Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Researh tools

I have noted earlier that going into academia is a long quest and require high levels of dedicaiton, perseverance and commitment. This is not enough, one needs a toolbox to proceed with.

I would put here a lot of the items that are extremly important for any research discsipline. I will follow with another list of tools that are needed for financial reaserch.

For any kind of research one needs:
  1. Strong exposure to research methodology, ethics, and norms
  2. Solid comprehension of statistics and statistical measures, tests and appropriate interpretation
  3. Clear style for reviewing the literature
  4. Access to academic scholary databases and libraries 
  5. Critical understanding and assessement of literature
  6. Ability to narrow down on a resaerch topic that is not too wide and not too narrow. 
  7. Ability to classify and organize readings on the go
The approaches I suggest to fulfil the above:
  1. Following a strong reaseach methodology course with an experiences professor. Unfortunately, I have seen so many methodology courses that fit anywhere but in a methodological paradigm. Students coming from different backgrounds into the Phd program, needs refined methodological courses that help them find their way into the academic research areana and fix their feets. I had to read a lot on my own to cover this gap in my studies. Yet, I can not claim that I mastered the methodology I should follow.

  2. Invest enough time to grasp all the required stastical concepts and know the ins and outs of the statistal package mostly used for that discsipline. It would save you tens of hours in modeling and debugging if you really know the tool you are using extremly well.

  3. Work with an experienced researcher on the literature review part in order to improve your skills and learn the tricks that others are following. This would be a great step to get you on track with something that is easier to collect, classify, digest and then reproduce from your resaerch point of view. There are a lot of tools that would help succeed in doing a great literature review. One of my supervisor advised me to get this book: "Fink, A. (1998). Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From Paper to the Internet. Sage Publications, Inc.". It is available on amazon but I have borrowed it from Concordia University library. There is another resource to hint on how to conduct your own review at this page:

    The Literature Review: A Few Tips On Conducting It

  4. The last point I woudl like to mention in this area is the access to a rich collection of books and electronic resources. Your unversity library should have a lot of what you are looking for. Do not let books sitting on cold dark shelves. Go on and use those books. We are paying a lot for these collections and more than 80% of it goes by unnoticed for many years. In the golden age of libraries, we used to find books with torn pages. Now, I get a lot of books untouched. Really brand new. I would like to note that Concordia Library has one of the richest collections I have even seen in a Library especially for some disciplines that students rearely goes into. We are very lucky in Montreal, if the book is not available in Concordia, McGill is there, HEC or even UQAM. A wealth of knowlege waiting for someone to dig and mine into its pages.
In addition to that, one needs real tools to get the job done. I will not talk about these tools in details now. I would just list them:
  • Fink's book
  • Statistical Packages (Matlab in my case)
  • Firefox and Zotero (For bibliographical referncing). I prefer Zotero over RefWorks or EndNotes.
  • mediaWiki (Really? Are you sure? Yes absolutely)

Monday, December 22, 2008

A fresh start

It is not easy to claim that Phd can be made easy. It is a long term quest that needs at least 5-6 years investment.

I spent three years so far in my Phd program at John Molson School of Business and I am looking foward toward finishing in two years maximum in order to catch with the market that might collapse or might run up again. Either way, staying for a long term in here is not the best option for any student because of the high opportunity cost associated with longer term studies.

Anyway, I might go back to ponder upon the social aspects of Phd studies later on. However, for the time begin, I would like to dedicate this blog for my research experience. I do not have a long experience so far as I just strated serious research work last term only. However, I would like to present my observations in here in case someone is looking at organizing his own work in a better way.

I do not claim that I am talking about my own knowledge. Rather, I will be talking about what I am learning from my supervisors:
  1. Dr. Lawrence Kryzanowski
  2. Dr. Chitu Okoli
Dr Kryzanowski is my supervisor for my dissertation in Finance, while I am working with Dr. Okoli on a side research about Wikipedia because I have a keen interest in the wiki model from an MIS point of view.

On this blog, I would note my research observations from time to time and add everything I am learning as time allows in order to keep a reference for someone who came fresh to the Phd program as I did three years ago.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Skilled labour rules may be loosened

The federal government is changing a key immigration rule it says will help Canadian companies more easily find skilled foreign labour.
Ottawa is announcing today that such skilled professionals as engineers, accountants or professors from the U.S. or Mexico will be able to get three-year long work permits instead of one-year permits.
"We are trying to get all the skilled people we can to Canada quickly," Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said in a telephone interview from Vancouver. "The last thing we want is to strangle a Canadian company that's ready to grow because of a shortage of labour."
Canada grants about 5,150 such permits every year. Most, about 5,000, are for Americans coming to work in Canada and the rest are for Mexicans coming to work here.
"I talk to employers all the time who do not get even one job application when they put a help wanted ad in the newspaper," Kenney said. "Even though we are going into a period of economic difficulty, we continue to have a number of skilled labour shortages in certain areas of the economy."
Kenney said granting work permits in three-year increments will help Canadian companies because employers will be able to count on a skilled import to complete a project. The government says this makes Canadian companies more competitive and can help lower costs.
"This is about less paperwork, less red tape and less waiting time," Kenney said.
The Canadian rule change follows a similar one made in October by U.S. authorities that allow Canadian engineers, computer scientists and other professionals to obtain three-year work permits in the U.S. Mexico is also considering such a change.

Friday, December 12, 2008

What is God for you??

Isn't He the one Whom you'll be able to talk to anytime and without taking any previous appointment?

Isn't He the One Whom you'll be asking for anything, anytime, freely and unconditionally?

Isn't He the One Who will always be there whether you are aware of Him or not?

Isn't He the One Who will ever be with you irrespective of whoever has left you?

Isn't He after all the One who deserves all your attention, love, and obedience... isn't He the One and Only One who deserves to be worshiped?

Source: What does God mean to you?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

SONY Innovative poster

It is not Sony innovation only, its partners are competing as well to deliver the best message about new products.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

php_flag settings when PHP runs as CGI (.htaccess / register_globals / php.ini)

A lot of people got puzzled because .htaccess does not work when PHP is running as CGI under Apache. Searching on the internet for a potential solution does not give an easy way to solve the problem.

The easiest is to create a php.ini file inside the folder where you want to set the flags in and voila.

For example, to set register_globals off, create a php.ini with the following
register_globals = Off 
Upload this file to that folder and try now phpinfo() to see the local settings for register_globals. Yes it is off.
This setting in important to get rid of the warning you got from Joomla or Moodle.

PHP is really an amazing language.