the assessment. Continue reading

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