Week 4 | IRB Planning & Recruiting Efforts


This week was quite challenging for me as I spend the majority of my time attempting to recruit high schools in the Pittsburgh area to work with me on my study. I ended up getting quite discouraged as I was only able to secure 2 of my 40 contacts for involvement.

However, after hearing back from approximately half of the people that I the counselors that I had contacted many of them mentioned reaching out upper administration for each school i.e. Principles and Superintendents.

On Wednesday, Sept. 16th I pulled together the contacts for Principles and Superintendents of all 12 of my schools and emailed them about my study.

I, unfortunately, haven’t heard back from any of them but am planning to send a follow-up email tomorrow morning, see what my response rate is, and then decide what direction to move in from there.

This process was quite time consuming so I wasn’t able to pick up the readings and mapping that I had hoped to pick up this week.

However, I was able to start organizing my IRB, process documentation, and considerations for the research methods I would like to include in my exploratory and generative phase.

Once I have the direction of my stakeholder group more solidified I think I’ll be able to make bigger strides in my literature reviews and preliminary mapping exercises.

*My two mini’s for A1 this semester are very reading heavy so I have had trouble carving out time for my additional readings. However! I have made some connections in the readings from these classes that I plan to convert into reviews in the coming weeks.

Readings that have had an impact on my thesis:

  • A Framework for Systemic Design, Alex J. Ryan
  • When Everybody Designs: An Introduction to Design For Social Innovation
  • Wicked Problems in Design Thinking, Richard Buchanan
  • Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning, Horst W. J. Rittel

My correlations between my two mini’s “Design Thinking for Complex Systems” and “The Long Now” have been really helpful as I continue to explore how students make decisions within the wicked problem space of the public school system in America, as well as how we individually perceive time and our futures.

I wrote this week in Design Thinking for Complex Systems:

“The approaches to planning and goal setting that confront the wicked problems of the world today are similar to the actions we take with ourselves to address our own personal goals and aspirations. Finding our purpose in this world is one of life’s most wicked problems.”

This was in reference to my thoughts about student decision making when pursuing secondary education — and finding one's purpose in life.

In addition to my efforts this week I started to think through the different generative virtual testing techniques that I am interested in exploring in this study centered around understanding student value, engagement, motivations, and opportunities.

A couple of my rough thoughts below from Liz Sanders, Make Tools Method Cards.

Activities for Administrators and Counselors

Activities for Students

Week 4 To Do’s

  • Send follow-up emails to Administrators
  • Finalize IRB
  • Continue reading and develop lit review process
  • Continue decision tree mapping of post-high school tracking.



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