Case Study Research Workshop

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All right, we're on air.

>> Hi, welcome everybody I'm Denise Comer from Duke University and

this a live Google writing workshop affiliated with a MOOC.

A massive open online course called

English Composition One: Achieving Expertise, and

I'm delighted to be participating in this workshop with three people today.

Can you introduce yourselves and where you are joining from?

>> My name is John Miller and I'm joining from Fairfield,

Iowa, southeast corner of Iowa.

>> Hi, John.

>> Hi. >> Hi, I'm Brenda Thomas and

I'm joining from Minnesota, so I'm not too far from John.

>> Nice, I was just there yesterday.

>> Cool.

>> And I'm Genevieve Lipp and I am core staff.

I am also here at Duke University.

>> Okay, great.

So we are a workshopping John Miller's draft of his

project two case study, and those of you who are watching either live or

later can access the draft in the forum that was for

the writing workshop volunteers and Brenda who's one of our fantastic CTAs.

Thank you to all the CTAs out there who helped the course run, and

Genevieve, our fantastic staff person, and thank you for

all the staff who helped the course run too.

I wanted to remind us of the criteria for

a project to a case study before we get started.

So we can think about those as kind of grounding points for our feedback to John.

And so I'm reading these right now.

They're available in the writing projects and peer feedback menu item.

An excellent project will meet the following criteria.

Showing that you can present the case study thoroughly.

Conduct research and evaluate sources,

effectively use the case study to support and develop your own arguments,

integrate evidence, employ scholarly conventions, organize the essay clearly.

Develop paragraphs with paragraph unity, create effective introductions and

conclusions and revise deeply and then have an effective title, which is a lot to

accomplish in a writing assignment but we'll do the best that we can.

I'm really excited because we get to kind of model

one on one writing consultation where John

will get the benefit of feedback from the three of us today on his writing.

>> Right, that's wonderful.

>> Yeah.

So John, what I think I'm going to do is turn to you and ask you first to share

with us what aspects of the draft you'd especially like feedback on.

As writers, we always know kind of what's giving us pause or

what's giving us difficulty.

And then I'm going to have you, ask you to read it aloud.

Reading aloud is a really important step in the drafting and

revision process because as writers, we can hear things differently when

we verbalize them than when we're actually reading them.

So, John, what would you like feedback on?

>> I received critical feedback in the past on my

writing lacking descriptive details.

As I remember, it referred to sensory details and

emotive feelings type of details, so

that the essays come across as

a bit superficial because of that.

So I'm especially, I've been practicing unifying sentences

between paragraphs and such, but I think I need some help on the content.

And this one is about my own experiences, and I would like to know,

do I interject adequate details about those experiences?

Or should I have been more specific, like I say with more terms

about feelings present at the time, that kind of a thing?

>> Okay.

>> Examples to illustrate, you know what I'm talking about?

>> Okay, great, thank you.

And I'm so glad that you're thinking about yourself,

in terms of like your progress as a writer, that this project is

just one element of your overarching progress as work as a writer.

So, that's really great, thank you.

Okay, so whenever you're ready go ahead and read and

then we'll give you feedback after you read.

>> Okay. I chose the title A Long Journey Home.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young famously sang of getting back to the land

to set their souls free in their classic cover of Joni Mitchell's song, Woodstock.

The wife of a veteran participant in a farming program called Archie's Acres,

Colin Archipley, the founder, near Escondido,

California reported similar results with her husband's experiences.

She said they gave him his balance back.

Another veteran in their program said, quote, one thing I've noticed about

agriculture is that you become a creator, rather than a destroyer, end quote.

Yet another veteran characterized such programs as quote, very therapeutic.

Working with plants and soil really helped me connect, not only to myself, but

also the environment around me, end quote.

These programs serve three purposes.

Giving vets a career path and helping them cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,

PTSD, while providing food for all Americans.

It is characterized by a group of symptoms, following exposure to

a traumatic event, such as war, natural disaster, or violence.

Should I mention the sources for those?

Anyway, that's from a book written in 2005.

>> Okay.

>> These symptoms include numbness or absence of emotional responsiveness,

difficulty recalling an important part of a trauma.

Experience of flashback or a return to a vivid sense of the trauma, avoidance

to stimuli that we call the trauma and irritable mood or sleep difficulties.

Following my own military duty I too chose farming, but

I coupled it with something else.

My duty refereeing interracial arguments, facilitating role play,

showing videos of racial violence, and receiving participants'

stories of it became so personally damaging after 16 months.

It led years later to a non combat post traumatic stress disorder diagnosis.

Typically, this leads to experiencing symptoms of flashback,

avoidance numbing, [INAUDIBLE] response, and especially for me deep anger.

One evening after class I experienced a frightening impulse.

I told my supervisor that I needed to get out of that duty or

else return home a basket case.

Unknown to me he was a Transcendental Meditation practitioner and

suggested that I learn meditation from a different program on base.

I did so, learning a yoga based alternative to TM, and

finding it so helpful that I was able to remain in my duty there.

When I returned home in 1974, I intuited that what I needed most in addition to

practicing meditation Was to get back to the land of my childhood,

I called my uncle and asked if I might work on his farm,

where I had enjoyed many youthful visit, needless to say,

he felt delighted, especially when I offered to work only for room and board.

The three seasons of work that I performed there, plowing, planting, disking,

feeding hogs, cleaning their pens, while enjoying some spectacular sunsets,

it is just what Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young sang about.

Playing with the mother cat's litter, I stayed above photo but

I [INAUDIBLE] provided a delightful bonus to my foreign


A stark contrast to my military experiences of vicarious

violence, we witness such young, tender life on the farm,

truly was a precious experience, coupled with the growth of farm crops and

my personal growth in meditation, it all set my soul free.

To quote Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young,

back then on the farm I recorded some favorite moments [INAUDIBLE] freedom,

on October 15th, 1975, I'll quote, fall is such a special time of the year, why?

Perhaps because while I was chisel plowing as the sun set near the grove,

I became aware of the mystery of things dying, being covered,

going to an unknown place but it's a peaceful resting place, end quote.

It suggests to me now the depth of my need then for such a rest, and

I characterized a private meditation then as quote,

like a softness enveloping my mind, end quote.

Oft as the fur of the farm kitties, again, revealing what I needed then,

the long journey home continued over many years as I wrestled

with lingering symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder,

occasional unpleasant dreams, depression, violent impulses, anger and rage.

In truth, Vietnam veterans harbor the deepest feelings of anger,

of all veterans, according to one researcher, Collins, 2008.

I found myself at times with images of violent impulses, and

as I would complete the meditation session, perhaps the depth of the session

itself drew out on these such areas, troubles and feelings, I don't know.

Through sessions with many therapists, I gradually coped, it wasn't until 2011

though, that all my symptoms went, quote, off the radar screen, end quote.

As I learned TM itself while in residence in Maharashi University

of Management in Iowa, I'm not sure what it was about TM that

helped in a different manner than my prior meditation, perhaps,

the advanced method that I that I've learned there called and

Yogic flying worked on a deeper level or

maybe it has been the subtle influence of living in a community of 2,000

meditators that brought the depth of transcendence which I needed.

At any rate, strong impulses of anger and

of lashing out no longer trouble me, thus the title of this essay,

The Long Journey Home, it's taken 37 years to experience the above freedom,

unfortunately, I didn't put a copyright on my whole farming and

meditation experience, kidding in parentheses.

Now veteran farmer programs are cropping up all over,

although they aren't usually coupled with meditation,

in addition to my personal experience as noted,

and in the above evidence regarding veterans and farming,

a five-year study of TM as a treatment regimen for PTSD is underway in San Diego.

Under the leadership of Doctor Sandy Nidich,

it will compare TM with exposure therapy as interventions for PTSD veterans,

favorable results will bode well for the future of veteran farmer

programs who choose to employ TM with farming as tools for recovery,

there may be a bright future for returning veterans with PTSD and

their journey home may be much shorter than mine has been.

>> Okay, thank you, so we can, thank you for reading,

we'll start giving you feedback, I'll turn to Brenda or

Genevieve first, what are your thoughts?

I can start in, let's see, Hugh, I thought you gave good details,

you were saying you had gotten feedback before that you didn't

have enough specific details, I thought you gave a good definition,

specially in explaining post traumatic stress disorder and the symptoms there.

>> Good, okay.

>> Also in, let's see, maybe you could give more details about

Maharishi University, now of course I have heard of that place before,

and had many times had seen the sign off, I-35, but

a lot of other people who haven't ever lived in Iowa,

which I lived there for over 20 years, aren't familiar with it,

with that place, so maybe a few more details about the university.

>> Sure.

>> I'll just interject for a second while we're talking about the details,

I agree with what Brenda has said, I felt like you had Strong sensory details.

You had an example of the moment when you went to your supervisor and

you said you didn't think you could remain on duty any more and

that was a good detail to include and the evidence from your personal journal too,

added kind of sensory description to it and I also noted that,

the Maharishi, am I pronouncing it right?

>> Yes. >> Okay, that Maharishi University would

be an opportunity for you to add some more details, and also,

a few more definition about Transcendental Meditation too, in the same way

that you define PTSD earlier, if you could do that for TM too that would be great.

>> Okay, thank you.

>> Oh, and just I was also curious about what kind of crops were on the farm that

you, I sure you could add that detail too.

>> Okay.

>> Brenda, go ahead please continue.

>> Well I'll piggy back off something you just said Dr.

Comer about his journal and I'll bring it up just to get your

feedback on it because he's quoting and citing himself and

I assume the journal maybe was not ever published and so

I don't even know if it's necessary, Dr. Comer

to actually say that you're quoting yourself or citing yourself.

I was just in a conversation actually on this topic with some college

instructors just this week, and they were talking about this very thing of,

if you've written something else and

you're using it in a new place, should you cite it?

You can quote, I mean you can just say Here's what I journaled in 1975,

rather than going through the whole proper reference in society and

I'd be interested in what Dr. Comer has to say about that.

>> Thank you for raising that question.

And I think it is important to quote it and cite it because for several reasons.

First of all, if you had published this journal, which you have not,

but let's just get that part out of the way first.

Anything that you have published, even if it's your own words needs to

be cited as an actual reference in whatever new writing.

And to not do so is defined in US academic writing practices as plagiarism.

So even if it's your own words,

you're supposed to cite something that was published before.

Now in this case, John you're using, and you all can call me Denise, please.

[LAUGH] John, you're using your journal as evidence for an argument.

And because you're using it as evidence for an argument,

I would say it's all the more important to show that it's actually a text

in the same way that other forms of evidence would count.

So you're kind of like, emboldening that evidence by using it as a text.

And so in that sense it helps to cite it because it becomes an actual like,

evidentiary item, rather than just stuff you thought about, right,

which had like a little less weight to it.

So MLA, if you go to some of the resources for.

You're using, well, you're not using MLA citation, you're using APA citation.

Is that right? >> Correct, yes.

>> Okay, so, if you to the resources for APA citation,

there should be guidelines for how to cite unpublished manuscripts, which-

>> Oh, okay.

>> And you might have done it correctly.

I don't have them in front of me, the guidelines, but

that's what it's called is an unpublished manuscript, and

that's what you would use for your citation, and I also, Brenda,

your question also raises the issue of personal evidence in scholarly writing.

And I think depending on the disciplinary contexts and the writing project itself,

the appropriateness for personal evidence is going to vary widely.

In this case, for this assignment, for the argument that you're making, John,

I think the use of personal evidence is not only valid, but really important for

your argument.

And so I'm glad you're using it and I'm glad, like I said,

that you're using it as actual evidence in the form of quotes and

citation rather than just paraphrasing what it is you thought or went through.

Which would be okay too, but I think this is more powerful and

effective as an argument.

>> Good, okay thank you.

I have a question about the feedback from you and oops, I forgot her name.

Miss Thomas, I forgot her first name.

>> Brenda, mm-hm.

>> Brenda.

And, for example, when I wrote

that I experienced an alarming impulse,

I think it was, and I went to my supervisor, the impulse was

actually when I was having dinner in a restaurant in Thailand, off base.

I think it was an impulse to stab myself with a steak knife, which was

terribly alarming, of course, but it told me the depth

of my need to address this issue of how stressful the job had become.

Would that kind of detail

be useful to include in the essay or is that too personal?

Would be a question.

>> I'm going to let Brenda and Genevieve weigh in first, and

then I'll share my thoughts, too.

Genevieve, what do you think?

>> Goodness, I think if you're writing about a topic as serious as PTSD,

it's okay to include really serious affecting visceral personal details.

That setting makes it harder to read so consider your audience.

But if your audience are adult readers who are up for the challenge and

want to understand what that's really like then your own personal experience

Is all the more valuable if you include details like that, I think.

>> Okay.

>> Brenda?

>> Yeah, I would agree with Genevieve and

part of that also is what you're comfortable sharing about yourself.

And I'll join that with what Denise was saying, that yeah,

you don't see a lot of I think this or I view this in case studies.

But since you are the case study [LAUGH] Technically,

then the I is very effective in your case study, I think.

Because, you are the evidence and you are the case study.

>> Right. >> And I personally,

I think you have enough detail about your PTSD.

But if you want to go into more, I mean, you certainly could.

That one paragraph where you are detailing when you got your diagnosis,

I got a little confused at the chronology, because at the start of paragraph,

when you said following my own military duty, I was expecting of

the paragraph to be about when you were done with military duty.

>> Oh.

>> But then you jumped right in to talking about why you were still in military duty.

It was just my confusion, but I caught up later to what you were doing.

>> Yeah.

>> It was the chronology was a little confusing to me.

>> Okay, right, that is, I see what you're saying.

I'll have to rework that.

>> I agree. I think if you're willing to reveal that

level of depth of personal experience and

taking the audience into consideration that it's appropriate for

the context of the writing assignment which in this case these are adults and

maybe you're trying to seems like you're trying to reach.

Based on your conclusion it seems like you're trying to reach readers to either

maybe experiencing PTSD, or perhaps at risk of experiencing it later in their

lives, or those working to help support and mitigate the impact of PTSD.

So for all of those readers, it seems to me that adding more description

about specific kinds of impulses such as you are as right,

would be helpful in illustrating your point.

Okay, thank you, that's good to know.

>> And I do want to piggyback on what Brenda noted about the chronology.

Because I thought that for several of the paragraphs,

the first sentence of each paragraph, that transition sentence, you might be

able to strengthen that in terms of connecting from one paragraph to another.

So readers can really follow and so follow the trajectory of your arguments,

so I'll give you an example of a few- >> Yeah, that's great.

>> Such moments.

She pointed out the following, my own military duty, but if you're starting

with the Crosby Stills Nash & Young song, I was actually going to suggest

that you maybe think about having a quote from some lyrics quoted at the beginning

at the top as a way of further emphasizing that, and then you can describe it.

But then in paragraph two, you write,

a wife of a veteran participant in a farming program called Archi's Acres,

near Escondido, California, reported similar results.

And All of that information is great, but I wanted to point out to you that

you're making your readers wait for, I don't know how many words,

12 or 13 words before we're connecting it to the prior paragraph.

And in the world of a reader, that's a long time, and so my brain at

that moment was thinking, what connection is he making between the CS and why?

>> Uh-huh.

>> So you want to just have the kind of the transition the old information

the connecting information sooner at the beginning of a sentence rather than later

>> Okay.

>> And so an example of a moment where you effectively accomplished

a transition would be when you say, when I returned home in 1974,

because that's reminding us of in the prior paragraph

you were talking about during your duty, right?

November 2-3, 2017

Harvard University
(Longwood Campus)
Boston, MA

**Please click here to view the most recent versions of the methods papers.**


At this workshop, we discussed the draft methods papers and case studies and their initial recommendations, as well as next steps. The workshop program, which includes speaker biographies as well as the agenda, can be downloaded here. The papers build on our scoping report and will be used to develop guidance on conducting benefit-cost analysis. Please use the links below to download the workshop papers and slides and to view the workshop video.

The revised versions of the methods papers and case studies, which reflect the comments received during this workshop, will be posted here as they are completed.

We were very pleased to welcome special guests Lawrence H. Summers, who joined us for a conversation with Dean Jamison (video), and Sue J. Goldie.

Agenda, Papers, and Slides

Day 1

8:00-8:30: Registration and Breakfast

8:30-9:00: Welcome and Introduction (video)

  • David Wilson (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) (slides)
  • Lisa A. Robinson (Harvard University, Center for Health Decision Science) (slides)

9:00-10:00: Valuing Mortality Risk Reductions (draft paper) (video) (Chair: Lynn Karoly, RAND)

  • Lead Authors: Lisa A. Robinson and James K. Hammitt* (Harvard University) (slides)
  • Discussants: Anna Alberini (University of Maryland) (slides), Maureen Cropper (University of Maryland) (slides)

10:00-10:15: Break

10:15-11:15: Valuing Nonfatal Health Risk Reductions (draft paper) (video) (Chair: Peter Neumann, Tufts Medical Center)

  • Lead Authors: Lisa A. Robinson* and James K. Hammitt (Harvard University) (slides)
  • Discussants: Mark Dickie (University of Central Florida) (slides), Montarat Thavorncharoensap (Mahidol University) (slides)

11:15-12:15: Assessing Economy‐wide Effects (draft paper) (video) (Chair: David de Ferranti, Results for Development)

  • Lead Authors: Kenneth Strzepek* (MIT), Collins Amanya* (Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment) and James E. Neumann (Industrial Economics, Incorporated) (slides)
  • Discussants: Channing Arndt (International Food Policy Research Institute) (slides), Anil Deolalikar (University of California – Riverside) (slides)

12:15-1:30: Lunch

1:30-2:30: Assessing the Distribution of Impacts (draft paper) (video) (chair: Stéphane Verguet, Harvard T.H. Chan School)

  • Lead Authors: Lisa A. Robinson and James K. Hammitt* (Harvard University) with supplement by Matthew Adler (Duke University) (slides)
  • Discussants: Neal Fann (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) (slides), Sam Harper (McGill University) (slides)

2:30-3:30: Discounting Future Impacts (draft paper) (video) (chair: Maureen Cropper, University of Maryland)

  • Lead Author: Karl Claxton* (University of York) (slides)
  • Discussants: Miqdad Asaria (Independent Consultant, Delhi) (slides), Gernot Wagner (Harvard University) (slides)

3:30-3:45: Break

3:45-5:15: Case Studies (video)(chair: Frederico Guanais, Inter-American Development Bank)

  • Education (draft paper) (Elina Pradhan and Dean Jamison*) (slides)
  • Stunting (draft paper) (Brad Wong* and Peter F. Orazem) (slides)
  • Discussants: Anil Deolalikar (University of California – Riverside) (slides), Lynn Karoly (RAND) (slides), Roger Perman (University of Strathclyde) (slides), George Psacharopoulos (Georgetown University) (slides)

5:15-5:30: Wrap-up

5:30-7:00: Reception with remarks from Sue Goldie

Day 2

8:00-8:30: Registration and Breakfast

8:30-9:00: Welcome and Recap

9:00-10:00: A Conversation with Dean Jamison and Lawrence H. Summers(video)

10:00-10:15: Break

10:15-11:15: Valuing Changes in Time Use (draft paper) (video) (chair: Brad Wong, Copenhagen Consensus Center)

  • Lead Authors: Dale Whittington* (University of North Carolina) and Joseph Cook (Washington State University) (slides)
  • Discussants: Abusaleh Shariff (US-India Policy Institute) (slides), James E. Neumann (Industrial Economics, Incorporated) (slides)

11:15-12:15: Valuing Protection against Health-Related Financial Risks (draft paper) (video) (chair: Michele Cecchini, OECD)

  • Lead Authors: Dean Jamison (University of California – San Francisco) and Jonathan Skinner* (Dartmouth College) (slides)
  • Discussants: Kalipso Chalkidou (Centre for Global Development, Imperial College London) (slides), Mark Shepard (Harvard University) (slides)

12:15-12:30: Wrap-up and Adjourn

*indicates paper presenter.


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