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TECHNO: (How) are technological infrastructures said to shape, enable and constrain collaboration at this stage of the research process?


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Mike Fortun's picture
August 8, 2019
In response to:

an interesting analysis of the limits of CAQDAS programs, with a number of things to say about how discourse analysis is not the same as grounded theory, for example, but here I'll focus on their main "use case" (not their term): they are testing three CAQDAS packages (MaxQDA, Nvivo, and Qualrus) on the same data set: 2000 media articles from a Lexis-Nexis search that use the term "smoking gun," from Watergate through Iran-Contra (which they term "Iran-Gate" because they are Brits) through the Iraq War and the search for WMD.

"of particular interest was how the metaphor originated in its modern sense, and how it progressed from metaphor to idiom. This entailed detailed qualitative analysis...There was no expectation, of course, that a software programme could analyse the "smoking gun" stories for us, but our large data set did offer the opportunity to assess the extent to which CAQDAS could help us to "manage" our data, or produce a framework which might assist our analysis, and to consider whether the operational functions were significantly more useful than those in "Windows"." (p. 10)

They describe the importation process ("Nvivo was clumsier") through which the data had to be prepared -- converted to .txt or .rtf files (this may have changed since then and these programs may now accept .html or .xml), combined in some fashion, and so on.  

"Although all stories were now accessible in CAQDAS, this made the task of reading the texts no easier. In fact it was still more pleasant to print out the news items, and to read through them with a highlighter pen to hand!"

here coding is analyzed not as carrying or involving risk or epistemic assumptions, but "danger":

"However, the danger of coding according to the capabilities of the software is that the researcher is steered towards treating the data in terms of categories, and as such something that can be given significance through counting, dividing, and sub dividing. Coding becomes the method of analysis, rather than a way of managing the data." (p.12)

there's more but I got bored: coding according to someone cited "speeds things up" and "frees' the analyst to do analysis.  and some other possibly useful things that someone else can note.  Here I'll just also note that the time stamps of these articles become crucial: what has changed since 2005?  But even if some of the limits change and CAQDAS programs become easier to use etc. there's still the kinds of structural effects ("steering") of the coding paradigm that are worth paying attention to.

Mike Fortun's picture
August 8, 2019
In response to:

because of CAQDAS privileging of grounded theory, "A tendency toward epistemological positivism provides conditions for further misunderstandings around the software’s capabilities by substituting methodological rigor for descriptions of a particular aspect of the research process. Rigor is treated not as the product of concise conceptual thought, ideas, and examination of research materials within a particular research framework but as something provided by a software tool able to produce replicable data sets." p. 184

Angela Okune's picture
August 31, 2018
  • AO: The analysts noted that while face-to-face meetings are costly, they are more likely to help build relationships, trust and social capital rather than virtual tools. But with resource constraints, they note that virtual tools need to be used such as hosting regular thematic research webinars where research findings are shared and also the hosting of internal conversations addressing specific topics, holding open dialogues (via social media) and providing additoall programmatic support to emergent communities of practice to lessen administrative burdens (7).

Angela Okune's picture
August 28, 2018
  • AO: The analysts used varying technologies to advertise about the meetings for community peer review. These included: “advertised the meeting on posters in the area in general stores, directly to core groups such as the Fisherman’s Union and Mini-Aquarium, by word of mouth when we collected samples on the wharves, through lab members who were from local communities, in the university events listings, and, most importantly, on the radio via the Fisheries Broadcast, a public local radio show widely listened to by the province’s fishing communities.” (13)

Angela Okune's picture
August 27, 2018

AO: The technology is less of the focus within the stories although they talk about bringing in of equipment, riding around in land rovers, etc.

Angela Okune's picture
August 26, 2018
  • AO: Analysts are concerned with how “digital technologies might facilitate bad or inappropriate editorial practices—and how they might also be harnessed to refuse or resist such practices.” They noted that the same digital communication technologies that allow a publication to be run by collaborators who are spatially isolated from one another can also create challenges that need to be actively and continuously addressed, not the least of which is the potential for abuse. In other words, the same tool cannot be expected to lead to the same results across different contexts.

  • AO: The analysts note the power of social media in bringing these issues to light as well as the labor that goes into making those contributions.

Angela Okune's picture
August 23, 2018
  • AO: The analyst describes a collaborative co-taught course on Indigenous Agency and Innovations offered in various institutions where various scholars and activists would offer a lecture to be recorded and delivered via podcast or live conference all. The analyst notes that there was difficulty in the synchronizing of academic calendars and resources that made the co- teaching particularly challenging. But affirms that she believe this type of proposals should be revisited and implemented as viable forms of collaborative methodologies.