All posts in PhD

Getting Down with Statistics


“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

By Norman Vincent Peale

For the past several months, this doctoral blog has been about how to perform research and locate the peer-reviewed and scholarly articles required for a doctoral program. For this month, I would like to talk about statistics, the tools and resources to assist you in being successful in statistics class.

There are those individuals that love math and statistics, where it just seems to make sense and then there are those like me where statistics if far from a natural thought process. So whether you enjoy statistics or fear statistics, this month’s blog will provide some tools and tips that I have personally have been using for my advanced statistics course.

Depending upon the college you attend and their requirements, typically at a minimum you will take two or more statistic courses. In my degree program, the requirement was a statistics course that involved using SPSS software from IBM and then an advanced statistics course that was more about writing a research proposal for a dissertation. The number of courses and types of courses will vary by school along with what tools are available to assist you being successful.

Stay Positive

Like many I started out afraid and scared of statistics that fear overwhelmed me and blocked my learning along with creating negativity. A friend of mine suggested that I focus on being positive, because we could get through class and could conquer statistics. Well I made a valid effort to focus on being positive and for affirmation, every couple of days I would post a positive statement about statistics to my Facebook page. They say writing your goals down is important to achieving your goals, so I figured it was the best way to publicly affirm my goals and pass statistics.

The second thing I did was make Norman Vincent Peale’s saying posted at the start of this blog as my goal. Getting A’s is great, but it is far more important to learn the information and pass class than just obtain an A. Statistics is an important piece of the dissertation and understanding statistics to build the defense of your dissertation.

So remember to stay positive and do not let the negativity get you down, you can do statistics just give it the time, research and get the tools you need.


So first SPSS software that is made by IBM is a program many schools use as a statistics tool. Depending upon the school they may provide a student version or smaller version of the software program. SPSS is software where the licenses are sold for one year and it can be extremely expensive if not purchased as a student or educator.

For student discounts on software, I like to make purchases from and have great deals on SPSS for students. So if you need a wide variety of software programs, I would strongly recommend them for purchases. Just know that proof of being a student is requirement so be prepared for the required documentation.



Let Youtube be your friend, there are literally hundreds of videos on Youtube about the different aspects of statistics. Some of the videos are better done than others, but find those that are easy for you to understand. The videos that worked for me, may not work for you, but there are loads of options in terms of videos about the different aspects of statistics. So great tool!

Laerd Statistics

When doing a Google search for statistics information, Laerd Statistics may come up and if so that is great. Laerd Statistics provided some clear explanations and specific examples about statistics. It is not necessary to purchase their packages to read the information about statistics. So if Laerd Statistics comes up in your search they are a good choice.

These are a few of the tools that I am currently using to get through my Advanced Statistics. This is my current course and thought it might provide some information for those who are facing statistics now and in the future.

For some statistical humor, here is a cute cartoon I found online.



Using Reference Pages for Research

For the past couple of months, my blogs have been about research, because doctoral programs are all about research. While it is easy for us to research via Google on a daily basis, this type of research is not acceptable for doctoral work. So the college or university library has to become our friend.

Last month, I created a video utilizing my school’s database to show you how to research in terms of narrowing the research or using broad research techniques. This month, I want to show you how to utilize reference pages to save time. Some professors will require you to read specific articles and then write about the topic, this is great because the article probably has a reference page which can quickly lead us to more articles on the same or similar topics.

So this week, my work is about ethics and so I did some research via the college library to find a couple of articles to use for this months blog.

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Doctoral Database Research

Research Graphic Last month, my blog was about the different types of research. This month it is about how to use the college databases. Every college has a different set of databases, but there are a couple of databases that every college has in their school library. Two of the most popular databases are Ebscohost and ProQuest; these are my two favorite databases for a couple of reasons.

Both Ebscohost and ProQuest cover a wide variety of topics, they can be accessed utilizing one particular focus or by searching all of their different topic databases. I like to search each of these databases for my assignments, typically I will find more than enough research in these two databases to support my research papers.

One of the things that I hear frequently from my students and others is that these databases are different than Google. Change can be difficult and Google has created a search engine that allows you to ask detailed questions. So to help better understand how to use these databases at college libraries, I have created a video for this month.

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Importance of Research

Research 1

When considering a doctoral program one of the things to remember is that regardless of the doctoral designation, the degree is about research. So research is very critical and understanding the different types of research is very important.

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Time Management

Time Management

Now you have decided to pursue your doctorate degree, you have selected your degree program and the college or university you want to attend. Wonderful!!

Congratulations on your decision to take your education to the highest level!

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Selecting a Doctoral Degree

Selecting a Doctoral Degree


Fantastic, you have decided to obtain your Doctorate degree! Now you have to decide on which doctorate degree to obtain.

Deciding to pursue a doctoral degree was the easiest part for me; the difficult decision was which doctoral degree to pursue. Most people automatically think about a doctoral degree as being a PhD (Doctorate of Philosophy). The truth of the situation is there are far more doctorate degrees than most individuals realize. Here is a chart outlining many of the doctorate degrees, but it is not a comprehensive list there are many different medical degrees not included in this list.

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This time last year 3/15/14, I walked across the stage in Nashville, was hooded, and became Dr. Ila R. Allen. It was a long time coming for I thought the end would never be in sight and have my freedom back after six years to make it across that finish line. I look back at all of the classes, papers, money, and time that it took to get to where I am now. I know some of you have been on the journey for a short amount of time and some well…. might be ready to throw in the towel, I knew that feeling too. There are so many reasons that we decide to pursue a doctorate degree from personal to career advancement but we are not prepared as we thought we were, reflections.

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How to Get Exposure

Greetings and Salutations!  Winter has settled in for a few more bumps especially in the Midwest and East Coast part of the country. Just as snow keeps coming back to Boston so does the re-writes and challenges of the dissertation process.  As one goes through an online program you begin to see the differences between your program and the “traditional” program.  Being an online student I believe that there is no exposure in terms of academic colleagues (unless online), meet-ups, conferences, etc.  I am a firm believer of joining professional organizations in order to engage with those who have the same research interest or methodology.

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Refresh! Motivation! Game Time!

The holidays are over and January is on its way out the door. Hopefully while on your brief hiatus, you have had time to make new goals and a timeline to reach the next rung on the ladder. When I was part of doctoral process, I made myself take those holidays in order to rejuvenate myself in terms of reassessing my goals. The process does not stop until you have defended and uploaded the dissertation to ProQuest therefore; it is always there beckoning to be finished. A new year tends to lead to a new perspective of what needs to be completed, new goals, what needs to change, and the steps to get there. So, this seems to bring you back to the planning stage like in the beginning.

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All About Self

These past few months I have written about various issues regarding being an online PhD student. Semesters/quarters have come and gone and most students are on holiday except for those who still have to stay on the grind. What I learned thru the doctoral process is that one must take care of SELF. I found it very hard to even think about stepping back from writing let alone actually doing it but with much prodding from my mentor I learned how to do it.

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