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Blogs in Action Research

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Use of blogs for project management, research tool, research data, ethical issues

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Blogs in Action Research

  1. 1. Blogs in Action Research Robert Runt é , University of Lethbridge
  2. 2. Blogs as research tool <ul><li>inexpensive alternative to project management software </li></ul><ul><li>establish virtual communities in area of specialization </li></ul><ul><li>track developments in one’s field </li></ul><ul><li>manage data </li></ul><ul><li>brainstorm with colleagues </li></ul><ul><li>document priority in formulation of key ideas </li></ul><ul><li>supervise research assistants, pace one’s work </li></ul><ul><li>disseminate results </li></ul>
  3. 3. Project management <ul><li>increased productivity in collaborative projects </li></ul><ul><ul><li>all team members may post </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RSS informs when anyone posts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>communication not lost in sea of email </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Project management <ul><li>increased productivity in collaborative projects </li></ul><ul><ul><li>team members report and document what has been accomplished each day </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>backs up work in central depository </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>track progress towards project goals /deliverables </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Project management <ul><li>increased productivity in collaborative projects </li></ul><ul><ul><li>synergistic exchanges </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>everyone’s contribution documented </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>assistants supervised remotely </li></ul></ul>
  6. 7. Concerns <ul><li>Accountability for commentary </li></ul><ul><li>‘stealing my ideas’ </li></ul>
  7. 8. Private Research Blogs Personal Knowledge Management Tool
  8. 9. Content management <ul><li>Easier management of online clippings, resources, links, conference notes, musings </li></ul>
  9. 11. Public Research Blogs Networking and Dissemination Tool
  10. 12. Content management <ul><li>automatic archiving; use comment function to provide updates </li></ul><ul><li>use RSS to keep up with the latest news from colleagues or course-relevant websites </li></ul>
  11. 13. Networking with colleagues <ul><li>“ non-intrusive emergent collaboration” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blog attracts colleagues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Readers critique and contribute updates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Specialized community evolves </li></ul></ul>
  12. 14. Networking with colleagues <ul><li>Latest research speculation is in blogs not journals </li></ul><ul><li>stay in contact with practitioners in the field (e.g., classroom teachers) </li></ul>
  13. 15. Blogs as Data
  14. 16. diary research <ul><li>millions of personal diaries available on-line </li></ul><ul><ul><li>spontaneous, non-reactive: “found data” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>pre-typed, formatted, date stamped, archived, and indexed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RSS feed allows for easy monitoring of very large samples </li></ul></ul>
  15. 17. diary research <ul><li>snowball sampling </li></ul><ul><ul><li>postings hyperlinked </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>trackback function </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>comment function </li></ul></ul>
  16. 18. diary research <ul><li>three different types of samples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>blog content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>characteristics of the blogger </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>linkages between blogs / bloggers </li></ul></ul>
  17. 19. diary research <ul><li>two sampling biases </li></ul><ul><ul><li>digital divide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>bloggers literate, habitual writers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>factual inaccuracies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>drive for readership </li></ul></ul>
  18. 20. ethical issues <ul><li>published data (?) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>anonymity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>designated levels of privacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>choice to include RSS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>registered with indexing services. </li></ul></ul>
  19. 21. anonymity <ul><li>quotations and google </li></ul><ul><li>reused aliases </li></ul><ul><li>cummulative detail </li></ul><ul><li>failure to use anonymizing technologies </li></ul>
  20. 22. informed consent <ul><li>may not understand “public” tag </li></ul><ul><li>may be traced through links to public blogs </li></ul><ul><li>deleted postings not gone </li></ul><ul><li>public posting may not imply willingness to participate in study </li></ul>
  21. 23. blogs as data collection tools <ul><li>sustained asynchronous focus group </li></ul><ul><li>directed journal entries </li></ul><ul><li>student assignment journals </li></ul>
  22. 24. Student blogs as data <ul><li>Unlike class discussion, comments are recorded, pretyped, chronologically archived, titled, and indexed </li></ul><ul><li>can provide more authentic feedback on readings, teaching </li></ul>
  23. 25. authentic feedback <ul><li>Check for understanding </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g., discovered % of students did not recognize satirical readings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>check for student reactions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g., discovered which readings / topic too challenging, too boring, too irrelevant (from student perspective) </li></ul></ul>
  24. 26. authentic feedback <ul><li>Students much more reticent in face-to-face class discussion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Classes too large for more than vocal minority to speak </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>attempt to hide if they didn’t understand or disapproved of reading /discussion </li></ul></ul>
  25. 27. authentic feedback <ul><li>Vectored viewing -- reading between the lines of student responses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Commentary on class, on classmates, family, etc., often included and provided key insights for adapting teaching </li></ul></ul>
  26. 28. Ethical concerns <ul><li>assigning blog for teaching purposes does not automatically allow use in published research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>need prior human subjects research approval </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>need prior informed consent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>need post-course informed consent </li></ul></ul>

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