Category Archives: Student Blogs

The Last Post: Mixed Methods

After reading the last article, “When students want to stand out: Discourse moves in online classroom discussion that reflect students’ needs for distinctiveness,” I started thinking about the journey I’ve been on, learning about all of the different research methods we have covered in this class. I certainly know more now than I did when the class began, and it was interesting to see how the authors of this study chose to mix together two methods with which we are familiar, discourse analysis and constant comparison. The purpose of the study was “to explore how students with different needs for uniqueness participated in online classroom discussion and to examine their collaborative interaction in the dialogic process of the discussion” (Yu et al. 1).

The reasons that a person might seek uniqueness or avoid it and the ways that a person might express that need in an online discussion can be so varied that I wondered how the researchers would attempt to measure students’ uniqueness needs. It does seem like the methods that they chose were appropriate for the task, and including surveys in the design of the research makes sense to me. But the researchers did express that it was impossible for them to account for all potential variables: “The dynamic nature of online discussion entailed that more factors than simply uniqueness-seeking needs seemed involved in explaining students’ contributions” (Yu et al. 1). I can easily think of many variables that would influence my own participation in online discussions and have nothing to do with my interest in uniqueness (energy level, comfort and/or history with the other group members, my command of or interest in the reading, personal situations, events immediately preceding class, illness, uncertainty about the goal of the exercise, etc.), and I’m surprised that none of these occurred to the researchers. For me, this study was a lesson in how careful consideration of the set-up of a study in its early stages is essential to its success. This study took up a lot of the researchers’ time and involved a great deal of effort and, unfortunately, their lack of foresight prevented them from getting a clear answer to their research inquiry.

I wrote a blog post earlier in the semester in which I echoed Fran’s concern about going down a wrong path in one’s research. These researchers used discourse analysis (in part) and, in the end, had little to show for their efforts. Because I also intend to use discourse analysis, that old fear crept back into my mind. I’m trying to focus on the fact that I am following a different line of inquiry than theirs and I can learn from their mistakes. I’m feeling cautious but hopeful.

Mixed Methods – When Students Want to Stand Out

Hey guys,

~~ Whatever thoughts came to mind while reading, I recorded ~~


After skimming through this week’s assigned research article, “When students want to stand out: Discourse moves in online classroom discussion that reflect students’ needs for distinctiveness” by Li-Tang Yu, et al., I definitely felt a personal connection to the objective of the study, exploring how students with different needs for uniqueness participated in online classrooms, or virtual learning experience. My first question before delving into the introduction section was, “What constitutes a student to have ‘different needs for uniqueness?’

At first guess, I assumed this specified group of students to each have either a learning disability, mental illness, or some form of cognitive impairment. Perhaps, students with physical-limitations due to chronic disease or sudden injury, or maybe those who have neurodivergent qualities found on the autism spectrum disorder. Harnessing the motivation to participate in an online class is a challenging task, especially for the students who lack the confidence in themselves to speak up and ask for help. As I continued on reading this study, I was continually bombarded with zoom university flashbacks. What a wild and eerie time ~~

 I remember, although I struggled to adjust at first, I enjoyed the time spent learning in online classroom platforms. In the comfort of my own home. Bathroom break on my command. Time felt slower, and I felt more in control of my learning and weekly time-planning. My difficulties adjudging (or “assimilating”) to and back from the online learning world to the physical classroom, in a way, supports what Brewer (1991) had said about Synder and Fromkin’s (1980) Uniqueness Theory, which is that social identity is derived from two opposing forces, assimilation, and differentiation form others. This makes total sense – humans carry with them an embedded biological need or want to belong, to be a part of a safe community with like-minded individuals. Yet, humans also want an occasional ego-boost so that they feel different, noticed, and perhaps, appreciated.

I will end this blog post with this quote, “Because individuals are said to vacillate between wanting to belong and wanting to stand out and be recognized for their unique contribution to a group, Kreiner, Hollensbe, and Sheep (2006) suggested that one’s need to be unique is likely to affect identity work, which in turn seems essential to the internalization of academic discourse (Duff, 2010)” (by Li-Tang Yu, et al., 1). This quote emphasizes the unfolding connection between the need and want to belong, and yet to also feel uniquely different is a defining identity characteristic, which will inevitably influence or impact the internalization of academic discourse. By the way, I don’t know, if what I’m saying or trying to articulate here in this blog post, even makes sense ~~


Okay, so now I’ll try and sum up what’s going on with my research proposal drafting process, in which I obviously plan to work on more so later today. I have a lot of words and ideas on pages right now, which is good yet overwhelming me with how easily I can lose track of my own thought-writing-planning process. As for the sources for my literature review, I have accumulated 14 solid research articles so far, and have annotated seven of them [in which are still considered in the drafting citation phase]. The seven annotated articles were thoroughly skimmed through several of times and chosen to be cited within my introduction section because of their closer relevance to my inquiry question, similar participant demographic, or thoughtful discussion on the different thinking styles and states of human consciousness.

My introduction is still a mess; paragraphs with great detail and quality content sporadically placed throughout my document. I’m a messy writer, and often write what comes to mind or feels write, then go back to read some of the research articles in hopes to revisit my messy draft for refinement, deleting paragraph-ideas that no longer serve the direction of where my research inquiry question is intending to go. I have refined my research question multiple times, and now feel satisfied with it. I feel fine in terms of finding research article sources, annotating, and finding connections within and between them.

However, I am struggling with the construction and organization of my methodology section. I’ve planned out some draft ideas of data collection methods based on the phenomenological approach to research design. I’m definitely researching a phenomenon – the emergence of cognitive creative functioning and influence on self-identity amongst Kean University students.

I’m choosing to do a small focus group sampling size of ten students, who each leisurely practice a form of artistic-creative expression. The ten students can be from either an undergraduate or graduate program at Kean. I would like to plan for only two students to engage in the same form of artistic-creative expression. This means 10 different students but only 5 different forms of creative expression will be analyzed in my study. This way I can conduct deep cross-comparative analysis between the creative processes of students engaging in the same form of creativity (e.g., two students painting or drawing as a form of creative expression) and between those engaging in different forms of creative expression (e.g., dancing as a form of creative expression vs. writing).

I plan on implementing structured and unstructured interviews with participants before, during, and after their engaged experience of creative production. For this to happen, there will need to be three separate phases or stages of the interview process. The first stage will be a structured individual interview, with some open-ended questions with each participant. The second stage will involve unstructured, conversational questions while directly observing and note taking the engagement and production of creativity at hand (individually, not as a group). And the third stage will be the reflective focus group gathering, where I pose questions as a frame of guidance but will ultimately let the participants lead the discuss on their creative experience, associated feelings or attitudes all throughout, setbacks or unforeseen challenges, insights, or revelations of any kind. My observational notes on the creative productions and the reflective focus group discussion will count as data for this study, and I will use thematic analysis to identify common themes, or patterns of meaning that come up repeatedly.

That’s all I got for this week ~~ my brain feels heavy, and my eyes now hurt but hey, we are almost to the finish line ~~


Francesca Di Fabio 🙂

When students want to stand out: Discourse moves in online classroom discussion that reflect students’ need for distinctiveness

Are we saving the best for last?????

I really enjoyed this week’s reading. I think the topic was interesting, I liked the use of discourse analysis as the choice of methodology, and I was genuinely looking to forward to seeing what time of results the researchers were going to end up with.

The research is aiming to find out if students’ uniqueness-seeking needs are related to their discourse moves, which is how they interact within online class discussions. They conducted their research using a graduate level group where they monitored and then analyzed and coded their contributions to the online discussion and also distributed a survey that depicted the students’ desire for “uniqueness”, which they also did at the end. For the coding they created categories for all possible contributions from the students. As for results, they were able to compare the students from the beginning of the semester and the end, while also comparing them to each other.

I thought the research was done well. I think doing a deep dive of the participants is better than having more participants but less specific information. Seeing discourse analysis in this study makes me want to incorporate the methodology in my own proposal. This reading clarified the method for me dramatically. Even the coding was super clear. With my research question, essentially I would get information from younger children, so I guess I am struggling with what type of response I`d pose to them. Also, I really appreciated how the researchers organized the coding. I think that was the best way to ensure the least possible amount of bias.

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.




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Discourse Analysis: Making Complex Methodology Simple

As far as readability, this reading was a little confusing as far as the jargon. However, I did feel like the the structure and sections of the reading made a lot of sense and made the content easier to understand.

Discourse is considered a form spoken dialogue and in contrast to written texts. The document discusses how discourse analysis can be used in the IS reattach field. The author emphasizes the idea that the field of IS is changing and moving evolving from a positivistic view to one of that is defined more by the relationship between variables . The reading includes steps of how to analyze these type of texts.

I found discourse analysis to be really interesting. I like the idea of our words have meaning based on the experiences we’ve had. That also makes me question how accurate our interpretation of ANYTHING is. In the reading it says, “The main issue of hermeneutics is that the true interpretation has simply not yet been found, but rather that there is no such final interpretation”. First, I did have to look up what “hermeneutics” is and after reading the definition I am now questioning not only discourse analysis, but also philosophy and anything else that requires one to rely on ones interpretation.

Did You Know?

Yes, It’s True. When an unanticipated ER visit over the weekend interrupts your assignment flow, you discover something new. In other words, did you know that Discourse Analysis: Making Complex Methodology Simple by Bondarouk and Ruel ties into (aligns with) medicine as Discourse Analysis is a useful methodology for healthcare system research? Well, according to an article written in the National Library of Medicine, as interesting as it might be, I uncovered some detailed information alluding to said matter, such as:

Discourse analysis (DA) is an interdisciplinary field of inquiry and is becoming an increasingly popular research strategy for researchers in various disciplines, which healthcare researchers have little employed. The methodology involves a focus on the sociocultural and political context in which text and talk occur. DA adds a linguistic approach to an understanding of the relationship between language and ideology, exploring the way in which theories of reality and relations of power are encoded in such aspects as the syntax, style, and rhetorical devices used in texts. DA is a useful and productive qualitative methodology but has been underutilized within healthcare system research. Without a clear understanding of discourse theory and DA it is difficult to comprehend important research findings and impossible to use DA as a research strategy. To redress this deficiency, this article represents an introduction to concepts of discourse and DA, DA history, Philosophical background, DA types and analysis strategy. Finally, it discusses how it affects the ideological dimension of such phenomena discourse in the healthcare system, health beliefs and intra-disciplinary relationships in the healthcare system.

For at least three years now, “discourse” and “discourse analysis (DA)” have been fashionable terms. Usually, in scientific research and debates, it is used indiscriminately without being defined. Without a clear understanding of discourse theory and DA, it is difficult to comprehend important research findings and impossible to use DA as a research strategy. Hence, the article aims to help healthcare practitioners employ DA as an effective research strategy.

There are many explanations and definitions of discourse and DA. Discourse has been defined as “a group of ideas or patterned way of thinking which can be identified in textual and verbal communications, and can also be located in wider social structures.” In other definition “discourse is a belief, practice or knowledge that constructs reality and provides a shared way of understanding the world.” In a broad sense, discourses are defined as systems of meaning that are related to the interactional and wider sociocultural context and operate regardless of the speakers’ intentions. DA is a broad and diverse field, including a variety of approaches to the study of language, which derive from different scientific disciplines and utilize various analytical. DA examines language in use. As suggested by Fairclough, “Discourse is the use of language as a form of social practice, and DA is an analysis of how texts work within the sociocultural practice.” DA focuses on the ways that language and symbols shape interpretations of negotiators’ identities, instrumental activity, and relationships.

DA is both an old and a new discipline. Historically, DA path a way from linguistic approaches to socialistic approaches. Its origins can be traced back to the study of language, public speech, and literature more than 2000 years ago. One major historical source is undoubtedly classical rhetoric, the art of good speaking. Then, A new cross-discipline of DA began to develop in most of the humanities and social sciences concurrently with and related to other disciplines, like anthropology, semiology, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, and pragmatics. Many of these approaches, especially those influenced by the social sciences, favor a more dynamic study of oral talk-in-interaction. 

Mainly, DA’s philosophical base is a social constructionist approach. Social constructionism is an umbrella term for a range of new theories about culture and society. DA is just one among several social constructionist approaches, but it is one of the most widely used approaches within social constructionism.

Social linguistic analysis is constructivist and focuses on individual texts. It gives insight into the organization and construction of these texts and how they work to construct and organize other phenomena. The focus is not on the exploration of the power dynamics in which the texts are implicated.

Similar to social linguistic analysis, these discourse analyses are interested in the way in which broader discursive contexts come into being. They are not directly concerned with power. Individual texts are more important as background material.

Critical linguistic analysis shares with social linguistic analysis its focus on individual texts, but its main concern is the dynamics of power surrounding the text. Examining individual texts is for understanding how the structures of domination of the proximal context are implicated in the text.

Discursive psychology is part of the general movement of critical psychology, which has been reacting against mainstream social psychology, especially the sort of experimental psychology. The aim of discursive psychologists is not so much to analyze the changes in society’s “large-scale discourses,” which concrete language use can bring about, as to investigate how people use the available discourses flexibly in creating and negotiating representations of the world and identities in talk-in-interaction and to analyze the social consequences of this.

DA, as a qualitative approach, has an important role in the healthcare system because the healthcare system needs to be knowledgeable across the multiple paradigms and perspectives that inform an understanding of the biological, psychological, social, cultural, ethical, and political dimensions of human lives. Practice in this area is a political, cultural, and social practice and needs to be understood as such to improve the quality of care provided. Effective clinical reasoning relies on employing several different kinds of knowledge and research that draw on different perspectives, methodologies, and techniques to generate the breadth of knowledge and depth of understanding of clinical practices and patients’ experiences of those practices. DA can contribute to the development of this knowledge (Yazdannik, Yousefy, Mohammadi, 2017) and so on. Thanks Everyone! 🤗

Are We There Yet? Yeah…Maybe!

I connected with this week’s reading more than I have with the other articles we’ve read recently. The article,“Discourse Analysis: Making Complex Methodology Simple” by Tatyana Bondarouk and Huub Ruel, was more appealing because I could understand the ideas more easily, Also, in my days as an English teacher, a large part of my time was spent helping students “explore the relationship between discourse and reality, interpret a hidden meaning, and mediate it between the past and present” (Bondarouk and Ruel 6). In fact, while the article was explaining what discourse analysis is, I started to think it could be a useful approach for my research project.

In my research project, I wish to revisit The Great Gatsby, and the article specifically lists “novels” as one type of text that can be the subject of discourse analysis (Bondarouk and Ruel 6). Although times have changed dramatically since the 1920s when The Great Gatsby was released, the accepted analysis of the novel has not changed with the times. In order to “give meaning to a text within [the] framework of [my] experience” and the “time epoch, culture, and history” in which I am living (Bondarouk and Ruel 4), I would like to produce a version of the novel that addresses problems that are revealed when it is read in a modern context. Since the article mentions “context” 23 times, discourse analysis seems like a viable approach given my intended project.

Discourse analysis is the first research method we have studied that seemed like it would allow me to pursue the research project in which I am interested. In its effort “to produce a framework bridging the philosophical foundations, theoretical implications and ‘doing’ discourse analysis” and “contribute to the existing body of knowledge by developing such a framework and applying it to the IS field” (Bondarouk and Ruel 4), this article managed to help me do something that no other article we’ve read thus far has done–give me that feeling you get when a haziness in your mind clears and you can finally see a path forward. It’s possible that I’ll end up going in a different direction in the future, but I feel much better continuing with my creative research project knowing that discourse analysis is an option.

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.

blog #10 discourse analysis

This week we are treated with discourse analysis! At first when I was reading this I was getting a little lost–but truth be told it’s the end of the semester and my brain is getting a little foggy. BUT, Tatyana Bondarouk worded discourse analysis in a very helpful way. She said “ The concrete representation of discourses is texts, or discursive ‘units’. They make have a variety of forms: formal written records, such as news information, company statements and reports, academic papers; spoken words, pictures, symbols, artifacts, transcripts of social interactions such as conversations, focus group discussions, and individual interviews; or involve media such as TV programs, advertisements, magazines, novels, etc”. I think this explanation made me understand the research of discourse but don’t understand how it’s used per say. But Tatyana Bondarouk used 5 concluding remarks to as Fran also mentioned–simplify discourse analysis. Overall, it all led back to the significance of interpretation with this method. As a discourse analysis researcher you would study linguistic features, texts,and data from the past. But personally that seems like a lot of work. Essentially, you’re interpreting language that has been collected and categorizing them into groups to build a study. The author even mentioned that anyone who reads this research will probably have a different perspective/interpretation, but is that what we really need after a long intensive research?
Which brings me back to my research proposal. After last week’s class and workshopping with my peers, I have finally decided on my proposal question, plus the methodologies I will be using. So I will be researching “How do educators deal with their own trauma and how do these experiences affect/influence their teaching methods and interactions with students?”. With a mix of autoethnography and phenomenology. I figured autoethnography would be the best option since I have a lot of personal experience to talk about, as well as perhaps interviewing my fellow teachers with a phenomenological method. I’m finding it hard to get appropriate articles best suited for my research. I even used the KeanLibrary Database but I think I just need to try a little harder than letting myself get overwhelmed so easily. I also wrote up a few paragraphs of my proposal to get a start on things but it is definitely nowhere near close!