Category Archives: Research

Third Nugget from Clockwork Muse- Mountains and Stairs

Nugget #3…
Now Eviatar shifts to chunking tasks.  He calls this, quite nicely, “a mountain with stairs.”

Two points resonated for me.  First, about outlines, he suggests only outlining or changing outlines _between_ final drafts.  This may be part of my problem with “code rules” as it has been restructured five times, at least I think. Not all of these were after a final draft was done.

Second, he advocates writing and then revising in stages.  This more useful for my students than for me, perhaps, as I am already a committed reviser.  They still think, most of them, that writing is getting your ideas on paper instead of realizing that writing is another form of thinking.  They think it is a mistake to rewrite, instead of normal.

Now, to complicate matters, the idea of the mountain with steps is appealing; common-sensical too.  Break down the seemingly distant and difficult task into smaller, feasible steps.  I have climbed mountains.  I absorbed *Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance*.  I have told hiking groups I led that to climb a mountain you have to have the disposition of a cow.  The difference is that in those cases, I usually know which way is _up_.  In writing, I find myself wondering if these steps are really the right steps to take.  I especially wonder if I am going up at a good rate, or, even worse, going down.  Efficiency and failure trouble me more directly than self-doubt that I will finish.  In mountain terms- I worry now about going sideways or downhill more than about whether I will ever get to the top.

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Filed under Research, writing

Second Nugget from Clockwork Muse- Priorities and Constraints

*Nugget 2*

In next chapter,  Eviatar (he could be a Tolkein Elf) discusses scheduling.  This is one of those topics that always seemed self-evident to me even as i struggle to do it. Kind of like pedagogy.  But with age comes humility and I have been more willing to work on the self-evident instead of assuming it is self-materializes due to its obviousness.

The schedule is a reflection of priorities overall, and Eviatar states that your writing priority has to “fit” with your other priorities.  He acknowledges there are external constraints.  But on p 17 he writes: “Nevertheless, we usually have much more control over our time than we are willing to admit to ourselves, and if you are seriously committed to giver your writing a high priority on your schedule you can normally manage to somehow find the time to write even under extremely difficult conditions…”

In general I agree with him.  However, more than creating a schedule, the challenge for me is managing the priorities.  This is a bit like the other topic on “how to say no.”  Is working with my daughter’s need for more exercise an external constraint or a priority?  Is choosing to have equitable gender roles with my working spouse a constraint or a priority?  Is feeling compelled to teach in a very labor intensive way a constraint or a priority?

Ultimately, those goals or aspirations which compete for high priority with writing are facets of my identity.  So, asking me to prioritize is also asking me to rearrange my internalized identity.

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Kill this Neologism Now- “Majority-Minority.”

Put this on FB this morning.

Heard news peeps, based on recent census, describing how the US will become a “majority-minority” nation by 2020 or so.  Can we kill that phrase now?  If no single group is more than 50%, it is called pluralism folks.  Or, multiculturalism.  Or anything but majority-minority.

 

Among various problems. it perpetuates some idea that white majority is the natural or desired state of the USA.  Look, when the “white” population falls below 50% it is just not the majority.  OK?  Deal with it.  The term sounds like whities get together at my house on Wednesday while the blacks, browns, yellows, reds, and all other hues get together at Denzel Washington’s.  It is just not that bipolar anymore.  I’m not saying some sort of utopia of “i’d like to sing the world a song” will happen, just that identity, justice, controversy, politics, love and marriage, and schooling will be full of problems and promises in new ways.

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Filed under Politics, Power, Activism, Research, sociology

Natural Capitalism

I am just now picking up Lovins, Hawken,and Lovins Natural Capitalism book.

I am wondering if I could use it in a module on alternative perspectives on capitalism module. I also was wondering what has happened since it was published in 1999.

There is a is a website called natcap.org.

Here I found a more recent edition with a new introduction. http://www.naturaledgeproject.net/NatCap2005.aspx.

What I like best about it is the focus on solutions. I feel like that would mitigate people who dismiss change as naive idealism.

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Filed under Books, Business, Great Companies, management, Political Economy, social innovation

Finding Journals

For awhile, I have been trying to assemble a list of journal outlets for myself.

If we think back to what journals we follow, I think many might have a similar story to mine.  I recall as an undergrad and in grad school in sociology and management, I would hold in high esteem what professors gave me.  I quickly learned to “read backwards”: to take a new article and glance at the citations (or to look at the intro and lit review) and start taking mental notes of which articles and authors seemed most central.  From this, I had a preliminary list of journals that seemed important.

And those handful of journals I tended to follow more carefully since I already had a toehold in their conversations and streams of discourse.

Meanwhile, keyword searches in article databases exposed me to reading lots of abstracts.  Quickly, I started making snap decisions about journals worth paying attention to and which not.

Since then (1990s), I have the feeling that the number and volume of published material has increased.  Overwhelmed is an understatement.  This is compounded by my own multi-disciplinary interests in networks, social theory, and organization theory.

Finally, I have realized that some of my own writing, if it is ever to see the light of published day, due to approaches or ideas that are out of the mainstream, will need to find journals that will take risks, are in the interstices of academic fields, that consort with subaltern, or embrace eclecticism.

How does one find new journals?  That is the immediate problem.  This morning I tackled this as I wondered who might look at approaches to innovation that are more unconventional.  This often means abandoning the fool’s errand of a quest for the holy grail of The One True Formula for Success™.  I was kind of hoping that maybe I would find the Amazon equivalent of list mania.  You know, you find some new book and you see that other users have made this lovley lists like “Best mashups of Harry Potter and Literary Theory” or “Teen Vampire Stories that Don’t Suck” or “How to make social media work for you.”  I guess I wanted “Journals that Think You, _____________ (insert name), Are Brillant.”

The good orgheads at orgtheory.net tried to make a crowd source list, but it seems to have run aground.

Loet Leysdorf does lots of work of co-citation data to make centrality measures of journals, like this one.

A colleague once gave me  this list that is pretty comprehensive: the Harzing list. I like it since it includes several different quality metrics.

There are lots of outfits that provide various lists and analyses of journals.

But I am looking for a little more editorial content.  Shorter lists that are more targeted and not hide-bound to overly rigid disciplinary boundaries.  More opinion.  More oomph.

Why don’t they seem to exist?  I say this based on two dangerously self-referential observations. 1) I don’t already know about them. 2) 20 minutes of basic web searching failed to turn anything up.  Sociology of Knowledge by the inmates is probably a bad idea, but I can’t help myself.  Maybe they don’t exist because opinion and oomph are not rational career strategies?

For example:

Where can I submit theory articles?

Where can I submit articles on innovation that are interested in inter-disciplinarity?

Mixed method articles?

I’ll start making my own here.

Meanwhile, feel free to post ideas or suggestions below.  Thanks.

 

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Filed under higher education, Research, social theory, sociology

What I Don’t Like About Theory Writing I

Inspired in part by the idea of an on-going series at org theory.net, (grad skol rulz), and my own desire to blog more frequently, I would like to launch a semi-recurring series of what I don’t like in theory writing.

I am reviewing conference submissions for a conference, and I have come across an example of the kind of figure or image I don’t like.

The Curse of the Everything-Is-Connected Figure.

This type of figure is usually used in a conceptual article.  And, to make matters worse, it is usually in the kind of article I am quite sympathetic to.  The author wants to get past static or overly-reified depictions of organizations.  They talk about the need for multi-level analyses which means looking at process, and, more often than not, mixed types of data.  They probably cite Gareth Morgan’s Image sof organizaions of book, or Mar Jo Hatch’s Organization Theory or Joel Baum (and others?) use of the metaphor of a fish scale to discuss org studies as a multiscience.

But, when you look at the figure, you realize that it explains everything and hence nothing.

Full disclosure: I am probably guilty of this kind of figure and when I find one, I will poke fun at myself too.  Here is mock-up I made of the type of figure.

Mock-up of the Everything-Is-Connected Figure. Are You Guilty of Producing One?

One problem with these is that they don’t specify what is moving between cells/circles/whatever-other-shape-tickled-one’s-fancy-in-insert-shape-in-MS word..

A second problem is they don’t deal with time.  Does sequencing matter?  How do changes agglutinate or accumulate?

So, throwing caution to the wind, have you seen one of these in published work?  Do they drive you a little nuts too?

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Filed under higher education, humor, organization studies, organization theory, Orgs Stuff (theory, science, studies), Research, social theory, sociology, Uncategorized, visualization

Solution to QDA Needs, Alpha

As I posted here, I was looking for a way to do some basic Qualitative Data Analysis with a colleague who is not co-located (very not!  Ted is in Singapore.)

Thanks to Debra Sarlin, of Bucknell, and this ethnographer’s blog, I isolated some possibilities.

Part of my search led me to Nvivo, an off the shelf product that looks like it has some great properties.  Bucknell has a license, but not the server version.  Without the server version, I am back in square one of needing a way to share data, protect data, and dynamically code data.  Hence, for now, I am proceeding with my Alpha solution.  In a nutshell, this has two parts.

  1. Use Google sites as a private site to create files of our own data like transcripts, chat logs, field notes.
  2. Use Zotero to cite and share third party data like blogs, news articles and so on.

The key to this is that Ted and I develop our  list of tags to identify relevant themes and then find those data points later.  Standard QDA methodology and our own experience tells us that this is an iterative, dynamic process.  There is no one best solution for the tagging piece.  I think our best bet is to keep a “master file” of tags in google sites.  We can each print it up and also access anytime we are on line to jar our memory and cue ourselves as to what is significant or salient in raw data.

Ted and I had a trial run last week and I think we both realized quickly that ideally we could have some sort of a floating box on top of all applications that would allow us to tag almost anything, and tag within documents or files.  This would be linked to the more powerful kinds of QDA tools.  Well, like a platonic ideal, that floats out there as something we are aiming towards in our little jerry-rigged solution.

Our solution has some side benefits

  • Google sites can also be used as a wiki-like creation to share our concepts or coordinate other research.
  • I _think_ if we ever want to turn on part of google sites as a public portal/URL we can.
  • We can use Zotero to share scholarly citations also.

I made the following graphic as a flow chart for this alpha solution.

Comments welcome, of course…

How to use a hybrid of google sites and Zotero to do collabroative QDA

I am not sure if this is legible…

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Filed under higher education, Research, Scholars, Uncategorized

Qualitative Data Analysis- What I Want

For some time now, I have been itching to get a good solution for qualitative data collection and analysis.  I and my collaborators have tried in fits and starts to use versions of google sites, wet paint (a wiki tool that seems to have been over run with Glee and Hanna Montana fansites), and wordpress.  Nothing quite stuck.

I have found some really engaging discussions of this from Dr. Michael Wesch’s blog about teaching ethnography.

Here is what I need:

  • STORAGE: Web-based server/ storage for a range of files: text; captured web pages, audio files, images, and possibly video captured form virtual worlds with a browser or some other screen-capture tool.
    • Can you record the video and sound from a VW interaction?  Surely…
  • PRIVACY: We need to be able to wall this material off from general web-browsing hordes and allow access only to a smaller subset.
  • SEARCHABILITY: Most options out there seem to have tags.  But these apply to the whole “object” (text file, web page, and so on).  Such tags are necessary.
    • In addition, I need a way to tag pieces or fragments of a file.  When I encounter a conversation or some other data point, I need to be able to tag or annotate it an then find those.
      • For example, let’s say I put a transcript of a chat in the archive.  It has some metadata: world, date, researcher.  This could include tags for that page.  In this new data “object,” I want to highlight one piece of text and annotate it as “play, conflict, business model.”  A different piece of text would be annotated “profit, corporate policy, emergent.”
        • Later, I want to search for “profit.”  Then I want a list of all the places WITHIN data objects where I annotated “profit.”
    • The goal is to be able to search within files/objects for relevant fragments to avoid having to do tedious scans of multiple objects.
  • Dynamic tagging: Let’s assume above is possible.  Now, I want to dynamically edit tags.  Let’s say I decide that all instances of “profit” should be re-named as “monopoly.”  Can a set or bundle of tags be combined or rename?  I know I can do this in delicious.
    • Also, it would be nice to have some hierarchy in the tags, or bundling.  So, if I realize two go together, I can combine them.
    • Also, I would like to access the list of tags when I need to tag or annotate.  So, for example, I have highlighted some text.  Now I want to add some tags.  To have a list or drop down box of previous tags will help jar my memory and also build a more cohesive set of tags.
    • Finally, I would like all the tags, be they for whole pages or for fragments, to be one list.  In other words, I don’t want two tag lists to maintain.
  • COLLABORATION: I noticed when looking at Diigo that it has a feature in which multiple users can comment on a sticky note.  Basically, this would allow me and collaborator to have a discussion about what a particular fragment of a file or page means.  That is a very attractive feature.

So far, options to explore include:

Google Wave.  Except it is no longer going to be actively supported.  So, nope.

Diigo:

  1. I like the sticky notes where multiple people can comment on a piece of text.
  2. It has a search feature which implies you can search tags and annotations which is the same as their sticky notes (I think). This would get at all my searchability needs.
  3. I think I could combine Diigo with a private-type wiki.  We would put our own field notes in the wiki and then tag and annotate public web stuff.

Evernote.

This is an interessitng tidbit from the site:

Everything you capture is automatically processed, indexed, and made searchable. If you like, you can add tags or organize notes into different notebooks.

How made searchable?  Will this get at my tagging needs?

Ikiwiki: Seems geeky…

A friend of mine who does a lot with IT suggested simply keeping a database of google doc files.  A separate file could have the tags for each file.  I think this is what he suggested.  Had the advantage of simplicity, but I am not sure it has enough of the features I was imagining.

Finally, it seems that perhaps some sort of wiki software could do all of this.  But which one? (one tool to compare.)

UPDATE: I used the wikimatrix tool and tried to get the right set of options.  I ended up with 40 (!yes!) to compare.

Tiddlywiki?

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Filed under Research, technology

Personal Project Management, Launch

I am on UFL (Untenured Faculty leave) this year, that is, Bucknell gives me part of my salary in exchange for the expectation that lots of work will get done.  Sounds like a good deal.

I have many projects in midstream.  I struggle with how to prioritize which project to work on, and within a given project, what tasks are needed, how long they will take, and when to do them.  Add to this my tendency to think locally and globally at the same time.  So, for example, with a qualitative study of virtual worlds, the local is to review some data.  At the same time, I am aware that I never set up what I consider a satisfactory system for handling qualitative data.  it needs to be stored, to be accessible to my collaborators, to be searchable and to be able to be handled and combined flexibly.   How to do that?  So, the local and the global tug at my attention.  Meanwhile, a third mental routine starts to count how much time I spend worrying about local vs global and madly trying to calculate cost-benefit.  At about this point, it all seems too much trouble and I go read Huffington Post or something.

So, perhaps there is a software app that will enable me to more simply look at multiple projects, add tasks, prioritize and reprioritize, and then fit it into a calendar.  And, isn’t UFL a good time to retool my work systems and invest some time in self-improvement?

Any regular readers of this blog (if you exist) will recall “the grid”, a simple table for tracking scholarly work in different stages.  I take no credit for it, it is something I learned from colleagues at Bucknell I met in a writing group.  What I am looking for would allow me to go within each line (a project) on the grid and do at least three things: 1) establish tasks and subtasks and 2) assign amount of time and schedule when i would do those things and 3) establish levels of priority to help me figure out when to do what.

So, instead of spontaneously trying some application, or improvising with OneNote and other MS products, I decided to be more rational.  I asked some friends and on Facebook for suggestions.  Many came in!  Yeah friendsourcing! (like crowdsourcing, but with friends).

I will review the different options in further posts.

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Filed under life, Research, technology, writing

SOCNET discussion on miltary and ethics (2 polls)

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Filed under ethics, higher education, Military, Research, Scholars, Social Networks