Tag Archives: Research

Network Data Collections

Thanks to a stocnet user, this list of useful network data repositories came along.

I added them to my Diigo list of sna and data.




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Filed under Network Dynamics, Research, Social Networks

Use Google Scholar to do Cited Reference Search within Topics

Ok, so I was hunting for a journal target for a working paper.

I needed to find possible outlets beyond obvious A-levels.

Thought I would take a key reference and see who had cited it and then hunt THAT set of cites for possible journal outlets.

Web of Knowledge has some awesome cited reference search tools, but ONLY for articles.

So, back to google scholar.  Found the reference, a chapter from 2001 in Social Capital: Theory and Research (that’s a sexy title).

Clicked on the “cited 568” link.

Now, I have a list of those 568.  I don’t want social capital and health, for example, so next I nee to search WITHIN these for results.

First, check the “search within citations” check box at the top of page.

Then click down arrow in search box.

Next, you get all your choices.

Make sure you use OR in caps for multiple selections.  Also, you can use truncated terms like “manang*”.

Voila!  From 568 to 46.



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Filed under Research, writing

How To Do Literature Review (Nvivo or not? Wiki-ly or not?)

In the process of tacklign a fun but gnarly research and theory question for a draft, i started to think about how to use past knowledge and tools to do better research.  One issue for me is that I at times internalize what I read, forget the source or notes I took, and then when I shift from drafting to revising and I want more literature on hand, I have to recreate what I did or start a frsustrating search through my files.


Here is the problem and solutions.

Research Thoughts…

Ok, here is a research and writing process question.

I am at the point in a draft when I need to tackle two big questions based on readings in literature.

1)    What have institutional theorists said about new fields?  Specifically, are they characterized by uncertainty, flux, or turbulence?

2)    What has been said about how institutional logics affect new fields.

I have a wide set of resources on this.

A)   Books or articles I have read and extracted quotes from.

B)   Articles in PDF format I have read and/or annotated but NOT pulled quotations from.

C)   Unread articles or books that I know from searches are directly relevant to these questions.

How should I proceed?

Three options:

1)    Quick fix.  Make a new word file.  Paste in all relevant quotes from existing notes.  Add nw notes from read or unread until satisfied with answer.

2)    Fix that involves creating new knowledge infrastructure I will use from here on.  I learned how to use Nvivo, a qual data analysis tool.  I realized that everything it does to store, sort, annotate, and index qual data is THE SAME process as one uses for theory.  Why not tackle this problem using that.  Then I would have a single source this and future research projects.  Downside: maybe some learning curve to implement.

3)    Fix that involves making the single document in #1, but using a web-based tool, like google docs, so that my collaborators can see and contribute.  Note, this can also be done AFTER #2 is done as Nvivo can produce reports of relevant material.


Filed under Research, social theory, writing

Nugget #4 on Clockwork Muse- Finding a Rhythm

Nugget #4

I am still in the chapter on scheduling.  I just read a few pages today.

Point 1.  Eviatar claims a steady schedule is essential.  This includes times of the week you always write, as well as times of the day.  So far so good.  He also writes that you need to honor your own needs.  Writing is not like turning on a switch and some amount of warm up is a good idea.  He suggests looking at email, making coffee, or whatever else “sets the mood.”
Point 2.  You need to find your own best time which will involve some experimenting.  This can take “weeks or months” he says.
Point 3.  TO find your schedule it might also be good to start constraints; this means making a weekly schedule and marking through times you can not write and then starting there.

My thoughts.  Again this seems so obvious, I chafe at the thought of applying it.  I realize this is my own arrogance since even knowing it I don’t do it enough.

Having that set of warm up activities can bleed VERY quickly into full out procrastination.

I like the idea of finding one’s “natural” rhythm.  But I am so used to beating myself up that my first thought was I have had years and years of self-experimentation.  Fat lot of good it has done.  On the other hand, to be positive, I started thinking about what I do know.
A) I can be very flexible.  I have several ways to jot down tasks, for example.  Instead of trying to pick the “one best” I just switch back and forth as mood suits.
B) I think short writing exercises- baby steps- do help me get momentum.  These nuggets are part of that.
C) Early afternoon is the devil’s time.  I never feel energized.  That is the best time to get exercise, check email, clean up office.  From 1-3.
D) I often seem to be productive late afternoon, from 3-5 or 6.  This can produce conflict though with parenting and housework.

I think further experimentation is in order.  And as a good empiricist, I’ll need to record observations to have enough data.

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Filed under writing

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

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.


  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.


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.



Filed under Research, technology

What is the size of the Metaverse?

I am working on one of my papers about the institutionalization of virtual worlds and I once again want some sort of clear statement about the size or scope of virtual worlds to quickly convince a reviewer that this is a “real” issue worth studying and that the hypecycle boom and bust around Second Life was a distraction from the real growth trends.

There is the widely cited Gartner figure of 80% of active users having an avatar by 2011. Many missed the adjective “active.” Gartner rightly, I think, was focusing on innovators and early adopters. It is still an eye-opening number.

There are academic papers documenting the dozens of worlds, as well as attempts to classify them along some variation of the following axes: overt gameness, ownership model, user-generated content, focus, or demographic target.

There is Castronova’s estimates of 20-40 million active users and economies on the scale of mid-sized countries (although this includes all those pesky MMO games).

I need to source this post better, but at least I have identified a few leads.


Filed under organization studies, technology, virtual worlds

Slideshare metrics

Slideshare sends me an email that my slides are gtting lots of hits.

I see my OSWC poster is at 10,000, but not comments. Can this be mere spamming or web crawlers or something? I don’t know enough about web metrics and analytics to tell.

  1. bestofslideshare


Filed under Uncategorized

Research ideas for Six Degrees Students

Research Ideas for My Students

Hello folks. This is by no means a comprehensive set of resources. It more reflects sources that seemed to be of interest to two or more of you AND that I thought might not jump out at you as pertinent. It is a mix of search terms, blogs, alternative media, as well as books and scholars.

For a few of you, I had specific ideas and those are at the end.  So read through to the end. If I did not comment on your specifically all it means is that your topics are either covered below, or, I don’t have any special suggestions.

General Ideas

The FIRST place for everyone to start if they are basing their paper on a topic in Six Degrees or Tipping point is to look at the references in the back of each book.  Watts provides a guide to different topics, and Gladwell has notes with references.

Also, you can get a one on one appointment with BU librarian once you have your topic.

EVERYONE should make an appointment with a Bucknell research librarian.

You are welcome to search my blog.  You can search or simply use the tag cloud to clickt hough to a set of posts.

Also, I use a social bookmarking service called del.icio.us.com. Basically it is like a big scrapbook of links I collect.  You are welcome to look there for any tags that match your research keywords.


Click on “all tags” on the left to see my tag taxonomy.  For example, Jen mentioned technology and the presidential election in her topics.  I have a politics tag, and when you click on that, you can see what are “related” tags to narrow it down.  Politics+ technology has three links. One of those, to a book called “Netroots Rising” might be useful.

How to use blogs I recommend: browse them.  Use them to identify key ideas.  Use them to look for book, or article suggestions from more reliable sources (scholarly journals, mainstream press).

How context shapes roles

Stanford Prison Experiment

□ Look for social psychology on the impact of groups or roles

How social network affects a company

□ Work by Rob Cross

David Krackhardt

David Obstfeld

How breakthroughs happen…

Mob Mentality or “Wisdom of Crowds”

□ See Swarm intelligence as a search term. Also this book and tool.

□ See Smart Mobs as a search term. Also, this site and book.

Internet and Society

Pew Research Center on Internet and American life

Financial Bubbles…

Bill Moyers with Kuttner

Interviews with Greenspan

Greenspan debate Naomi Klein, a critic (bubbles and feds role comes up)

□   Planet Money Blog

□   Big picture blog

□   Brad DeLong Blog

Fanatic communities


Org theory post

Size of communities (Rule of 150)

□    Gore-Tex maker

□   More on Gore

□   Another article.

□   Leaderless organization

Advertising and Marketing

Changes that the internet has brought about

Viral garden blog

□   Any search on word of mouth or viral marketing

□   Paradox of Choice.

General blogs on organizations, networks, and sociology: Search them for your topics.

Orgtheory http://orgtheory.wordpress.com/





About politics and technology.  The Dean campaign of 2004, and also the Bush Campaign of 2004, started the use of web 2.0 technologies as political organizing tools.  I think this book could be useful.  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1594514852


It would be interesting to look at the distribution of hit records over time.  In other words, what proportion of records sold are just a few?  Were the Beatles bigger superstars than a recent “big act” measured as % of all record sales?  How has shift to consuming songs as downloads changed that perception?  Are there fewer superstars now?  What does that mean for music as a business and as a cultural activity?


About diseases: it would be interesting to compare biological and social factors in contagiousness of diseases.

Jeff G:

In terms of channel capacity and music: this reminds me of research now on the cognitive structure of experts vs amateurs.  An expert musician can distinguish more than 7 tones, I think.   What is the evidence that we can increase channel capacity?


I am not sure what the best search term for outside-in emotion is.


You can do a special kind of search called a cited reference search with a database called Web of Science.  Basically, it tells you who cited a work.  You could look at original article “The Strength of Weak Ties” and see what more current research is saying.  The reference librarians can show you how to do that kind of search.  There will be thousands of articles, so you will need to use narrowing terms.

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Filed under Business, economics, innovation, organization theory, Politics, Power, Activism, Research, Social Networks, sociology

Civics, Politics in SecondLife

I wa slooking for a project for my undergraduate research studnet to work on.

The SL researchers listserv had a good suggestion.


He is interested in politics or civic discourse in virtual worlds.

Ideally, it would be a sim, island, community with either robust internal debate, or an explicit goal of being a forum, an agora of civics.

He would be doing some virtual ethnography to explore how expressiveness, community, and technology relate to political discourse.

And the first response form a Law School Professor:

1) If he hasn’t done already, he should read Tom Boellstorff’s book, Coming of Age in Second Life, which is a good example of doing ethnography in SL.

2) He might look into the Coalition of Democratic Sims (or something like that), which is a group of sims that have instituted some form of democratic governance.

I hope he keeps us posted on his work. It should be very interesting.


Filed under Information and Communication Technology, Politics, Power, Activism, Research, virtual worlds