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Last Updated: Jun 28, 2023     Views: 506





Visual: Slide changes to the following: Housekeeping

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Polls, files, and links are interactive.

  • Q&A

Use the Q&A box to ask questions.

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  • Help 

Choose “Help” in the upper right hand of the webinar room.

Audio: Well, welcome, everyone, and thank you so much for joining us for our webinar today on writing the KAM and LA. We are going to go ahead and get started. My name is Kayla Skarbakka, and I work with the Writing Center here at Walden, and my colleague Beth and I will be facilitating this webinar today. And my coworker Matt Sharkey-Smith will be presenting. But before I hand the session over to Matt, I just wanted to cover a few housekeeping items.

First of all, we are recording this webinar so you will be able to access this webinar via our webinar archive. We should be posting it within a day or two so it should be up on our archive this week. Also, whether you are attending this webinar live or whether you're watching this archive recording, know that you'll be able to participate in any polls that we use, you'll be able to download any files that we share and you'll be able to access links that we provide. You'll also be able to download the PowerPoint slide that Matt will be sharing today and this file is located in the files pod that you can see on your screen. So if would like, you can go ahead and download these files now, to have on hand, and you can also click on any of the links that are included in the web links pod, and doing so should not disrupt your experience in the webinar today. And remember that if you want to download these files later as well, you'll be able to do so by watching the archived webinar.

We encourage you to share any questions or comments throughout the session today using the Q&A box. Beth and I are watching this -- this webinar sort of behind of the scenes today, so we'll be keeping an eye on this Q&A box and we'll be happy to answer your questions throughout the session as Matt is presenting. If you're watching the archived version of this webinar, go ahead and send any questions or comments to [email protected].

Finally, if you have any technical issues, there is a help option looking at the top right-hand corner of your screen. This is adobe's technical support, so that's really place to go if you need technical help during the session today. And that's sort of all of our pertinent housekeeping items. So, without further ado, I will hand the session over to Matt.


Visual: Slide changes to the title of the webinar, “Writing the KAM & LA” and the speaker’s name and information: Matt Sharkey-Smith, MFA. Writing Instructor & Coordinator of Graduate Writing Initiatives

Audio: Matt: Great. Thank you, Kayla. Hi, everyone. My name is Matt Sharkey-Smith, and like Kayla and Beth, I work in the Walden Writing Center, and today we’re focusing specifically on the KAM and the LA which is the document that leads up to the KAM. So, if you are not -- not writing a KAM or an LA, this may not be the session for you. You’re welcome to stick around and learn stuff if you want, but this is covering the LA and KAM specifically. So again, it's very targeted to -- to students in those programs. Okay?


Visual: Slide changes to the following:

  • Overview of the KAM & LA process
  • LA structure & resources
  • KAM structure
    • Writing tips
    • Resources
  • Questions

Audio: Okay. So, here is the agenda for what we'll cover today. We’ll give you an overview of the KAM and LA processes. And because we have awful lot of content to cover tonight, essentially the entire thing is an overview. We’re not gonna have time to get into fine detail. But that's okay. Our goal here to give you a good understanding of the overall KAM structure and process, as well as the LA structure and process. And we'll try to make sure we have time for questions, at least at the end of the session. Hopefully we'll be able to stop in the middle as well, depending on whether we have time.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Poll:

Tell us more about your KAM experience!

Audio: But let's begin with a poll. Let’s just -- if you can tell us how much experience you have with KAMs and you know, just give us a sense of where you're coming from.

[silence as participants respond]

We'll leave this open for just a few more seconds. Okay. All right, well, looks like most of you are either starting your very first KAM or you've only done one. So, there's a lot of beginners here, which is great. You'll be hopefully really prepared after this to take on those early KAMs. Some of you -- a few of you are more experienced. And hopefully you'll still find this session helpful.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: LA and KAM: Definitions

  • Learning Agreement (LA): 
  • Agreement of the focus and content for your KAM.
  • Knowledge Area Module (KAM): 
  • Comprehensive, independent unit of study in a social science area.

Audio: Let's start off with just some definitions to kind of get things started. So, the LA stands for learning agreement. We just use the acronym because it's easier to say. It's literally an agreement between you and your assessor on the focus of what you'll do in a KAM. So, you make this agreement before you write the KAM. And then KAM is just Knowledge Area Module. As it says here, it's a comprehensive independent unit of study in the social science area. It's -- we'll talk more about the KAM in a little bit, but basically, it's a way for you to develop strong research skills, and strong writing skills in preparation for a dissertation.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Your Job as a Scholar

Show that:

  1. You understand your subject
  2. Your information is true
  3. Your research matters

Write for an informed but critical reader.

Audio: So in these -- in these documents, you're basically doing scholarly work, and, you know, your job as a scholar is to show that you essentially are an expert on this topic or as much of an expert as you can about be given the time and resources that you have and that this information is accurate. And a lot of that comes through in the way you use citations and references, but it also really depends on your tone. And along with that, you have to basically show your reader why all this matters, because that's kind of the big concern behind it all is why does this topic matter? Why should they bother to read about it? And you need to kind of think of your reader as being informed but critical, so they're willing to read what you have to say, but they are going to ask questions just as you would with any other piece of scholarship you're reading. And this is one of the topics that we go into much greater detail in some of our other webinars on scholarly writing. We also have some documents on our website that cover this. But we obviously don't have a whole lot of time to get into it here but know that a scholarly tone is a big important of -- or excuse me, a big component of writing a KAM.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Why write an LA?

  • Helps you focus and design your KAM
  • Helps you form a plan and stick with it
  • Saves you time by giving you feedback early

Audio: All right, so let's now focus on specifically writing the LA. Basically, the LA is a sort of contract. It's a way of agreeing on what you're gonna do in a KAM before you do it. And you make that agreement between you and your KAM assessor. And in an LA you basically form a plan of what you're going to do. You think about the structure of your KAM.Y you give a sort of rough blueprint of what that KAM will be. And one of the biggest benefits of writing the LA is it gives you a lot of feedback on those big sort of the structural aspects of your KAM early on. So if you say you're going to focus on, you know, a certain couple of theorists in your KAM and you describe that in your LA, your assessor, might say, you know, I know this topic pretty well. Maybe you should also consider looking at these theorists because they are really important in this field too. So, you get that feedback early on before you've spent a lot of time writing about the stuff.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Basic Components of an LA

  • Overview of the KAM 
    • A summary of each component and explanation of how they relate to each other.
    • 120 words or fewer
  • Outlines of the Breadth, Depth, and Application
    • Objectives (goals)
    • References
    • Demonstration

Audio: And the main structure of the LA is the overview of the KAM, which as you can see in this slide needs to. It needs to be no longer than 120 words, so it should be very, very concise, because that's about half a page. The other aspects of the LA are outlines of the breadth, depth, and application, so just essentially an outline of what you plan to do in each of those components of the KAM. You do need to back up that outline with some references. Basically, it doesn't have to be a complete list of the references you'll use in the KAM, but you do need to show that you've done some research in this area and use those as you craft your learning agreement.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Let’s take a look:

LA Template

Audio: So right now I just want to briefly show you what the LA looks like. We have a template.

[Slide shows the template]

So you can get a sort of visual sense of what this is like. And you can access this on the Writing Center website. So you can download this template and put all your own information in here. Like everything on the title page, for example, you can replace the highlighted text with your own information. And we won't spend a lot of time on this because again we have a lot of content to cover in this session, but just looking through this, you can see the structure of this. That overview at the beginning is pretty brief. It's basically one sizeable paragraph, right? Because it can be no longer than 120 words.

And if you go down to the sections below that, essentially an outline of the -- the objectives for your breadth. Usually you need at least three. I've heard some students say they need more than that, depending on their project, but three is I think the good sort of minimum number of objectives. And the references of the sources that you've already found that support what you're trying to do. As well as in this demonstration section, here's where you talk about, you know, how you're gonna demonstrate what -- what you got in this breadth. So again, it's just a few sentences to say, like, here's how I will show everything I've learned in this portion of the KAM.

And the same process is essentially repeated for the depth and for the application. Okay? All right. And again, you can access that template on the Writing Center website if you want to look at it in more detail.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Avoiding Common Problems

  • Format throughout the writing process
  • Use Walden resources as you go along
  • Use your LA to guide the writing of your KAM
  • Focus on one task at a time to avoid becoming overwhelmed

Audio: Okay. So just as you're -- these are tips that are good to think about as you're kind of beginning this process of moving from the LA to the KAM. Because once you have your LA approved, that's when you start writing at KAM. You start conducting more in-depth research. You start drafting the document. But these --[audio cut out][no audio]

Um, ah the first one was formatting throughout the writing process. So basically, what this essentially means is use the template which will show you the -- the KAM template --Handled automatically for you so you don't have to go back and adjust things like margins or whatever. Just use the template from the get-go and it'll be simpler. You can also use Walden resources as you go along. The one I really, really, really strongly want to recommend here is the KAM guide. You might have seen this already, like your mentor or assessor might have recommended it, but if you haven't, I strongly recommend that you read through it. It's a great document that basically covers everything that needs to go into a KAM. It covers every aspect of KAMs and kind of the purpose of them, the structure of what you're really trying to accomplish in each section. And you can access that from the Writing Center website we have a link to it there.

The other thing is use the LA to guide the writing of your KAM.As I said before, the LA is essentially a sort of blueprint for your KAM, so, you know, use it as such a blueprint and it'll make the writing of your KAM easier. The other thing you want to do focus on just one task and that's I think really, really important the KAM is a long document. It's got many components and it's very easy to become overwhelmed. I know I would be if I were trying to write a very long KAM without thinking of it sort of piece by piece, task by task. So, if you can focus on -- if you break it down into smaller chunks, that will help.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: What is a KAM?

             Technically, you write a KAM demonstration:

  • A paper
  • ~90 pages long
  • Write about the theory and recent scholarly research on your topic
  • Apply these ideas to a real-life situation

Audio: Okay. So now let's focus a little more specifically on the KAM itself. Technically what you're doing when you write a KAM is, you're writing a demonstration. And that's an important aspect to remember, because a -- it's essentially a demonstration of the knowledge you've gained throughout this process. You do not conduct original research. Which means research that needs IRB approval, you know, it's the kind of research that you might do in a dissertation. You don't do that in a KAM. And a KAM, it's much more about using the things you've learned from the scholarly literature and then applying those to a real-life situation, but at this point you're not contributing --[audio garbled]>> To the scholarly community.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: What is the Purpose?

  • Develop independent research skills
  • Contribute to social change
  • Demonstrate your ability to connect theory, research, and practice

Audio: And so the KAM has essentially the same purpose as --as the other Walden course work, right? You're trying to develop scholarly research skills, you’re trying to make an impact on social change, and especially, this is where the writing especially comes in. You need to demonstrate how -- the theories you've read, the contemporary research you’ve read and actual practice all fits together. And that's one of the biggest challenges of writing a KAM, and we'll talk more about that in a second.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: KAM Model

  • Breadth
    • Classical or contemporary theorists
    • Select seminal theorists around a particular theme, which you develop in your Breadth essay.
  • Depth
    • Choose a topic that comes out of the theories of the Breadth.
    • Explore current research using current, peer-reviewed research (3-5 years; at least 15 articles).
    • Annotated bibliography and a literature review.
  • Application
    • Develop a project that reflects the conclusions of your research and puts them into practice.
    • Explain how the project connects with the ideas you analyzed in the earlier parts of the KAM.

Audio: All right, so now we'll dig into the structure of the KAM. You might be familiar with these, the breadth, the depth and the application, but we'll start with breadth. Which is where you examine classical or contemporary theorist, another word for them is seminal theorist. So, its…theorist… that are…oop, sorry, folks, I think the audio might be choppy.

Kayla: Oh, hey, Matt. Sorry about that. I just was gonna let you know. Yeah, I think we're getting a little bit of a delay on your end there. I'm trying to think, maybe just making sure programs that you have on your computer are just shut off? That might do it.

Matt: Hmm. Sorry, folks. That's unusual.

Kayla: Yeah. Just one second, everyone. Sorry. We just want to make sure you can hear everything that Matt's talking about.

Matt: Okay. Is this any better? Perhaps? Maybe?

Kayla: Yeah, I think so.

Matt: Okay. Yeah. Let's try it now. Sorry about that, folks. I think I need to call Comcast or something. Anyway, so the breadth. So, this is where you talk about seminal theorists that are the major big thinkers in the field you're studying or the particular discipline you're studying. So, they're kind of the big players there. They don't have to be contemporary necessarily. They can be, like for example, if you're writing about education, you might very well be talking about major theorists from, you know, early 20th century, you know, which are obviously not the most recent thinkers, but they're still very, very important to the field you're studying here.

That leads into the depth which is where you -- this is where you look at the contemporary research. You'll need to talk with your assessor about exactly the parameters of this, but the common standards that they need to be within the last five years. Ideally even more recent than that. And you'll need at least 15 of them. And the theories that you examine in the breadth should kind of guide your research in the depth.

So basically, most people choose a topic from the breadth, and then that is, you know, what they end up examining in the current literature. It doesn't necessarily have to be quite that clear cut. It can be more thematic, or you might have a different topic in mind. It's kind of fuzzy or abstract to talk about it this way because there's a lot of exceptions. Your KAM might look different than somebody else's KAM in this respect. The really important thing is that the depth has to sort of logically follow from the breadth. Okay?

And the other thing you're doing in the depth is you're writing an annotated bibliography and a literature review. So, it has those two big components. And then the last section of the KAM is the application. Which is a project that is basically a project where you put what you've learned into practice. So, you're taking those ideas from the breadth and the depth and thinking about some of sort of real-world impact they could have. And this -- kind of as what I was just saying, this can take many, many forms. So, your application might look very different from somebody else's application.

For example, you might construct a PowerPoint slide or excuse me, PowerPoint presentation in which you present information you've gathered to a particular group because you think it might affect the way they do their jobs. Or, yeah, you might create a plan for a new sort of public policy program. Something like that. It can take many, many forms. But the really important thing I want you to take away from this is that it's about putting your research into practice.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Let’s take a look:

KAM Template

Audio: Now let's take a look the KAM template.

[slide changes to KAM template]

We won't spend a lot of time on this, but I think it's good for you guys to see this. It's -- let's zoom in a little bit here. It's very similar to the LA template, as you'll see. This highlighted text, you can just replace that with your own information. You know, for whichever KAM you're working, you'll put your name in there, you'll put your program in there, etcetera. And you'll notice these comment bubbles on the right are there to kind of give you some additional guidance as you're working through the template.

And each section of the KAM has its own abstract. That can seem a little unusual at first, so the breadth has its own abstract. The depth does and the application does. And then once we get into the -- I'll go past the table of contents for now, and we'll go into the body of the breadth, the structure is already laid out for you. The broad structure anyway. You have to choose what these headings will be, because they will depend pretty heavily on what you're researching. And we'll talk a little bit more about that in a second. But basically, you can see the template has all the big formatting stuff already set up. So again, just go ahead and use the template is my suggestion. And you can access this of course from the Writing Center website, so please feel free to download this and look through it yourself.


Visual: KAM Section 1: Breadth Organization

Once you’ve selected the texts you’re going to read, browse for themes that interest you. You do not need to read entire books, just the sections that interest you.

Audio: Okay. Let's move on. Okay, so we'll get into a little more detail here in the major components of the KAM.As we mentioned before in the breadth, you're looking at the major theorists in your -- in the topic --around the topic you're studying. One thing you'll want to keep in mind is that you don't necessarily need to read the entire books by those authors. And some of the is just a practical concern because you'll find for some of those major yes, sir theorists, they've written dozens of books and it would not be feasible for you to read all of them within the context of the KAM. The thing you really want to do here is look for themes. You know, seeing where ideas relate to each other, where they seem to sort of form a conversation around an idea. That's what you really want to pay attention to because that's really how you kind of form the basis of the synthesis that you'll put into your KAM.


Visual: KAM Section 1: Breadth Organization

  • Purpose and overview
  • Critical discussion of several theories

Theme 1

Theorist A

Theorist B

Theme 2

Theorist C

Theorist A, etc.

  • Critiques of theorists: Synthesize and interpret

Theorist A noted X, but Theorist C disagreed, suggesting Y.

  • What it all adds up to: Evaluate
  • Preview to Depth: How theories might inform current research

Audio: And to get a little more detailed here, this is kind of a broad look at the structure of the breadth. You might not necessarily have these as section headings. In fact, your section headings should look different than this. But you will need these components in some way. So, part of your breadth, generally at the beginning, you'll need to provide an overview of the KAM and the breadth itself and some sort of statement of the purpose. So, your readers will know, you know, what you're planning to accomplish in this document. After that, you'll have the critical discussion of the theories that you -- that you research, and that's going to be a big -- a big part of -- of what you've --of what you've put in the breadth. And again, here I've shown them organized around themes, because themes are a more effective way to structure this kind of writing.

If you've written a literature review before, it's a similar way of writing. And I'll talk a bit more about that when we get into the depth. You'll also need to offer some critiques of those theorists, so you'll need to basically put them, you note points where they agree, where they disagree, potential flaws in the theories, potential strengths in the theories, all that stuff. And then in the evaluate part here where you look at what it all adds up to. This is where you kind of, you know, form your general conclusions about – about these theories and about the themes you've identified. It's also where if you're using a -- a theoretical framework in this, this is where you would describe the framework you're putting together, and that's something you'll have to talk about with your mentor and your assessor to determine whether that applies to the KAM you're doing.

And then lastly, and this is a pretty important part,is a preview to the depth, so basically you need to show how the theories you've researched here will logically relate to the research you describe in the depth. Because again, every aspect of the KAM should logically build on the next one, or excuse me, it should logically build on the previous one.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Purpose and overview

  • Critical discussion of several theories

Theme 1

Theorist A

Theorist B

Theme 2

Theorist C

Theorist A, etc.

  • Critiques of theorists: Synthesize and interpret

Theorist A noted X, but Theorist C disagreed, suggesting Y.

  • What it all adds up to: Evaluate
  • Preview to Depth: How theories might inform current research

Audio: Now let's get into the depth. The depth has two big, big sections, an annotated bibliography which is where you analyze an article kind of by itself, and you get into some detail. And you need to include three major aspects:  Summary, analysis, and application or another word for application might be synthesis in this case. And then a literature review is a synthesis of all the articles. So, in the annotated bibliography you're looking at each article by itself. In the lit review, you're looking at them all together. So, you're writing about all the stuff you read, and you talk about the topics you noticed and the themes you found in that research. So again, in the lit review, you are writing according to theme, just as you did in the breadth.


Visual: KAM Section 2: Depth Questions

  • Was the research question well framed and significant?
  • How well was the research related to the existing body of knowledge?
  • Did the article make an original contribution to field?
  • Was the theoretical framework for the study appropriate?
  • Was the research method appropriate?
  • How else might a researcher answer the research question?
  • Was the sample size sufficient?
  • Were there adequate controls for researcher bias?
  • Is the research replicable?
  • What were the limitations in this study?
  • How generalizable are the findings?
  • Are the conclusions justified by the results?

Audio: And this is a really good checklist you can use. It's basically a way to ask yourself as you're reading through your -- the articles you've read, you know, it's a way of determining whether you've read them critically. You can ask yourself things about, okay, did I look at the theoretical framework the study used? Was there any potential bias here? Do I -- did I find in flaws in the study? Things like that. If you kind of ask yourself these questions as you read through each source, you can make sure you're covering all the aspects of it. So, it's not a bad idea to save this as a checklist you can access elsewhere, and then just for each source, go through this list and, you know, make sure you've covered each one. And again, as Beth said -- or excuse me, as Kayla said at the top of the presentation, you can access these slides from the files section here, so you could – you can access these questions, and you can put them in a Word document or something.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: KAM Section 2: Depth Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography

Author, A. (Year). Title of the article goes here. Journal Titlex(x), xx-xx. doi:xxxxxxx


First paragraph: A summary of the research method and its findings.

Second paragraph:  A critical assessment of the article, evaluating its strengths and weaknesses.

Third paragraph:  A statement about the value of this article for your research agenda or your profession generally.

Audio: Okay, now, so we'll talk a bit more in detail about the annotated bibliography. You'll notice here that it breaks it down into three distinct paragraphs. I heard that some assessors might not require it to be broken out that way, but I think most of them do, and I think it's just a good idea if you just use this structure, because it'll make sure that you're covering all the necessary aspects here. So you have a paragraph of summary, and then a paragraph of your own analysis of the article, and then another paragraph where you talk about the synthesis of that article for -- for your study overall, or in other words, how it applies to what you're researching, and how useful it is for what you're doing. So, if you devote a paragraph each to those three components, that's all you need to do in your annotation and it'll be a well-developed, complete annotation for that source.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: KAM Section 2: Depth Essay

  • Have a clear organizing principle (chronological, thematic, methodological)
  • Compare and contrast strengths and weaknesses
  • Identify trends and relationships between studies
  • Establish the relationship of the articles to your area of inquiry
  • All of this can lead to gaps in the research, which could be a dissertation topic.

Audio: Okay? And now let's talk about the depth essay which is --I've been using the term literature review in the – in the previous slides. Because it is essentially a -- essentially it is a literature review, but the technical term for it in the KAM is the depth essay. So, if you see that term, depth essay, really, it's saying the literature review that you do in the depth. So, kind of as I was talking about before, you need to choose some sort of clear organizing structure for your -- for your literature review. I think organizing by theme is the -- generally best way to go, but sometimes it's more appropriate to use a chronological structure where you talk about the sequence of events over time, or method logical where you're looking at, you know, sources that all used the same methodology versus sources that all used a different methodology. You know, there are situations in which that would be appropriate. Regardless of the structure you choose, you do need to compare and contrast those -- those sources. And find the relationships between them, and then most importantly, you need to show your reader why it all matters to your topic. So, kind of, you know, provide that connection between -- between all of these -- these – these sources.

And the last point here. All of this can be information you'll use in a dissertation. You might find that a flaw in a study spurs your curiosity, and then you want to look at that topic further, and -- in a dissertation down the road. Your KAM research can build towards your dissertation as well in this way. So, think about that as you're connecting these KAMs. Many successful KAM students try to orient their KAMs towards a sort of overall goal for their dissertation.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: KAM Section 3: Application

  • Breadth + Depth
  • Application
  • A practical project that stems from the theories and research in your Breadth and Depth.
  • Other Resources
  • Your project will determine what kind of literature and other resources you might need as references. 

Audio: And now let's talk about the application, the last section, often one of the trickiest sections. It needs to be a practical project that's -- that's build from -- built from -- logically follows the writing that you've done in your breadth and depth. You'll notice on this, on the bottom here it says your project will determine what kind of literature and other resources you might need as references. That's very true because the way you -- the direction you take your application can vary greatly, so, you know, if you choose to do a certain thing in your application or try to come up with a certain application project, you might need other kinds of resources in addition to the stuff that you did in your depth. I've also heard from some KAM assessors that say that they recommend that their students start with the application. They start by thinking about what they're going to do for that application, and then they build their breadth and depth after that he do that. Other -- others will say, no, no, no, do it all in order. Start with the breadth, and then do the depth, and then do the application. I'm not going to tell you that there is one correct way, but the important thing, the thing you really have to keep in mind is that the components have to logically build on each other. So your application has to logically follow from the conclusions you draw in the depth, and the depth has to logically follow from the conclusions you draw in the breadth. And as far as process and things like that, you'll want to talk to your mentor and your assessor about that more.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: KAM Section 3: Application Organization

  • Description of the project
    • What you did, its context, and why it matters
    • Results of the project (if applicable)
    • If feasible, include the project (e.g., brochure, presentation)
  • Your reflection on the project
    • How the theories and research in the Breadth and Depth influenced this project
    • Future developments (if applicable)

Audio: So, the application will have two big components in addition to whatever the project is itself. You'll have a description of the project, so you'll talk about what you did and why it matters and results, if they're applicable. Sometimes you don't actually carry the project out. Sometimes all you're doing is designing a project. Then the other big component is your reflection. And this is where you do a lot of the work of connecting the application to the breadth and depth, so you're saying, you know, how precisely the theories and the research informed the project you came up with.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions

Audio: Okay. I've covered an awful lot of material very quickly, I realize, and I appreciate your patience with that.  and I can see that there are a lot of -- there have been a lot of questions in the Q&A box, and Beth and Kayla have been flying through their responses to try to answer all of you. But I guess what I'm wondering now, Kayla, are there any questions that we should address as a group?

Kayla: Yeah, Matt. We've had some really great questions in the Q&A box and I'm not sure how much time, we are talking through these questions at this point, so if you need to [inaudible] to keep going with the presentation, go ahead and let us know. But we have had some really great questions. One that -- one student raised, back when we were talking about the LA, do students need to have their LA approved before they start working on their KAM?

Matt: Oh, great question. Yes. Yes, they do. I t's essentially like I said before, it's essentially a contract, and the idea is that you have that contract in place before you start doing the KAM research. I've heard stories of some students starting their KAM research before the application is done. But it's generally not a good idea because your assessor might say, no, you need to change this, or I don't think that direction is going to work very well. I think you need to take it in this direction instead. And you don't want to have done an awful lot of work to change it all. So, it's generally a good idea to get that approved first.

Kayla: Sure. That makes a lot of sense, Matt. Thanks. Another question that we had has to do with the breadth section. We had a student asking, and just sort of asking for clarification on what you meant when you said that in the breadth, students need to critique theories. And I think this student was wondering if it's the role of the student to critique the theories themselves or to critique the theorists and if there's a difference there, and basic what that -- what the critique part of the breadth involves. Does that make sense?

Matt: Yeah, that's a fabulous question. Thank you. Essentially, you're sort of doing both. I mean, you will be when you're offering your critique, you are addressing both the theory and the theorist, but primarily you're focusing on the theory. You will be using the theorists name to talk about it, though, let's say you're talking about Vygotsky, I'll just pick on the education folks. You'll be taking in depth about Vygotsky's theory and discuss the potential strengths and weaknesses you find with that theory. And in doing that you'll be talking about him. But you're not necessarily critiquing him as a person or anything. Your emphasis is always on the idea. That theorist came up with.

Kayla: Sure. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, Matt. and I think, you know, as a writing instructor, I think the thing to keep in mind here is that the goal is to maintain your critical thinking, right? You're not just reporting. You're not just writing a report on these different theories. Instead you want to be critically engaged and make sure that you're adding some analysis, some of your own interpretation and ideas. Does that make sense?

Matt: Yeah. Thank you, Kayla, that's perfect, yeah. And I think you hit the nail on the head when you said your own analysis and your own interpretation. I think sometimes students shy away from the word "Interpretation" because it seems like, understandably, it seems like it could be biased, right? If you're talking about your own interpretation, they might think that you're -- what you're really suggesting is that they write about your own opinion. And you don't want to do just an uninformed opinion.  But part of your task as a scholarly writer is to include your interpretation in your work. The big distinction is that your interpretation needs to be informed by -- by the literature. You have to be able to back things up with evidence from the literature. And also, of course, you have to maintain a scholarly tone. So, it's not something that you -- it needs to be --your writing has to be as free from bias as possible and you need to avoid expressions of personal feeling and things like that. You need to ground it all in the evidence and the literature.

Kayla: Sure.

Matt: Great questions

Kayla: Thanks, Matt. Matt, we have a couple more questions, but I think it would be good to address in front of the group, but I also know that you do have some more slides in this presentation. So do want to press on?

Matt: Yeah, that's a good point. How about, let's cover some of these additional slides, and then we'll do another Q&A at the end, because I imagine folks will have some questions about the material we'll cover in the upcoming slides.

Kayla: Sure. Sounds great.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: LA & KAM Samples

Find more examples and tips online!

Audio: Matt: Okay. So, the very first thing in this sort of supplementary material we're going to talk about here is LA and KAM samples. You can use this link to look at the KAM exemplars which is a section of the Writing Center website that contains examples from real student KAMs. So previous students who were writing KAMs did – and they did them well, let us use portions of their KAMs to put them on the websites so other students could look at them and see, ah, this is what a part of a depth essay should look like, or this is what part of my breadth introduction should look like. So, I strongly encourage you to look through those so you can get a sense of what these portions of your KAM ought to look like.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Breadth Body Paragraph


What does the author of this paragraph do well?

This structural subsystem most closely aligns with Goffman's thoughts on interaction rituals. Goffman (1982) explained that individuals carry out actions instinctively when those actions are governed by specific sets of rules. In other words, in the structural subsystem, a clear definition of the rules surrounding each role will lead to the employees carrying out their respective roles on a nearly automatic level; they will know what to do and when to do it. One could argue that Bandura's (1995) social cognitive theory also lends credence to this subsystem classification. While Goffman's (1963) ideas reveal that employees will carry out each task without conscious thought, Bandura's ideas expose how the employees reach that level of action.  Bandura's social cognitive theory also identifies the ways employees learn the methods required to carry out their actions, such as mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, social persuasions, and interpretations of their own emotional state at a given time.

Audio: And this -- these samples are taken actually from those exemplars, but there's many more on the website. So, this is just an example of a breadth -- breadth body paragraph, so that first section of your KAM, this is just a paragraph taken from one student's actual breadth. And it's a little dense, because they're covering an awful lot of information here in just one paragraph. But you can see even just taking a really quick look at it, you can see that they're comparing and contrasting Goffman and Bandura and looking at the major aspects of their theories where they agree and disagree and drawing significant conclusions from those interactions between the theorists.

So just a quick question for you. What -- what do you think the author of this paragraph does well? And I mean, aside from putting the authors in conversation, what else are you noticing? And I'll give you a couple of minutes just to think about this and read through it and respond.

[silence as participants respond]

Okay. So, I'm seeing a few responses here. Some folks are saying the citing is good. Yeah, each theorist is cited, and there's a year included to complete that citation. Each time they use that author's ideas. Someone else said connection to the literature. It is -- I'm gonna paraphrase there. I think what this person is saying is it's grounded in the literature, which I agree. It sticks to the author's ideas. It doesn't get very far from the evidence. It's always sticking to what is actually from the text.

Someone else said the synthesis is really good. I think that kind of comes a little bit toward the end, but it kind of goes hand in hand with analysis where the author is providing their own take on what these theorists do well.

And then somebody else said the author is explaining his point and has the to support -- evidence to support his statements. Exactly. I think that's a really good point. The author is making a case for what these theorists are doing, and each of those points has support from the literature. And that's exactly what you want to do.

Sorry, I'm just looking at the chat box. Let's see. What anybody else has. Yeah, so I think you've all had some great ideas here. All right let's move on to the next -- next slide.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Depth Annotation

Gathman, A. C., & Nessan, C. L. (1997)…

Gathman and Nessan described the construction and rationale of an honors course in science and religion that was pedagogically based on Lawson's learning cycle model. In this course, each student writes a short paper on a subject before presenting the material to the group, …

The authors made no specific effort to support spiritual development in the course. They were interested in the interface between religion and science, teaching material on ways of knowing, creation myths, evolutionary theory, and ethics. They exposed students to Fowler's ideas, but they did not…

Fowler's work would seem to lend itself to research of this sort, but this is the only example found in recent literature. While the theory claimed high predictive ability, the change process chronicled is so slow and idiosyncratic that it would be difficult to design and implement research that had as its goal measurement of movement along the faith development continuum…

Audio: Next example here. So, this is a depth annotation. Remember when I said you need three distinct parts? You need the summary of the source, and you need the analysis, so your sort of examination of that source. And then you need the synthesis where you describe how the source relates to your topic and the body of literature overall. This is a good example that does all those.

At the top here, you got the reference. We've trimmed some of it off for the sake of fitting it on the slide. But you've got the full reference followed by a paragraph devoted to the summary, and then another to the analysis, another to the synthesis.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Application Body Paragraph


What does the author of this paragraph do well?

In this Application project, I utilize the principles of Passmore to achieve joint optimization by incorporating the social and technical systems of the USPS and USPIS into the redesign process of the prevention campaign.  For example, USPS employees at all levels will participate in the development of brochures, videos, and other forms of prevention material.  The postmaster general and his executive staff will be an essential element in the development and deployment of the prevention campaign to all postal employees.  From a technical standpoint, I will utilize the most innovative technology available to deliver the prevention message, including redesigning all of the brochures and videos.  In addition to postal inspectors conducting in-person training at postal facilities, the prevention videos will play on the postal television network. 

Audio: Similarly, we've got an application body example here. Where -- and I know it's a lot of text to read through, but I think this student does a really good job of connecting their -- the ideas from their breadth and depth to the application project. So here at the beginning they're saying, I utilized the principles of pass more, one of the theorists they read, to achieve optimization in this prevention campaign for U.S. postal service. Essentially, it's a violence prevention program. So, it has real practical application, right?

So, what else -- what else did you think this author did well?

[silence as participants respond]

And we'll give you just a few minutes here too.

[silence as participants respond]

Looks like a lot of people are typing, in the process of forming their thoughts here, but I'll start reading through this. One person said they thought the transitions were really effective. Yeah, I think so. Even just sort of little things like, this, for example, in the second sentence. Just very clearly shows like, you know, that the writer going to present an example of -- of that -- of this --of what this campaign might -- might create. I guess another thing to kind of building on that idea of transitions, I think it logically flows well. Right, from the beginning of the paragraph to the end, you can follow the sort of logical thread that the author has created.

Someone said they -- yeah, they make a statement, and then they cite an example. Yep, that's good. I think a number of people are noting that the author explains very clearly what they're going to do in this application, which I think it really, really important, and I'm glad you're all -- you're all noticing that. Because not only is the connection to the breadth and depth clear, but it's also clearly laying out, you know, where that -- where that leads this application, you know, what -- what the author is planning to do with this application.

Great. Yeah. Okay.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Additional Components

  • 3 abstracts
  • Appendices
  • Tables & figures

Remember to find examples online!

Audio: I'll move on to the next one. All right. So, we didn't spend a whole lot of time talking about the sort of supplemental aspects of the KAM, the three abstracts I mentioned very briefly that you have to write an abstract for each component. Appendices which are optional and that's for if you have any supplemental material that supports your argument but it'd not strictly necessary for the argument you are making. And tables and figures, so if you need to presence any information in numerical data or if you have a graph or something like that, you'll use a figure. We have much more information on that stuff online. Just, in the -- within the time we have here, it just wasn't feasible to cover all of that. But again, we have many examples of all this stuff on the Writing Center website.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Avoiding Common Problems

  • Format throughout the writing process
  • Use Walden resources as you go along
  • Use your LA to guide the writing of your KAM
  • Focus on one task at a time to avoid becoming overwhelmed

Audio: And just as we talked about at the beginning of the presentation, use these steps to avoid some common problems we see in the KAM process. Format as you write. Use resources as you go along. They're there to help you. And we've got a lot of them. Use that blueprint in your LA to guide the structure of your KAM. And then I think this is probably the most important one is focus on one task at a time. Otherwise it's just a huge, huge document. Because remember, you're writing 90 pages, roughly. Here, so it's very easy to get overwhelmed with all the pieces that you have to put together. So, if you focus on it one task at a time, it'll go better.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Resources

Audio: We've got several other resources here you can access. Related to what we were -- we've been talking about tonight. The ones I'm most want to point out here are annotated bibliographies and lit review and annotated bibliography basics, those are webinars that go in to much more depth about those topics, how you write a good annotation, how you write a lit review. So, I strongly encourage you to check those out if you’re interested.

This synthesis page is also a really good resource because it talks about just what synthesis is. That's a very, very tricky topic because it looks very different in different situations. But essentially it always means putting ideas together. You know, kind of looking at the connections between none source or one idea to another source or another idea, or to your overall argument.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions: 

Now: Let us know!     ·            Anytime: [email protected]


Continue learning to help you write your KAM!

Check out the recorded webinars “Practical Skills: Paraphrasing” and “Building and Organizing Academic Arguments”

Audio: All right. Now, if there are any other questions, let's go through those now.

Kayla: Great. Thanks, so much, Matt. We have a few minutes left in this session today and we'll definitely spend those time -- that time answering any last-minute questions that you have, but before we do that, I wanted to just take a minute to remind you that if we don't get to your question today or if you think of a question after this session or if you are watching the archived version of this webinar, you can always send your questions [email protected]. And I also wanted to encourage you to check out the links in the web links pod portion of your page. We have some fantastic links to other resources that might be of interest to you or after the webinar. So, feel free to use these additional resources.

And if you have any questions while we're still have the session open today, go ahead and continue to type those into the Q&A box. But, Matt, I wanted to jump back to a question that we had earlier on in the session today and that was just -- I was just wondering if you could talk just a little bit more about the -- a little bit more about the connection between the breadth and the depth because I know the structure of the KAM can be a little bit tricky for students to understand especially because we have so many students who are just beginning to work on their KAM. So, if you can talk about the progression from breadth to depth and structurally how these fit together.

Matt: Yeah, that's a great question. And a huge one and a very common one. And often a tricky one in practice to figure out how --in a specific KAM, how the breadth and depth relate to each other. I think it's -- you know, because it's tough to talk about all this stuff because it's sort of abstract and it looks different in the each situation. But I think it maybe a good way to think about it, is if you -- I'll pick on education again. If you have a set of theories, let's say you looked at Vygotsky and Skinner and a couple of those big early 20th century theorists, and you -- You know, in your breadth you've analyzed them and come to your conclusions about them and formed a framework about those theories that you will use in your KAM, that might connect to your depth in that it will inform the sources that you choose to use. You might seek out sources to use in those theories. It might also be the set of ideas that you're comparing those depth ideas against.

Or in other words the contemporary research that you discuss in your depth, you might be sort of checking those against the theories that you discuss and describe in your breadth. I think the -- another way to think about it is that funnel diagram we had on that earlier slide.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: KAM Model

  • Breadth
  • Depth
  • Application

Audio: Let me move back there. If I can find it. It was back there a ways. But basically, it's a good way to sort of visually think about how these all fit together. The breadth, it is literally broader than the ideas in the depth. And the depth has to sort of fit on top of the – the theories in the breadth. So again, the sources you look at during your depth research will kind of be constrained by the breadth theories you've read. So, you'll always be comparing those to the theories. And it is kind of tough to talk about without looking at a specific KAM. But logically it has to be guided by the breadth ideas. Is that helpful?

Kayla: Yeah, that makes sense. Again, I think that visual of the funnel is really helpful.As Matt recommended, it is -- it's a pretty vague to talk about these ideas sort of theoretically outside of the context of an individual project, so that's just sort of another good reason to work very closely with your faculty member and sort the fine-tuning the scope and the focus of each of those individual sections so you can make sure they are focused appropriately.

We are at time. So, if anyone needs to -- to head out, again, this webinar is being recorded so you can access it later and do feel free to leave if you have to. But I'm wondering, Matt and Amy -- or Amy, I'm sorry. If you have a couple of extra minutes. We could just stay on for an extra minute or two here?

Matt: Sure. Yeah. I’d be glad to.

Kayla: Fantastic, thanks. We had one note from a faculty attendee that I thought was a really good point is that she mentioned that in the depth section when you're writing your annotated bibliography, she sort of brought up distinction between discussing the limitations of the claims of the study versus criticizing a study. And I just wonder if you could discuss a little bit more what it means to analyze or criticize a study effectively.

Matt: That's -- yeah, that's a great point. Yeah, and I think criticizes, I mean, I think the really big thing is to keep in mind here is, whenever you make a claim, you have to be able to support it. So, if you are -- if you don't think is a study is particularly well designed or you think it has major flaws, you need to talk about that from the perspective of what you can actually support. You have to say I don't think this was -- I think this study had major limitations, or maybe significant flaws. Because of these various methodological reasons or because I think they're, you know, their sample size was too small or, you know, things like that. What you, whatever you do, I guess what I'm saying is you need to be able to support your claims. You can't just say that you don't think a study's effective without having really strong support.

And I guess in effect what that means is you often can't -- you often have to be sort of limited in the --in the ways you critique a source, because, you know, you might not have the expertise to really determine whether a study or really flawed. But if you do, you can feel free to use that expertise. But you know, whatever the case is, you can only really make those kinds of claims if you can really support them.

Kayla: Sure, yeah, and I think it's also important to point out that when we talk about criticizing in scholarly writing, we're not talking about criticizing in the way that you might criticize a family member or a political figure or something like that. It's a lot more based on -- it's not a personal attack on another human being. It's a sound argument based on your analysis and what you have deserved in that person's writing. So that might be just something else to keep in mind.

Matt: Yeah.

Kayla: You know, we are really running out of time here, so I just want to encourage anyone, if we didn't get to your question today, go ahead and let us know. [email protected]. Keep in touch and we look forward to supporting you as you continue to work on your LAs and your KAMs. So that concludes our webinar for today. Thank you so much for joining us. And I hope that you have a great rest of your day.

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