Liveblogging the 15th ITERA Conference Nashville (1)-Opening Session Andy Snow, Research Award Winner

I’m in Nashville, Tennessee for the 15th conference of ITERA, the Information & Telecommunications Education & Research Association.

Michael Ramage, Professor at Murray State University, ITERA President is opening the conference.

Professor Phil Campbell (Ohio University) is Chairman of ITERA. He introduces the conference as a community of scholars, no matter whether you are a veteran or a new scholar.

Professor Andy Snow, also of Ohio University, has won ITERA’s Lifetime Research Award Winner, will give the morning keynote. He has served in telecommunications in the military, then at University of Pittsburgh, then Georgia State University, now in the McClure School of Information & Telecommunication Systems.

Dr. Snow says while we are called to be specialists and experts, “life is general,” and we also need to be generalists.

Background: Job titles: “Signal Officer, Electronic Engineer, Member of Technical Staff, Manager, Director, Vice President, General Manager, President, Chairman, Professor.”

BSEE (1970) and Master of Engineering in US Army Signal Corps. OK with the experience, but found out “I hated operations,” he says.

“Figure out where you will fit” in your career. See if you want to be on the front end, or back end.

Went from Member of Technical Staff to Vice President for Engineering with 500 people and budget of $100 million.

Then did startups. Then 20 years almost to the day, in 1992 at age 44 with two kids in college and one in high school, went for Ph.D. at University of Pittsburgh. First Ph.D. from their Telecommunications program. Done in five years.

Dissertation on network resiliency, on the public switched telecommunications network. Also has researched “IT and Telecom/Networking” Project Management.

Liked teaching; decided to do full-time. Needed “union card” called “Ph.D.” Teaching was good yet liked to work on problems, so research was good for him.

Research Methods, graduate course for the last 10 years (Quantitative, Qualitative, Mixed methods).

Key things:

  • research methods are good for industry and academic
  • pick good/interesting research questions
  • importance of random sampling and random assignment
  • know how to develop a good survey (avoid double-barrelled questions; avoid leading questions)
  • statistics can help (correlation is not necessarily causation; watch for hidden variables; and the more plausible the correlation, the more it tempts people to “throwaway science” conclusions)
  • you don’t have to defend the null hypothesis
  • ethics matter (“I’ve seen people fired for plagiarism” in industry; recounts story that his 2006 IEEE proceedings paper was reprinted in another journal in 2016, without any change of any word except the name of the authors. Dr. Snow has notified the IEEE.)

Come up with questions; then figure where you are going to get the data; then get some findings.

Types of Quantitative Research:

Experimental; Quasi-Experimental (same except convenience sample of elements); Non-Experimental. Degree of establishing causality goes up at each category listed above, from most to less.

Dr. Snow reports on research about project management; conclusions show positive bias in assessing project status; “if a PM applies bias, it is twice as likely to be optimistic as pessimistic.”










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