Thoughts, writing & snippets

Marguerite Koole, PhD

#etmooc 2013 blog

mkoole, · Categories: PhD Studies, Uncategorized

It has been a very long time since I last contributed to my own blog. As I look at my last entry, I was just about to defend my viva at Lancaster University. As it happens, I passed with revisions. Now, I am just awaiting some feedback and should submit my revisions shortly. Then, I can call myself “Dr”. With all the time passing, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. After four years of doctoral studies, it is wonderful to be able to participate and experiment with different technologies.

Anyways, I’ve decided to follow along with the etmooc for the next few weeks. Already I feel like I cannot keep up. There are hundreds of messages, and my Gmail account is filled to the brim and pouring over. This is one of the issues that I hope to assess in my attempt to participate.

So far, I am delighted with the introductions that the participants are posting and in the creative ways they are doing it. I have been inspired to develop some kind of personal introduction also. So, I decided to do a quick video. But, what do you say about yourself in a brief video? Well, I decided to comb through my pictures and put together a collage. Although it seems a bit self-indulgent, it put me in a great mood. It brought memories back. One of my favorite experiences was visiting a Middle Eastern town and being surrounded by children who were absolutely fascinated by my short, short hair.

etmooc video

Click on the image to view the video

Already, I find that the mooc is stretching my capacity. I’ve never uploaded a video to YouTube before simply because I have never had a reason. It is unbelievably easy. It is a fantastic repository which relieves me from having to manage my own server space. Anyways, this is what I have uploaded:

There are many different countries in this video. I’m curious how many of the #etmooc participants call these places home! 

Research is Ceremony

mkoole, · Categories: E-Research, Indigenous education, Research · Tags: , , , ,

This desk is very similar to the one my grandfather used

I have submitted my thesis to my committee, and now I am preparing for my viva. I’ve decided to re-read some of the key sources that I have cited. And, I have decided to do some reading around and somewhat outside of the works upon which I have drawn.

I have been awaiting an opportunity to read:

Wilson, S. (2008). Research is ceremony: Indigenous research methods. Fernwood Publishing: Winnipeg, Manitoba.

This was a great choice after having done so much concentration on other methodologies and having written up my own PhD research in a standardly more formal Western European style. (Although I must admit that writing from a social constructivist perspective and within an interpretivist paradigm, I used a combination of both first and third person singular.) Research as Ceremony was written using a more inclusive voice. The author, Shawn Wilson, began the book as if he was writing to his sons. He later addressed the reader directly in the second person. This style is very engaging. It is nice to follow. The book reads more like a narrative interspersed with some definitions (epistemology, ontology, axiology, methodology, etc.)

Wilson presents this work about indigenous research in a humble manner, honouring the indigenous voice. For me as an aspiring researcher of European descent, the most striking message is the significance of relationships. Although I took a relational perspective on my own research of identity of doctoral students in networked learning, the nature of relationship as I read it in this book extends much deeper. Respectful and trusting relationships amongst people is of vital importance. But, there are also relationships with the land, other creatures, ideas, and the cosmos. Spirituality seems inherently embedded within this view. All are interrelated.

The narrative style, addressing his sons and introducing other indigenous scholars from around the world, offers a sense of relationship to the reader. Interestingly, I wondered if I had met one of the scholars in St. Paul, Alberta at a workshop I had attended several years ago. He seemed familiar to me. Although not of this tradition, I feel that I started to sense how relationships enrich inquiry.

The author paints a picture of his struggle to work within the dominant paradigm of academic research and the indigenous way. Particularly interesting for me was the discussion of ethics. The research ethics boards with which I have interacted support work in which the participants’ identities remain anonymous. I understand that this protects participants–particularly when the subject of research is sensitive. However, because relationships are so significant for understanding indigenous worldviews, the obfuscation of identities can decontextualize and render the research less meaningful. It could even create misunderstanding. Also, identifying contributors is part of honouring them and recognizing that research is collaborative. I am probably not articulating this as well as I should, but it is such an interesting juxtaposition from what I previously held to be “common sense” research ethics. For me, this shows the richness and value of examining perspectives outside of one’s own. What makes our research meaningful–especially as we take such extreme measures to hide identities and decontextualize our research in an effort to reach some nebulous level of “objectiveness”?

Here is an interesting quote which the author cited from an elder named Eber Hampton:

Emotionless, passionless, abstract, intellectual, academic research is a goddamn lie, it does not exist. It is a lie to ourselves and a lie to other people. Humans–feeling, living, breathing, thinking humans–do research. When we try to cut ourselves off at the neck and pretend an objectivity that does not exist in the human world, we become dangerous to ourselves first, and then to the people around us. (1995, p. 52)

Furthermore, there is a relationship of the research to self: “If research doesn’t change you as a person, then you haven’t done it right”. I like that view. It’s what my own recent research was about: how people change as they do their doctoral studies, as they do research.

Here are the main principles cited from Atkinson (2001, p. 10 cited in Wilson, 2008, p. 59):

 

Reading this book left me in a reflective mood. Two thumbs up. (I’d give it more, but that’s all I have!)

Qualitative coding: As I memo, I think

mkoole, · Categories: Identity, PhD Studies, Research · Tags: ,
LiveScribe memo booklet

One way of taking memos; I've been using Atlas-TI's memo feature

I am in the third iteration of coding—starting a fourth tomorrow. Whenever I start a new iteration, it seems overwhelming. And, I only just start to feel comfortable after I have already coded three-quarters of the transcripts. Upon the pilot transcript and the first iteration of coding, I used memos spartanly. I didn’t want to clutter my workspace. Rather, I was interested in just getting the codes added.

However, I have slowly allowed myself more and more latitude with memos. And, upon the third time through, it has become clear that memoing helps me to work through the thought process of why I am coding each segment in the manner I have. Many times, I have selected a code, dragged it onto the segment of text. Then, while memoing, I realize that it’s not quite right. As I memo, I think.

As I memo, I also see greater links with segments that I had previously coded separately. I can see better how they interrelate and should be considered as parts of a greater whole. This might seem a bit cryptic, but it is easy to code each sentence or paragraph—relying on the visual aspects of the text as a cue for when each code begins and ends. This is not necessarily the way to code–at least not for my phenomenographic purposes. (I believe we mentioned similar concerns with coding in the article referenced below.) I am interested in the meaning aspects of the text.  As I memo, I articulate my thoughts on the segment, and find myself better able to conceptualize the connections between the segments, between the segments and the transcript within which they appear, and between the segments and the collection of transcripts in the project.

A major advantage of using memos is that it is a record of thought. And, by retracing thoughts, codes can be reviewed, kept, modified, or changed completely. When there is a large quantity of data, time will elapse between the coding of each segment. It is nearly impossible to remember how each decision was made. Having a record of thought processes it extremely important. I have even included memos indicating my own shifting from one decision to another by comments such as, “I have decided to code this segment as X. Hmmm . . . no, I think I will code it this way instead . . . because this part of the segment indicates . . .” Being able to trace my hesitance, indecision, changes of mind helps in the final evaluations/decisions.

Recommendation: use memos; use them often.

References:

Garrison, D., Cleveland-Innes, M., Koole, M., & Kappelman, J. (2006). Revisiting methodological issues in transcript analysis: Negotiated coding and reliability. The Internet and Higher Education, 9(1), 1-8. doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2005.11.001

Data analysis: When it starts to make sense—also known as “breakthrough”

mkoole, · Categories: PhD Studies, Research · Tags: , , ,

Yes, that title says what I want it to say. I’m hoping that by sharing this in my blog, it provides some hope for doctoral students groping through the dark depths of their data.

Urquhart Castle ruins off Loch Ness, 2011

Admittedly, I have been procrastinating somewhat—a few months, actually. I have done the initial coding of my transcripts using discourse analysis techniques derived from the work of Gee (2010), Potter (1996), and some other significant authors. Then, I did some additional coding for some salient and potential phenomenographic categories that I saw emerging—some expected; some not so expected. I exported from Atlas-TI quotes according to the code categories. I have read through all of them in Word, highlighting and jotting down additional notes in on the pages themselves and in my extremely messy journal. I have plodded along in faith that something would one day make sense, and with an unspoken knowing that these steps would lead me to that place.

As a result of this seemingly blind journey, I started seeing categories of description emerge. And, I am getting a sense for the variation in experience associated with the categories of description.

During my last meeting with my supervisor in which she shared some newly discovered ideas from another student’s viva, I crossed my most profoundly deep threshold of understanding. I am now coding for some additional code-perspectives. And, I can see how discourse analysis strongly supports the study of liminality–sub-liminality, in particular. My supervisor and I discussed the idea of discourses and sub-liminality (hyphenated spelling is intended), and I found the relevant literature by the threshold-concept-gurus in my notes. (Thank gawd for the notes I took on my resources—invaluable.) Today, it feels as if it is just coming together.

At the time of writing this, I was in one of my favourite, sunny coffee-spots, and I was starting to code with these new codes. Suddenly, I saw significant meaning and patterns. I could see the connection between discourse analysis, threshold concepts, Harré’s Vygotsky cycle, and my data emerging as if it is the most natural thing in the world. Whoa. Breakthrough. Now, I must find more time to code.

Of course, my experience in writing my master’s thesis had taught me to expect these moments of lucidity to be punctuated with moments of feeling overwhelming out-of-control. Alas, these are natural ripples in the pond. Keep going.

 References:

Edwards, D. (1997). Discourse and Cognition (p. 368). London, UK: Sage Publications, Inc.

Gee, J. P. (2011). An Introduction to Discourse Analysis: Theory and Method (3rd ed., p. 224). New York, NY: Routledge.

Potter, J. (1996). Representing reality (p. 265). London, UK: Sage Publications Ltd.

Wooffitt, R. (1992). Telling tales of the unexpected: The organization of factual discourse (p. 217). Hertfordshire, UK: Harverster Wheatsheaf.

We must take a moment to laugh at our work

mkoole, · Categories: PhD Studies, Research, Uncategorized · Tags:

I was recently reading Derek Edwards’ (1997) book, Discourse and Cognition.  In Chapter 3, Discourse and Reality, he spends some time describing the work of LaTour and Woolgar on the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK). And, as you might know, this work led to Actor Network Theory (ANT). Along the way, Edwards also mentions Gilbert and Mulkay (1984). The part that I wish to share has to do with empiricist repertoires and contingent repertoires and the humour that arises when the two are compared. The following is quoted from Edwards (1997, p. 59) but originates from Gilbert and Mulkay (1984, p. 177).

What he wrote What he meant
It has long been known that . . . I haven’t bothered to look up the reference.
Three of the samples were chosen for detailed study . . . The results on the others didn’t make sense and were ignored.
Accidentally strained during mounting . . . Dropped on the floor.
Handled with extreme care throughout the experiment . . . Not dropped on the floor.
Typical results are shown . . . The best results are shown, i.e. those that fit the dogma.
Correct within an order of magnitude. Wrong.
It is suggested that . . .It is believed that . . .It appears that . . . I think.
It is generally believed that . . . A couple of other guys think so too.
Fascinating work . . . Work by a member of our group.
Of doubtful significance . . . Work by someone else.

 

It would be fun to come up with some of these for qualitative researchers. Thoughts?

References

Edwards, D. (1997). Discourse and Cognition (p. 368). London, UK: Sage Publications, Inc.

Gilbert, N., & Mulkay, M. (1984). Opening Pandora’s box: an analysis of scientists’ discourse (p. 212). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Working on my CV. I didn’t realize how busy I had been over the last few years!

mkoole, · Categories: Identity, Mobile learning, PhD Studies, Research, Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,

Publications, Presentations and Workshops

Book chapters

Koole, M., & Parchoma, G. (2012). Networked Learning and the Web of Identity. In S. Warburton & S. Hatzipanagos (Eds.), Digital identity and social media. London: Information Science Reference, an imprint of IGI Global. [Coming out in July]

Koole, M. (2009). Chapter 2: A Model for Framing Mobile Learning. In M. Ally (Ed.), Mobile Learning: Transforming the Delivery of Education and Training (pp. 25-47). Edmonton, Alberta: AU Press.

Stauffer, K., Lin, F., & Koole, M. (2010). Chapter 19: A Methodology for Developing Learning Objects for Web Course Delivery. In M. R. Syed (Ed.), Technologies Shaping Instruction and Distance Education: New Studies and Utilizations (pp. 280-289). IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-60566-934-2.ch019

Papers in Refereed Journals

Koole, M., & Parchoma, G. (2012). The Ethical and Practical Implications of Systems Architecture on Identity in Networked Learning: A Constructionist Perspective. Interactive Learning Environments. [Coming out in May]

Fahy, P., Spencer, R., & Koole, M. (Awaiting review). The self-reported impact of graduate program completion on the careers and plans of master’s graduate: Second report in a series.

Koole, M., Letkemen McQuilkin, J., & Ally, M. (2010). Mobile Learning in Distance Education: Utility or Futility. Journal of Distance Education. URL: http://www.jofde.ca/index.php/jde/article/view/644/1107

Garrison, D., Cleveland-Innes, M., Koole, M, & Kappelman, J. (2006). Revisiting methodological issues in transcript analysis: Negotiated coding and reliability. The Internet and Higher Education, 9(1), 1-8. doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2005.11.001

Presentations

Identity

Koole, M. (2012). Ontological and epistemological threshold crossings of doctoral students in networked learning environments: “My ontolo- . . . what?” The 4th Biennial Threshold Concepts Conference and 6th NAIRTL Annual Conference (June 27-29). Dublin, Ireland.

Koole, M. (2012). A Social Constructionist Approach to Phenomenographic Analysis of Identity Positioning in Networked Learning. The 8th International Conference on Networked Learning (April 2-4). Maastrict, Netherlands.

Koole, M., & Parchoma, G. (2011). The Web of Identity: Identity Formation in Online Learning. CIDER Sessions (online presentation). The Canadian Institute of Distance Education Research. URL: http://cider.athabascau.ca/CIDERSessions/Koole2/sessiondetails

Koole, M. (2010). The web of identity: Selfhood and belonging in online learning networks. The 7th International Conference on Networked Learning (May 3-4). Aalbourg, Denmark. URL: http://www.networkedlearningconference.org.uk/

Mobile Learning

Koole, M., de Waard, I., & Elsayed Meawad, F. (2010). Mobile Learning: Solutions & Challenges. CIDER Sessions (online presentation). The Canadian Institute of Distance Education Research. URL: http://cider.athabascau.ca/CIDERSessions/mkoole/sessiondetails

Koole, M. (2010). Mobile learning: Do the benefits justify the cost and time? New Era Teaching and Learning (online presentation). Commonwealth of Learning. URL: http://www.bcedtech.ca/moodle/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=259

Ally, M., Cleveland-Innes, M., Koole, Marguerite, Kenny, R. F., & Park, C. (2009). Developing a Community of Inquiry in a Mobile Learning Context. Learning and Technology: A Capital Idea! (Canadian Network for Innovation in Education Annual Conference, Ottawa, Ontario) URL: http://www.cnie-rcie.ca/?q=node/115

Koole, M. (2009). Workshop: Go Mobile! Advantages, Issues, and Examples of Mobile Technologies in Distance Education. 8th Annual International MADLaT Conference (Winnipeg, Manitoba). URL: http://www.madlat.ca/conference2009

Koole, M., & Ally, M. (2008). UMLAUT-M Understanding Mobile Learning at a University Through MobiGlam: Utility or Futility? MLearn: The bridge from text to context (October 6-10). Telford, UK.

Koole, M., Ally, M., Elsayed Meawad, F., & Letkeman McQuilkin, J. (2008). UMLAUT-M: Understanding Mobile Learning at Athabasca University through MobiGlam. Canadian Network for Innovation in Education Annual Conference (April 27-30). Banff, AB.

Koole, M., & Ally, M. (2006). Framework for the Rational Analysis of Mobile Education (FRAME) Model: Revising the ABCs of Educational Practices. International Conference on Networking, International Conference on Systems and International Conference on Mobile Communications and Learning Technologies (ICN ICONS MCL’06) (pp. 216-216). Mauritius: IEEE. doi:10.1109/ICNICONSMCL.2006.103

Koole, M. (2006). Practical Issues in Mobile Education. Fourth IEEE International Workshop on Wireless, Mobile and Ubiquitous Technology in Education (WMTE’06) (pp. 142-146). Athens: IEEE. doi:10.1109/WMTE.2006.261363

Koole, M., & Ally, M. (2006). Framework for the Rational Analysis of Mobile Education (FRAME) Model: Revising the ABCs of Educational Practices. The 1st International Conference on Interactive Computer Aided Learning (IMCL), April 19-22. Princess Sumaya University for Technology, Amman, Jordan.

Ally, M., & Koole, M. (2006). Workshop: Best practices for instructors and trainers who use mobile devices to deliver instruction to students. The 1st International Conference on Interactive Computer Aided Learning (IMCL), April 19-22. Amman, Jordan.

Koole, M. (2006). Mobile Devices in Distance Education: Compare, Consider and Collaborate. 5th World Conference on Mobile Learning (October 20-26). Banff, AB.

Koole, M., & McGreal, R. (2006). mLearning: What is it and where is it going? Innovations in Education: Challenges, Issues, and Solutions. (CADE/AMTEC Annual Conference) May 23-26. Montreal, QU.

E-Portfolios

Moisey, S., Hoven, D., Kenny, R., & Koole, Marguerite. (2009). E-portfolios – A Viable capstone activity for graduate programs. Learning and Technology: A Capital Idea! (Canadian Network for Innovation in Education Annual Conference, Ottawa, Ontario) URL: http://www.cnie-rcie.ca/?q=node/115

Hoven, D., & Koole, M. (2008). Integration of an e-Portfolio into a Master of Education program. Invited presentation for the Teaching and Learning Effectiveness Program. University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB.

Koole, M. (2007). Reflecting, scaffolding and showcasing: Integrating an e-portfolio tool into a master’s program. ADETA: Distributed Learning in the 21st Century (October). Edmonton, AB

Technology & Learner Support

Spencer, R., & Koole, M. (2008). Value and uses of open source products in support of graduate student learning. MADLaT: E-Learning Comes Together (May 8-9). Winnipeg, MN.

Spencer, R., & Koole, M. (2008). Workshop: Moodle – An open source LMS. MADLaT: E-Learning Comes Together (May 8-9). Winnipeg, MN.

Wagenaar, C., & Koole, M. (2007). Podcasting in a blended learning environment: Alberta Children’s Services. ADETA: Distributed Learning in the 21st Century (October). Edmonton, AB.

Spencer, R., Moisey, S., & Koole, M. (2007). Moodle and the Master of Distance Education Program. Moodle Moot. Edmonton, AB.

Cleveland-Innes, M., Koole, M. & Kinsel, E. (2006, May).  Teaching presence in online communities of inquiry: Learners, facilitators and learning.  Paper presented at CADE/AMTEC Annual Conference Conference, Montreal, P.Q.

Cleveland-Innes, M., & Koole, M. (2005). Learner Support in Online Learning. Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning (August 3-5). Madison, WI.

Cleveland-Innes, M., & Koole, M. (2005). Workshop: Student Support Technology. Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning (August 3-5). Madison, WI.

Cleveland-Innes, M. & Koole, M. (2004).  Role adjustment for students in online environments.  Invited keynote address, Learner Services Forum 2004, Campus Saskatchewan.  Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Fun Projects

When your doctoral thesis has a life of it’s own

mkoole, · Categories: Identity, PhD Studies, Research · Tags: , , , , ,

Yes, I think this title says it all. My thesis just seems to motor along. I’m not sure anymore if I’m the one controlling it, or if it is whispering paths I should take. As I look upon my schedule and my proposal, however, it is pretty much going as planned with a few minor hiccups along the way.

Although I had planned to do much of the writing in 2012, it turns out that I did large portions of the methodology chapter and literature review at the end of 2011. Analysis, which I had planned for the beginning of 2012 is on target. As I look back, why did I do so much writing when I did? Two reasons: 1) conferences, and 2) it intuitively made sense. And, having already put much thought into my proposal, I was able to take some liberties.

A mossy street in SOS de los Reyes Catolicos, Spain

One of the speakers at a PhD student workshop at the Networked Learning Conference in Aalborg, Denmark back in 2010 had suggested that many doctoral students leave data collection too late. I heeded this advice. Collecting data early allows some analysis and consideration earlier in the process. Hopefully, if the project was untenable, I could shift gears before becoming too invested in one particular path. To prepare for an early data-collection, I decided to focus on the methodology chapter. In retrospect, I found this to be very helpful. A solid grounding in the methodology and methods along with consideration of issues of trustworthiness and philosophical commensurability guided the structure and performance on the interviews. I was also able to pull-together a symposium on phenomenography for the up-coming Networked Learning Conference in Maastrict, 2012.

After interviewing the participants and transcribing their comments, I shifted my attention to the literature review. At first, I considered doing some analysis prior to the literature review in hopes that the literature review would not influence my observations. But, as my supervisor pointed out, I am not doing grounded theory. In any case, I have found that the transcripts speak to me very separately from the ideas collated in the literature review. In some ways, the literature review helped to open my mind to new possibilities. It also helped me to consider my philosophical position and theoretical framework in much greater detail. And, again, I was able to submit an abstract to another conference, this one on threshold concepts in Dublin.

What I have found surprising is how many ideas have fallen into place. In my spare time—that is, when I take breaks from coding—I read some of the seminal works that I have earmarked as requiring attention. My latest discovery is Bakhtin. I can see how his work might be affiliated with social constructionist philosophy. His work resonates with me and is helping fill in some gaps in my framework. Slowly, I hope to work my way through the stack of books and journal article piled high around me.

Although this process seems in control, I do not entirely feel like I am controlling it. It’s as if something is guiding me along and presenting options–interspersed with moments of inspiration that change the course of my work subtly and continuously.

Using an E-Reader to Manage Your PhD Reading

mkoole, · Categories: PhD Studies, Research · Tags: , ,

I recently went on vacation. The thought of leaving my library behind was creating stress. I knew that I needed to take a break, but the compulsion to make sure I had some reading just in case the mood would strike was compelling. So, I decided to purchase an e-reader and load my entire electronic library. It took me one, full day to complete this task.

Reading the Sony E-ReaderI wanted an e-reader that would allow me to

 

Enlisting the help of my e-reader-owning friends and my husband, I searched the Internet for the “perfect” e-reader. Then, I went to local shops and tried them out. I was seduced by the very small, 5-inch Sony Reader. But, I found that the screen was just a touch too small for the kind of interaction that I wanted to have with the device. It felt like I was moving towards the tiny real estate of a smart phone. I tried the Kobo, the Alurateck Libre, and some others. One last effort took me to a nearby Sony Store. They only had one kind of reader in stock, but, it seemed to match my needs. This model (PRS-T1) had just arrived in the store two weeks prior to my arrival. And, it had wifi which was not on my list, but could be a nice addition.

Now, I have found that I do, indeed, like the e-Reader. And, here are my reasons:

 

Things that I would like to see improved:

 

I really am starting to like reading this way. And, I cannot emphasize how much I love being able to carry around my PhD-study library. I will add more pros and cons as I think of them.

 

From Online Interview to Transcription

mkoole, · Categories: PhD Studies, Research · Tags: , , , ,

I am in the midst of a brief pilot for my PhD research. I am conducting my first two interviews with the intention of ironing out some kinks before fully engaging in data collection. Here are some recommendations and discoveries for anyone else at this stage.

Do a pilot prior to the pilot. Yes, a pilot of a pilot. Thanks to a colleague who is on a similar course at another university here in Alberta, I was able to test the entire process right from the email script, letter of information and consent, to the participant selection survey, and finally through a mock interview. I was careful not to record the mock interview as I wanted to ensure that this process did not fall outside the research ethics guidelines stipulated by both university research ethics committees. (Yes, my project went through two ethics committees.) From this, I was able to test some questions, adjust letters and scripts, correct problems in the survey, etc. The feedback from my colleague was invaluable.

The pilot itself is invaluable. This is where you also use your recording tools and the data counts. Although, the data collected during this phase will be treated separately, it can be included in the final analysis. All your tools will get tested here. This is what I’ve learned:

Two recording devices at once: essential. Obviously if one fails, the other one can save the day. But, there are other benefits. Your recording devices will often use different file formats. For my first pilot interview, I used both Adobe Connect and my LiveScribe pen. In the end, I found the mp4 file format from the LiveScribe pen was the most versatile. However . . .

You may need to convert file formats. I was unable to import the mp4 format into my transcription program. So, I had to convert it. I downloaded Audacity. However, Audacity could not play the mp4. So, I had to locate an add-on for Audacity: FFmpeg. Once installed, I was able to convert the mp4 into a number of different formats. I converted the mp4 into a WAV file and imported it easily into my transcription software.

So, what kind of transcription software did I find? It’s a bit of a long story. In the past, when conducting interviews with Elluminate, well, it was awful. I had to constantly remove my hands from the keyboard to the mouse play and rewind. It was incredibly slow. So, I have ordered an Infinity foot pedal to increase my transcription speed. I am still awaiting its arrival. Since I did not want to wait any longer to start transcribing, I went searching for alternative tools. Audacity did not seem to have a built in window for transcribing while playing the recording, so it would mean manually shifting between windows—and that means mouse movement. Other tools were necessary.

Logically, I know that I eventually want to use nVivo or Atlas-TI for the actual analysis. I settled upon Atlas-TI because they have an incredible offer for students: $99 USD for a single student license. The documentation suggests that it is possible upload and transcribe audio and video files directly. However, it seemed to require certain file types. Sigh. Reading the documentation further, I found that they recommend using free transcription software from audiotranscription.de. It’s free and works like a charm. Using the hot-keys to play, stop, and rewind, I’m wondering if I even need the foot pedal that I’ve ordered. However, their site still recommends using a foot pedal as it should increase transcription speed up to three times. I will see how true that is when my foot pedal arrives.

Now, how to do the actual transcription? Firstly, one must consider the methodology and the requirements of the study. For example, conversation analysis will likely require very detailed transcriptions of pauses, breaths, intonations, and other indicators of linguistic behaviours. Other studies in discourse analysis, phenomenology, and phenomenography for example, might require less linguistic detail. I have decided to learn Jeffersonian transcription notation. Although my study does not require a high degree of detail, I would like to follow standard conventions. So, Jeffersonian it is.

Back to work. My next task is to now review the first pilot transcript and import it into Atlas-TI. (All the while, I am missing this glorious hot summer day—the nicest day we’ve had all year!)

Addendum

Wow. I thought I should add a little more information here. I loaded the RTF document produce by the from audiotranscription.de software. Atlas-TI works with it seamlessly. I can highlight parts of the transcript and Atlas-TI plays it from the externally linked files. Since there is no additional work here to learn how to link the files, I think I will go out for a while and enjoy the day.

Common sense preparation for an online interview

mkoole, · Categories: Identity, PhD Studies, Research · Tags: ,

Before starting an interview, there are some practical, must-do preparations. The items on this list might appear obvious, but I recommend using it and ticking off each item as you prepare for an interview.

Get a glass of water. Stretch. Get comfortable.

Turn ringer off all phones in the vicinity of the interview.

Turn off browsers, email, and other distractions.

Clear workspace of unnecessary debris, so you have space.

Have a page ready and open to start typing if you wish to take notes during the interview.

Have note paper and pens available (low-tech can be helpful).

Turn on your spare computer. You may even wish to navigate to the communications software you are using (Elluminate, Adobe Connect, or other software).

Use two recording devices, if possible. I am using Adobe Connect, but I also use a LiveScribe pen as a secondary device. Make sure all your software is up-to-date. You don’t want updates going on during or after your interview (potentially causing you to lose data).

Test your computers and your recording devices. (You may even wish to do some tests the night before with a friend or family member.)

Print your interview schedule, so you can jot quick notes on it as the interview proceeds. Use the interview schedule wisely. Your methodology and goals should dictate the extent to which it structures your interview.

Relax and think about your approach before you start. Review any information that you might have about your participant(s). Review your goals.

Additional suggestions or advice for ensuring smooth-running interviews is welcome.