The Refractive Thinker®: Vol. II: Research Methodology: 3rd edition
The Refractive Thinker®: Press 2013
Number of Pages: 200


If thinking is inside the box, and critical thinking is outside the box, refractive thinking is beyond the box. The Refractive Thinker® series provides doctoral scholars with a collaborative opportunity to promote and publish their work in a peer reviewed publication, which meets the university standard. Our goal is to provide an affordable outlet for scholars that supports the tremendous need for dynamic dialogue and innovation while providing an additional clout and recognition for each contributing author. Unlike most academic books that merely define research, The Refractive Thinker offers unique application of research methodologies from the perspective of multiple authors – each offering a chapter based on their specific expertise. To learn more about the book contact Sheila Stewart at 303-378-2022 cell or or go to


Chapter 1: University Endowments in Financial Crisis
In late 2008 and early 2009, a financial crisis spread around the world. Lack of confidence in the capital and credit markets resulted in a worldwide free fall, and the United States experienced large monetary losses in the ensuing dramatic capital market decline. The consequences of the economic downturn to American higher education were substantial. According to the National Association of College and University Business Officers-Commonfund Study of Endowments (NCSE), U.S. institutions lost on average 18.7% in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009 (NCSE, 2011a). This single year negated years of endowment prosperity. This chapter presents a summation of Dr. Ellen Beattie’s dissertation research. A quantitative correlation study design employing Spearman’s rank-order correlation and multiple regression analysis measured the relationship between twelve institutional and endowment characteristics and endowment investment performance. Findings indicated a large variance in endowment investment performance among the 724 institutions and while correlation analysis generated statistically significant correlations, the Spearman correlation coefficients (rs) were extremely low. This chapter will help readers to understand how the institutional and endowment characteristics relate to investment growth among our nation’s institutions of higher education. This chapter will guide students to understand how quantitative correlation research can be applied to solve the complex challenges facing higher education.
Chapter 2: Refractive Thinking and the Influence of Religion and Religiosity on Leadership Practices
Religion and religiosity have been major factors in society for centuries because religious beliefs shape the values, conduct, ethics, and morals of organizational leaders to a large degree. However, faith and religion are often avoided in the workplace. The Hage (2013) quantitative correlation study consisted of examining the relationship among religion, religiosity, and leadership practices among Christian and Muslim organizational leaders in Lebanon. Statistical analyses showed a significant relationship between religion and the five Kouzes and Posner leadership dimensions; whereas no relationship was found between religiosity and these dimensions. This chapter offers readers a roadmap to thinking beyond the box when conducting quantitative research.
Chapter 3: Researching Close to Home: Using Refractive Thinking to Examine Professional Colleagues
Examining the behavior of one’s colleagues under a microscope is a daunting leap of faith in the interest of learning. Jones (2013) completed the study entitled Examining Leadership Styles and Financial Performance within Rural Electric Cooperatives while serving as President and Chairperson of the Board of a rural electric cooperative and serving on the board of directors of an electric generation and transmission cooperative. Numerous participants were professional colleagues; all were general managers of rural electric cooperatives. By describing the research method, procedures, and problem-solving philosophy, Jones used in conducting research involving colleagues, other doctoral scholars may find practical solutions to meet the challenge and overcome the obstacles associated with researching close to home. Completing the capstone study of a doctoral degree is a demanding process with many obstacles. Maintaining a philosophy of never giving up regardless of the challenges, required revisions, or academic criticisms is essential. Doctoral researchers should recognize that completing a study is a team effort. Although the formal team consists of university committee members and academic advisors, doctoral students can access the expert knowledge of refractive thinkers to move beyond the obstacles. Refractive thinkers do not just think outside the box, they redefine the box, and never relinquish the pursuit of knowledge because of problems, frustrations, or barriers.
Chapter 4: To Better Understand a Case Study
In this chapter, the authors indicated what a case study design is, and how a case study can be used in conducting research. This chapter opens with a brief introduction to case study research followed by three working definitions of what a case study is. Drs. Shaw and Bruce discussed how the case study design influenced their respective studies. Emphasis is placed on the application, expanding research, sampling, and theory building using a case study design. The information in this chapter could be helpful to a researcher contemplating the use of a case study design. Also, the authors indicated how current and future research can be influenced using a case study design. Information contained in this chapter assists researchers on key components using a case study design, and demonstrates the flexibility during the research process.
Chapter 5: Comparative Study on Mortgage Lending Practices to Minority Borrowers in the Atlanta, Georgia Area
Owning a home is the American Dream of many. In recent times, many laws have been enacted to help protect this basic fundamental dream. The Georgia Fair Lending Act (GAFLA) was passed in October 2002 to protect the elderly, persons with a low credit rating, and those that may not be able to manage their monies effectively. The main intention of the law was to protect borrowers from high prepayment penalties, and other unknown fees. The James (2013) study was conducted to take an in-depth view of the mortgage lending practices to minority borrowers in the Atlanta, Georgia Area from the perspective of local real estate agents. 30 agents were interviewed. They were African American, Asian American, Hispanic American and White American. Their responses to the 15 questions presented will astound you.
Chapter 6: Strategic and Scenario Planning Using Delphi: Long-term and Rapid Planning Using the Genius of Crowds
The Delphi Method is a research technique for gathering expert information in multiple rounds of learning to analyze a specific issue and make informed conclusions. Of the many instantiations, including dissertation research and strategic-scenario planning, some of the best uses of the Delphi technique are neglected. This article focused on aspects of planning including how and when planning teams might be engaged. In the normal planning processes–especially horizon, scenario, sustainability, TQM, and disaster recovery planning–planners set triggers to signal that the scenario is about to happen, or has happened. Once the trigger has been tripped, teams must be assembled to review continuity plans and to initiate action. Delphi is a useful planning tool at many stages: up front in the scenario planning process, as well as after the trigger has been tripped. Teams, including Delphi panels, can be used in rapid planning as well. The genius of crowds can be engaged during the planning process and even during an emergency. For these teams to work most effectively, the mechanism for engaging, or re-engaging, the team has to be well developed. Even in academic research, an opt-in mechanism could be–and should be–set to reengaging the team. Every strategic planner and Delphi researcher should read this article.
Chapter 7: The Enlightened Pen: The Praxis Documentation and Aesthetic Interpretation (PDAI) Research Model
A fresh hybrid research method, the Praxis Documentation and Aesthetic Interpretation (PDAI) model, as created by Mickahail (2010), and used to record the lived stories of individual experiences through oral history and poetic data display is chronicled in this chapter. The PDAI model is a 4-continual step process: developing a praxis framework, collecting and documenting oral history data, creating a poetic representation, and determining resultant themes and findings. The model is continual because change does not cease but continues to transform, adjust, and refine into a cycle of striving for knowledge and excellence.

The PDAI methodology emerged from Mickahail’s (2010) study and fascination with the 20th century, civil rights efforts, subsequent societal transformation, and the endless energy of change makers. Developing a hybrid research that applied the method of oral history built around a change model and then blended with Eisner’s (1998) enlightened eye of educational criticism. Mickahail applied distinctive poetic representation of the data through her enlightened pen to document research findings.
The use of the PDAI 4-continual step process translated the qualitative interviewees’ insights and perspectives of life experiences related to issues of urgency, advocacy, effective treatment, public awareness, research, and policy planning into recommendations for change through poetic representation. The PDAI model holds significance for those who seek to conduct research in new and inventive ways.
Chapter 8: Using Phenomenological Design to Explore Knowledge Sharing
Leaders, managers, and employees do not completely understand the knowledge sharing process between individuals and within the social structure of teams. The purpose of Connell’s (2013) phenomenological research study was to use Nonaka and Takeuchi's socialization, externalization, internalization, and combination model to explore the organized, continual method of tacit-to-explicit knowledge theory for organizational knowledge creation. The central research question addressed the issues, claims, and concerns behind the employees' perceptions regarding knowledge sharing within the contracting division at a federal organization. Coding, analyzing, and grouping data into 10 primary themes occurred after conducting the personal, semistructured interviews. Results indicated that the foundation for supporting the knowledge sharing process consists of implementing a culture of openness and willingness to share from upper management to individual employees and between individual workers. With improvements and attention given to organizational culture and internal changes from upper management and leadership, lack of trust concerns regarding knowledge sharing have the potential to improve organizations. The implications for refractive thinkers are that employers will promote knowledge management principles to encourage a more competent, successful, and effective work and business environments.
Chapter 9: Transformative Learning Through the Lens of Transcendental Phenomenology: A Study Design Overview
This chapter explores many of the subtle characteristics and nuances employed when constructing a transcendental phenomenological study. Using a step-by-step tactic, learners are guided through the fundamentals including definitions, comparisons, and a set of powerful test questions that quickly reveal study accuracy and compliance. This time-saving examination of transcendental phenomenology includes: critical information about the appropriateness of the study, how to design research and interview questions, the construction of a strong pilot study, how data was collected and analyzed, and how outcomes and conclusions are developed aimed at passing the rigorous scrutiny of the Instructional Review Board (IRB).
Chapter 10: Moving Through the Great Recession (2007-2009): Personal Knowledge Management for Employment Opportunity
Individual approaches and experiences with personal knowledge management are not well documented in empirical studies, which led to the Schild (2013) research study. The Schild (2013) study explored the lived experiences of knowledge workers from the popular professional networking community LinkedIn. A semi-structured interview served as the data collection instrument for 21 knowledge workers. Data analysis occurred using a modified van Kaam Method by Moustakas (1994). Participant representation occurred across four generations as defined in the Schild (2013) study. Participants described work environments in multiple industries, varying job titles, and areas of residency across the United States.

Study results included information that participants communicated as important to gain a commoditizing difference in the workplace. Generational differences did not emerge as a factor for engagement in personal knowledge management activities, which supported current academic generational research. The knowledge gained through the Schild (2013) study allows leaders to consider factors that drive personal knowledge management to improve organizational opportunities, support personal knowledge management activities, assist knowledge workers to attain leadership qualities, and understand knowledge worker commoditizing differences.

Thinking out of the box to complete the Schild (2013) study resulted in constructing a meaningful way to present data to tell a story of personal knowledge management experiences. Refractive thinking was responsible for obtaining Institutional Research Board approval. Finally, out of the box thinking provided new research opportunities considering the global economic effects on personal knowledge management experiences.
Epilogue: RTII3: Our Greatest Purpose: To Serve the Doctoral Student and Scholar
This epilogue for Volume II: 3rd edition serves to address questions regarding the purpose of The Refractive Thinker. Questions addressed in this end of the volume summary include discussion regarding the definition of a refractive thinker, how the concept began, and what value this concept adds to the concepts of thinking and critical thinking as related to the power of research and discovery of the doctoral scholar.