Sunday, September 27, 2009

Minister denies IPTA and IPTS involved in fake Phd degrees

Higher Education Minister, Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin (second from right) entertaining his collegues from the Cabinet at his open house in Pasir Gudang today - Bernama pic

JOHOR BAHARU, Sept 27 — Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Khaled Nordin said no public institutions of higher learning (IPTA) and private institutions of higher learning (IPTS) are involved in issuing fake PhD degrees.

“I also like to stress that there are no lecturers with fake PhDs teaching at IPTA and IPTS in the country,” he said at an Aidilfitri function organised by Pasir Gudang parliamentary constituency here today.

Khaled said his ministry had strict procedures in the recruitment of lecturers as checks were conducted on the qualification of candidates.

Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim had urged the Attorney-General Department to act against those who bought titles like “Datukships” and PhD degrees from overseas.

Rais said this was neccesary as such activities could create a generation of fake intellectuals.

Khaled said Rais’ statement could give a negative perception of Malaysian education and urged him to explain so that it could be discussed by the Cabinet.

On the new Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM) campus in Pahang, he said the immediate concern was to provide teaching and learning facilities.

“We are constructing new buildings at the UPNM campus in Kuala Lumpur to house faculties.

“UPNM is a new university and as such need to be strengthened. The question of relocating the campus to Kuantan, Pahang will have to wait,” he said. — Bernama

Friday, September 18, 2009

How to survive a thesis defence?

By Joe Wolfe
School of Physics
The University of New South Wales, Sydney

This document is an appendix to

How to write a thesis

* The thesis defence or viva is like an oral examination in some ways. It is different in many ways, however. The chief difference is that the candidate usually knows more about the syllabus than do the examiners.

* Consequently, some questions will be sincere questions: the asker asks because s/he doesn't know and expects that the candidate will be able to rectify this. Students often expect questions to be difficult and attacking, and answer them accordingly. Often the questions will be much simpler than you expect.

* In a curious relativistic effect, time expands in the mind of the student. A few seconds pause to reflect before answering seems eminently reasonable to the panel, but to the defender it seems like minutes of mute failure. Take your time.

* For the same reason, let them take their time. Let them finish, or even elaborate on, the question.

* The phrase "That's a good question" is useful. It flatters the asker and may get him/her onside, or less offside; it gives you time to think; it implies that you have understood the question and assessed it already and that you have probably thought about it before. If absolutely necessary, it can be followed by a bit more stalling "Now the answer to that is not obvious/straightforward..." which has some of the same advantages.

* If the nightmare ever did come true, and some questioner found a question that put something in the work in doubt... mind you this is thankfully very rare.... then what? Well the first thing would be to concede that the question imposes a serious limitation on the applicability of the work "You have identified a serious limitation in this technique, and the results have to be interpreted in the light of that observation". The questioner is then more likely to back off and even help answer it, whereas a straight denial may encourage him/her to pursue more ardently. Then go through the argument yourself in detail - showing listeners how serious it is while giving yourself time to find flaws in it or to limit the damage that will ensue. In the worst caese, one would then think of what can be saved. But all this is hypothetical because this won't happen.

* What usually happens is that the examiners have read the work typically twice, and looked closely at some parts that interested them most. These are usually the good bits. The examiners have standards to uphold, but they are not out to fail you. (Administratively, it is a lot more complicated to fail you than to pass you!) In general, they feel good about the idea of a new, fresh researcher coming into their area. You are no immediate threat to them. They have to show that they have read it and they have to give you the opportunity to show that you understand it (you do, of course). And they usually have a genuine interest in the work. Some of them may feel it is necessary to maintain their image as senior scholars and founts of wisdom. Judicious use of the "Good question", "Yes, you're right of course", "Good idea.." and "Thanks for that" will allow that with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of time for champagne drinking.

* If one of the examiners is real nasty, your thesis defence is probably not the best place and time in which to do anything about it, except perhaps for allowing him/her to demonstrate his/her nastiness clearly and thus to establish the support of the rest of the panel. If you want a major dispute, save it up for when you are on even ground, unless you are very, very sure of yourself and think that you have nothing to lose.

* Be ready for a 'free kick'. It is relatively common that a panel will ask one (or more) questions that, whatever the actual wording may be, are essentially an invitation to you to tell them (briefly) what is important, new and good in your thesis. You ought not stumble at this stage, so you should rehearse this. You should be able to produce on demand (say) a one minute speech and a five minute speech, and be prepared to extend them if invited by further questions. Do not try to recite your abstract: written and spoken styles should be rather different. Rather, rehearse answers to the questions: "What is your thesis about, what are the major contributions and what have you done that merits a PhD?".

* Read the first two bullet points again. Keep calm - and good luck!

Opinions expressed in these notes are mine and do not necessarily reflect the policy of the University of New South Wales or of the School of Physics.


The literature review

What is a literature review?

According to Cooper (1988) '... a literature review uses as its database reports of primary or original scholarship, and does not report new primary scholarship itself. The primary reports used in the literature may be verbal, but in the vast majority of cases reports are written documents. The types of scholarship may be empirical, theoretical, critical/analytic, or methodological in nature. Second a literature review seeks to describe, summarise, evaluate, clarify and/or integrate the content of primary reports.'

The review of relevant literature is nearly always a standard chapter of a thesis or dissertation. The review forms an important chapter in a thesis where its purpose is to provide the background to and justification for the research undertaken (Bruce 1994). Bruce, who has published widely on the topic of the literature review, has identified six elements of a literature review. These elements comprise a list; a search; a survey; a vehicle for learning; a research facilitator; and a report (Bruce 1994).

Why do a literature review?

A crucial element of all research degrees is the review of relevant literature. So important is this chapter that its omission represents a void or absence of a major element in research (Afolabi 1992). According to Bourner (1996) there are good reasons for spending time and effort on a review of the literature before embarking on a research project. These reasons include:

* to identify gaps in the literature
* to avoid reinventing the wheel (at the very least this will save time and it can stop you from making the same mistakes as others)
* to carry on from where others have already reached (reviewing the field allows you to build on the platform of existing knowledge and ideas)
* to identify other people working in the same fields (a researcher network is a valuable resource)
* to increase your breadth of knowledge of your subject area
* to identify seminal works in your area
* to provide the intellectual context for your own work, enabling you to position your project relative to other work
* to identify opposing views
* to put your work into perspective
* to demonstrate that you can access previous work in an area
* to identify information and ideas that may be relevant to your project
* to identify methods that could be relevant to your project far as the literature review process goes, ultimately the goal for students is to complete their review in the allocated time and to ensure they can maintain currency in their field of study for the duration of their research (Bruce 1990).

The literature review process and the library

A good literature review requires knowledge of the use of indexes and abstracts, the ability to conduct exhaustive bibliographic searches, ability to organise the collected data meaningfully, describe, critique and relate each source to the subject of the inquiry, and present the organised review logically, and last, but by no means least, to correctly cite all sources mentioned (Afolabi 1992). The Library offers a range of training for research students that will assist with the production of literature reviews including sessions on electronic databases, using the bibliographic management software EndNote to download records, Internet searching using Netscape, Library catalogue searching, off-campus student orientation, subject resources, and research skills. Please contact your Liaison Librarian for more details.

EndNote reference management software

EndNote is a reference database that enables you to create your own list of bibliographical references. The EndNote software is provided on the Software Essentials CD or via the ITS Software Library and makes it possible to connect to selected library catalogues and online databases and to incorporate references directly into an EndNote database. It is also possible to export bibliographic records whilst you are searching the Deakin Library catalogue into EndNote. EndNote is a bibliography maker which can locate cited works in its databases and build and format appropriate lists automatically. It can be used in conjunction with a word processing package.

A tutorial has been developed by Deakin University Library staff to assist you to use this feature of EndNote.

Links to other sites (all open in a new browser window)

How to Critically Analyze Information Sources

Deakin Research Services

The Dissertation Doctor

Writing and Presenting Your Thesis or Dissertation

How to Write a PhD Thesis

Bibliography of cited references and other relevant sources

Afolabi, M. (1992) 'The review of related literature in research' International journal of information and library research, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 59-66.

Bourner, T. (1996) 'The research process: four steps to success', in Greenfield, T. (ed), Research methods: guidance for postgraduates, Arnold, London.

Bruce, C. S. (1990) 'Information skills coursework for postgraduate students: investigation and response at the Queensland University of Technology' Australian Academic & Research Libraries, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 224-232.

Bruce, C. (1993) 'When enough is enough: or how should research students delimit the scope of their literature review?', in Challenging the Conventional Wisdom in Higher Education: Selected Contributions Presented at the Ninteeth Annual National Conference and Twenty-First Birthday Celebration of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Inc., HERDSA, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. pp. 435-439.

Bruce, C. S. (1994) 'Research student's early experiences of the dissertation literature review' Studies in Higher Education, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 217-229. Contains Full Text Articles

Bruce, C. (1994) 'Supervising literature reviews', in Zuber-Skerritt, O. and Ryan, Y. (eds), Quality in postgraduate education, Kogan Page, London.

Bruce, C. S. (1997) 'From Neophyte to expert: counting on reflection to facilitate complex conceptions of the literature review', in Zuber-Skerritt, O. (ed), Frameworks for postgraduate education, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Caspers, J. S (1998) 'Hands-on instruction across the miles: using a web tuturial to teach the literature review research process' Research Strategies, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 187-197. Contains Full Text Articles

Cooper, H. M. (1988) 'The structure of knowledge synthesis' Knowledge in Society, vol. 1, pp. 104-126

Cooper, H. M. (1989) Integrating research : a guide for literature reviews, 2nd ed, Sage Publications, Newbury Park, Calif.

Leedy, P. D. (1997) Practical research: planning and design, 6th ed, Merrill, Upper Saddle River, N.J.

Libutti, P.& Kopala, M. (1995) 'The doctoral student, the dissertation, and the library: a review of the literature' Reference Librarian, vol. 48, no. 5, pp. 5-25.

Mauch, J. E.& Birch, J. W. (2003) Guide to the successful thesis and dissertation: a handbook for students and faculty, 5th ed, Marcel Dekker, New York.
Library contacts

The Library has Liaison Librarians assigned to all Schools to assist students and staff. Contact details for your Liaison Librarian can be found at:


The Literature Review: A Few Tips On Conducting It

Written by Dena Taylor, Health Sciences Writing Centre

What is a review of the literature?

A literature review is an account of what has been published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers. Occasionally you will be asked to write one as a separate assignment (sometimes in the form of an annotated bibliography—see the bottom of the next page), but more often it is part of the introduction to an essay, research report, or thesis. In writing the literature review, your purpose is to convey to your reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. As a piece of writing, the literature review must be defined by a guiding concept (e.g., your research objective, the problem or issue you are discussing, or your argumentative thesis). It is not just a descriptive list of the material available, or a set of summaries

Besides enlarging your knowledge about the topic, writing a literature review lets you gain and demonstrate skills in two areas

1. information seeking: the ability to scan the literature efficiently, using manual or computerized methods, to identify a set of useful articles and books
2. critical appraisal: the ability to apply principles of analysis to identify unbiased and valid studies.

A literature review must do these things

1. be organized around and related directly to the thesis or research question you are developing
2. synthesize results into a summary of what is and is not known
3. identify areas of controversy in the literature
4. formulate questions that need further research

Ask yourself questions like these:

1. What is the specific thesis, problem, or research question that my literature review helps to define?
2. What type of literature review am I conducting? Am I looking at issues of theory? methodology? policy? quantitative research (e.g. on the effectiveness of a new procedure)? qualitative research (e.g., studies )?
3. What is the scope of my literature review? What types of publications am I using (e.g., journals, books, government documents, popular media)? What discipline am I working in (e.g., nursing psychology, sociology, medicine)?
4. How good was my information seeking? Has my search been wide enough to ensure I've found all the relevant material? Has it been narrow enough to exclude irrelevant material? Is the number of sources I've used appropriate for the length of my paper?
5. Have I critically analysed the literature I use? Do I follow through a set of concepts and questions, comparing items to each other in the ways they deal with them? Instead of just listing and summarizing items, do I assess them, discussing strengths and weaknesses?
6. Have I cited and discussed studies contrary to my perspective?
7. Will the reader find my literature review relevant, appropriate, and useful?

Ask yourself questions like these about each book or article you include:

1. Has the author formulated a problem/issue?
2. Is it clearly defined? Is its significance (scope, severity, relevance) clearly established?
3. Could the problem have been approached more effectively from another perspective?
4. What is the author's research orientation (e.g., interpretive, critical science, combination)?
5. What is the author's theoretical framework (e.g., psychological, developmental, feminist)?
6. What is the relationship between the theoretical and research perspectives?
7. Has the author evaluated the literature relevant to the problem/issue? Does the author include literature taking positions she or he does not agree with?
8. In a research study, how good are the basic components of the study design (e.g., population, intervention, outcome)? How accurate and valid are the measurements? Is the analysis of the data accurate and relevant to the research question? Are the conclusions validly based upon the data and analysis?
9. In material written for a popular readership, does the author use appeals to emotion, one-sided examples, or rhetorically-charged language and tone? Is there an objective basis to the reasoning, or is the author merely "proving" what he or she already believes?
10. How does the author structure the argument? Can you "deconstruct" the flow of the argument to see whether or where it breaks down logically (e.g., in establishing cause-effect relationships)?
11. In what ways does this book or article contribute to our understanding of the problem under study, and in what ways is it useful for practice? What are the strengths and limitations?
12. How does this book or article relate to the specific thesis or question I am developing?

Final Notes:

A literature review is a piece of discursive prose, not a list describing or summarizing one piece of literature after another. It's usually a bad sign to see every paragraph beginning with the name of a researcher. Instead, organize the literature review into sections that present themes or identify trends, including relevant theory. You are not trying to list all the material published, but to synthesize and evaluate it according to the guiding concept of your thesis or research question

If you are writing an annotated bibliography, you may need to summarize each item briefly, but should still follow through themes and concepts and do some critical assessment of material. Use an overall introduction and conclusion to state the scope of your coverage and to formulate the question, problem, or concept your chosen material illuminates. Usually you will have the option of grouping items into sections—this helps you indicate comparisons and relationships. You may be able to write a paragraph or so to introduce the focus of each section


Writer Azmah Nordin wins SEA Write Award - Star

Sept 18, 2009

KUALA LUMPUR: Azmah Nordin, 51, has been chosen as the Malaysian recipient of the South-East Asian Writers Award (SEA Write Award) 2009, according to a Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) statement on Friday.

It said the Kulim-born writer was nominated by the DBP through the SEA Write Award selection committee and verified by the SEA Write Award secretariat in Bangkok on Sept 9.

“Azmah is the 31st recipient of the award since its establishment in 1979. With the award, she will also receive a cash prize of 70,000 baht (RM6,797) and several accompanying gifts,” the statement said.

The award will be presented by Thailand’s Crown Prince, Maha Vajiralongkorn, and his royal consort, Princess Srirasm, at the SEA Write Award 2009 Gala Night scheduled for Oct 9 in Bangkok.

Azmah has written 48 novels, 22 anthologies of short stories and 27 short stories published in magazines since 1985.

Among her popular novels are Noor Ainku Sayang, Pejuang Bawah Bayu, Awang Kirana Mudir Besar, Ribut di Gua Gomantong and Puteri Delima. She has also been honoured with 22 other awards, including the Sabah DBP Literary Award 1998/1999, Malayan Banking Berhad-DBP Award 1991, DBKL-DBP Poetry and Short Stories Award 1990, Malaysian Premier Literary Award 2000/ 2001, and Sabah Literary Award for four consecutive years from 2002 to 2005. -- Bernama

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sack plagiarising lecturers, says DCM II - Star

Sept 16, 209 By ANN TAN

GEORGE TOWN: Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) should have sacked its two lecturers for plagiarising materials from the Internet to produce a guidebook.

Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy, a former Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) political science professor, said the stern warning issued to them was not good enough.

“Plagiarism is the most serious ‘crime’ in a university.

“I once came across a lecturer who was involved in plagiarism in UKM but the only action taken against him was to freeze his promotion and pay rise.

“He later went to teach in another university and was promoted to professor,” he said at a press conference at Komtar on Wednesday.

He was commenting on a recent report in The Star quoting UPM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Nik Mustapha R. Abdullah as saying that the warning would be included in their service records, which would affect their promotion.

He had said no one would be suspended but they have to return any royalty received.

Dr Ramasamy, who is also the state Economic Planning, Education and Human Resources, Science, Technology and Innovation Committee chairman, said the Higher Education Ministry should set up a special committee to investigate the issue of plagiarism.

“Otherwise, students will follow (this example) and become copycats since their own lecturers did the same.

“The cases of plagiarism among students in universities, be it public or private universities, have been very rampant over these years and it is sad that we closed the matter like that,” he said.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Few Good Online Survey Tools - By Idealware

Sept 15, 2009

Online surveys can be a huge help in understanding what your constituents think and how successful your programs are - without breaking your budget. We spoke to five nonprofit staff members to understand how the existing online survey tools compare.

Ever wonder how well received your annual dinner event is? Looking to evaluate a new program? Need to collect data for a big research project? Surveys can be a huge help in understanding what your constituents think and how successful your programs are.

And good tools can be be a big part of that. Online survey tools can be a very cost-effective way for delivering surveys, collecting results, and then analyzing the results all through one central system. While they're not going to be the right fit for every research need (for instance, a paper survey is likely to get a much higher response rate at an in-person event, and provide more accurate data among populations that are not as comfortable with computers), online surveys are great for gathering informal data quickly and easily.

There are a number of these tools available, but how do they compare? Idealware spoke to three nonprofit staff members with extensive survey experience, consulted postings on a number of nonprofit list serves, and scoured reports and article on the topic. Below, we walk through the online survey tools that have worked for others, and might work for you as well.

What Do These Tools Do?

Pretty much any good online survey tool will allow you to easily define your survey questions and the possible responses using an online interface, and then send your constituents a link to answer the survey online. But some offer more sophisticated functionality that can be very handy when you're planning anything more than the simplest survey. What types of features might be useful?

* Flexible survey look and feel. A survey that has prominent branding for a survey tool rather than for your organization can be off-putting to your constituents and decrease response rate. A package that allows you to update colors, and font, and header graphics can help you match a survey to your website or organizational branding.

* Skip logic. As you design more complex surveys, it's often useful to let respondents skip a whole section of questions that don't apply to them. Survey skip logic allows you to define, for instance, that those who answer "no" to question 10 should skip to question 15.

* Piping. Piping allows you to pull answers from one part of a survey into another. For instance, if someone says in one question that they live in New York City, you can then ask them in a follow-up, "What's the best thing about living in New York City" - filling in the name of the city from the previous question. More sophisticated packages allow you to combine skip logic and piping to customize surveys even further.

* Randomization. The order of a set of questions, or the set of answers to a given question, can often affect survey responses and thus the quality of your data. Features that automatically randomize the order of particular questions or answers will help avoid this issue.

* Website integration. While many of these packages create surveys in their own web page, some allow you to embed them into your existing website. This can be a particularly useful way to do quick, one-question surveys (called polls), or to gather opinions from web visitors in a longer survey.

* Data analysis. One of the primary differentiators between inexpensive packages and their more expensive brethren is their ability to help you to analyze the data and understand the meaning behind the results. Most packages provide simple reports summarizing the answers to each question, and many will let you download them into Excel or another tool for futher analysis. More advanced packages allow you to cross-tabulation to see the data relationships between different sets of questions, or to do complex statistical analysis.

Keep in mind that no software package can do the design work to ensure your survey will collect effective, high quality data. While it's easy to slap together a set of questions, designing a survey that will capture the data you need in a rigorous way is complicated, and you'll likely benefit from consulting someone who has experience with survey design.

Basic Survey Tools

A number of low cost online tools provide easy interfaces for building surveys and viewing reports online. These packages can be a great fit for smaller surveys where advanced question types, survey logic, and results analysis are not required.

SurveyMonkey (

SurveyMonkey offers a popular online hosted survey tool that works well for basic surveys. They offer a free version that might be useful for very small and informal surveys, but this version allows very little customization of the look of the survey, no downloads of reports or data, and can only collects 100 responses per survey. The Pro version - at about $20/month or $200/ year - offers the ability to create multi-page surveys or to define skip logic. The package's folder structure and "search by title" feature makes it easy to navigate through many surveys. Reports are minimal, but they allow you to export results to another application to do more serious analysis.

Zoomerang (

Zoomerang is similar to SurveyMonkey in many respects, but offers in general a somewhat more powerful package for somewhat more money. Like SurveyMonkey, they offer a very limited free package; the more useful advanced package is offered to nonprofits for $350 per year for unlimited surveys, questions and respondents. The survey building tools are not quite as intuitive as SurveyMonkey's - it can be a bit more difficult to learn. However, Zoomerang offers more extensive reporting than SurveyMonkey, with a flexible cross-tabulation report tool that allows survey administrators to see the data relationships across any set of questions.

SurveyGizmo (

SurveyGizmo offers a low cost solution with some advanced features. The free version supports 250 responses per month; they also have a range of more advanced packages from $20/month to $160/month. At all levels, SurveyGizmo offers basic piping, fully customizable survey look and feel, and the ability to embed images and videos hosted on your own website. More advanced levels offer many randomization options (question options, questions per survey page, and pages themselves), skip logic, and more. SurveyGizmo offers an API for integrating survey functionality into websites, blogs and other applications, including integration with

PollDaddy (

PollDaddy offers surveys surveys and polls that can be easily embedded into external websites and applications. They offer the ubiquitous free package, with a maximum of 10 questions and 100 survey responses per survey. More advanced versions cost between $20/month and $100 /month. Their survey features are more limited than some of the other options in this category, with no skip logic or piping, but survey administrators have a lot of flexibility over the look of the survey, by selecting from pre-designed templates, or fully customizing the template by editing stylesheet code. Surveys can be delivered in pop-up windows, and results can be tracked via RSS feed.

Lower Cost Integrated Solutions

There are a number of inexpensive solutions that bundle in additional features outside of surveys and polls. These can be quite useful if you find that your survey needs often overlap with others - for instance, the need to send emails. However, the survey functionality within these integrated tools tends be be fairly basic - they're unlikely to meet the needs of those who are looking for advanced survey logic or analysis features.

Constant Contact (

Although known primarily as an email marketing tool, Constant Contact offers "Listen-Up", a hosted survey tool with some interesting benefits. Although Constant Contact does not offer a free option, its fee-based packages are competitive with other lower cost options, ranging from about $10 to $150/ month depending on the number of respondents who will be answering surveys. Constant Contact offers more than 40 predesigned templates with some ability to customize them. Surveys can include skip logic, and can be scheduled in advance. The tool also offers a variety of emailing and email management services, including contact importing, list segmentation and basic contact management. Reports are quite basic, but data can be exported for analysis in another tool.

FormSite (

FormSite offers a tool for building website forms - everything from simple "contact us" forms to evaluation forms. Although their focus is on forms for feedback and test taking, FormSite offers a basic set of survey features, and may be useful to those looking to collect a lot of different types of information via web-forms. Features include multiple page surveys, question randomization, basic skip logic and piping. Surveys can be customized to match your website by someone familiar with HTML. They offer a variety of prices, including a limited free account, and packages ranging from $10/month to $100/month.

Moodle (

Moodle is a powerful open source course management software package primarily targeted at schools and universities. It integrates website content management and online course management together with survey and test-taking solutions. The survey tools are geared for those gathering feedback from students to assess teaching methods - several verified survey instruments are provided for this purpose. Moodle may be appropriate for nonprofits running training programs or schools, who are seeking an all-in-one website, course and survey management solution for their programs. The package is free to download, but will require substantial technical knowledge to install, configure, customize and support.

More Advanced Survey Packages

If you are looking to conduct larger scale research, marketing and feedback analysis projects, a more powerful survey package could provide welcome functionality. These tools offer significantly more advanced question formats, survey logic, and data analysis. The more complex functionality makes them more difficult to use without training, especially for those without prior survey design expertise.

SurveyZ (

SurveyZ, created by Qualtics, provides advanced survey logic and analysis targeted at research surveys, with a focus on academic institutions. Qualifying nonprofits can get a bargain: a free "consultant" account for a year, which allows up to 1000 responses per month and two surveys at a time. The corporate plan is $10,000/yr. It provides data analysis support for cross-tabulation, conjoint analysis, subgroup analysis, time series analysis, and more.

QuestionPro (

QuestionPro packages range from limited low cost versions to more advanced $250-$850/month options. The package allows you to re-use questions from one survey to the next, or to pull questions from a standard survey template library. The more advanced - and expensive - packages offer skip logic, piping, randomization, and even more complex survey logic, as well as multimedia and multilingual support. They offer an API to exchange survey data with outside applications, including a module for integration.

LimeSurvey (

A powerful, free and open source survey package for appropriate for nonprofits who are looking for advanced survey logic and analysis feature, and who have substantial technology support. Its range of features includes full customization of survey look and feel, support for 40 different languages, piping, skip logic, a library of available survey questions, and blast emailing. The tool has a large support community and is under active development. This is an open source package that can be downloaded for free, installed on your own web server, and customized to your needs by a developer with knowledge of PHP/ MySQL. Although the tool itself is free, be prepared to bear the costs for your own web hosting, and time it takes to properly install, configure, customize and support this product on your own.

Key Survey (

This is the most robust of the advanced survey tools covered in this article. Prices range from $1950 to $5950 per year for single user subscriptions. It offers a full set of features, including several unusual advanced ones such as LDAP integration to allow single-sign-on models for large organizations, role based permissions, support for "teacher/student" surveys, multimedia questions, and much more. They also offer an API to exchange survey data with outside applications, with a module for integration.

Choosing the Right Survey Tool

Start by thinking about your needs. If you're just looking to get your feet wet with a quick survey, one of the free or low cost tools is likely to work fine. In fact, a more sophisticated survey package is likely to just be considerably more difficult for you to use. On the other hand, if you're looking for survey software to support rigorous research, the more advanced packages are more likely to have the features you need.

Whichever type of package makes sense for you, take advantage of the free versions to take the tools for a trial run. While many of the advanced features are not available in the free trials, the vendor may be able to give you access to these features as well.

With a little care, you can choose a package that will make it easy to collect and analyze data. When that next annual dinner or research project comes around, you won't have to guess what people are thinking - you can find out!


UPM lecturers hauled up over plagiarism - Star

Sept 15, 2009 By KAREN CHAPMAN

PETALING JAYA: A stern warning will be given to two Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) lecturers for plagiarising materials from the Internet to produce a guide book.

UPM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Nik Mustapha R. Abdullah said this warning would also be included in their service records, which would affect their promotion.

“The management decided to take this action following advice from the legal department that the two be given very stern warnings,” he said when contacted.

Prof Dr Nik Mustapha said the university viewed the case seriously and did not condone it.

“No one will be suspended but they have to return any royalty received,” he said.

He said the guide books would be removed from the (university’s) shelves immediately.

He was commenting on a news report that two UPM lecturers had plagiarised materials to produce a guide book on writing effective resumes for management students.

Prof Dr Nik Mustapha said the legal department had made suggestions to the management on the disciplinary action to be taken after personally meeting the authors.

“The junior author, who recently completed her PhD, said that since the source was from the Internet, she thought the information was in the public domain and as such did not cite the article,” he said.

Prof Dr Nik Mustapha said the senior author admitted to the legal team that the manuscript looked all right to him, not realising that it was taken from another work.

“Since this is a guide book, we decided that the punishment was reasonable,” he said.

Prof Dr Nik Mustapha said that the two authors have apologised for their ignorance, adding that the plagiarism did not affect UPM undergraduates as the work was not a textbook.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin when contacted said the ministry viewed the matter seriously. “We will leave it to the university to conduct an investigation and take action,” he said.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

ICT2010 Singapore - 30 June - 2 July 2010

ICT2010 Singapore is an educational technology conference for academics, researchers, instructors and practitioners for the purpose of exchanging information and facilitating discussion on adult learning.

The theme is "Inspired Solutions, Empowering Learning - Using Technology to Collaborate, Adapt and Improve Adult Learning". As we begin to use technology widely, how does this translate to the way we teach and learn? Can the same teaching strategies be employed for all learners when technology is deployed? How do we help adult learners learn more effectively and efficiently, at their own pace, space and time?

ICT2010 Singapore is organised by SIM University (UniSIM), the country's first and only private university for adult learners. The event is a significant part of UniSIM’s fifth anniversary celebration.

We look forward to seeing you at ICT2010 Singapore!

ICT2010 Singapore Organising Committee

Submission Key Dates:

30 Nov 2009 • Abstract due

28 Feb 2010 • Full/brief paper and best practice presentation due

31 May 2010 • Presentation-ready papers due

Conference Registration:

10 Aug 2009 - 14 Mar 2010 • Very early bird registration

15 Mar - 2 May 2010 • Early bird registration

3 May - 30 Jun 2010 • Regular rate

For Details: Please click here

Monday, September 7, 2009



8 - 11 December 2009

Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta Resort & Spa

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

The massive development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) creates fundamental changes in all aspects of human life, including education. Today, ICT is a main part of educational system and it has inspired a change in teaching and learning approach.

The emerging ICT inevitably forces the government, educators, and trainers in all countries to maintain a continuous professional development especially for teachers.

With reference to the success of the implementation of ISODEL 2007 in Bali on "The Emerging Technology for Teaching and Learning: A New paradigm of Learning", ICT Center for Education (Pustekkom) Ministry of National Education (MONE) would like to conduct ISODEL 2009 with its theme "Education in Digital Era: Continuous Professional Development for ICT-based Learning".

ISODEL 2009 provides a highly worthy opportunity to policy makers, scientists, academics, researchers, and practitioners from across the globe to acknowledge and share ideas, inputs and recommendations in solving global problems in education with current strategy and tactics from experts in mutual synergy and collaboration.



Sub themes:

1. The emerging ICT for Education:

* Cutting-edge Technologies and Infrastructure
* International Experiences in Managing ICT for Education
* Pro's and Con's in ICT Implementation
* The Role of Technology in Education: e-learning, open sources, open resources

2. International Experiences in Open Distance and E-learning (ODEL):

* Teachers training institutes and universities experiences in ODEL
* Teachers experiences in ODEL
* The role of open and virtual University in Teachers Qualification Upgrading
* Indonesian experiences in ODEL

3. ICT Based Learning:

* The use of ICTin enhancing student–centered learning
* Culture Issues in Developing Countries in using ICT
* Learning Model Innovation (blended learning)

4. Continuous Professional Development for Teachers:

* Continuous Professional Development: Student-centered Teaching
* A continuous effort to improve the Teachers Teaching Quality
* Improving the Teachers Training Colleges
* International experiences in Preserving Teacher Professionalism


* Acquiring ideas thoughts and concepts on implementation of information and communication technology for open, distance and e-learning
* Sharing knowledge, experiences and thoughts on implementation of information and communication technology for open, distance and e-learning
* Disseminating best practices and innovation of implementation of information and communication technology for open, distance and e-learning
* Conveying recommendation for future development of implementation of Information and communication technology for open, distance and e-learning

Call for Paper:

Prospective authors are invited to submit abstract of their proposed papers to the Committee. Abstract should be written in English and are not exceed 400 words. Scientific Committee will evaluate all abstracts for possible acceptance. Relevance to the theme and sub themes of the symposium and freshness and originality of approach are among the major considerations in the selection of papers. The Committee reserves the right to decline proposals without giving reasons. Abstract should have been received by October 9, 2009. Complete manuscript of papers should be submitted not later than November 9, 2009.

Details: Click here