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Blogging AoIR 8.0 October 17, 2007

Posted by Sarah in AoIR.
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Well, I’m here in Vancouver, and will be blogging the conference. We’re just wrapping up the Doctoral Colloquium, which was quite productive from my perspective – in a group of VERY diverse projects we found a lot of commonalities. I’ll have much more detailed comments about my group later but the one thing that we all had in common was an overwhelming amount of data to deal with and our mentors (Ron Rice from UCSB and Lori Kendall from UIUC) were great about suggesting ways for each of us to focus our work and not get overwhelmed.

This also prompted some interesting discussions oer lunch about whether or not the Internet ALLOWS us to accumulate a much more overwhelming quantity of data than offline ethnography would. And then we moved on to talking about whether or not we’d rather be beaten by a billy club or tazed (there was a guy who died after being tazed at the Vancouver airport the other day), so it’s all good.

And here’s what the mentors have to say about us as a group:

  1. We need to be able to articulate our contribution to knowledge.
  2. We need to be able to articulate who our audience is.
  3. We have to know what our research question is! This lets you narrow & focus the topic (yeah, that was my group right there… apparently we weren’t the only ones).
  4. Methods: which methods are appropriate? This can be paradigmatic, but it also has to be appropriate to what you want to know. Method literacy is important.
  5. We have theory anxiety. A process of adaptation, creativity, etc. Don’t confound the new phenomenon with what you may or may not know.

The dissertation is something we mobilize support for… it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. Be willing to turn all those brilliant ideas that we have into our “future directions” section – that way it’s said and it’s out there but you don’t get pulled in a million different directions.