The colloquy class in this program is designed to help us integrate the information we learn in residency and also the class equips us to work from a distance on our thesis.
By January 15, 2013 I am expected to turn in the first draft of my thesis to my adviser. Today we talked all the chain links that must be connected to successfully reach that date in 2013.
Some of the work I must accomplish this year. The foundations for other parts of the thesis will be built in the upcoming year but be completed in the summer and fall of 2012. For instance, I can prepare for the social science research of interviewing and surveying people, but I cannot begin that process until my thesis proposal is approved and the institutional review board (IRB) approves my research method. The IRB must approve our research methodology, surveys, and interview schedules to ensure that we are ethical and do not harm the human subjects we involve in our research.
The role of the IRB was hotly debated in the afternoon as we tried to comprehend how to conduct surveys and interviews inside of accepted social science boundaries. The IRB is a necessary protocol for any research that utilizes human subjects. When I am the pastor to the very same people I may involve as human subjects in my research, the IRB rules become more difficult to understand. Just to call the sheep that I shepherd “human subjects in research,” sounds conflicting.
In the morning we took turns presenting summaries of our first year integrative paper/project. We used this review summary as a jumping off point to highlight our expectations for our theses. The cohort members offered each other insight to resources. The questions that we asked of each other prompted us to clarify our thesis and define what we proposed to research and what we would not be studying.
Also during this time we individually left the room to meet with a theological research consultant who advised us on what research methodology may be most appropriate for our particular topic. Rev. Dr. Kyle Small quickly understood the direction I would like to take with my thesis and suggested I utilize the success case method. In this method I will operate with an appreciation for how others are successfully navigating my topic. I will interview 4-6 preachers and through this qualitative research seek to identify how catechetical preaching can effectively communicate the faith and transform lives.
During lunch the librarian Bruce Eldevik came to our room and discussed what is and is not a literature review.
In the afternoon we heard about the IRB and the thesis timeline. We also got to go on a field trip because a tornado warning required us to go downstairs.
The afternoon session included summaries of our first week class taken by all of us and one of the elective courses taking by two members of the cohort.
Wes Bixby sent us off with an encouraging word by preaching a sermon on 1 Corinthians 13 titled, “More than a Wedding Text”