April 02, 2009

Issues in designing my Questionnaire

I am trying to find a way to design my questionnaire for my MSc project, however, I am having some difficulties and wanted to post on my blog to see if there is anyone who have any suggestions for these.

Snap Survey Issues

Jeff Jones told me about how I could use Snap Survey software on any computer inside WMG to create my questionnaire and that it is possible then to publish it on the website. This is great, but to me, there is some issues here:

Two Different languages

Firstly, I am planning to create 2 versions of my questionnaire, one in English which will be sent to UK organisations, and the other one is Arabic, which is going to be sent to organisations from my country.

I was thinking about having an English version only but after asking around and thinking about it I realised that if I have an English version only, I would have less response from employees working in Saudi Arabia.

The reasons might be because they might not really understand the questions even though some of them might understand English.

I decided to come up with an Arabic version and try to do that and only decide not to do it if i could not find any ways to do it.

The first thing I need to do is to test Snap Survey to see if it can actually design questionnaire in Arabia. However, to do that, I need to try the software on a PC that have Arabic language installed.

I went to the guy in charge of licensing and he told me that it is not possible to get a copy of the software to install it on my laptop to test if this will work as the license is a network license. I asked him if there are any way to install the Arabic language on one of the PC's in WMG to test the software and thankfully he said I will check and I gave him my e-mail and hopefully this will be solved.

Website's Encoding

Secondly, there is an issue of publishing the questionnaire on WMG's website. I know from Jeff that the person in charge of this is called Peter, I could not meet him today but hopefully i will be able to do that when he is back. I will need to ask him about the possibility of publishing the Arabic version of the questionnaire on a webpage that uses the encoding UTF-8 rather than the current encoding ISO as Arabic will not be displayed using the later encoding.

Online Survey Services Alternatives

Graeme (Supervisor) suggested that I should try and search for other options that could support Arabic and English. I started searching and I found some Online Survey websites that offer some powerful and nice features, however, hopefully some of them will have support for Arabic language which could solve my issues and I would end up using them instead of Snap.

I took a look at Snap today in WMG computer lab. Maybe I didn't know how to use it yet, but some of these Online Survey services provide a very easy interface to design & create questionnaires.

The only issue with the online survey services is that I might need to pay for a 5 month's plan if I needed advanced features which are not probably available on their free testing packages.

I don't have a problem with that. but for the future students, I believe a solution for this should be implemented. Maybe specify some PC's in one of the computer labs and install all the languages on them. Like Indian, Chinese and Arabic or something like that which won't really cause any problems or take any space.

I am open for any suggestions or input!

March 30, 2009

.Tel Goes Live ! Reach me in the way you like!

Writing about web page Drhariri.tel


.Tel domain go live and so does Abdulrahman Hariri's .tel domain :D.

I liked the idea of .Tel domains and this was particulary why I registered for a domain of my own even though the price is a bit expensive for it (100+ USD/Year). I could have designed my own page of contact information, even better than the current .Tel pages, however, I like to support new and innovative ideas when possible.

Feel free to visit my own .Tel page (drhariri.tel) and leave a comment or any question if you have ;)

March 12, 2009

Standards and creativity debate

On last Tuesday, we decided to change the way that we run seminars and to do one of the topics in a debate mode where 2 groups are agreeing and 2 groups are against that.

The debate was about if implementing standards will stifle creativity in organisations.

Paul (Module tutor) gave us some instructions and timetable that explains how the debate is run.

I found a debate kind seminars rather interesting and could help understand and capture more due to the fact that each of the groups had to listen carefully to the other group so that they could come up with good counter-arguments that could weakens the other group's position.

I was (luckily) in the group that supports and defends the idea that standards do not stifle creativity, and we did come up with a number of support evidences that might support that. The other team was trying to prove that standards do stifle creativity and even though they were in a weaker position, I did enjoy the debate and I was able to understand a few points that actually slow down creativity if they were not handled correctly, not because of the standards, but perhaps because of what the people think of the standards.

For example, If you implement ISO 9001 standards in your organisation and you don't explain to your people that the standards are considered a base and that you can actually improve things to go beyond that, some people are going to think of these standards as a MUST that you can't change or improve. I did experience that, and I have always tried to explain this point to help get rid of this psychological barrier that could reduce creativity and innovation which is caused by people's understanding of the issue.

One of the points that we brought up was that standards are considered a base. and they are considered the minimum that should be in-place.

Further improvements to what the standards brings are possible and I think each organisation should question itself if it is doing exactly what the standards require, unless there is a very good reason for that.

Organisations structures and cultures are different and I can't see how standards could fit in just fine in organisations around the world even though that could be possible in some situations (maybe?). Still, I believe organisations shouldn't be constrained by standards and they should really try to improve themselves beyond the standards, at least if they want to stay competitive in the market, in my opinion.

March 09, 2009

Again with Knowledge Management

Thanks to Paul today, he reminded me that we need to blog during modules!

Anyway, I don't know why the subject of Knowledge Management is so in my mind and I am not sure why I keep thinking about Knowledge Management mostly. Maybe because I am working in an area where I think Knowledge Management could improve the work performance greatly.

I know that other Asset Management approaches or techniques are useful inside organizations as well, still I like KM the most!

Anyway, I have written before about a Document Management System, which could be actually used as a Knowledge Management System by companies as it is a free opensource system and could be implemented easily on any PC/Server.

Another way to do it is to have an intranet portal which could capture and share knowledge to people in the organization.

I am very interested in the issue of Knowledge Management even more now that we have gone through the seminar today that shed some light over this interesting subject.

I guess as Paul said, even though it sounds easy and so, it is still very hard to do it in real organizations. It would be interesting if there were any papers or books discussing the challenges related to the use of KM inside the organization.

I'd guess that some of the difficulties would be on how to motivate people so that they use the system with their own will rather than forcing the people to access the KM which could render this useless. Another difficulty would be to ask people working in teams or solving problems or improvements teams (like Six Sigma ones) to share and capture their own knowledge and experience so that people throughout the organization could use it.

I believe that the second point, at least for me is going to be a very difficult one since its related to the culture of the organization as well. In organizations where there are competition which I'd like to call (Negative) because it is basically a competition between administrations or departments within the same organization that doesn't add any value but in-fact work against the progress of the organization, which is something really spread out I guess in many places that I know of. This competition would make it very hard for departments and administrations that have competition between them to be able to share their experience in the organization which limit the use of KM to your own department or administration which really isn't that helpful if you compare the benefit from that to the benefit of sharing the knowledge throughout the whole organization that could consist of something like 40 departments or administrations!!!

I guess as Paul said, there is no reason not to implement what you think is usefull on your little area that you lead even if it is a small department if you can't implement it throughout the organization.

March 03, 2009

My Book List

Writing about web page http://astore.amazon.co.uk/aharsblo-21/

I have been reading a lot of books that I either bought or burrowed from the University library. Some of these books were really interesting and I decided to make a list of the books that I found really useful and enjoyable for me, either because I bought/burrowed them for my project or for assignments research.

I have created a list using Amazon's website in order to have links directly to the books (for those of you interested in buying them) and to show reviews for each book which is nice as well.

I have added a link also to A.Hariri's Book List in Amazon in the sidebar, and I will continue (hopefully) to add books through my study time in Warwick University.

A.Hariri's Book List

I hope that some of you find the list helpful!

February 28, 2009

Toshiba Laptop Maintenance

There is a problem with one of my laptops that I bought from the U.S, so I had to take it to the IT Services in Warwick University where it appears that there is a problem with one of the parts related to the LCD screen as it is not working anymore.

The thing is, it is very hard to find this part over the Internet. In-fact, I already ordered one from Singapore and took it to the IT Services where they said it is not working!

I am looking for a Toshiba Maintenance Centre in or around Coventry or a local shop that anyone would recommend for laptops repairs, where they could get the parts needed to fix my laptop.

I miss my laptop as it now have been on the shelf at the IT services in Warwick University for a month if not more :(.

Any help appreciated!

February 27, 2009

Stop using Friday Lunch Break!

In many of the previous modules I took, the lecturer sometimes offer the students a chance to end up early, which I am obviously not against, however, if this chance to end up early means using Friday lunch time, then I am 100% against it.

While Friday lunch time is just a lunch time for everyone, it is for us (Muslims) more than that. We have to attend an event every Friday that happens on a specific time (Mostly around 12:45). So if a lecturer wants to use the break, this means that I will have to miss an important event I have to attend just because the lecturer decided to change the timetable and use the lunch break.

This happened a few times and now i am starting to get annoyed by this!

The timetable is there for a reason and I am getting annoyed of being the only obstacle to his decision every module.

Tutor: Would you like to finish early today (Friday) by using the lunch time

Students: Yes!!

Abdo: Sorry I can't do that I have to go.

Tutor: Ok Abdo you can go and what we will have to say is not that important anyway.

As you can see, this is annoying. Especially that it happened on almost all the modules I have attended so far. I don't like to explain myself or make excuses for myself while the main reason for this is the use of a lunch break that is written in the time table.

Even if what the tutor is going to say is something simple from his point of view, I want to hear it!

Delaying my prayer times is fine on everyday to a certain limit but not on Friday, because all the Muslims will be there and its a group event.

I hope that this reaches some of the people in WMG and the University. I will try to contact some of the people I know and ask them to solve this problem, which I am sure causes problems for every Muslim not just me.

February 24, 2009

Joomla UK Day

Writing about web page http://www.joomladay.org.uk/

In the past, I've written a blog post about Joomla, a powerfull CMS that enables you to manage contents in your websites easily.

Now that 2009 started and the release date of the new great version (J! 1.6) is approaching, Joomla community is preparing for Joomla day, an event that includes workshops and sessions to introduce various interesting topics related to Joomla CMS.

The UK Joomla Day, is going to take place over the 13th and 14th March 2009.

We have a spectacular location in Oakwood House, Maidstone, Kent,  with top facilities and great food. We have popular expert speakers from the Core team, OSM board and from across the international Joomla! community. We also have a few surprises together with lots and lots about Joomla!.

For more information about Joomla day UK and to signup to the events, visit the Official Joomla! Day UK 2009 website.

I would love to go to the UK Joomla day, but I guess that will depend on how free I am and if I will have a lot of assignments or not :(.

What's wrong with Emerald Database?

Writing about web page http://www.emeraldinsight.com

Emeral is one of the best sites that I used in the past months to find a lot of resources and journal papers related to my assignments and my project, however, In the past weeks, I start getting the issue of having most of what I search for locked.

I have been trying to search through Emerald database quite sometime and I can't seem to get a good number of papers that are available for me after I log in using my Athens account.

Most of the papers I find are locked and I have to pay to be able to view them which is really frustrating as I used to use Emerald a lot :(.

I wonder if I am the only one having this problem!

I guess i will have to start by looking at books, which I don't really have a problem with, but I guess it is better to view a lot of papers at home when I don't have any book.

February 20, 2009

Create & Distribute your Questionnaires Online

Writing about web page http://www.surveymonkey.com

Since MSc students are working on their projects and some of them are probably going to create and distribute questionnaires to gather data for the project, I decided to share this website.

SurveyMonkey is an online service that allows you to create surveys and distribute and analyse them easily.


I am going to use either SurveyMonkey or any similar websites if I find any as such service will make it easier to do the job and even provide you with detailed reports.

After creating your survey, you can send the link or post on your website so that people could access it and fill it and their input will be added to the reports directly.

Give it a try!

Note: If you know a better alternative please share it with us.

Books I Enjoyed

As I buy/view books, I update this list with the books that I most liked:
[View my Book List]

Little About me

Abdulrahman Hariri's Picture

Name: Abdulrahman Hariri

PhD student at WMG.

I’ve started a research education website in 2009 to help people from the Middle East learn how to do scientific research. The website continues to attract tens of thousands each month and has over half a million followers on social media.

My Websites (in Arabic):
البحث العلمي
الأكاديمية التعليمية
الابتكار و ريادة الأعمال

Contact Me

[Click Here to Find More About me]

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