Updating my ethics

“Earth Science Applications Showcase (201408050002HQ)” by NASA HQ PHOTO https://flickr.com/photos/nasahqphoto/14836153171 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

During the last couple of weeks, I’ve been involved in quite a number of exchanges on Twitter, as part of my participant observation. There have been a number of occasions when I was moved to consider the ethics of a particular situation, as indeed a researcher should always do. Developing your ethical sensibility doesn’t end the moment a Research Ethics Committee has signed off your submission. Instead it should be an ongoing critical process of reflection and renegotiation (Fileborn, 2015), a fluid dialogue interwoven with the fabric of your research endeavours (Madge, 2007). Whilst that sounds rather grand, for me it means being continually alert to the ways that you conduct exchanges and being sensitive to situations which unfold which you may have originally never have anticipated. Let’s take a look at some of the issues which arose.Read More »

Untangling, then becoming entangled with #NAT5HRUAE

Hashtag. Hash … tag. A symbol and a few characters.

I was pretty sure when I wrote this post about hashtags and how they were used, that it was unfinished business. When the following tweet popped up in my timeline, I knew it was time to pay a return visit:

An initial inspection of Malcolm’s tweet reveals it to be a quote tweet (QT), in which the original tweet is embedded in full (although not shown above), together with Malcolm’s comments. (As a separate issue, perhaps the QT is one way of sidestepping the 140 character limit whilst performing interesting additional work, and is probably worthy of a post in its own right?) In the embedded tweet, we see the original hashtag to which Malcolm was referring, plus two additional hashtags that he used in his own tweet. Apart from their structural difference, are they also performing different work? Before I begin to unpick that, let me first say a little about the exchange which unfolded when I asked Malcolm whether he knew anything more about the hashtag. Now that Twitter threads an exchange of tweets, you’ll be able to follow the whole thing for yourself by clicking through to the above tweet, but let me summarise.Read More »

I have a confession …

“Autumn Stream” flickr photo by Angus Thermopylae https://flickr.com/photos/angusthermopylae/2318284799 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

A retweet dropped into my twitterstream the other day which immediately attracted my attention, headed as it was ‘Top 5 reasons to use Twitter.’ What were these reasons I of course wondered and what might they add to what I’ve already learned during my study? Now normally, at this point I’d embed the tweet for you to view before discussing how it had moved my learning forward, but not this time. Let me explain why.Read More »

Interview – @johnmayo

CPDin140 – John Heffernan

With a broad range of experiences, educator John Heffernan (@johnmayo on Twitter) currently finds himself transplanted from Ireland, his home, into Virginia, United States. John discusses the part that Twitter played in that, connecting him with ‘interesting, smart people’ and exposing him to people who ‘have different views and different lifestyles.’…

via CPD in 140 – John Heffernan — EDUtalkRead More »

Extending an interview?

On Wednesday this week I was talking into the mic. Not too unusual given I often broadcast on Radio #EDUtalk on Wednesday evenings. This week however I was talking to [Ian Guest](‪@IaninSheffield ‬) for his research on Twitter for CPD. http://www.edutalk.info/cpdin140-john-johnston/ http://www.edutalk.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/CPDin140_JJohnston.mp3Being even less prepared than usual I missed a few things. I was…

via Twitter Hugs — John’s World Wide Wall Display

Although I added a comment on John’s post above, I was minded to think more about what he describes as ‘positive communities.’ I perhaps need to tease out further what a positive community is. Are they simply like-minded people? Or people who celebrate and value each other’s contributions? Do they produce a warm and fuzzy feeling it’s hard to express more clearly?

There are two (at least) aspects I’d like to explore further: what do these communities look like and how would we recognise one. Essentially, what characterises them? Secondly what do they do? What are the effects those communities produce in participants that (I assume) makes them want to keep returning?

I’m also obliged to consider that maybe these places are so comforting because they don’t challenge? They’re gentle, kind, undemanding, supportive and provide the feel-good factor. If that’s the case, perhaps they don’t provide the stretch that professional learning actually requires? They don’t move you beyond your comfort zone and so help you to develop and become better? Do they provide an antidote to traditional CPD, or sit alongside it and provide balance?

Extending a space …

CPDin140 – John Johnston For once John Johnston (@johnjohnston on Twitter) finds himself on the other side of the mixing desk, having kindly volunteered to contribute his experiences to the project. John ranged broad and wide, introducing me to new concepts such as ‘continuing amateur development‘ and ‘opinionated‘ software. And what a wonderful way to […]

via CPDin140 – John Johnston — EDUtalk

Some while ago, I made an ethics submission seeking approval to post recorded interviews as podcasts, provided participants gave their permission of course. I’ve posted these through a channel onRadio Edutalk, “a project to gather the voices of educators,” but haven’t yet mentioned that on here, which seems remiss. Time then to set the record straight, so from here forward, I’ll reblog each new podcast posts from Edutalk to here.

In the meantime, let me bring things up to date with a list of the podcasts already created:

Watch out for the next one!

Tracing the spaghetti

“Tracing the field” flickr photo by IaninSheffield https://flickr.com/photos/ianinsheffield/28898253850 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

Right from the start I called this visualisation ‘Tracing the field,’ unaware of the entanglements this might draw me into. I intended to provide the reader, reviewer, examiner, with a sense of my ethnographic meanderings; a trail to show where I’d been, what and who I’d encountered, what they had been doing and the ways in which they were all interconnected. An addition or enhancement to the more traditional textual field notes; one which provides an immediate sense of the whole, but which also provides quick access to the detail – a virtual zoom button. Given the functionalities within graphical drawing packages, it would also be possible to go a step further and provide hyperlinks back to the stopping points, the forks in the road. So in a similar way to how field notes recall and reflect on one’s experiences, my ‘Tracing’ would do the same and invite a reader to explore those steps . The problem was my choice of words.Read More »

It must be a sign …

“Tracing the field” by IaninSheffield https://flickr.com/photos/ianinsheffield/28898253850 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

In my most recent doctoral supervision meeting, I briefly mentioned how I’m recording/tracking the paths I’m taking as I conduct my ethnographic observations. For me, it’s a way to visualise where I’ve been, when I was there, what I saw, what I thought; an alternative to the more traditional, textual field notes (which I’m also keeping by the way). In the meeting, I innocently referred to the process as ‘tracing the field,’ as I have done here in the past. Oh dear! I’d used one of those … ‘little words;’ in fact I’d compounded the problem by also mentioning mapping and representing. Once again I’d committed the sin of using words which may be fine to use in everyday contexts, but which in academic discourse, require much more unpicking. The upshot was that I needed to establish what I meant by these terms. To go away and read, then perhaps write a blog post. Here is the first; I suspect I may need another … or more!Read More »

Transcribing … a pain in the neck?

“Pain in the Neck” by RebeccaSaylor https://flickr.com/photos/rebeccasaylor/115892449 is licensed under CC BY-NC

Most researchers who conduct interviews will have a tale or two related to transcription; the process whereby you turn audio recordings into typed text. There’s no doubting how labour intensive it is. Depending on your typing speed, the quality of your audio and the equipment you’re using, it’s often likely to be around a 6 or 7 to 1 ratio – one hour’s interview will take six or more hours to transcribe. For me, that slow processing of the words of my participants is the first opportunity to begin to analyse what they’ve said within the broader context of the whole study. Since your pace is slow, you’re able to begin becoming more intimate with that data. On the other hand however, it can be backbreaking work … quite literally. Hours spent hunched over a keyboard can place demands on your physical well being in so many different ways, even if you do know all the health and safety advice. So any tools which might ease some of that burden (short of farming out the transcription, as some researchers do) are definitely of interest to me.Read More »

Opening the field …

“open day” flickr photo by NapaneeGal https://flickr.com/photos/kingstongal/1562197658 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

The notion of what constitutes my ethnographic ‘field’ continues to reappear in various situations. Sometimes this is from people who know better than me that I need to articulate precisely what I mean by it, and sometimes it’s from people less familiar with ethnography who can’t conceive what an online field might be. Traditionally, ethnographic fieldwork, and more specifically participant observation, is marked by a number of factors. It assumes the ethnographer will be resident in a limited geographical locale in which they experience face-to-face relationships (Wittel, 2000) with an ‘object’ of study – an ‘Other.’ There will be clearly identified boundaries where it is straightforward to establish what is included and also what is excluded. In an online, digital, virtual or cyberethnography, residence and geography have less meaning, interaction is mediated and boundaries blur. The ethnography becomes one of movement and flexibility, responding to the ebb and flow of the people and practice under study. My field then becomes one of the people I follow and those they bring into view; the learning practices (and others?) in which they’re engaged; and the areas into which they take that practice. Twitter usually, though not always, provides the point of entry to that field; there I might remain, or be whisked off elsewhere as I follow the actors.Read More »