October 5, 2004

Focus Group Feedback


FOCUS GROUP FEEDBACK

New Tools / New Skills:
Build a NRNM research-researcher-portal:
• a consultation network to guide researchers as to how to use what tools when asking which questions,
• informing researchers about what tools are available
• reports on the use of tools in various contexts and applications, i.e.Qualrus
• enable qualitative research to be more transparent and repeatable
• library of alternative forms of research artifacts
We need more emphasis on the production process and not just reception, including professional studies across disciplines and professional areas.
Broader sense of the user and including users in design and development of research methods and tools
More attention to the visual aspects of new media: design, aesthetics, interactivity
Consideration of the double identity of new media as TOOLS and CONTENT, how does the tool impact the creation of new content.

Preservation:
Susan´s Grand Scheme
1) Back-up strategy is already available now -- possible to backup data on servers provided by Universities
2) Historical archives of Internet sites that already exist
-- Way Back Machine with content from 1996 -- imperfect now
-- Project in Sweden called Culture Archive
-- Similar project in France with the Bibliotheque Nationale
-- Also available in Spain -- Basque materials -- this collection has already been migrated to a newer form once (needed to migrate from OS2 to Windows XP) still relies on private funds
3) What forms of digital documents have been best preserved so far? Plain ASCII text has preserved very well. Have a common format, convert documents into that format, 4) Ideal would be to have an automatic way to capture digital documents and convert them into this imaginary format without human intervention
-- There are three parts to a preservation strategy
a) Individual researchers have a responsibility for their own research data and output
b) Publishers who hold copyright for published materials -- journals, books, etc.
c) Libraries, historical associations, governments, businesses that collect materials
Summary -- Key points
 Common formats, updating, redundancy of copies, single format vs. multiple formats, single archive vs. multiple formats, who is responsible for archiving and updating (individuals, publishers, libraries),
 How to access archives, technical issues, social issues, archival policies for university personnel (when you retire, what does your university archive want from you? Will you have it? Will they keep it?)
 Next steps:
o Scholars, associations, publishers, back up their own data and migrate it.
o Publishers can take on new role of creating and migrating content
o Develop new technologies to format consistently and control file sizes
o Encourage the development of individual archives and collections with a central storage component
o Important role for disciplinary associations to play in preserving their discipline’s data -- contract with publishers to take on that service role?
o Role for government to set standards and archive important social documents
o Libraries (funded by universities) have to have funding strategy and archiving strategy that protects scholars´ interests
o Journal editors have the responsibility to update the articles that cite URLs and keep them updated regarding dead links, etc.??? Who would ever serve as editor again? Susan planning open forum among journal editors on the issue of dead links.

Collaboration:
o Networks are extremely important: six degrees of separation (maybe less).
o Collaboration exists within a school, university, country, institutions; international, regional.
o There should be key people in different places whom you can approach.
o The researcher needs a theoretical rationale for, say, choosing specific countries for research = collaboration.
o We also need interdisciplinary collaboration because we have different views, perspectives and backgrounds.
o Also need for multidisciplinary networks •
HYPOTHETICAL RESEARCH PROJECTS:
o Evolution of social networks in online educational environment
o Challenges of multi-disciplinary teams
o Cross-national comparison of mobile phone use
o Cross-national comparison of mobile phone ringing tones
o Developing the children on-line learning project in some other countries

NRNM 2004 and Beyond:
-- There was consensus at our table that it would be a good idea to present longer, 15- to 20-page papers (still with a focus on methodology) of a length that presenters could then send off for possible publication.
Three ideas for publication were suggested.
1. People send off their papers (this year, they would have to make them longer) to journals of their choice.
2. Brian S. suggested journal editors be contacted now to see if they could be persuaded to do special issues. David pointed out that we’d have to do that for the conference three years from now, given journal lag times.
3. There was a suggestion that Minnesota take on publishing proceedings, but Al pointed out that the quality of presentations would have to be higher.
4. Another option discussed would be, a few years from now, going to a publisher with completed high-quality, conference-length papers and proposing a series.
-- We would like to find a way to give poster session presenters an opportunity for feedback. A few people suggested that they should do actual posters, but it seemed that the consensus was there would be too few people viewing the posters to do that. Better to just find a way to give them feedback.
-- Al suggested some attendees be assigned to write overviews of particular methodologies, much like Susan Herring gave for content analysis or like Martyn Denscombe did in his paper on ethics. Others thought that would take too much time or be unnecessary.
-- Most people appeared to be interested in retaining the group discussions, a unique feature of this conference. A few people thought, though, that the number might be reduced. Several people thought perhaps the presentation of the comments typed into Zoomerang could be forgone. Perhaps there could be a compilation of them given out rather than having the comments presented, because of the time it takes.
-- It was suggested that methods be mentioned by name in the call for papers. But people seemed to think it was vital to let things emerge, not to say that people have to enter their papers in a particular division, like ethnography. Call should be more explicit. If we want new tools, methods, etc., we need to say so.
-- Does there need to be more conference-planning help for Nora to move this into the next level? Perhaps a conference planning committee?
-- Should this conference focus on a theme that is hot, current in new media research? There seemed to be some support for that, which would tend to keep the attendance fluid (more different people participating over the years). But there was serious concern that that would be too limiting, that there wouldn´t be the opportunity to learn about other methods you don’t work in or have serendipitous encounters.
-- Bruce suggested the planning committee look over a five-year plan for the conference.
-- Site suggestions included one year U.S., one year Europe or one year developed country, one year developing country.
-- Time: Some people thought it was a little close to the begining of the semester, but others said there would always be conflicts in time.
-- Suggestion: Provide extra time for presentations for non-native English speakers.


Research Methods Education:
-- Marketing and packaging to students important. The walls between Qualitative and Quantitative are helpful, we don’t need to tear them down, it helps students to debate both. A facility with both is required to triangulate methods. The issue is what is the question and what are, therefore, the best methods.
-- Find the most interesting case studies to illustrate the methods (in a reader). The students must also acknowledge who they are, what they are comfortable with, perhaps an interview method would be avoided by a shy student?
-- Do not put method before the question.
-- Collaboration is crucial as researchers/ students may not have skill base required for all the methodology required, eg qualitative & quantitative, contextual and qualitative data seems to be the norm in this forum but not in the business sector.
-- Most issues are to do with sampling.
-- Deconstruction of myths / hype regarding the internet should be included in teaching, speaks back to basics.
-- It would be helpful to deliver methodology teaching alongside contextual theory.
-- We need to acknowledge access for students who do NOT have access to internet.
-- Ethics: accountability for data and analysis, representation and reflexivity need to be communicated to students.

Posted by npaul at October 5, 2004 4:39 PM