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Links to my published articles online
List of Publications with Full Citations

Adolescent Diary Weblogs and the Unseen Audience

Conversations in the Blogosphere: An Analysis "from the Bottom Up". Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-38) Best Paper Nominee.

Weblogs as a bridging genre

Bridging the Gap: A Genre Analysis of Weblogs. Winner of the 2004 EduBlog Awards as best paper.

Common Visual Design Elements of Weblogs

Women and Children Last: The Discursive Construction of Weblogs

Time until my next publication submission deadline
27 March 2006 23:59:59 UTC-0500

Links to my conference papers online
The Performativity of Naming: Adolescent Weblog Names as Metaphor

Buxom Girls and Boys in Baseball Hats: Adolescent Avatars in Graphical Chat Spaces

Time until my next conference submission deadline
31 March 2006 23:59:59 UTC-0500

Adolescents and Teens Online Bibiliography
Last updated July 8, 2005.

Weblog and Blog Bibliography
Last Updated November 22, 2005.

My CiteULike Page

My Book2
New books are added but reading status is rarely accurate.

October 31, 2004

Another submission paper done and in the que

My International Communication Association (ICA) submission is completed and has been emailed out to the division coordinator. The only thing that feels better in your hand than a completed paper, is the acceptance letter that puts you in the conference or publication. This is my last individual submission for the calendar year. Now I buckle down on quals, of course giving some thought to conference papers that are due after the first of the year.

This week I plan on getting my house in order. The study is a complete disaster, as it usually is after I write a paper. I also need to start heading toward holiday cleaning, so the week or so before Christmas is not a huge dust(ing) fest. So now I'm off to get a wee bit of sleep before it officially becomes November and I have to surrender to the idea that winter is just around the bend.

Posted by prolurkr at 11:49 PM | TrackBack

October 30, 2004

CFP - The Cultural Studies Association (U.S.)

Tucson, Arizona
April 21-24, 2005

The Cultural Studies Association (U.S.) invites participation in its 3rd annual conference from all areas and on all topics of relevance to Cultural Studies, including but not limited to literature, history,
sociology, geography, anthropology, communications, popular culture, cultural theory, queer studies, critical race studies, feminist studies, postcolonial studies, media and film studies, material
culture studies, performance and visual arts studies.

The conference this year will feature a plenary and stream of panels on the theme "Sex, Race and Globalization," as well as plenaries on "The Current Conjuncture" and "Media Activism." Through the Sex, Race and Globalization stream, we seek to explore the imbrication of sexuality, gender and race with economic, political and informational processes across local, regional, national and transnational scales.

We welcome proposals for individual papers or fully constituted panels. Please submit all proposals to our website before our deadline of December 15, 2004.

If you have any questions or concerns, please e-mail us at: [email protected]

This year the conference will also feature a series of seminars. Seminars are small-group (maximum 15 individuals) discussion sessions for which participants write brief "position papers" that are read and circulated prior to the conference. The list of seminars and instructions for signing up for seminars will be available on our website soon.

Posted by prolurkr at 10:56 PM | TrackBack

A critical friend

At the The International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (IS_SoTL) conference I was present during a panel discussion where a conference attendee asked the presenter about the "role of a critical friend." The term grabbed me and I knew I had to spend a bit of time finding out what it meant. After some web searching I found the following definition and citation.

I have been blessed with a few wonderful critical friends who, through their prodding and reservoirs of insight, help me hone my arguments and craft my over all presentation to make the best use of my points, and often they simply keep my spirits up so I can continue working on whatever I am working on at the time. I value their input and hope that I come close to providing the same level of catalyst for their work as well.

I like the term "critical friend," someone whose input is critical to the process and from whom one can expect friendly criticism. Both very necessary to an academic life.

Posted by prolurkr at 10:29 PM | TrackBack

October 28, 2004

Call for abstracts - International Sunbelt Social Network Conference XXV

International Sunbelt Social Network Conference XXV
February 16 - 20, 2005
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Redondo Beach
Los Angeles, California

The International Sunbelt Social Network Conference is the official
conference of the International Network for Social Network Analysis
(INSNA). Located in scenic Redondo Beach, CA, Sunbelt XXV will provide an
interdisciplinary venue for social scientists, mathematicians, computer
scientists, ethnologists, and others to present current work in the area
of social networks. Workshops and conference sessions will allow
individuals interested in theory, methods, or applications of social
network analysis to share ideas and explore common interests.

Conference Deadlines:

Abstract Submission
December 1, 2004
Hotel Reservation
December 15, 2004 (for the conference rate)
Conference Registration
January 1, 2005 (for the early registration rate)

Workshops, Wednesday, February 16

Keynote Address, Thursday, February 17
Ronald Breiger Professor of Sociology, University of Arizona
Social Networks and the Spinozan Problem of Order^

Welcome Banquet, Thursday, February 17

Freeman Award Presentation, Friday, February 18
James Moody Associate Professor of Sociology, The Ohio State University
(Title to be announced)

Additional Events:

Rationality and Society Miniconference
Wednesday, February 16

More Details:

To find out more about the conference visit click here.

To submit an abstract click here.

To make hotel reservations:

Conference Rate: $159/night
Student Rate: $129/night
Make reservations by December 15, 2004 to receive the conference

800-368-9760 or 1-310-318-8888

Be sure to specify the Social Network Conference when making your
reservation so it counts toward the conference

Or via the web. Enter group booking code A2S.

To register for the conference:

Visit the INSNA website.

Potential session topics include (but are not limited to):
* Dynamic Networks
* Diffusion & Social Influence
* Health
* Inter-organizational Relations
* Sampling
* Network Data Collection
* Network Methods and Models
* Collective Action and Social Movements
* Personal Networks
* Social Support
* Small Worlds
* Statistical Models
* Visualization

Social Activities

* Phil Bonacich will lead a leisurely bike ride along the miles of bike
paths on the beach to Marina del Rey for lunch and back on Saturday
morning (10am-1pm). Bikes are available for rental across the street from
conference hotel.

* Whale watching will be available after the conference
on Sunday for all those interested in seeing the majestic California gray
whales' migration to Mexico. Cost: $15/person.

* No-host happy hours in the lobby of the conference hotel every evening,
5:30 - 7:30 pm * Hospitality suite open every evening, 9:30-11pm

About the Crowne Plaza Hotel:

This five-story hotel is across the street from the Pacific Ocean and King
Harbor Marina: 2 blocks from Redondo Beach shops and restaurants, and 7
miles south of Los Angeles International Airport. Spacious guestrooms
feature private balconies. Nearly every guestroom offers full or partial
views of the ocean or marina. An enormous rooftop deck with a pool and a
tennis court looks out to the ocean and marina. A full-service European
spa and salon offers everything from hair conditioning to seaweed mud

Sunbelt 2005 Organizing Committee:

Local Arrangements: Tom Valente ([email protected]), Rebecca Davis ([email protected])

Program: Katherine Faust ([email protected]), Carter Butts ([email protected])

Posted by prolurkr at 06:58 PM | TrackBack

International Communication Association (ICA) Communication & Technology CFP

The due date is getting close for this one, but it's a biggy. Papers are due November 1, 2004.

Papers max 25 pages.

Communication & Technology
Joseph B. Walther
Cornell University
Phone: (607) 255-2798
Fax: (607) 254-1322
Email: [email protected]
The Communication and Technology Division is committed to excellence in research and theory development regarding the causes, consequences, and/or context of old, present, and new communication technologies. Studies may focus on the intraindividual, interindividual, small group, organizational, nation-state, or international levels of analysis. Manuscripts need not be limited to classical communication paradigms. Manuscripts that use disciplinary foci, including, but not limited to, economics, psychology, sociology, political science, information and computer science, and history, are welcomed. Likewise, all methodological approaches, including quantitative, qualitative, historical, critical, institutional, and humanistic, are encouraged. Manuscripts or panel proposals reflecting the conference theme will receive special consideration.

Posted by prolurkr at 06:34 PM | TrackBack

New category

I've added a new category for Call's for Paper's (CFPs) so I can post them and let you know what is catching my attention. Since I cross several disciplinary boundaries I may just be letting you know about a CFP that may be of interest.

Posted by prolurkr at 06:02 PM | TrackBack

October 27, 2004

Concept visualization rant

An issue has been rolling around in my head while I've written my last two papers and has been pressing to be released on the world. However it really needs a full paper on its own, one that will require much better theoretical grounding then I possess at the moment. So writing the full paper is at least a couple of years away. With that as background I have decided to lay out part of the problem here so I can silence the nagging voice, ranting really, in my head and move on with the work I need to get done.

Here goes:

As human beings it is very common for us to look at new ideas, technology, etc. compare them to their older antecedents and then slot them into a linear continuum between two older examples of similar phenomena. By so doing we position the new idea, technology, etc. as somewhat less then the exemplars that anchor the continuum.

As an example let's look at the oft seen comparison of face-to-face (f2f) communication with written communication that is used in media-richness discussions. Our basic model looks like:

We position these two exemplars as diametrically divergent and then analyze our new ideas, technology, etc. through comparison of the characteristics of the concepts that anchor our model exemplars in the continuum. In this case we can position Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) along the continuum [1].

So after our analysis our model looks something like this:

Therefore the text of our analysis becomes CMC is "sort of like" one or both exemplars. Creating an implied perfection of the exemplar and magnifying the "not quite" quality of the concept that has been slotted into the linear model.

I would like to propose that as researchers we rethink our reliance on linear models in most new media and communication issues as they oversimplify complex phenomena and create false comparisons that position the new media or communication technology as second class.

In my own research while I am forced to background some discussions with linear models so I echo the point of view found in published literature, I quickly try to move to more dimensional modeling that symbolizes the complexity of the ideas without making the ideas I am expressing overly complex and difficult for some of my audience to grasp.

I often start with a radial diagram that I think relays the relationships I want to initially express.

While the danger of creating a visual hierarchy continues to some extent in this version of a radial diagram found in Microsoft Word 2003, I believe the visual representation of the media in comparison to the phenomena rather than in comparison to each other is more appropriate.

[1] I am not debating the concept of media-richness or the placement of element on the continuum in this entry; rather I am limiting my discussion to the linear models we create during this type of analysis. For more information on media-richness I recommend any and all of the following reference: Daft and Lengel (1984), Trevino, Lengal, and Daft (1987), Dennis and Kinney (1998), and Ngwenyama and Lee (1997).

Reference List

Daft, Richard L. & Lengel, Robert H. (1984). Information richness: A new approach to managerial behavior and organization design. In B. M. Staw & L. L. Cummings (Eds.), Research in Organizational Behavior (Vol. 6 ed., pp. 191-233). Greenwich CT: JAI.

Dennis, A. R. & Kinney, S. T. (1998). Testing media richness theory in the new media: The effects of cues, feedback, and task equivocality. Information Systems Research, 9, 256-274.

Ngwenyama, Ojelanki K. & Lee, Allen S. (June, 1997). Communication richness in electronic mail: Critical social theory and the contextuality of meaning. MIS Quarterly, 21(2), 145-167. Available:

Trevino, L. K., Lengel, Robert H., & Daft, Richard L. (1987). Media symbolism, media richness, and media choice in organizations: A symbolic interactionist perspective. Communication Research, 14(5), 553-574.

Posted by prolurkr at 06:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

New additions to the prolurkr household

We have added two new kittens to our menagerie of indoor critters. Click on the picture for an entirely too large version of the shot. What can I say, I'm a owned by proud pets. *w*.

The cute guy looking straight into the camera is Nyx, he is named for the Greek goddess of night. Nyx is the runt of the litter from which both of them came. He is a sweet natured kitten with a serious inquisitive streak. Back when we were bottle-feeding the younger kittens Nyx would layout to his full length on my forearm and fall asleep.

The lovely lady who is to busy sleeping to be bothered by such trivialities as camera flashes is Hemera, she is named for the Greek goddess of daytime, it's pronounced "hay-meh'-rah". Hemera is partially hearing-impaired, though we found out she has hears some sounds when she jumped after the parakeets sang for the first time around the kittens.

These two, yes they are our last critters for awhile...a long while, join our 18 month old super-sized cats Persephone and China. Persephone is named for the Greek queen of the underworld. You probably gather we have a Greek theme going, but no not once I introduce you to China. China is named such because as a kitten she had the sweetest little china-doll...china the material not the nation...face. Now at 11-plus pounds and not at all a happy camper that there are kittens in her house, I have suggested to hubby that we rename her "Crabby Old Lady." I have, in the last 48 hours, received looks from my cat that one should just not experience from a beloved pet. I had no idea she even knew those kind of words.

Here is Persephone, on the left, during the demolition of our single full bathroom. Persephone is a long lean cat with subtle grey tabby strips, her under coat is buff. Oh and she is a 11 pounder so you KNOW when she decides to sit on your lap.

Her sister China, on the right, has the same coloring but that is where the similarities stop. China is a puff-ball cat. Her fur stands out from her rubenesque body making her look far larger then her 11+ pounds. I refer to her as the boneless cat because when she lies down she seems to flatten out and cover everything.

Posted by prolurkr at 09:56 AM | TrackBack

A comment and link about the online access of U.S. Presidential Candidates websites

This morning as I read the RSS feeds on my desktop client, I was struck by the metaphor found in the information presented on Jill Walker's blog. It seems that internet users outside the U.S. cannot access but they can access John Kerry for President.

Of course I can access both from my U.S. based computer, as could anyone else around the world who went there via a U.S. based page or server. Apparently the Bush campaign only wants to block the mildly curious, since it is not rocket science to figure out a way around a 403 error. LOL Oh wait...Bush...rocket science...I made a funny.

Jill talks a bit about Bush's pre-existing attitude toward the rest of the world and his handling of international relations. It's always interesting to read her, and other scholars overseas, comments on the U.S. political system.

The BBC has added a news story on the phenomena. Bush site bars overseas visitors.

Posted by prolurkr at 08:51 AM | TrackBack

October 26, 2004

Information Science in the news

So now I have joined the legions of folks this article says are creating meme's for meme. It's good to be part of the group. Click here for a good New York Times article on the topic of internet and meme's.

Posted by prolurkr at 08:59 AM | TrackBack

October 25, 2004

Top US judge treated for cancer

When I first read this BBC newfeed on Chief Justice William Rehnquist's illness I must admit that my thoughts did not immediately go out to him, rather they went to the rest of us. The first thing that ran through my head was "Please don't let Bush be in the position to make any high court appointments." I love my country and want to see us move forward not return to ideas that time and technology has passed by.

So on second thought I wish Justice Rehnquist well, or maybe that is still part of my first thought. Oh well whatever perspective you take, a speedy recovery sir.

Posted by prolurkr at 04:22 PM | TrackBack

October 24, 2004

Great new music - Jen Chapin Linger

During the last 3+ years I have often found myself often listening to my Harry Chapin music collection to provide me with reinforcement of some of my values...human dignity, beneficence, and reflexivity. Let's not even start on what I think Harry would have to say about the current political situation in the U.S.

Well yesterday after I left IS_SOTL I wandered into Border's looking for perscriptive books on web's a quals thing. Of course no trip to Border's would be complete without a tour of the record section. I picked up a new celtic collection Celtic Circle 2, John Mellencamp's Words & Music, and I picked up a copy of the Warren Zevon tribute album Enjoy Every Sandwich: The Songs of Warren Zevon.

I was debating on the Zevon tribute album. I love Zevon, Roland the Headless Thompson Gunnerand Werewolves of London are huge personal favorites. Gotta love both those songs they have such strong visual images created through the text. In a BBC 2 contest listeners voted Werewolves of London Greatest Opening Song Line. I debated on this one because I simply can not envision my enjoying Adam Sandler's rendition of Werewolves of London. Sandler is not someone I find funny...not the SNL stuff, the movies, or the recordings. So I started wandering the instore listening stations looking for a copy of the album so I could hear if Sandler made me violently ill. On the last pop/rock listening station I found Jen Chapin's Linger, under a note identifying her as Harry Chapin's daughter. I never did find a listenting station with the Zevon tribute so I put it down, I may yet buy it but not with this bunch, and added Jen Chapin.

So today I am listening to this album and I'm really enjoying it. It has a nice pop/rock/folk flavor that will work for me in many situations. I love finding something unexpected in the record bins...ok so they are now CD bins and no one has owned a record in a millenium or so. LOL

Posted by prolurkr at 01:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Panels attended at The International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference (IS_SOTL)

Following are the panels I attended at IS_SOTL. I will attached abstracts if I can garner access to them online.

Re-Examining the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning in the Disciplines Richard Gale, Panel Chair, (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching) Mick Healey (University of Gloucestershire) Robert Mathieu (University of Wisconsin–Madison) Mariolina Rizzi Salvatori (University of Pittsburgh) Respondent: Mary Huber (The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching)

Concurrent Session Technology Fluency in the Disciplines: Weaving Information Technologies into Student Learning in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Diane Sieber (University of Colorado at Boulder) Gauging Success and Guiding Improvement Through Faculty-Student Dialogue, Rae-Anne Montague (University of Illinois at Urbana -Champaign) Optimizing the Implementation of Technology for Teaching in Higher Education: An International Assessment of Key Factors, Gail Rathbun (Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne) Creating a New Curriculum from Scratch: Introduction to Informatics I101, Mehmet Dalkilic (Indiana University, Bloomington) Teaching and Learning with Web-Enhanced Technology, Craig Ross (Indiana University, Bloomington)

Weaving the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning into Students’ Academic Lives Cheelan Bo-Linn (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) Heidi Elmendorf (Georgetown University) Michael Loui (University of Illinois at Urbana -Champaign)

Concurrent Session Using Course Portfolios to Design Hybrid Courses, Jude Rathburn (University of Wisconsin-River Falls), Carolyn (Kelly) Ottman (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) Course Portfolios as Scaffolding for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Jennifer Robinson & Howard Rosenbaum (Indiana University, Bloomington) Use of a Course Portfolio as a Tool for Systematic Reflection on Teaching and Learning within an Introductory Science Class for Non-Majors, Simon Brassell (Indiana University, Bloomington)

Concurrent Session Focus, Locus, and Hocus Pocus: SoTL as an Intellectual Journey, Sharon Hamilton, Convener (Center on Integrating Learning; Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis) Investigation of Critical Thinking among College Students: Definition, Investigation, Results, and How being part of a SOTL Community Greatly Assisted this effort, Greg Kitzmiller (Indiana University, Kelley School of Business) Student-centered Learning and Changes in the Accounting Profession: Impact on a Classroom Projec, Ingrid Ulstad (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire) Quantifying Students Intellectual Growth and Writing Skills Progress: Unexpected Lessons and Transformative Findings Eric Metzler (Indiana University, Bloomington)

Inquiry Course Portfolios as Tools for Individuals and Institutions Doug Karpa-Wilson, Deanna Reising, Catherine Sherwood-Puzzello , Valerie O’Loughlin (Indiana University, Bloomington)

Posted by prolurkr at 11:48 AM | TrackBack

October 22, 2004

The International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference

I am spending the next couple of days attending panels at The International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (IS_SoTL) in Bloomington IN. After attending something like nine conferences since the first part of April across a variety of disciplines, it is nice to settle down and talk about teaching what we are learning.

The two main points I am carrying away from todays panels are:

1. 100 universities, in the U.S., educate 80% of the graduate students in the country. These students then become faculty at the nearly 4,000 U.S. colleges and universities.

2. Good teaching is finding out what your students have learned. Which is a research issue!

The idea that most of the graduate students are coming from that few schools truly amazed me. In other words we have a lot of undergraduate institutions but the bulk of the instructors at those institutions are come through the same, or a very similar, pipeline. This raises so many questions in my mind as to the teacher training given to these faculty members while they are students. It very much underlines why Teaching Certifications need to be in place to better serve all graduate students who think they want to teach.

The second point was made in a discussion about how one sells the value of SoTL to those faculty members who are research focused. I has always amazed me that teaching is held in low regard in so many academic organizations. I hark back to my American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the motto they often sight, "Study without reflection is a waste of time; reflection without study is dangerous" said by Confucius. To be successful on must be reflexive and analyze their own abilities to do whatever they are doing. To do this we must research...are our goals being met, if it is effect should it be continued with other groups, if it is not effect what should we do to change it, etc. This is the core of research...answering questions.

Posted by prolurkr at 03:44 PM | TrackBack

October 20, 2004

A cool new online photo toy

I am experimenting with a new photo annotation program called Fotonotes. I learned about this program from danah boyd's blog apophenia: making connections where none previously existed (link takes you to the post on her blog).

The tool lets you annotate photos so that you can embed the story within the image. I really like the concept and will be playing with it more. I have a pretty lame example posted on my photolog space I think this may be something I use when there is information embedded in the photos I post rather then to post pictures that are general images. We shall see how it goes. So, in the future, keep a eye out for images with links to the Fotonotes site.

Posted by prolurkr at 09:49 AM | TrackBack

October 19, 2004

Theory paper

The essay I am currently writing examines the way performance issues are resolved in blogs, while the discussion can apply to all blogs it is most closely aligned with diary blogs. The bib includes:

Bateson, Gregory (1972). Cybernetic explanation. In Steps to an Ecology of Mind (pp. 405-415). Chicago IL: The University of Chicago Press.

Bateson, Gregory (1979). Mind and nature: A necessary unity. New York: E. P. Dutton.

Benjamin, Walter (1968). The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction. In Hannah Arendt (Ed.), Illuminations (pp. 217-251). New York: Schocken.

Carr, Harvey A. (1925). Psychology: A study of mental activity. New York: Longmans.

Langellier, Kristin M. & Peterson, Eric E. (2004). Storytelling in Daily Life: Performing Narrative. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Mittelstaedt, Horst (1960). The analysis of behavior in terms of control systems. In Transactions of the Fifth Conference on Group Process, New York: Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation.

Thompson, Maurice & Thompson, Will H. (1879). How to train in archery. Personal Home Page of Marcelo Müller. Retrieved Oct. 13, 2004 from

Posted by prolurkr at 08:50 PM | TrackBack

Grouping pictures by trip

I have heard from several people that pulling up the "Travel...on the road again" category maxes out their browsers because of all the picture files. I'm not sure there is a total solution to this beyond moving my pics to something like Flickr which I prefer not to do. So I will be working on a links list that gives all related entries for a single trip. That way the reader can decide what part they want to view without having all the pictures I have ever taken flood their systems. Keep checking the sidebar for a new entry under the Category header, Travel by Trip.

Posted by prolurkr at 10:11 AM | TrackBack

October 18, 2004

Writing a theory piece verses a research based paper

I am working on what I hope is my first totally theory paper for a major conference. This paper is using many fewer citations then I normally put into my written work - less reliance on others- and many more of my own thoughts on the subject supported with examples from the phenomena in question - reliance on self. It's a totally different type of writing for me and I'm finding it interesting trying to balance the introduction of the concepts without going into far more detail then may be necessary.

As I sit here working through the wording of a particularly thorny section I feel like at any moment the "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy" voice will start booming over my shoulder - it's an old Saturday Night Live referent. All this means is that I'm spending far to much time alone with my own neurons.

Posted by prolurkr at 05:31 PM | TrackBack

October 17, 2004

My favorite cookbook

I love to cook but seem to take less and less time to do it as the years go forward. Today I picked up the makings for Catfish Creole, my own variation on Shrimp Creole from Edith and John Watts (1954). Jesse's Book of Creole and Deep South Recipes. New York: Viking Press. I picked up this slim volume 10 years ago at a discount book store. It was my first Creole cookbook and is still my best. The recipes are lovely to read as they include lots of background notes which tell a great story about a family and their staff. The book is out of print but is available in expensively online, click here for the Google search.

I found two of the recipes online I have tried neither of these but since I have never had a recipe failure from this book I encourage you to try them and let me know what you think. Catfish With Shrimp Sauce and Shrimp Remoulade.

Posted by prolurkr at 08:40 PM | TrackBack

Full citations page added for published articles

I have added a html page with the full citations for my published articles. I will be updating this page as necessary. Click here for access or from the sidebar under Full Citation List of Publications. Strikeout added October 20, 2004.

Leave it to me to completely forget about the pages that have been sitting without recent updates on my webpage So I corrected that oversight, updated the Publications page and have linked it to the blog sidebar. That should fix the problem. *S* Life is good.

Posted by prolurkr at 07:04 PM | TrackBack

October 16, 2004

The value of having a mutliple methodology tool chest

I have long railed against what I am now thinking of as methodological realism, the idea that there is only one methodology (or methodological stream) that gives the "right" and most useful answers. I have sat through presentations and defenses where significant portions of the questioning period were taken up with heated discussions of which methodology would have been more worthwhile than the one chosen by the author. These debates were not structured around say the methodology's ability to answer the question being asked, no they were much more philosophical debates about the rightness of one perspective verses the wrongness of another. The underlying and agonizing debate of qualitative verses quantitative methods or quantitative verses qualitative, depending on your perspective.

Long ago a professor told me that academics become more tightly bound to their methodologies then to their research areas. You see, we can change research areas but we tend to port our methodological perferences with us to the new venue. I pondered on this off and on for many years and decided that if I did make my dream come true and work toward a PhD I would do everything in my power to avoid this cliché. While I clearly have methodologies that I have used more often I am always trying to broaden my perspective by adding new tools to my personal methodological toolbox. As such I am constantly reading guides and articles on methodologies that are new to me or in areas where I want to garner new insight.

I am currently reading: McKee, Alan (2003). Textual Analysis : A Beginner's Guide. London: Sage. I have finished reading McKee's excellent first chapter discussing "What is Textual Analysis?" and want to share part of it with you. The chapter is arranged in a general question and answer format, that will make it very useful for the beginner it is targeting. The secton reprinted here spans pages 1 - 3.

What is textual analysis?

Textual analysis is a way for researchers to gather information about how other human beings make sense of the world. It is a methodology - a data-gathering process - for those researchers who want to understand the ways in which members of various cultures and subcultures make sense of who they are, and of how they fit into the world in which they live. Textual analysis is useful for researchers working in cultural studies, media studies, in mass communication, and perhaps sociology and philosophy.

Let's open with a straightforward description

What is textual analysis?

When we perform textual analysis on a text, we make an educated guess at some of the most likely interpretations that might be made of the text.

We interpret texts (film, television programmes, magazines, advertisements, clothes, graffiti, and so on) in order to try and obtain a sense of the ways in which, in particular cultures at particular times, people make sense of the world around them. And, importantly, by seeing the variety of ways in which it is possible to interpret reality, we also understand our own cultures better because we can start to see the limitations and advantages of our own sense-making practices.

Is that the only way to study texts?

Of course, I'm trying to make things simple here, and nothing is really that simple. This book only introduces one version of textual analysis. Academics who do 'textual analysis' actually practice a huge range of methodologies - many of which are mutually contradictory and incompatible (for a sense of this range see Allen, 1992) This book explains a form of 'textual analysis' whereby we attempt to understand the likely interpretations of texts made by people who consume them. This is not the only 'correct' methodology for gathering information about texts. Other approaches can also profuse useful information: no approach tells us the 'truth' about a culture. It's important to realize that different methodologies will produce different kinds of information - even if they are used for analysing similar questions.

For example, suppose you were interested in what the responses of television viewers to an imported American programme (like the 1980's soap opera Dynasty) have to tell us about how audiences make sense of the nation in which they live. You could try to find out this information in a number of ways. Professor Jostein Gripsrud includes two of these in his book The Dynasty Years (1995). On the one hand, Gripsrud draws on large-scale, numerical surveys about Dynasty viewers. He uses ratings information, for example, to tell us how many people watched the programme - finding out that in December 1988, 63 per cent of women and 57 per cent of the men surveyed in his home country of Norway had seen at least one episode of Dynasty in the season that had just run. This is useful information - but it doesn't tell us anything about the ways in which viewers watch this programme. It doesn't tell us how they interpreted it, what they thought it was about, what relationship they thought it had to their lives (Gripsrud, 1995: 113). Gripsrud goes on to investigate other issues in this large-scale survey asking viewers what they disliked about the programme. He points out that less than 25 per cent of the people surveyed thought that the program was 'unrealistic', for example. He uses this evidence to suggest that the viewers of the programme are likely to be relating it to their own life in some way (ibid.: 116).

But this methodology still doesn't produce any information about how these viewers might have been watching Dynasty. In order to produce large-scale, generalizable information, it is necessary to turn people into numbers. There's no other way to handle the information. So Gripsrud does this. He produces categories, and he fits people into them but this information doesn't give us any sense of how audience members actually use a programme. To produce that kind of information would require a different kind of approach, different kinds of questions - a quite different methodology. Gripsrud quotes an interview one viewer of Dynasty. The amounr of detail and specificity about this one viewer is amazing compared with her status in the official rating as a single unit:

[This Dynasty fan] is an intelligent bank employee in her thirties…her husband has a bit more education but…far less intelligence…her husband regularly beats her and humiliates her in carious other ways…When telling the interviewer about her sexual misery, the wife on her own initiative started talking about Dynasty 'You know, I'm quite romantic, you see…What I like to watch on television is Dynasty…I dream that I'd like some tenderness and compassion.' (ibid.: 156)

In the methodology of large-scale surveys, processed as numbers, such a view becomes, perhaps 0.1 per cent of the people who don't thing that Dynasty is 'unrealistic'. Using that methodology, the similarity of her position to that of other viewers is emphasized. But in an interview like this, it is the uniqueness of her situation that becomes obvious - the individual ways in which her own life experience informs the use she makes of this television programme, and the interpretations she produces of it.

These two different methodologies produce quite different pictures of television viewers and their interpretive practices. This is because the questions that you ask have an effect on the information that you find. Different methodologies produce different kinds of answers.

This is an important point. There isn't one true answer to the question of how many viewers watch this television programme. Depending on how you gather your information, you will find different answers. And you can't just fir these different pieces of information together like a jigsaw to produce the 'truth' about how viewers watch Dynasty. You can know in detail how a small number of people watch a programme; or you can know in a more abstract way how lots of people watch. But you can't really know both at once. If we simply interviewed every one of the millions of Norwegian Dynasty viewers in this way, we still wouldn't end up with a perfectly accurate picture of how they really interpret this text. Quite apart from the inconceivable cost of such a project, at some point it would be necessary to boil down the information, to look for patterns, to reduce viewers' experiences to the things that they have in common, in order to produce an account that wasn't twenty million words long. As soon as the information is boiled down into categories, it presents a different type of picture to that which emerges from the individual interview - but no less of a true one. Different methodologies produce different kinds of information - they might not even be compatible.


Allen, Robert C. (ed.) (1992). Channels of Discourse Reassembled: Television and Contemporary Criticism. Chapel Hill NC: University of North Carolina Press.

Gripsrud, Jostein (1995). The Dynasty Years: Hollywood Television and Critical Media Studies. London: Comedia/Routledge.

I think this is an excellent discussion of how methodologies, as nested perspectives and framing mechanisms, each give us ways of looking at our research and each produces meaningful information. But it can never be forgotten that no methodology is the "right" one to produce the "truth" about any phenomena involving complex systems such as people and their cultures, etc.

One of the realizations I have come to after sitting through many of the painful debates mentioned in the first paragraph of this post, is that purely quantitative researchers and purely qualitative researchers would say they begin their "research" at different points. The quantitative researcher, and here I am talking about the purist, would likely say he begins his research once a question has been formulated and the methodology set down, and data gathering is about to begin. The qualitative researcher would likely say that research begins when he starts to develop the research question through thought and reading prior to his articulation of a methodology.

The difference between these two perspectives, I believe, drives much of the debate between the two methodologies die-hard practitioners. As you can see the quantitative researcher has excluded the purely qualitative activities of question development from the realm of "research." While the qualitative researcher embraces question development as a research activity in much the same way the quantitative researcher see data gathering as "research."

Which way is better? As with most intellectual activities the answer is "It depends."

Posted by prolurkr at 10:39 PM | TrackBack

October 15, 2004

The multiplicity of weblog post(s) in cyberspace

I am thinking through the multiplicity of performances left by weblog editing. I roughed out the following outline which illustrates the variety of possibilities for the semi-permanent storage of weblog entries. This doesn't get into actual access of various versions so I didn't go through non-aggregating pings and feedreaders.

Tracks left by editing (depends on the tech tool)

What happens for aggregators that retrieve based on a ping when a new entry is created. If edits are subsequently made does this aggregator pull the revision or is the new ping ignored?

Have I missed anything?

Posted by prolurkr at 05:27 PM | TrackBack

October 12, 2004

Pre-Print available

Herring, Susan C., Scheidt, Lois Ann, & Wright, Elijah (2005) Weblogs as a bridging genre. Information, Technology, & People. Preprint is available on our group blog BROG: Blog Research on Genre aka blogninja. I will also link from the publication list on the sidebar once I have a final URL.

Posted by prolurkr at 09:53 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 11, 2004

AoIR Paper: Addressing the Unseen: The Audience Envisioned for Adolescent Diary Weblogs

I finally finished my AoIR paper and submitted it today. Addressing the Unseen: The Audience Envisioned for Adolescent Diary Weblogs is now online. Here is the temporary link I will convert it to the more permanent archive link as soon as I have the AoIR URL.

Posted by prolurkr at 06:35 PM | TrackBack

October 08, 2004

September Advisory Committee Update

I'm running behind a bit this month what with conferences and travel, so here is this September's Advisory Committee Update.

Posted by prolurkr at 10:11 AM | TrackBack

Dissertation Defense - Yung-Rang (Yung-Rae) "Laura" Cheng

Later today Yung-Rang (Yung-Rae) "Laura" Cheng will be defending her dissertation Thoughts, Feelings, and Actions: Quantitative Comparisons of Interactions and Relationships among Factors in College Students’ Information Seeking, the PowerPoint presentation for her defense is available here. I will not be attending the defense, time is an issue since I work until 2:00pm. Also the books on my desk are calling out to me "You want to be a candidate someday then you better spend more time with me."

I wish Yung-Rae well and know that this step in the process will breeze by. Very shortly we will be referring to her as Dr. Cheng, as it should be.

Posted by prolurkr at 09:38 AM | TrackBack

October 06, 2004

Who is this person they think is me?

This evening I sat in a 2.5 hour class to remind myself of the SPSS basics. I've used both SPSS and SAS over the years, SPSS 1 was the first analysis program I put my paws upon a long time ago. But like most computer programs if you don't use it regularly you lose the association between menus and the actions you want to perform. Well since I was not a fresh learner I tended to scamper ahead of the class and divert my attention to all the list of things the instructor said not to do like email and web surfing.

During one of my surfing periods I ran a search on "Professional-Lurker." Well the results are always interesting and merit some comment here. You see someone, during the early days of this blog, listed me (it?) on a website as a "Doctoral Candidate at SLIS Indiana University." While someone else linked P-L from the Professors Who Blog list. So I have two false identities propagating across the web as lists are lifted and relisted on new websites.

Let me set the record straight. I am a doctoral student at SLIS IU. Which means I have completed classes but have not defended my quals paper as of yet. At SLIS we do quals a bit differently in that we write a lengthy literature review on a topic we select with our committee. Once finished, and you know how vague that term is if you have done PhD work, we defend and the entire faculty of the school votes on our acceptance to candidacy. I hope to move through this process and defend fairly shortly, more on that as I go along.

As for the "Professor" moniker, if I have not completed my PhD program I can hardly be called professor. LOL Personally I'm quite happy with being an adjunct for now. Gives me the freedom I need to get my quals and diss completed so I can grow up and be a real girl.

So whoever those other Professional-Lurker's are they are not the real genuine article...cause that is me.

Posted by prolurkr at 11:48 PM | TrackBack

October 01, 2004

Excellent response on genre and weblogs

I am reposting this listserv posting with permission of the author John Walter. The post is in response to a previous thread, on the techrhet listserv, questioning "what is a book?" Among the list of artifacts in question are a hand-written diary, a comic book, a catalog, and a unpublished paper-based manuscript. Are these books?

This reply caught my eye because of much of the rhetoric I've heard and read in the last 9 months about genres and blogs. You can see it in the posts of academic blog and in the definition of weblogs used in academic papers, and you can hear it at conferences in the presentations and discussion all of these forums present a yes/no dichotomy of genre and weblogs. In essence the argument is weblogs are more then one thing therefore no one should talk about genre and weblogs, or weblogs are based upon specific technologies (Movable Type, Blogger, LiveJournal, etc.) each with separate genres specific to their environments.

As Alex Halavais so rightly said at AoIR last week, academics need to step away from their personal blogs and really take a long hard look at what nonacademics are doing with the technology. In other words, what is the average blogger doing, talking about, thinking, performing, and constructing.

Take some time to think on Walter's comments and posit your own thoughts on the topic.

Posted by prolurkr at 09:59 AM | TrackBack