Dr. Paul receives the William E. Loadman Dissertation Award

Our postdoctoral scholar, Dr. Narmada Paul, received the William E. Loadman Dissertation Award from The Ohio State University (OSU). The Loadman dissertation prize is for the most distinguished dissertations in each program area in the Educational Studies department.

Dr. Paul notes that this award is particularly meaningful because “all the faculty members in the Educational Psychology program nominated me for the award.” To her, the award is validating because it reaffirms her that experts in the field believe that she has good ideas and executes them well. She feels thrilled and honored to have received such an accomplishment.

Her dissertation involved developing and testing a blended instructional approach aimed at motivating fourth grade students to use online discussions. Through her instructional design, students learned argumentation skills in a social studies class.

Dr. Paul is a pivotal member of the P20 Motivation and Learning Lab. We asked Dr. Paul what her dissertation process was like. Here is what she said.

  1. What was the dissertation process like?

I broke up the process into three sections: planning, data collection and writing. From start to finish, my dissertation took about 3 ½ years to complete. In 2016 Fall-2017 Spring, I started establishing a connection with the school district that partnered with me, designed my study, and submitted an IRB protocol. In the summer of 2017, I worked very closely with the teachers to develop a social studies curriculum that was the context of my study. I completed data collection in the fall of that year, and I wrote my dissertation the next year.

  1. What are some tips you would give students who are writing their dissertations?

First, when preparing and planning the study, make sure to set a timeline. Having a plan can help you troubleshoot quickly in case something unexpected happens. For example, the IRB process takes time. Advanced planning can help you stay on schedule if you factor for any delays in that process.

Second, when writing the actual dissertation, know what works for you. Not everyone may be productive in the early morning hours. I did most of my writing in the afternoons and evenings. Figure out when you are most productive and write during that time each day.

  1. What was the most fun part of the dissertation process?

I loved being in the classrooms. I really enjoyed seeing theoretical ideas come alive as they were applied in the classroom. I also enjoyed getting to work closely with the teachers and students.

Congratulations, Dr. Paul! A well-deserved award for amazing research!

[Article written by Olivia Huffman]