Qualitative Research #MyResearch

Conference CFPs and reading consumed a lot of my time in the past few weeks. Am also excited to be a part of the LINCDIRE Project and things are getting busy already for the fall.

Online Global Learning Summit – CFP submitted.

AERA – CFP submitted for a poster presentation.

Journal submission – still waiting for a response.

This coming Friday-Sunday, I’m attending the Social Media and Society Conference in Toronto. I found out about it just last month and m lucky that it is local. There are several sessions that interest me:

  • Introduction to Social Media Network Analysis with Node
  • Early Career Scholars Workshop
  • Did you give permission? Critically Engaging the Mobile Data Ecosystem
  • Mining Text, Survey, Twitter & RSS Data
  • Privacy & Trust 
  • Privacy & Ethics
  • Online & Offline Communities
  • Digital Methods
  • Canadian Perspectives on Privacy and Trust — Now and Then

Node was one of the digital tools for data analysis I had considered but written off when I wrote about data tools because I thought it was a paid service only. However, there is a NodeXL Basic version available for free download, and it is an add-in for Excel. There is also a student user license available. It will be interesting to attend the Node session because they will discuss how NodeXL can be used in conjunction with other social media analysis methods, and the session will be interactive.

I’m glad for the opportunity an an interdisciplinary approach to learning at this conference, with such a strong emphasis on ethics.

My reading this week – it’s all about the qual

A friend of mine shared the title of book he is using for his qualitative methods course – Qualitative Research : A Guide to Design and Implementation – by Merriam and Tisdell. Initially, I thought it would be too straightforward for my needs, but quickly realized it is the text I should have known about before I wrote my masters thesis and it has taken me down a few rabbit paths since I began reading it on July 4th. I’ve also found twelve additional resources that I want to follow up with, on the following topics:

  • netnographic analytics
  • narrative analysis
  • heuristic research
  • analyzing qualitative data with only MS Word and Excel (I am very much looking forward to finding out more about this!)
  • visual data analysis

I appreciated the summary information about different authors’ work and in addition to seeing the big names, such as Patton, Creswell, Lincoln, Guba, Foucault, and Maxwell, I’ve made note of many moreto read, but am too lazy to list them here in full. The hyperlinks to examplars of different types of qualitative research are useful, as is the appendix, which summarises all the chapters of the dissertation and what should be included in each. Had I not had a supportive supervisor for my MA (she runs monthly online meetings with all her students; the masters students have additional sessions in which she reviews things such as this), this would have been a well-thumbed resource. Notwithstanding the straightforwardness of this book, I populated over twenty two pages full of notes and ideas while reading it.

I also watched some NVivo tutorials to decide if I want to take the financial plunge, or at least know more so I can time a two-week trial for maximum benefit. It’s available for free at OISE, but only in the lab on school computers.

My takeaway: I see the benefit of using NVivo for a literature review, especially since I already use Mendeley. Journal articles, once imported, can be searched for commonly occurring words, phrases, or terms with a Boolean search. Any existing notes made in Mendeley (or Zotero) or key words are also imported. OneNote is compatible as well, and I have a lot of annotated articles saved in OneNote. This process can be used as an initial go at overarching themes in the literature. If some researchers work together, it is possible to pull that information and create a network map that shows the degrees of connection among authors, which assists in recognizing a researcher’s saturation point. Entire articles can be coded or just certain sections; when the articles are opened, the highlighted code is visible. If a particular section has been coded for more than one node, that is also visible. Additional notes can be made at this stage.

It’s interesting. When concept maps or tables are created with the coded information, the graphics all are hyperlinked back to the coded passages. I’m impressed with the ability to see all the associated data in one place, move between pieces easily, and cross-check themes and quickly see if other authors have similar arguments. Some people have even found it worthwhile to use NVivo to house their data in one place and not use it as an analysis tool.

I think I’ll be more decisive after the conference this weekend.


Merriam, S. B., & Tisdell, E. J. (2015). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation (4th ed.). John Wiley & Sons.


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