Tag Archives: Research

Software & Online Resources for Research (Part 2 of 7) “Literature Review”

30 Aug

This is part 2 of a 7 part series about software and internet resources for research. Part 1, “Inspiration for an Idea” can be found here.

I started off part 1 by saying this series would be better as a wiki and I’ve already proven that to myself, I made several additions to part 1 yesterday and will make a few more today. As I flesh out the notes I’ve written for the stages I keep thinking of new things and finding new links.

Now that you’ve spent some time cruising the internet and thinking about what sort of research project you’d like to do, I’m sure your inspired to pursue your project. What should your next step be and how will the internet and software help you? Well, if you’re following a traditional approach to your research, your next step is to do some review of existing literature.


Organization


If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time then you most likely know that I am hyper-organized. It’s very important to be organized with your research from the get-go and if you didn’t start to do this while you were seeking inspiration now would be the time to do it. There is a sea of electronic articles and even if you’re interest lays in an obscure topic, you’ll have many articles to keep track of.
My recommendations for organizing literature are bookmark the articles and to store the downloadable PDFs in a PDF data software program, such as Yep. I’ve also hear of using EndNote to keep track of bibliographies, etc. I have no experience with this software (I tried it and lost interest quickly) but it comes highly recommended.
If you start this early you’ll thank yourself in the long run!

Now is also a good time to consider maintaining a wiki or a mind map to organize your thoughts.


Literature Reviews

One of my favorite parts of anthropology is the fact that its work is best when complimented by another discipline. Many (American) anthropologists specialize in a more focused topic within one of our four sub-disciplines, i.e. public health, policy, environment, etc. Remember when your searching for literature DO NOT limit yourself to articles, etc. that say “anthropology”- think of what other disciplines might have something to offer.


Where to find literature

Don’t forget about the places where you found your inspiration in the first place, look for their recommendations, bibliographies, etc.

Amazon.com typically gives really good book descriptions and most books have customer reviews.

Look for people that work in the area you’re interested in. Some professors share their syllabi online and if they don’t, you can always email them and ask if you can have a copy.

Del.icio.us

Search the bibliographies of related articles.

Anthrosource

AnthroBase

Anthropology Review Database

Open Directory Project

List of anthropology journals here.

Open Access Journals here, here, and here .

This list is by no means exhaustive, so I’ll continue to add to it and I am interested to hear about other resources you all are using.

Software & Online Resources for Research (Part 1 of 7) “Inspiration for an Idea”

29 Aug

Again, this blog post would be better off as a wiki and I’m still working on that.

I’m currently working on my fifth research project, and while that by no means makes me an expert I have collected quite a few software & online resources that I use to organize, inspire, and manage the elements of my research. I’m organizing the resources in the traditional research outline- having the idea, literature review, research design, transcription, analysis, write up, and “publishing” findings. Depending on your approach to research i.e., grounded theory, etc. and the scope of your research i.e., project vs. paper, you may need to re-order the outline or you may want to pick and chose from the list.

I’ve decided to break the list into a seven part series to avoid the posts being 20 pages long. Here’s part 1

Be sure to bookmark all of the webpages that you find of interest so that you may reference back to them! I prefer del.icio.us, but there are many social bookmarking websites and you can also use your browser to bookmark.

I find wikis to be particularly useful in keeping track of my thoughts, websites, etc. Learn about wikis here.
Mind mapping software is also a very easy way to keep track of your ideas for a project. Learn about mind mapping here.


Inspiration for a Project


Here are my recommendations for places to get inspirations for projects- it’s important to note that you should not copy others’ ideas, but expanding your horizons about your knowledge of what others are doing, and your knowledge in general, is a great way to get new ideas.

  • Podcasts & Videos

  • SfAA podcasts (not up right now, but will be after the 2008 Meeting)
    Other anthropology podcasts
    Google video search for “anthropology”
    Bookmarks on del.icio.us for “anthropology+podcast

  • Blogs

  • Bookmarks on del.icio.us for “anthropology+blogs
    Anthropologi.info‘s list of anthropology blogs
    Four Stone Hearth (anthropology blogging carnival)

  • Listservs

  • This website has a good list of anthropology listservs
    This is the AAA (American Anthropological Association) list of listservs

  • Forums

  • MySpace anthropology-related forums via Moving Anthropology Student Network

  • Social Networks

  • Twitter
    SfAA ning network
    Facebook
    Linked In
    Moving Anthropology Student Network

  • Online Journals

  • a list of online social science journals
    Another good list of online journals

    I find reading (be it online, books, articles, etc.) and engaging in conversation (virtual and face-to-face), specifically with people whom have different views/interests, to be my inspiration for both research and live in general- the above ways are the places that I do this online.

    What are the ways you find inspiration online?

    Related post: How to Network Online

    Update on the “comparing the same online & on-campus graduate course” research

    25 Aug

    Back in January I started working on a research project with my advisor and an on-campus peer. The focus of the research project is to compare an online version and an on-campus version of the same graduate course (taught at the same time and by the same professor). My advisor was the professor for the courses, the other RA was in the on-campus course at the time, and I was in the online course at the time. So we all have a somewhat “emic” view of the Fall 2006 course.

    The on-campus RA conducted and transcribed 12 face-to-face interviews and transcribed three class meetings. I conducted and transcribed 9 phone interviews (using Skype & Pamela), transcribed three teleconference meetings, and organized three weeks of discussion board postings. The data has been collected and consists of 21 interviews and all of the course communications (class meetings, discussion boards, and teleconferences) for the same three weeks in the course. We have A TON of data.

    We have weekly teleconferences between the three researchers, we email almost daily, and we have a secure online site where we share our collaborative documents and files. The entire process has been really interesting for me and I think it’s very fitting that I am an online RA for this particular project.

    We have all of our transcription finished now and we are moving into the analysis phase. Our presentation on our research has been accepted at the 2007 AAA Meeting in D.C.. We will be doing a presentation about how our findings will be applied to the UNT online master’s program. We hope to find ways in which the online program can be improved upon to make the experience similar to that of on-campus. The goal of that program has always been to offer a master’s degree and graduate experience that is comparable with that of an on-campus degree. The fact that our findings will be applied really shows UNT’s dedication to the online master’s.

    I don’t have any findings that can be reported yet, but we’re making good progress thus far. We have a lot of people interested in the project- so that’s very exciting for us.

    Software review PDF database Yep (OSX)

    7 Aug

    I have two qualities that are a blessing and a curse: I’m hyper organized & I plan for the future. Over all I’m very happy that these two traits have naturally become a key part to how I approach life. However, I do consider them a curse at times because they are both super time consuming!

    Anyhow, when I was helping to develop our syllabus for our design anthropology course this summer, I realized that I would be reading over 40 articles and would have to produce a paper in the end. This was a somewhat dizzying thought at first until I decided to organize the articles (all PDFs) along the way.

    I’ve messed around with a few PDF database/organizing software products in the past and none of them met my requirements, until the recently updated release of Yep. Yep is software that is only OSX (Mac) (I switched to a Mac because of the software that is available!) compatible and costs $34 USD for the full version. There is a free trial version though! In my opinion it’s totally worth the $34.

    Awesome features of Yep: you can tag articles and write a summary of them (however long you want), then you can search those tags and summaries to find what you need. This makes future referencing of articles for papers, etc. super easy.
    Downfalls: only for OSX & the files have to be in PDF format (but the Mac has software that comes with it to allow you to convert to PDF easily).

    For this design anthropology course we had to write an annotated bibliography of each article. So from week 1 I would read an article, write the annotated bibliography, then pull up the PDF in Yep, tag it with the appropriate tags and copy & past the bibliography into the description field. I use broad tags such as “history”, “introduction”, “methods”, “case studies”, “theory+analysis”, & “theory+approach”. I also use more specific tags i.e., “PD”, “CSCW”, “semiotics”, “McCracken”, “IDEO”, & “Wasson”.

    I’m currently in the process of outlining my paper for design anthropology. It will be about 10 pages long and cover “what is design anthropology”, “history of design anthro”, “common methods”, “common theories of approach”, “common theories of analysis”, “how design anthro is different from academic anthro”, “how design anthro is beneficial to design” and the “pro’s and con’s of design anthro”. If this seems like a lot of topics, it is, but each topic will only have about half a page or so. For each topic I use the search feature on Yep to see which articles I should work from. As I write I’m realizing which tags should be added or removed from certain articles and adjusting accordingly. Yep is making the process of writing a paper that references 40 articles super, duper easy!

    I love the new version of Yep so much that I’ve gone back through my old PDFs and tagged them too. Maintaining the PDFs once a week this summer (adding them, tagging them, & writing the description) was so easy that I will continue this process moving forward.

    I’m off to California, but I leave you with this funny comic

    25 Jun

    I’m headed out to California for two weeks. If you’re interested, you can follow my adventure on my Twitter feed if you are interested. I’ve also added the Twitter app on my facebook page.

    Also, if you haven’t checked out PhD (Piled Higher & Deeper) comics, you really, really should; it’s hilarious and a great way to waste time. Their latest comics has to be one of my all time favorites and I think most of you will get a kick out of it too. LINK

    “Applying Linguistic Anthropology in the Classroom & Beyond” is up at SfAApodcasts.net

    21 May

    “Applying Linguistics in the Classroom & Beyond” is up at SfAA podcasts.net. This is the last podcast to be published from the 2007 SfAA meeting. We’ll have one more blog post- but there isn’t an audio recording to go with it.

    This particular podcast is of a session that I participated in at the conference. I was asked last minute to present and agreed… the session had already been selected to be recorded, so I had to agree (it would be a little hypocritical for me to do the podcasts and decline to be recorded ;)

    Update: Batts’ no longer being persued by Wiley for copyright issues

    26 Apr

    Shelley Batts received an email from the Director of Publications at SCI saying that the threats of legal action from Wiley regarding copyright violations was a “misunderstanding” and a mistake on the part of a junior member of staff and that they are happy to see her publishing the chart and graph.

    I find it to be entertaining (and very, very sad) that the Director of Publications felt the need to blame the “misunderstanding” on a junior staff member. It’s a feeble attempt on Wiley’s part to redeem themselves after wide-spread criticism around the web. But, the real point, is that Batts doesn’t have to worry about the big-bad publisher coming to get her ;)

    Update: Smokers as a Subculture and Smoking as a Social Tool/SfAA presentation

    26 Apr

    I fixed the links to my paper and powerpoint from my presentation at the SfAA this year. Thanks Lorenz for pointing out the links were broken!

    My session at the SfAA was one of the two that did not record properly. We think we might be able to fix the recording (4/26/07 update: we did fix it and it will be uploaded in a few weeks), but I’m going to go a head and post my paper and powerpoint slides.

    This was my undergrad research and thus was not run through the IRB. To this end, you shouldn’t cite it. I wanted to continue (or start over) with this research this summer, but have decided against it because I’ve quit smoking. I think that the PI really would either need to be a smoker (to get “in” with the community) or be somebody that has smoked and isn’t worried about wanting to start again.

    Either way, I hope that someone takes this idea as inspiration and continues the project because it is important. A lot can be learned by such a study. One of the comments in our Q&A session was that if we could learn why college aged (freshmen) start smoking than we might be able to implement a substitution to give them an alternative to smoking. The example was that if freshmen start smoking to have an excuse to hang out in the crowded smoking room and segue into others’ conversations and meet people than an alternative might be introduced, i.e. crowded game room to serve as a hangout and meet people space.

    The importance of not reproducing aspects of academia and politics that you disagree with.

    25 Apr

    About an hour ago I read a post on Afarensis about Shelley Batts’ legal troubles with Wiley over one of her blog posts in which she explains, or rather writes about, data presented in a Wiley journal. The specific aspect of her post that is (wrongly) in question by Wiley is the chart and graph in the post.

    Essentially what Batts is doing is providing free advertising of the data in the article and ultimately for the authors and publisher. In my opinion, and the opinions of many of the commenters on various blogs, there is nothing wrong with what she has done. She presented the data, the chart, the graph and offered some commentary. She didn’t slander the data or anyone associated with it, nor did she take credit for their work. However, it appears as though some folks at Wiley disagree with her use of a chart and graph in the post. In my opinion, Wiley really, really should find better ways to use their resources, rather than bullying a PhD candidate at U of M into taking down visual elements that support her blog post that was dedicated to an article in their journal. It’s absolute silliness.

    So what does the “The importance of not reproducing aspects of academia and politics that you disagree with” part of the blog post mean? Well, it is in reference to myself. My initial reaction was to get up on my soap box (see above) and shout about how I feel this is completely ridiculous. However, before I could login to my blog I had a thought; “what could this mean for me?”. Now, I know that this is totally selfish and I now realize that it was actually completely out-of-character for me. BUT it happened and I want to share the rest of the process. In a hypothetical situation, what could jumping into a role of advocate for a fellow blogger (I don’t know her- but aren’t we all in this together :) against a publisher mean? Well, it could make a publisher mad at me (they are clearly not busy doing real things, but rather cruising the blogosphere for little guys to pick on).

    Aspects of the habitus of academia are to accede to bureaucracy, abide by the “rules”, and to get through grad school without pissing anyone off. I’ve never been very good at doing any of these things- reason #1 why I’m in an online program… to stay as far away from the academy as I can. So, why should I start being mindful of these things now? What’s really on the line?

    My conclusion; I’m not going to censor myself in order to stay under the radars of the more-powerful than I. It’s unlikely that this post would draw such attention- so it’s really the principle of the matter. By censoring myself, by being mindful of the ways of academia that I disagree with, and giving in- I’m reproducing those qualities. How will anything in academia (the bad of course, not the good) change if we surrender and reproduce those qualities? And, most importantly to me, how will I live with myself if I become a “reproducer” of these qualities?

    Another passing thought before I end this self-reflection, I’ve never branded the podcast project as an open access project for fear that people may misunderstand the movement, shy away from the project, and (at worst) shut the project down. Although my intent for the project is by no means to start the movement within anthropology, I avoided the mentioning of it (after I realized that it does indeed have a small bit to do with it) for strategic reasons, with the thought that if “open access” was associated with the podcasts people might disapprove of it. In a way it was a very political thing to do- and again, out of my character. Blah. I need to take more moments of reflection if I’m going to stay true to myself in the very influential world.

    Subculture of Smokers/Smoking as a Social Tool (SfAA presenation paper)

    12 Apr

    My session at the SfAA was one of the two that did not record properly. We think we might be able to fix the recording, but I’m going to go a head and post my paper and powerpoint slides.

    This was my undergrad research and thus was not run through the IRB. To this end, you shouldn’t cite it. I wanted to continue (or start over) with this research this summer, but have decided against it because I’ve quit smoking. I think that the PI really would either need to be a smoker (to get “in” with the community) or be somebody that has smoked and isn’t worried about wanting to start again.

    Either way, I hope that someone takes this idea as inspiration and continues the project because it is important. A lot can be learned by such a study. One of the comments in our Q&A session was that if we could learn why college aged (freshmen) start smoking than we might be able to implement a substitution to give them an alternative to smoking. The example was that if freshmen start smoking to have an excuse to hang out in the crowded smoking room and segue into others’ conversations and meet people than an alternative might be introduced, i.e. crowded game room to serve as a hangout and meet people space.

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