All posts by Tyler

We’re Almost at the End!!!!

Blog Notes

  • Hi Everyone! First an update on my research proposal.
    • To quote Dr. Zamora “This is where the rubber hits the road”. It is full steam ahead.
    • I have begun to annotate my sources and I have 5 sources annotated so far. I will do 4 more tomorrow which will bring me to 9 annotated sources out of 14. We are getting there!
      • Something that has helped tremendously is that I have found 30 sources that I will narrow down to 14. 
      • I have the 30 sources in my Google Doc so that I don’t have to go back to the database and search.
      • I can just annotate the sources that I choose to use from the list of 30.
    • I have a very nice outline of my research proposal in my Google Doc.
      • I have found that outlines are my go to method.
      • I make sections in the outline and fill them in with bits of information. This way I am already putting some of what will go into my first draft, but it is only a small bit so it doesn’t take up a lot of time while the ideas are not fully fleshed out. It’s kinda like dropping a jellybean to follow on the way back.
    • I have figured out my research question almost! I have 3 questions and I just need to pick one or combine elements from each one to form my question.
    • I know what will be the interesting hook that opens up my introduction.
    • I know what methodology I am going to use, but have not worked too much on that section. I am thinking about it when I go about my day and thinking about it in the background.
    • I will have a nice draft ready on Thursday. I probably won’t have all 14 sources annotated by Thurs, but I will have an intro, a methods section, and an annotated bibliography. It’s so nice to have this project started and coming to life before my eyes. 
    • At the beginning of the semester, this project seemed to big to tackle. But now I know that it’s a lot of work, but it’s doable. It’s like when it’s dark and the clothes on the chair look like a scary monster, but you turn on the light and it’s just a pile of clothes. Remember people, this research proposal is just a pile of clothes on a chair!
  • Mixed Methods Notes
    • This study is interesting because it is studying students who seek uniqueness. I found this interesting because uniqueness seems like something that would be hard to measure, but the authors mention that Lynn and Harris’ came up with a uniqueness-seeking scale in 1997 and they adapted it for their study. This just goes to show that everything can be measured and when we consider our methods section of the research proposal, we can find ways to measure concepts that may seem abstract.
    • The authors note that they are going to analyze data both quantitatively and qualitatively. This seems like a task that could be super hard and overwhelming. I didn’t know that it was an option to analyze data both quantitatively and qualitatively and that could be one of the reasons that the authors are going to use mixed methods.
    • We’re gotten to the methods section! This is where the mixed methods are revealed! Drumroll please!
    • The authors use a discourse analytic approach and constant comparison coding.
      • I assume that one method will measure the data qualitatively while another method will measure the data quantitatively.
    • An interesting thing I found in the discussion at the end was that the need for uniqueness did not effect students participation in online discussions. I thought that students with a higher need to be unique would be more engaged in online discussions in order to showcase their point of view and how it is unique to others.
    • Another interesting finding was that student’s uniqueness levels varied across the semester. This indicates that even though everyone has different needs for uniqueness, they may equal out over time to due to uniqueness needs rising and falling throughout the semester.

Discourse Analysis

Blog Notes

  • Hey Everyone. Let’s start by talking about where I am at with my research proposal.
  • Before I start I want to offer some helpful tips:
    • Don’t research on an empty stomach!
    • Exercise before you start working on your proposal. If your body is tired, it makes it more comfortable to sit in one place and do work for a long time. Your brain is also more alert and awake after exercise.
    • Work with a buddy! Fran and Erik and I worked on our separate projects but we were in the same space on the 5th floor of the Green Lane Building. We also had a Google Meet with Thuy since she couldn’t come in person.
      • This allowed us to keep each other motivated and not get bored.
      • We were able to bounce ideas off each other as well as share frustrations and roadblocks in our work.
  • So as far as where I am at. I have a lot of sources right now (about 30) which I am sifting through. I am working on identifying which out of the 30 that I will use for my proposal and annotating the ones that I will use. This allows me to knock out some of the lit review and also gain a better understanding of my topic which is performance poetry.
  • I also have some research questions that I am still refining based on what I learn from my sources.
  • I have not settled on a methodology, but I have some in mind and I will decide which one I will use or if I will use a combo of more than one.
  • I feel good about the project and my outline is coming along nicely.
  • I plan to continue annotating my sources and am planning to start working on a draft of the introduction this weekend.
  • It’s time for the reading notes.
  • So right off the bat this article is super interesting in that it focuses on discourse analysis related to information systems.
    • Information systems refers to things that collect, process, and store information.
    • So your laptop and smartphone are information systems.
    • This is interesting because I really like technology and it’s cool to see research aimed at trying to understand it.
  • The authors argue that one needs to take into account real life applications of the information systems, as well as the context (time and place), participants background, and researchers views when conducting discourse analysis on information systems.
    • I think this can be summed up as you can’t put a computer in a room and study how someone interacts with it because that would be taking the computer and person out of the real world. Instead, the authors suggest that one should study the compter and person(s) in a real life context. So you would study someone who works in an office and uses a computer in that setting because it is their real life setting.
  • The authors note that discourse analysis on information systems should not only say something about the technology, but also the users of the technology.
    • This shows how this methodology could be used to solve problems. Like if we are looking at the effect Instagram has on body image, we would’t just be studying Instagram and smartphones, we would also be studying the users of Instagram.
  • I love the 8 steps. It provides a clear guide on how to go about doing discourse analysis as a novice researcher. Whenever authors do this in articles, I appreciate it. Explain it to me like I’m stupid please because research is complex to a newbie.
  • It’s so interesting that this article deals with things like manuals for technology. It’s something that is so important that I take for granted until I can’t figure something out and the manual doesn’t help so I have to Google it.
    • Studies that look at these types of things can be used by so many different companies to directly help users navigate complex new technologies.
  • I think one of the most important pieces of this article is that the authors argue for the us of discourse analysis for real-life situations. This moves the methodology beyond hypothetical situations and into the realm of practical applications. With the pace the world moves at, new technologies are always being invented and implemented in our daily lives. With this article, the authors are not sitting in an isolated room thinking about what if scenarios. Instead they are looking at different technologies and what effects they have on society and the users.
    • This allows for the authors research to be useful to many different people from the average Joe to the CEOs of corporations and everyone in between.

Phenomenology

Blog Notes

  • Research Update
    • I’m going to the library tomorrow to meet with one of the research librarians named Linda to get help with searching the database for articles related to my topic which is poetry performance for now.
  • Reading Notes
    • From the opening paragraph of the intro, I feel comforted.
      • Groenewald is expecting us to be novice researchers so he understands the need to go slow and break things down.
    • Groenewald says that in order to pick the best methodology for a research study, you have to know a bunch of different methodologies.
      • This is why we are doing the buffet taste test of different methodologies in this class.
    • Groenewald talks about how he was having a hard time finding sources on how to employ phenomenological methodology in research so he wants others to use this paper as a guide.
      • That’s wholesome. He even says the article is not an authority. He’s just saying hey I could have used this when I was doing my research, now future generations of researchers have something to help them. 
    • The explanation of what phenomenology is is interesting. Basically the only things that we can be absolutely certain about are things we experience ourselves.
      • Immediate experience above all else.
      • Sounds like going straight to the source. 
      • If you didn’t see or experience the phenomenon directly, show me someone who did and I will use their account in my research.
      • An example would be if you are doing a research study on depression. You would want to study people who are experiencing depression rather than someone who has a family member experiencing depression.
    • An interesting part of the article is when Groenewald tells us how he selected the research participants.
      • This really is a how to guide on the behind the scenes parts of research. 
      • Groenewald knows that his audience is novice researchers and he is trying to explain things such as selecting participants and I wonder if this is something that he wished more articles would do since he wrote this based on his unhappiness with researches on how to conduct phenomenological research.
    • I appreciate the article’s use of plain language.
      • Groenewald knows we are wide eyed budding researchers and that overly complicated terms would not be helpful.
      • I think it goes to show that you don’t always have to use complicated research terms to sound smart. There is definitely a time and place for them, but they can become overwhelming for a novice researcher.

Grounded Theory

Blog Notes

  • In the intro the article talks about making sense of qualitative data.
    • This is good stuff! 
    • As we are getting further into the class we are starting to develop a framework for qualitative research.
      • We learned about different methods of qualitative research (autoethnography, case studies) and now we are going to learn about 2 different methods of understanding the data we get from doing the research (grounded theory, qualitative content analysis).
  • This quote sticks out to me “Through this paper, we expect to provide knowledge that can assist novice researchers in the selection of appropriate research methods for their inquiries.” (Cho & Lee 2).
    • This is the sort of thing that tells you what kind of person a researcher is beyond any sort of fame or accomplishments.
  • Interesting note from the Grounded Theory Institute saying that ground theory can be used with qualitative and quantitative data.
  • To me grounded theory is basically the process of doing research which follows strict standards and procedures in order to collect data. Once enough data is collected, you analyze it and come up with a theory of what it means.
    • Maybe in Dr. Zamora’s research about social media actions (buzzing, popping, etc) she found that the most common action was popping by a large majority.
      • She would think about why this could be and come up with an idea of why. 
      • My question is when does the idea turn into a theory?
        • Is it just using another theory that’s already out there to explain the data?
        • Or does an idea become a theory when we use other theories as a base and make our own new theory?
        • This reminds me of SchoolHouse Rock. When does a bill become a law? ^_^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Otbml6WIQPo
  • I found another important quote “Although the origin was from sociology, grounded theory has been actively used in many disciplines, such as psychology, anthropology, education, social work, and nursing (Strauss & Corbin, 1994).” (Cho & Lee 3)
    • This shows some of the fields that we can apply grounded theory research to.
    • That means that even as an English major, we are not limited to “traditional English jobs”.
    • Research skills can open doors to career opportunities in many different fields!
  • The article mentions that qualitative content analysis in its most basic form can be described as identifying themes and patterns in data to understand what it means. The authors say that this is more subjective and open to interpretation. Seems less strict than grounded theory.
  • The authors say that when doing research using grounded theory, the researcher analyzes and collects data at the same time “so that the analyzed data guides subsequent data collection”. (Cho & Lee 4)
    • This is very interesting and some concrete examples would be super helpful as far as how analyzed data guides future data collection.
  • I think I answered an earlier question.
    • “Thus, grounded theory is appropriate when no theory exists or when a theory exists that is too abstract to be tested, but it is not appropriate for the test of a theory or generation of knowledge from objective reality (Martin & Turner, 1986; Suddaby, 2006).” (Cho & Lee 5)
    • When researchers use grounded theory, the end result would be a new theory. It may be based on an existing theory, but the new theory will not simply be a rehash of the existing theory.
  • I like how the authors included 2 studies that they had previously done to show the difference between grounded theory and quantitative content analysis.
  • This is an interesting quote “In research on classifying the findings in qualitative studies, Sandelowski and Barroso (2003) argued that the findings of grounded theory require a greater transformation of the data and that qualitative content analysis is less transformative. (Cho & Lee 12)
    • It makes sense because with grounded theory you make a new theory, but with qualitative content analysis, you look for themes and patterns in the data to answer your research question.

Actor Network Theory

Just a quick note before we get started. Go see the new Dune movie. It’s awesome!

In keeping with the bullet point list theme, here it is again.

  • First thoughts:
    • 51 pages is daunting, but we are in grad school.
    • Using the phrase “space-time” makes this reading seem complex.
      • I am 10 pages in and I believe in this reading, space-time in relation to writing means that a lot of researchers will say when a student is in the classroom they do a certain kind of writing and when they are at home playing video games they do another kind of writing.
      • This article is suggesting a different way of thinking about the above saying that the same type of writing can happen in different settings and contexts.
      • In this article, we are looking at Brian’s reading and writing in 2 classroom settings and in an online video game setting.
      • Conventional wisdom might say that Brian will do academic scholarly writing in the classroom settings and do casual non formal writing in the online video game settings.
        • This article has set out to disprove that theory.
      • I am only 7 pages in so let’s see if that is what the authors are suggesting once I get to page 51.
  • Another complex word is heterogeneity. I Googled it and I think the word diversity is a good synonym for heterogeneity.
  • Using an online video game that I am familiar with to learn about a research theory is a really interesting and fun way to learn.
    • The talk of Brian and his video game character being coagents really resonates with me. 
    • My guy in FFXIV is named Marcus Blackfist. When I created him, I worked within the constraints of the character creator and also put my own spin on things.
      • For example, his hairstyle is a big afro! There were at least 20 hairstyles to choose from, but as soon as I put the afro on him, I knew that was his hair. It’s almost like Marcus already existed and I just had to use the game to create him.
    • He has definitely taken on a life of his own. He is my creation, but he is not me. I control his actions, but there are scenes of scripted dialogue where he speaks for himself. He is a character in a large world where my actions affect his impact, reputation, and standing in this giant world. I have helped him save the world on more than one occasion.
    • We really do need each other. I can’t enter his world and he can’t enter mine. When we work together, we can help protect his world from evil and he helps protect me in the real world from depression and boredom.
    • This is what the authors mean by human non-human interaction chains I believe.
    • When the authors talk about Brian and literacy in action, they say how Brian would use skill screens of the video game to influence his characters actions.
      • For example, he would use a pistol instead of a weapon that does higher damage like a rifle. This was because he needed to “level up” his pistol experience to complete a box on the skill screen. Brian would go back and forth between his character and the skill screen.
      • I know this feeling all too well. In FFXIV, you can be a class that does damage or a gathering class. You can switch back and forth at will. There are times when I want to “level up” my gathering class, so instead of doing the main story and saving the world, I will do gathering. There are gathering logs where you get experience points for gathering a certain number of a certain items. So I would follow these screens when determining what to gather. The gathering log was directly influencing my choice to use a gathering class and gather specific items.
    • Getting into the data about Brian’s school environment and playing Star Wars Galaxy is important for the article, but it is also really dense and somewhat hard to keep up with at times. I’m waiting for the conclusion section of the article to make sense of everything. I know it is important to read the data section even if it’s not fully understood by me because this data is what the researchers conclusion is going to be based on.
      • And it makes sense that this is hard to get through because imagine if it was a bunch of numbers, stats, and math equations. It wouldn’t make sense if we just see the data, but it will make sense to see what the researchers interpret from the data in the conclusion of the article.
      • I’ll see you in a bit for my thoughts and understanding of the conclusion summing things up.
    • We’ve made it to the conclusion folks. Buckle up.
      • When the authors state “This example illustrates how enrollment or engagement in literacy is not predetermined by institutional contexts writ large, but can be shaped by the particular space–time dimensions of teacher and student practices.” (Leander and Lovvorn 330)
        • I think I see a connection between that quote and Dr. Zamora’s class. The style where we present the material each week is different from other classes. So our engagement with the material is not predetermined just because we are in a college classroom. It was different from a traditional college classroom because it was shaped by Dr. Zamora’s and our actions. 
      • Another connection is the distinction between local and global sources. In the article, the stories that Brian’s history teacher tells are local stories while textbook sources are global sources.
        • In Dr. Zamora’s class, the stories she tells us about research that she has done would be a local story? I think. Would a published article be a global story? So maybe some of Dr. Zamora’s research stories would be local, but when talking about research that has been published or presented, would that be global? 
      • Okay so I got to the end of the article and I am having a hard time wrapping my head around everything. I’m looking forward to Dan’s presentation as I feel it will clear some things up. I do like how they used an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game) to explain the concepts. That helped me MASSIVELY and I didn’t know you could study videogames! How cool!

Case Studies!

Hey Everyone,

For this blog I wanna try something different so I’m gonna use a bullet point list format.

Let’s see how it works.

  • This whole case study is a step by step guide on how to do a case study.
  • Guo tells us how they found the student, why they wanted to study the topic, how long they studied the student, what data they used.
    • Is one person really enough to generalize conclusions?
      • When we consider sample size, there are about 7.888 billion people on Earth so how can one single person be used to generalize results to a larger population?
      • This was actually a question I had during the reading and it was addressed at the end by Guo. She said the results are not generalizable and it’s about what we learn from the case.
      • I’m still wondering if it is a worthwile investment to study 1 person for a whole year if the end result can’t be applied to a larger population.
    • Not comfortable with the idea that because one thing is true, that “allows” the study to do something. Treating research attempts as composing acts. How can we say or not say what is a composing act? Research needs to be a composing act for the purpose of this study so would the author justify it anyway they need to because it is important for the study?
      • “In this study, the term “writing” is emphasized; a conceptual scheme based on the perspective of writing studies allows this study to treat Lin’s research attempts as composing acts.” (Guo 118)
    • Tips for interviews?
      • Again, I was making these notes as I was reading and this was addressed towards the end.
      • There is a great list of different types of questions and general tips for interviews towards the end of the article.
      • Remember to think like a journalist!
    • The following part is really useful for us in the class because it gives us an idea of when to try qualitative research:
      • “When the following situations apply, the students should be encouraged to try qualitative research: first, when the purpose of their research is to understand a phenomenon performed by a particular group of people; second, when the purpose of their research is to revise the existing theory or to establish a new theory” (Vivar, McQueen, Whyte, & Armayor, 2007, p. 64). (Guo 122)
    • When the researcher tells us what the student did wrong and should have done, this is good stuff. It helps us see mistakes that we will make as researchers and shows us solutions:
      • “Theoretically, his collected writing samples together with other forms of data (e.g., the interviews, observational field notes, and the recorded teacher-student writing conferences) should be coded and compared/contrasted, through which analytical patterns would be developed for discussing the affected factors of his participants’ English writing motivation.” (Guo 122)
    • What’s it like to read this case study for the student and see all the details of their research work put under a microscope? Did Lin even read this case study? Would they want to?
    • What do you do in a situation where like Lin, you can’t study them anymore. If you don’t have enough data was the whole 1 year study period a waste?

    Post 2!

    Hi Everyone!

    Let’s talk about Research Methods. 1st I wanna say that Research Methodologies: A Comparison of Quantitative, Qualitative and Mixed Methods by Martin Gunnell provided A LOT of information to digest. I feel that this will be an amazing resource as we move towards our research project.

    With that in mind, I took detailed notes and tried to understand what I could. This article was easy to read, but it was tough to encode all of the information in my brain. The main points of the differences between quantitative and qualitative methods is that quantitative deals with numbers and statistics, while qualitative deals with things that can’t be measured in numbers, but need descriptions.

    So if we are trying to figure out the odds of winning at roulette in Las Vegas, that would be quantitative. If I put all of my money on black, the odds are 50/50 that I will win. (In theory, but I we would have to do research to find out for sure) So you can say I have a 50% chance to win if I put it all on black. That’s quantitative.

    Let’s say we are trying to figure out if aggression in young children is a predictor of committing crimes in adult life. We can’t really use numbers to measure that. Instead we need to use descriptions. 1st we would need to define aggression and document what kind of aggressive behavior the child engages in. We would also need to study children who do not engage in aggressive behavior. Then once they grow up we would study them as adults and document the crimes they have committed. Then we could try to draw conclusions based on this data. We could say something like aggression in young child is or isn’t a predictor of crimes in adult life.

    This article is great in that it breaks down the different methods of research based on quantitative and qualitative. This is amazing for our reasech project as once we decide if we want to use quantitative or qualitative methods, then we have a cheat sheet of methods to use such as case studies, experimental design, narrative, etc.

    And of course there is mixed methods where you use both quantitative and qualitative methods. It’s nice to know that mixed methods is an option because I could imagine some topics where using one or the other method isn’t as effective. As a novice researcher, I wouldn’t think of using mixed methods before reading this article. Without the knowledge of mixed methods, I might feel stuck with only qualitative or quantitative when using both would be the best option for my research question.

    And finally, we have Swales & the CARS Model. This article spoke about how to make an effective introduction. There was a lot of though put into this article and it presented the information as a set of steps which can be followed. Each step is bite sized and allows you to move along slowly.

    The article offers 11 questions that help to revise your specific introduction. This is an invaluable resource that will come in handy when I have to write my own intro for my research project. The article also provides an outline to further help make sure the introduction fits in with the rest of the paper. It serves as a way to revise your intro without feeling lost or feeling that revision is tedious.

    These two articles serve as a great foundation of research methodologies as well as providing steps to help get your research project off the ground.

    Who Am I?

    “What a way to start anew
    To shed your skin and find the old you

    Everybody wants to get famous
    But you just want to dance in a basement
    You don’t care if anyone is watching
    Just as long as you stay in motion” – The Menzingers After the Party.

    Who am I? I am the quintessential late bloomer. I’ve missed every single one of my developmental milestones. I’m the loser, the underdog, the one who never should have made it this far.

    I’ve dropped out of middle school once, high school twice, and college more times than I can count. With that being said I have a high school diploma, an Associate’s Degree, a Bachelor’s Degree, and I am working on my Master’s.

    I’ve had terrible social anxiety since I was in preschool. My depression took longer to rear it’s ugly head, but now it’s here to stay for good. My dad abandoned the family when I was 13 and before that he tried to poison my mom with rat poison when I was a little kid. Unrelated to this, my mom survived breast cancer many years later.

    These hardships weren’t enough for the universe as my mom got run over by a truck about 6 years ago and lost part of her leg. Still more tragedy ensued when I lost my best friend to suicide 3 years ago.

    All of these awful things have shaped my life in profound ways. It’s probably why I write poetry and definitely why I consume philosophy specially about the search for meaning in a meaningless world.

    I am anti capitalist, anti authority. I believe society is fundamentally flawed and we are chasing all the wrong things in an effort to destroy the only planet we have. I love music, anime, video games, poetry, and skateboarding. I forgot to take my Paxil for the last 2 days and since I’m on 40 mgs, I already feel the withdrawals. Does anyone know what I’m talking about when I say I am getting the “brain zaps”? Fun stuff.

    As far as my feelings on research. I hate and love it. I hate academic research when you have to pick from topics that you don’t care about. I love research on things like UFOs. For those unaware, UFOs are real and the cover up is real. The disclosure movement has reached Congress and is moving at a rapid pace. My home base for UFO research is the subreddit r/UFOs.

    At first I didn’t really consider my interest in UFOs as research. I felt I was just learning about a topic that many don’t take seriously. I’ve been following the UFO subreddit for about 6 years now. In that time, I have seen many videos, statements, and claims about UFOs. Instead of taking these at face value, the UFO reddit community puts these through rigorous scrutiny.

    At this point in time, I have learned what sources can be trusted and what sources are lying or disinformation agents. This topic is so fun and interesting, that I never considered I am doing research. But I have come to see the methods that myself and other users employ to get to the bottom of these claims. The most helpful thing is that there are so many skeptics so it’s important to vet sources and figure out what is real and what is fake.

    Rather than accepting everything as true, I have learned to carefully sort through information on UFOs using research methods. The most amazing thing is that as time goes on, more things come to like. For example, there was someone in the military who anonamously posted on reddit about a UFO encounter from the early 2000’s. About 6 or 7 years after this post, official military footage was leaked that confirmed that this person was telling the truth.

    It’s so funny how I thought I always hated research and didn’t realize that I was doing UFO research for so many years without realizing it. It was too fun and exciting. How could it be the same as the dull, boring research that they forced us to do in school?