I cannot believe that its all done and said. My research project ended up completely changing from what I had originally intended to work on. Now I am looking at the ideas around School Libraries and Public Libraries partnering together to more effectively deliver services. I mean, common, still interesting, but it is amazing how my job has affected my research interest.
It was a blast working with you all this semester, hope we get to do it again.
My research has gone through quite a few stages in this term (even more in this last week, though I’m almost embarrassed to admit it). I started out with a squishy little grub of an inkling about gender and fan/producer dynamics in Doctor Who, and by the time I submitted the thing today, I was wrestling with a big Twitter and participatory culture creature that bore very little resemblance to that little SSHRC larva – though I held on to the Doctor Who online fandom as a focal point, but other than that, I ended up citing wildly different theorists and settled on a startlingly different methodology. In all honesty I’m still not satisfied that I got a good enough grip on what makes for a persuasive research proposal, but I do know that I now know a lot more about research methods and proposals than I did in September.
I didn’t expect to get so caught up in Twitter’s terms of service – that surprised me – but I did. I don’t know how I managed to miss the problems there for the earlier part of the course (I think I may not have been reading quite current enough materials), but it turns out that during the past year, Twitter has become startlingly unfriendly to researchers. Well, when I say unfriendly, I mean that they intend to monetize researchers. I do wonder what effect this is going to have on scholarship in the long term.
In theory, the Library of Congress’s Twitter archive will provide the access that Twitter has been slowly chocking off, but so far it seems the reality is that the LC is stuck in a technological trap, and it will be a long while yet before they will be capable (much less willing) to provide access to the Twitter archive to anyone, much less a student researcher such as we are.
It’s been a pleasure reading about all of your interests. You all have some very intriguing ideas. Have a good winter break, everyone! (and good luck on those exams and final assignments!)
As a last note on this blog, I’d like to invite all of you lovely people to click on this link and take a quick break to read a funny little comic strip. Especially those of you who posted about infographics in week 8!
Here we are at the end, and what a journey it has been. At the beginning of this course I was a nervous wreck about having to create a viable research project. I wouldn’t say that I’m now fully confident in my abilities to craft research, but I am certainly more experienced. It will only get better with more practice! Now I have a much better foundation for research that is more based in the social sciences.
Looking back on my first post, I was all over the place and no where near certain of what I wanted to focus my research on. Slowly, my research question began to develop. Eventually, my research question settled on examining how open data is being used by the publicin Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa to create applications and other resources for the use of other Canadian citizens. It took quite some time to decide which methods to use and to decide on what sort of sample to use. I chose to use snowball sampling to select my participants, with inital contact being made at open data creation events. I also chose to send emails to the key players on websites that are dedicated to using municipal open data to request them to participate in my research. This seems to be the best sampling option to me, though I can’t help but wonder if there is a more applicable sampling technique that would have fit my research better. Any suggestions? It would be good if eventually the sample to could expand to include citizens using the open data from municipal open data programs all across Canada, but that simply wasn’t feasible in this size of a study.
Originally I was quite intimidated by the idea of interviewing, though I ended up using it as a data collection method in my research proposal. I had very little confidence in my ability to craft a well put together interview guide. Though I don’t think that any interview guide I could create now would be a master piece, I do feel that I would be able to create a servicable one thanks to my examination of some of the literature written about interviewing.
To analyze my collected data, I ended up settling on using grounded theory, beginning with open coding and progressing to selected coding to organize my information. Memoes were then used to develop theories based off of the themes that were uncovered during the coding process.
Whoa. It was a heck of a ride. And even though the course is over, my adventures with research methodology sure aren’t!
Hey everyone! Can’t believe this is the end already! To think about how my research topic has evolved, I had to look back at the comments made on my SSHRC program of work and what I had to consider on changing or improving for this research proposal. So, I decided to not focus on CIPA anymore because it’s an American legislation and I don’t want to travel to the U.S. However, I found the topic of Internet censorship really interesting so I decided to focus on Internet censorship within Canada. This is actually an advantage for my research because there is not much literature focusing on this within the Canadian context. So, this research could certainly contribute to the literature that discusses this topic. Other than that, my research topic has not changed all that much.
Looking back at my previous blog posts, I realized that I could not decide if I wanted to take an ethnographic approach with this research. It took me awhile to figure out that this approach may not be best suitable for my research question. The purpose of my question is to hear librarians and children’s voices about how they are affected by Internet censorship. I think interviews are the best way to go about with this research. Also, not many scholars used this approach when discussing this topic, or if they did, they did not include the responses from the participants in their papers, which I intend to do for my own research.
Good luck to everyone on your research proposals and other assignments and see you all next semester!
How has my research question evolved since the beginning?
Originally I had said that I wanted to examine the ways in which people’s biases played a part in acquisitions at the library. I believe that more broadly I was interested in collection development as a whole. Over time I realized that collection development was far too broad (even for a pretend research project) so I decided to narrow it down to weeding.
I find weeding interesting because the responsibility may fall to just a few people in any given library. This puts a lot of the responsibility for shaping the collection in the hands of just a few people. I am coming from a place where I believe weeding to be a practice which is good for a library- not a position that many would contest, but not the only position to be sure. More importantly, perhaps, I come from a background in Women and Gender studies. I am going to let my feminist flag fly by stating that my entire motivation for this project to begin with was to help facilitate the inclusion of women and other marginalized groups in library collection holdings. In the library where I work, the two people who are in charge of weeding are both older white men. I have no reason to believe that they are particularly biased, but it is something I’ve noted none the less (down with the patriarchy! Haha).
Really, only one question is nagging at my soul after all of my research:
Stanley J. Slote is pretty much wrote the book on weeding. In his 1997 book Weeding Library Collections he states that two completely qualified people will choose different books to weed given the opportunity. This was pretty much the entire basis for my research. However, the more I think about it, I wonder if there really is a “right” and a “wrong?” Assuming, of course, there is no obvious biases (racism, sexism, etc.) present in the weeding process?
Having done a fair bit of research about administering surveys, my method changed somewhat from my original plan. Initially, I wanted to start off with an intake interview (face-to-face) and then follow up with a web survey. However, after learning about how people often lie during interviews, offering the interviewer more socially acceptable answer, I decided I should stick to the web interview for the intake interview as well, since this will be the interview where I ask all of the controversial questions, like “who did you vote for in the last election?” Interviewees are apparently more likely to tell the truth online.
Anyway, I just wanted to thank all of you for the feedback that has been provided the past twelve/thirteen weeks. I am glad that we did this blog instead of another paper!
Slote, S. (1997). Weeding Library Collections. Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited Inc.