Posts tagged ‘Methods’

Technorati and Other Blog Ranking Tools

By js, 14 September, 2008, 1 Comment

One of the things that I have to articulate are the reasons for choosing the blogs that I choose to study.  Other studies that I have looked at which dicuss blogs have chosen their “subjects” by turning to blog indexing and blog ranking tools. I know that Technorati is one of the most popular ones.

Research for Blogs

By js, 14 September, 2008, No Comment

As I finished drafting proposals for IRB, I once again began thinking about how to search for blogs.

My purpose is to find blogs which have

  • chicana on the title
  • chicana on the description
  • chicana in the content

What I want to find are blogs written by women who self-identify as Chicana. Jaime shared a wonderful definition of what Chicana/o means and I will use that one for now but will need to also look for others, but that is mainly what I had in mind when I chose to study women who self-identify using this particular term.

So finding blogs in which the term is used in the title or the description would point to the fact that these women construct a particular identity which more than likely will be tied to the content of the blog.

It will be much harder to find blogs which have Chicana in the content of the blog or even in the titles of the posts. I just tried using the beta Google Blog search and was very disappointed at what I found. It gave a few links to posts but alot of those links lead to porn which just supports Nakamura’s argument that Chicanas, Latinas and Asian women are represented online in a way that provides a voyeuristic, sexualized and stereotypical view of the female body. The only redeeming part of my Google Blog search was a “Related Blogs” section which listed blogs which I have already come across.

So I turned to Technorati and I found much of the same. It does provide a way to search from Posts to Blogs to photos and videos. Technorati did not give me much different information in the posts tab; again it pointed to alot of porn. The blogs tab was a bit more revealing. It did find blogs but mostly on MySpace.

Rich had suggested that I could also find blogs on MySpace but I think that the look and feel of those blogs are different and I want to focus on more mainstream blogs. I know I have to define what that means but one detail that I noticed recently is that the age range for blogs on blogger or in a hosted domain are written by women in a very similar age range. Also, alot of the blogs on MySpace are private so who can access those blogs is limited to the blogger “friending” the reader.

The implications of these two differences are important:

  1. the blogger with a hosted domain ultimately may have more control over the “look” of the blog and the feeling of ownership; it also requires a higher level of digital literacy because hosting requires that the blogger choose which options will be available to her as a writer but also to the potential reader
  2. the requirement of “friending” someone so they can read the blog creates a different dynamic for the blogger and the reader; for example, a blogger who hosts her blog in blogger or on her own domain does not necessarily know who is reading the blog unless the reader is willing to interact with her by commenting on the blog. The blogger can look at her site statistics and may get some general knowledge of her readers with this information but does not know each one unless they decide to comment, leave a link to their own blog, and/or email address. This then gives the blogger the option of trying to research her readers. The MySpace requirement of “friending” (which most blogs I checked have turned on), gives a bit more control to the blogger over who will read her blog. Only people to whom she provides permission will be able to access. She, of course, will not know exactly which posts the reader reads unless the reader leaves a comment. (I’m not an expert on MySpace but I don’t think that it tracks who reads each post?)

Now I have to try other blog indexing tools to see if I get a different result. I also plan on asking how exactly those bloggers expect they will be found or have been told they are found. If I search using those methods will my search lead to different results?

Qualitative Research Design Notes

By js, 2 August, 2008, No Comment

I’m looking at the book, Qualitative Research Design by Joseph Maxwell.

Since I’m going to be looking at focusing my research question, I thought that it would be good for me to go back to Maxwell and to look at the memo writing he suggests as part of articulating the question and focusing in on what it is that I really want to study. listen

So Maxwell says, that one of the things that we need to think about are what our goals are for our study. Our goals include: our motives, desires and purposes. (page 16) We have to think about how they’re going to guide our other design decisions and they help to insure that our study is worth doing. They also help us to justify our study, especially if we’re seeking funding for a particular topic. listen

Maxwell says that there are three types of goals that we have to consider. There are the personal goals, the practical goals and the intellectual or scholarly goals. The personal goals are those that are going to motivate us and that are connected to the things that we’re really interested in personally. That’s going determine what the topic is, the question we select and it is also going to help us consider our validity threats. listen

So according to Maxwell, he says, what is necessary is for us to be aware of these goals and how they may be shaping our research and to think about them, how best to achieve them and deal with their influence. And of course they also help us to think about what our practical and intellectual goals are. listen

He says practical goals are focused on accomplishing something and in my case it’s going to be changing some situations and trying to affect what happens in that situation. The intellectual goals are focussed more on understanding something. That is, gaining an insight into what is going on, why it’s happening and asking some questions that previous research has not adequately addressed. listen

Maxwell does caution us about separating practical goals from the intellectual goals, so that the question that we are asking are actually intellectual goals. So, our research question could look more like “what effect has this new policy had on program equity” and not “how should this program be modified to make it equitable.” listen

So it’s important how we frame our research question because that’s going to help us to achieve our practical goal. But the particular goal does not necessarily need to be embedded in the research question. And of course, it’s going to be part of our justification but it doesn’t have to be part of the question itself. listen

So our goals also help us to decide what our approach is going to be. In my case, I’m doing qualitative research it makes sense for me to try and follow Maxwell and it also helps us to think about what the validity threat to our project is going to be. So our personal goals are gonna drive and influence our research and it is necessary, he says to be aware of these goals and how they influence our choices. listen

Powered by Jott

blog epistemology/methodology

By js, 24 April, 2008, No Comment

markR says, "it involves group contribution and "beautiful" language to inspire a community benefit"
Emil [to Janie]: I personally thought that some of the new media technology might help lead the way to more Afrocentric rhetoric… wikis for instance seem to allow for a more active audience… and harmony
BeckyJ [to Emil]: that was what I was thinking
Bobbie [to markR:]: How right you are – but isn't that just external? THink of all the internal workings… gambling, etc.
markR [to Emil]: but wikis are also vulnerable to some pretty aceribic exchanges
Janie [to Emil:]: true
Becky says, "I thought about ebay as a community…but then, it's also for individual gain."
Sue says, "And I think popular culture elements such as rap and hip-hop Nation langugae are crossing over and gaining wider audience appeal at many levels"
Emil [to markR]: right. is that part of the process? the good with the bad?
markR [to Bobbie]: why is gambling a bad thing? :)
Bobbie laughs
Janie [to Sue:]: I'm reading a book on hip-hop rhetorics
Emil says, "I know we're late… I'll turn the class back over to Becky. I'll post this link on the WebBoard"
Bobbie says, "It's not unless taken to excess :D "
Bobbie cheers for Emil!!
Sue [to Janie]: really. Whiah one?
You say, "Thanks emil"
markR [to Emil]: nice job! i really like the website
Kerrie says, "hip hip hooray for Emil!"
You say, "Richardson, I think"
BeckyJ says, "Very interesting, lovely site"
You say, "elaine"
Becky says, "Emil, you want to create a webboard area for a continued discussion of what is/isn't afrocentric rhetoric"
Anne says, "great website/review of the readings, Emil. Thanks."
Emil [to Becky]: the chapter about letters also shows that there was an element of individual gain even in ancient Egypt rhetoric
Becky hopes Emil (and others) will post their websites/source materials to webboard!
Bobbie says, "Definitely"
Kerrie says, "I think my website is posted there…"
Bobbie says, "I love to look at other student sites"
Emil [to Becky]: Yes. Can I create one. .. or is that only something you can do?
Sue [to Janie]: look at Marcyleana Morgan's stuff–I'll send you 2 articles
Becky [to Emil]: I'll do it.  I'll call  it Afrocentric rhetoric
Janie [to Sue:]: the book is called "Hiphop literacies" by Elaine Richardson
Janie [to Sue:]: cool; post them for others too
markR [to Janie]: KRS-ONE
Bobbie says, "Well… I'm off to install a pool pump… have a good one all!"
Sue says, "OK"
Emil says, "BTW, there's a link to a fun matching game using egyptian symbols in the sidebar and a link to wikipedia for more info"
Becky loves Geoff Sirc, who was one of the first hip hoppers
Janie [to Mark:]: sorry, I'm illiterate; what does that mean?
Sue [to Emil]: kewl
Bobbie (asleep) has disconnected.
Becky thanks EMil–short, but really thought provoking
Emil says, "Thanks everyone"
markR [to Janie]: he's one of the pioneers of preaching the four elements of hiphop as a positive lifestyle
markR says, "old school rapper"
Emil [to Becky]: And we still ran out of time. sheesh
Becky says, "Folks, I'm going to add afrocentric rhetoric to webboard.  No task for this week, but DO visit last week's task"
Janie [to mark:]: ah, I'm just starting to learn…
markR says, "or rather, MC"
Becky says, "great narratives there"
markR [to Janie]: if you want i'll teach you how to bboy and graffiti
Becky says, "Thanks, both of you. VERY good–excellent thoughts, ideas."
Becky grins and knows Mark can do it!
markR says, "thank you for class all! "
Janie [to Mark:]: great during May seminar
You say, "Becky will have to bail me out"
markR says, "lol"
Anne says, "Sorry, but I have to take off.  Great discussions tonight."
Becky says, "I'm going to be out of sorts while in KY (and it's likely I'll be traveling to FL soon as well–my father's very sick and probably won't make it much longer).  So I apologize about being slow"
Emil says, "Night all."
Janie [to Becky:]: let me know when you're ready to move to the office
Sue (asleep) has disconnected.
Kerrie [to Becky]: Just a quick word…
Becky says, "sure, Kerrie"
>> The red light on class recorder goes out. The recorder in Rickly's Virtual Place has been turned off. <<
Kerrie [to Becky]: I will be posting my last assignment… the mind map, by Friday
markR [to Becky]: i wish you the best and a safe trip. good night all…time to eat!
markR (asleep) has disconnected.
Emil [to Becky]: I've got my final paper done. I'll proofread it once more and load it in the WebBoard as well as mail it to you
Anne (asleep) has disconnected.
Becky [to Emil]: that sounds perfect
Kerrie [to Becky]: And I think that is everything I have left to do for the class… You can decide which assignment was medium & large, because they both were pretty time consuming :)
Becky is sure you'll be fine, Kerrie
BeckyJ (asleep) has disconnected.
Kerrie says, "Ok, I just don't want to leave any unfinished business before heading to VEGAS to get married :) "
Janie [to Kerrie]: congrats
Kerrie says, "Thanks "
Kerrie says, "Ok, then, so it will all be on my website, and I'll e-mail you the links… all will be under 'coursework' but I'll send you the individual links"
Becky says, "WOW!  have a great time in VEGAS!  Say hi to Elvis!"
Becky nods to Kerrie–sounds perfect
Kerrie says, "hehe, yeah it will be great, I will be sure to ;) "
The housekeeper arrives to cart Bobbie off to bed.
Kerrie says, "Ok, goodnight all!!"
Becky waves
You say, "good night"
Kerrie (asleep) has disconnected.
You move to Liminal Space
Liminal Space
You view Liminal Space…
You see Teacher's Desk, Big Table, and Bulletin Board.
You see space recorder.
Obvious exits: [space exit] to Rickly's Virtual Place
Becky arrives.
Becky says, "I'm here."
You say, "sorry I moved to the wroing space"
Becky says, "This should work fine"
You say, "did you see the IRB emails?"
You say, "the project got approved; dr. eaton reviewed it"
You say, "but the timing is bad"
You say, "the students are gone"
Becky says, "I glanced over them–I'm sorry, but I didn't look at them closely.  I thought you were approved?"
You say, "they are finished and graduating on Friday"
You say, "so it will be hard to contact them "
Becky says, "yikes.  Do you have a plan B?  "
You say, "I would like to finish this project but I can also work on something else to finish the course reqs"
You say, "Our semester begins again May 19th"
Becky says, "what would YOU rather do?"
You say, "so I could trya again then"
You say, "but then it would require an incomplete"
You say, "is that a big deal?"
Becky would be happy with that, if that's what would work for you
Becky says, "no, we could arrange for the "deliverable" to be done on X date.  As long as I turn in a grade by then, we're fine"
You say, "I am really thinking about using this as a pilot which can help me articulate questions for diss"
You say, "so I would like to complete it"
Becky says, "You've done most of the work.  I will run it by Locke (some folks have been doing incompletes then NOT finishing), but as long as we have an agreed upon completion date, we'll be fine"
You say, "but I could write a lit review on CRT but that may be "large" enough"
Becky says, "great, then.  I like that you'll have some extra time during which you maybe won't be as busy.  The pilot project will tell you a lot"
You say, "ok, good. I do have one extra class"
Becky says, "I'd rather have you do the pilot.  I htink it will be beneficial on several levels"
You say, "so my coursework requriements are fulfilled"
Becky says, "extra class?"
Becky says, "you mean you have one more class to take?"
You say, "yes, I took two this semster and I only needed one"
Becky says, "wow!"
You say, "will be working on the diss prop and reading list during may seminar"
Becky says, "Ok, then, let's do this:  I'll email Locke (he's still in TX) about the incomplete, letting him know what our agreed upon date is (we need to agree)"
You say, "when should we decide on the date"
Becky says, "Let's do it now."
You say, "Ok"
Becky says, "how long do you think you'll need?"
You say, "how does July 10th sound"
You say, "will give me plenty of time"
You say, "after the semester starts"
Becky says, "that works for me"
You say, "great"
You say, "I appreciate your flexibility"
Becky says, "so I'll let him know that you'll finish your final project July 10th (due to IRB problems, etc.)"
Becky says, "I'll let you know what he says."
You say, "I also would like to do a second IRB"
Becky says, "but I think he'll be great"
Becky thinks that will be a good idea
Becky says, "You want to be covered, esp. if you might report on this."
You say, "right"
You say, "I didn't want to take a chance; I heard what happened to SUsan"
Becky says, "I'll let you know if there's a problem, but I honestly can't imagine one."
Becky says, "I guess I didn't hear!"
You say, "there was alot of data she couldn't use; wans't IRB issue but she had to do it over"
You say, "her participant withdrew some of the data"
Becky says, "How awful!"
You say, "yes"
Becky says, "but I do understand.  Dissertations can be a mess"
You say, "I have another question"
Becky says, "Sure"
You say, "I am starting to investigate the participatns I could use for the second study; the bloggers"
You say, "and I've had one ask me details about the project"
Becky nods
You say, "I'm wondering if the details will affect her work"
Becky says, "it's possible–sort of a Hawthorne effect– but it's better to inform participants I think"
You say, "is there any method that is acceptable about how much to tell?"
You say, "I could also only use data up to when I contacted her and nothing after"
You say, "certainly one choice"
Becky says, "well, depends on your empirical grounding.  If you're coming to it from a feminist perspective, you will virtually tell them everything, involving them almost as co-investigators; if you want more control, you'll have a pat hand out you give to everyone."
You say, "this disclosure stuff is tricky"
Becky says, "oops, I meant epistemological grounding"
Becky nods
You say, "right, I think I'm coming from the PD, PAR"
Becky says, "You will be coming to your research from an epistemological perspective.  You need to identify that (feminist, social constructivist, etc.) and allow it go guide you"
You say, "ok, that makes sense; so use that to make my deciisions; make sure they align"
Becky says, "so you'll probably disclose more than if you were less participatory"
Becky nods
Becky says, "because your design, analysis, choice of methods all will be influenced by this grounding"
You say, "Ok, it was getting kind of muddy and I wanted some perspective before I worked on proposal"
Becky says, "if you can articulate it, you'll be consistent"
You say, "great, thanks."

Discourse Analysis Notes

By js, 19 March, 2008, No Comment

Content Analysis–what elements it contains
Semantic Analysis–the meanings of those elements
1. define the construct (A concept, model, or schematic idea)

  • categories–how can construct be divided

WHAT would MY constructs be? examine questions

  • race
  • digital space
  • digital literacy

After defining the construct of interest

  • specify what features of the discourse you want to count or categorize
    • rhetorical strategies: ethos, pathos, logos
    • specific info: segments discussing violence or segments discussing physical damage

Case Study Mex-Am in Cyberspace 2

By js, 19 March, 2008, No Comment

IM Interview
Another digital use of language

  • do they use this tool in similiar ways to express themselves as they use in their digital content — (If I want to examine their own content then how do I know that they have any?)
    • Ask for Recommendation OR
    • survey the students
      • I am assuming that students studying digital technologies will have their own spaces? Do they? Just because they are taught how to use the technologies, are the empowered to use them for their own purposes?
      • How are the spaces they do have?
      • Are they controlled by the system? like Nakamura argues in drop-down choices or are they self-created?
      • As students of color take advantage of online education, how can programs help them to use tools which will help them build community

Examining the use of METAPHOR in digital spaces used by Mex-Am

Case Study Notes for Project Mex-Am in Cyberspace

By js, 19 March, 2008, No Comment

1. Define the problem that needs attention

  • What are students perception of their identity construction online?
  • How do students construct their identity online?
  • How is the concept of cultural wealth deployed/reflected in digital spaces such as blogs?
      • community building (MOO)
      • social networking (

Define the real world problem?
The problem is that race and how it is constructed online is understudied. Especially how racial self-identity is constructed in digital spaces. We especially have not studied the young Mex-Am who will become technical communicators, such as web page designers, after receiving associates degrees from technical programs.
(The technical program more than likely does not focus on ideological, philosophical, or political implications of design choices) DO tech programs focus on the user as white?
How does a technical/functional/skills approach to design affect student concepts/development of own identity online?
Some have studied how race is deployed online by looking at websites especially social networking sites such as and ….MOO. xxxx, yyyy, have examined how race is constructed in movies which deal with cyberspace, stories set in digital spaces.
The problem also is that digital narratives have not included how race has influenced the development of digital literacy skills. Much research has been done about problmes with technological access and how this affects the development of dig lit skills. Also, others have examined how technological access or digital divide is drawn along racial and economic lines. Research has ignored how for those students of color who have gained digital literacy skills, how those skills are actually developed, and what particular familial, educational, and community circumstances may have affected the development of their digital lilteracy skills. Especially studies which try to capture the students own perspective on how they gained those skills.

  • it is an exploratory study
  • small group
  • interview
  • questionnaire
  • discourse analysis of digital spaces/artifacts


  • Mex-Am
  • student
  • associates degree seeking in computer technology
  • female/male?

SELECT subject who is typical of some area of interest to begin to collect insights (combined with other studies) used to build a general theory.
SYSTEMATIC about DATA collection

  • multiple subjects
  • shape of question (be careful)
  • use same questions with all subjects
  • drawing up questions
  • setting up a specific time and place

COLLECT data that can be examined by others to allow verifcation of findings

  • use converging methods to gain separate views of an issue

VERIFY conclusions by asking OUTSIDE RATER to examine the collected materials

  • transcribe interviews
  • look for patterns
  • provide categoryy labels and descriptions
  • then use independent judge to use categories labels and descriptions to classify data

PRESENT conclusions as TENTATIVE

Case Study Research

By js, 19 March, 2008, No Comment

Used for empirical research projects

  • useful for areas which haven't yet received much attention
  • Advantages
    • holistic view
    • rich detail
    • info that connect otherwise; otherwise be collected
    • precise definition of research question
  • Subjects
    • they are typical of a certain group or unique in some way


  • systematically collect information
  • about
    • events
    • situation
    • small group of
      • persons
      • objects
  • purpose
    • explore
    • describe
    • explain
      • aspects not previously known or considered
  • purpose is
    • to develop new insights
    • new knowledge
  • strategies which can be used
    • interviews
    • questionnaire
    • examination of artifacts
  • narrow focus
    • investigate one event
    • or very small number of people
    • learn how readers read
    • learn practicular rhetorical strategies used

1. Define the problem that needs attention

  • identify read world problem
  • define it carefully
  • careful definition of a problem often points the way to the appropriate research methodology

relevance to tasks technical communicators face in daily work

2.  Select the subjects to be studied with care.

  • unique subject or situation
  • OR
  • typical of some area of interest to begin to collect insights

3. Plan and test procedures in advance of data collection.

  • key to success; advance planning and testing

4.  Be systematic about data collection

  • multiple interviews
  • prepare interview questions in advance

5. Collect data that can be examined by others to allow verification of findings.

  • reduce researcher bias

6.  Use triangulation so that more than one measure will converge on an issue

  • use of converging measures to gain separate veiws of an issue

7.  Verify concusions by asking an outside rater to examine the collected materials.

  • gather transcripts
  • look for patterns
  • provide categories and descriptions for classifying data
  • give to other rater to see if they match

8. Present conclusions as tentative

  • qualify the claims; the data indicate rather than "the data prove"

CHOICE of TOOLS depends on what questions the researcher is hoping to answer