Let’s Make Article Summaries! Thoughts on Ragged Edges

research_biteI have been tossing around this idea in various forms for some time now, and find a number of influences–Twitter Journal Club, #CLmooc (we make learning!), Shut Up And Read!, That new habit, and even #365Papers–all of which revolve around sharing some of the really great reading we do with others, specifically the academic, research-oriented reading we (I?) frequently do in silence.

I get new articles and read some of them every day, so why not … 


Literature Review Tracking Tables (DRAFT)

UPDATED on September 22, 2013:


These tools were again revised, with the current version on my Research Tools page.
Feedback is always appreciated.


In my ongoing work to help my graduate research students better understand, assess, and use research, I have updated two tools to help navigate and track the literature. As I recently did with my Research Evaluation Tools for Articles in the Social Sciences, I am also seeking feedback and help with getting these specific enough to be useful, though broad enough to be flexible.

The Method of Inquiry Table is meant to track what databases or sources are queried to ensure completeness and a systematic approach to the literature. As is often the case, when we search the database resources, we are not always systematic in the ways we track what we find, and in the process run the risk of searching one database for some keywords, while accidentally omitting the same process elsewhere.

literature_review_table350The Literature Review Table  is for the next step, namely once we find literature and have read some of it. Who can remember everything we read, and what we find valuable and want to use in parts of our write-up? That is what this tool is for, so we include in it aspects of our work for what we find when we evaluate the literature.

I have used these two tools before, and now want to share them in the spirit of gathering feedback to improve them so they more readily meet the needs of developing researchers. Feedback, suggestions, and comments are most appreciated in this mini-project.

Thanks in advance.





Research Evaluation Tools for Articles in the Social Sciences (DRAFT)

UPDATED on September 9, 2013:

These tools were again revised, with the current version on my Research Tools page.
Feedback is always appreciated.

UPDATED on August 21, 2013:

Based on some very helpful feedback, I revised these two tools:

As before, feedback will be most appreciated.


I am in the process of creating 2 tools to help my graduate research students assess and evaluate research studies, and am interested in getting some feedback on them. They are:

While I have seen various tools for specific purposes, I have not seen many that were intended for general use in the social sciences. Furthermore, while these cannot be applied to every qualitative or quantitative study in the social sciences, they are intended to be applicable to most of them.

Do these work? Are they helpful? Is there anything major missing or that should be combined, edited, or refined? Any feedback at all will be most appreciated.

Once I finalize these, I will make them freely available under a Creative Commons license.


Successful Viva = PhD

As I mentioned in my Tweet on March 25, 2013, I successfully passed my Viva Voce exam at Lancaster University and was awarded my PhD in E-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning (Educational Research) forthwith. In the British system, passing a viva forthwith means I passed without corrections and was thus awarded the degree.

Jeffrey Keefer Viva Tweet

As a result, my doctoral thesis, entitled Navigating Liminality: The Experience of Troublesome Periods and Distance During Doctoral Study, is being printed and bound at the university.

I especially want to thank my supervisor, Professor Malcolm Tight,  (standing next to me in the image below), and my examiners Professor Paul Trowler (in the left on the picture) and Dr. Margaret Kiley (who attended remotely from Australia). Alice Jesmont (also in the picture below) has been invaluable in her assistance while I attended Lancaster University, along with Dr. Gale Parchoma, who started off as part of my supervisory team before moving on to the University of Calgary.

Jeffrey Keefer Viva

I am now working at publishing some of the results of my work, so hope to have lots more to share. Thanks goes to all who have supported, guided, and helped me along the way, about which I will also speak more in the near future.


I Completed My Analysis

I am happy to say I have just completed the analysis of my data for my doctoral thesis!

Let me clarify what I mean. By analysis, I mean making sense of the 23 interviews I completed by coding them, grouping similar concepts together, and then putting these concepts in a coherent order to present for my readers. That may not sound like a lot, but with hundreds of pages of interview transcripts and over 1000 codes to navigate and organize, it is a significant  accomplishment.

While I have written up my analysis along the way (cf. Richardson’s work on writing as a method of inquiry), I hope to have my full draft analysis completed in another week or so. As I am engaging in narrative inquiry, this will be, in all likelihood, my longest thesis chapter.

I just sketched a tentative timeline of thesis work for the next week, so will keep my fingers crossed to maintain its trajectory (which I will do via Twitter).


To the Literature . . . Get Thee to the Literature!

Borrowing a not-so-clever allusion to Hamlet from the Great Bard himself, yet without the anger and other baggage he brings (!!), I am now turning my attention to writing the draft chapter of my literature review and conceptual framework. I set myself another ambitious goal, this time to have this section drafted in two weeks. Hey, what better way to celebrate Leap Year than by planning a tangible deliverable for February 29!

I am coming off the efforts of submitting my chapter 1 draft to my supervisors very late last night (or early this morning, depending on how you see the time), so am on a high of diving into my writing with full gusto. While I am writing these sections now even though I am long-finished with my data collection may confuse some educationalists, but there is indeed a method to my process (though that is for a future discussion). Since starting seems to be the hardest part of a thesis, no reason to slow down at this point.

Suffice it to say I will now bridge the literature to my area of inquiry, and have something to submit for review in two weeks. Hey, I can do that!


Transcription Review is Complete!

I am happy to say that yesterday I FINALLY completed the transcription review and editing step in my doctoral thesis research by sending the transcripts to my interviewees for member checking. The entire transcription and checking / editing the final transcript by relistening to the interviews again and making corrections has been the single longest part of my research to date, and I was only able to accomplish it through using the Pomodoro technique.

Previous experience has shown me, upon reflection, that the transcription-related step has always been my biggest hurdle, after which I tend to make consistent and steady progress (knock wood). I am glad that my interviewees (I have the best interviewees anybody could ever ask for!) have already started to reply that they received it (with even a few corrections, edits, additions, and clarifications). I am thus hoping to begin my formal analysis in about a month.  

I am very thankful for the support of my interviewees and my research network; while I cannot mention many of you by name, I do thank you for your support.