Archive for November, 2008

The reading for this week was chapters from Carol Berkenkotter’s upcoming Patient Tales and a chapter on researching through discourse and textual analysis. I’ll start there.

Discourse and Textual Analysis are where I feel most comfortable. They don’t involve human subjects, they proceed at the pace of the researcher, and they involve close attention to detail. Add to that some rather extensive background in this sort of thing (it is pretty much exclusively how my Philosophy training was focused), and you have a pretty understandable love of this kind of research. This is the stuff that feels like research. The books spread out across the huge desk, the notes, the piles and piles of papers. Sifting through mountains of text, looking for that one perfect quotation. There’s an honesty to it, I think. A visceral joy that may not come with other kinds of research.

I’m not saying other research is inferior, nor do I want to imply that it isn’t “real”; there’s a lot that other types of research can do that discourse analysis can’t. DA is, in many, many ways, very limited. It’s a first step, usually. A jumping off point for research to begin from. Other things, like Case Studies, offer a whole lot more. What I’m saying is that different research methods work better than others for specific projects. You have to pick what method to use for each project. That feels about as obvious as saying that the sky is blue, but I know for students (myself included) this is a lesson that has to be learned. Well, not exactly learned as pointed out.

Now let me talk about Berkenkotter…


Plans for preparation

Posted: November 17, 2008 in Brainstorm, Pedagogy, School, writing

My exams are coming up. Slowly. In fact, very slowly. I will have to take them around this time two years from now. But it’s not too early to start planning.

I bring this up because I’ve been working on annotated bibliographies lately. Which was difficult, because I don’t feel like I’ve ever really learned how to write them. What goes in the annotations?

This is a question answered during an undergraduate career, normally. So once in graduate school, it’s expected (fairly) that one would know how to do this. The problem is that annotations are different field to field. So I’ve had to essentially work blindly, hoping to get things right.

While doing so, I’ve talked to a lot of people about the purpose of annotations. Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels uncertain about what goes in them. (more…)

The Presentation

Posted: November 6, 2008 in Methods, Pedagogy, School

Well, the presentation went well. I was originally going to present what was written in the previous post. In fact, I printed it off. But before we got to the presentations, Laura Gurak talked to us about case studies, and about the difficulty of finding one little thing. While she was talking, an idea came to me. An idea that is small enough that I can get set up by the end of the semester, but that still informs my project at large. (more…)

At the start of the semester, I had a research question planned out. It was basically asking what the future holds for technology, and how we can prepare for using that technology in the classroom. Since then, I’ve refined things a bit. And in the interest of clarity, I’ve broken it down into a list of more specific questions:

  1. What methods can be developed to shorten the time it takes to incorporate new technologies into the classroom?
  2. How can we make sure that the way we incorporate a new technology is the best way to go about it?
  3. What technology should we prepare for?
  4. What potential paradigm shifts are coming, and what do they mean for pedagogy?
  5. How do we prepare for those shifts?

All good questions, I think. And all focusing on a common theme. Which brings me to a brief presentation I’ll be doing later today.


Technical Cyberspace

Posted: November 3, 2008 in Methods, Readings, Review, School
Tags: ,

This week was a mercifully light one for reading. The only article to read was Laura Gurak and Christine Silker’s “Technical Communication Research in Cyberspace.” Which is good, because I also spent time working on my research proposal. But that’s for another post. For right now, let me talk about cyberspace. (more…)