Thursday, May 22, 2014

Back to the research proposal

On Saturday I sent to my mentor the latest draft of my research proposal and yesterday evening I received his feedback.

I was disappointed to see him write that the Likert items should not be displayed in a random order. Whilst I could quote him the reference for this idea, I bow to his experience. This means that I will have to display a Likert item like this
<here comes a statement; mark your level of agreement with it>
  1. strongly disagree
  2. disagree
  3. neither disagree nor agree
  4. agree
  5. strongly agree
or possibly like this
strongly disagree   disagree      neutral         agree         strongly agree
But it's still too early to finalise such items. After writing that blog last week, I had an interesting meeting with my "opposite number" in a Priority-using company which is located very close to the kibbutz. I won't go into much detail about our discussion, but there was one very important issue: he would not be happy if my questionnaire were distributed as a computer program. I don't know where he stands on questionnaires which are displayed as webpages, but I do know that he would prefer a traditional paper questionnaire.

I read an interesting paper on Sunday about computer self-efficacy which connects tangentially to my research and introduces the concept of "organisational support" (OS). This could be defined as the extent to which the company encourages the use of Priority and discourages the use of spreadsheets. The paper includes the questionnaire which was used for all its variables so I don't have to invent questions to measure OS. This variable will replace a variable which I had introduced but not defined very clearly.

Yesterday I was in a meeting with one of business units. Over the past few years, the CEO (with my stalwart help) has been dragging this unit into using Priority more and more. Here is my account of a meeting with them from two years ago. These days, we are talking about a very complicated report which will show how much the intended costs were for a project and how much the actual costs were. This is complicated for various reasons, but what makes it very complicated is the fact that they frequently use raw materials which aren't in the original bill of materials (maybe the designated part is not in inventory but they have something similar). I won't go into the details but the CEO was insistent that all the data come from Priority, even if some of it (like projected installation costs) are indeed projections and not based on anything. "What, no Excel?", I asked innocently. Everyone laughed at this as if it were the year's best witticism. Obviously we've come a long way in the past two years.

This is the best indication of OS I have ever seen.

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