Digital Scholarship and You (or me!) in #change11

This week in the free online course #change MOOC, the focus was around Digital Scholarship. Based around the work of Martin Weller (who facilitated the session) and his book The Digital Scholar (which is currently available open-source on the publisher’s website), the focus was around some of the changes technology is bringing to higher education and scholarship. As my research has been in the area of networked learning and online identity development in higher education and doctoral studies, this is a fitting place for me to delve into this online course content.

In this context, Chap 5 of the text makes an interesting claim that is somewhat applicable for my own doctoral research:

There is a general suspicion around using social networks to share findings, although many researchers use them for personal and professional networking (James 2009; Carpenter 2010). Carpenter et al. describe researchers as ‘risk averse’ and ‘behind the curve in using digital technology’. Similarly Harley et al. (2010) state that ‘we found no evidence to suggest that “tech-savvy” young graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, or assistant professors are bucking traditional publishing practices’.

I use social networks for both personal and professional networking (though I still do not like the term networking, as I often consider it rather one-sided–people network to get, and not to give or share or collaborate), and I also find such networks fundamental to identifying and accessing research participants themselves. On top of that, I even use these technologies (especially through my Twitter account) to help myself think through and initiate research projects. The most valuable of these online communities I have found for my doctoral research is the Twitter-based #phdchat, what has become the hub of my online presence for personal and digital scholarship, support, and friendship. 

As an early career researcher myself, I find the related JISC-funded The Lives and Technologies of Early Career Researchers. As the study (pg. 1) found:

Despite many ECRs being interested in trying out new technologies, 72% of early career researchers reported that they did not even use Web 2.0 or social media to share their research. This may reflect the many and varied constraints which limit ICT take-up amongst early career researchers, perhaps including norms of secrecy in research practice; this study found social, confidence, skills, institutional and participatory constraints on technology use by ECRs.

This gets me thinking–I use these technologies to think through and clarify my research direction, along with access partipants and then get feedback on the process and my research design. I do not ordinarily share results online. I wonder if this is due to the great gap in time between those first steps and the findings, or perhaps because, here in my doctoral work, I do not yet have findings to share? Only time (and more discussion, perhaps) will tell.

Blog is Again Online

After having endless errors with WordPress over the past week and a half, I finally backed up the database, cleared the domain of everything, and reinstalled the system, posts, images, and plug-ins. Along the way, working with the fine support staff at Pair Networks, I now have a WordPress install that works better than ever. I am actually able to install plug-ins and upload files through the Dashboard, which is something that never quite worked right before. I expect to continue tweaking the install, including adding (and removing) some plug-ins that I have wanted to use for some time, along with a new template that I have had my eye on that I will install and customize in the next several days.

True, spending all the hours I have done over the past 2 weeks has meant that I have not gotten as much of my research done as I would have liked, but Silence and Voice is not simply a blog, but rather my online space where I discuss and share aspects of my research. Silencing me here effectively silences my work.

Internet Research 12.0 (2011) Call for Papers

Thrilled to see that the AoIR (Association of Internet Researchers) call for papers for the  Internet Research 12 Conference IR12 is now available on the conference website. I liveblogged and wrote obsessively about the current year’s conference in Gothenburg, Sweden, and took many ideas away with me that are now beginning to influence my own research.

Did I see that the focus this coming year will be Performance and Participation, with a smattering of issues around identity (the interest of mine that is becoming all-consuming)? Take a look at the focus this year in the call for papers:

To this end, we call for papers, panel and pre-conference workshop proposals from any discipline, methodology, community or a combination of them that address the conference themes, including, but not limited to, papers that intersect and/or interconnect with the following:

  • Creative performances and digital arts
  • Participatory culture and participatory design
  • Critical performance and political participation
  • Identity performance
  • Exclusion from participation
  • Economic performance of Internet-related industries
  • Game performance
  • Performance expectations (as workers, citizens, etc.)
  • Ritual performances and communal participation

This increasingly looks to be a place for my work, as all of it involves Internet Research, focuses on identity formation and development, and is about as interdisciplinary as the social sciences themselves. Hope to attend and present my work for more engaged and constructive peer feedback.

How to Access Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) & Journal Citation Reports (JCR)

I have been working in the areas of educational research, sociology / communications / cultural studies, and the social sciences for some time now, and while I prefer to use databases such as ProQuest, EBSCO, Sage, and Informaworld for my research, I recently learned how to access and use the rather important Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) and look up Journal Citation Reports (JCR) for the Social Sciences (by subject, such as Education & Educational Research or Communication).

Yes, this does require access to the ISI Web of Knowledge database via Thomson Reuters, and while I have access to this through my university teaching work, I was never able to locate SSCI and JCR buried within it before. Interesting how just knowing a bit more about how to access information can change our entire approach to it.