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        Doctorial Student's Research Wins Honors

        April 21, 2014

        All News


        Catherine Helmuth and Brian Connelly
        Research by AU doctoral student Catherine Helmuth, pictured with Associate Professor in Management Brian Connelly, was praised by the Academy of Management.

        Consider the odds.

        One-quarter of all papers submitted to the prestigious Academy of Management are accepted, according to Auburn University Associate Professor of Management Brian Connelly. Of that, only 10 percent of those receive “Best Paper” status. Catherine Helmuth beat the odds.

        Helmuth, a first-year doctoral student with a focus on management in the College of Business, had her manuscript “Power and Effect Size in Supply Chain Research” awarded “Best Paper” status by the Academy of Management. She is co-author of the paper, along with Connelly, doctoral student Donovan Collier, and Joe Hanna, College of Business Associate Dean for Research and Outreach.

        Connelly credited Helmuth for the lion’s share of the work, including research of 2,500 statistical tests that appeared in top supply chain journals over the past 10 years -- and writing the paper’s draft.

        “Brian approached me with this research in the fall,” said Helmuth, a Chicago native who competed in equestrian on scholarship at New Mexico State University, where she received her undergraduate (management) and graduate (MBA) degrees. “This is a great opportunity for me. I was excited. We have worked real hard on this.”

        Connelly said it is “exceedingly uncommon” for a first-year doctoral student to achieve such an honor as “Best Paper.”

        “What we set as a goal for our first-year doctoral student is for them to submit a paper and get a paper accepted,” Connelly said. “Some don’t get anything submitted. Few get one accepted.”

        What did Helmuth find? Supply chain researchers find more success when they look at domestic data as opposed to international data. Also, supply chain research achieves more reliable results through the use of archival data rather than talking directly to subjects.

        “By looking at ‘power’ and ‘effect size,’ she is really just asking if the studies were appropriately designed,” Connelly said.

        Part of the paper’s abstract reveals:

        “Average statistical power in Supply Chain Management (SCM) research exceeds the statistical power of most related disciplines, and is particularly high in several unique contexts. Specifically, statistical power was greatest for SCM studies that examine domestic (i.e., U.S.) data and use archival, as opposed to perceptual, measures.

        In addition, empirical studies examining higher levels of analysis (e.g., the supply network) had greater average statistical power and we also found power to be increasing over time as SCM research has become more grounded. Effect sizes parallel these results, and we also examine average reported effect sizes for various study types. We discuss these findings, compare them to power and effect size studies of other disciplines, and describe our study’s implications for the design of future SCM empirical studies.”

        Helmuth says she has a passion for research, and she believes her studies at Auburn will make her more competitive in the job market once she completes her doctorate.

        “Having an opportunity to work on projects with faculty helps,” she said. “Having the opportunity to work on manuscripts provides the methodological and theoretical framework to succeed.”

        Connelly believes his pupil will reach her goals.

        “We’re training people to do one thing, and that is to be professors at peer and aspirant institutions,” Connelly said. “Her research will position her well for that for when she graduates. She’ll be able to go to a solid research university. She’s really a standout student. This is the first project that I worked with her on and it won’t be the last.”