Tag Archives: Week 12

Research Evolution

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!

 

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This Is the End!

My research question started rather simply and broad like most of the people in this group. I wanted to perform a virtual ethnography of young adult fan fiction groups. As the semester progressed, I was able to get more specific. This specification was rather important as all ethnographies need some background and reason behind them. The reason I chose was to look into the programming and support possibilities of the library for this particular group of people. In a sense, it could even be considered an in-depth demographic study.

Sub-questions about the method and ethics behind the research were developed and focused on ethical retrieval of information online and dealing with young adults. In the end, I discovered that older teens (16 and over) can give themselves consent for low-risk research, which is what my project would be. I also started asking what the library might be able to do in order to expand fan fiction practices among teens and make it more popular.

Overall, it’s been fun guys. It was definitely neat to look into what I considered an out-there research project that I would not have normally investigated or pursued. See you next semester!

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Week 12: Final Thoughts

At the beginning of the course, I had no idea where my research interests were and whether I could handle the role of researcher, even on a junior level.   Although I conduct research for almost every major assignment, the task of developing my own research proposal was quite intimidating. However, proceeding incrementally and being able to discuss my research as it evolved has been very helpful – thank you, my fellow blog members for your comments, opinions, and advice!

My research question has not changed in substance since I submitted my SSHRC program of work. It still focuses on the association between Facebook use (of a specific nature to do with school) and student satisfaction with university life. My biggest problem was deciding in detail on the method. Finally, after considerable indecision, I settled on asking students to use a diary to track their Facebook use and a questionnaire to assess their satisfaction. Hopefully the diary will help avoid the problem of participants guesstimating the time they spend on Facebook.

I developed a theoretical framework to assist me. It has been very helpful in terms of clarifying my thoughts. Similar to the “bedraggled daisy” exercise, drawing a diagram of the framework really helps in seeing the connections between the variables under investigation. Because of this project, I have come to appreciate the difficulties in designing research proposals. Good luck to all, and thanks again!

-Camille Johnson

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