Writing your dissertation seems like the perfect time to learn new software, no? As Laura mentioned, she’s starting to use NVivo for her analysis, and I’m doing the same. It’s a new program for our lab, but already it looks very powerful, combining multiple types of data within the same project. For me, that’s audio, video, and transcripts of course, but I’m also finding that I will be able to link the imagery that I used probably to particular parts of the transcript. That means that I will likely be able to connect those easily in the actual dissertation write up. For me, that could prove incredibly useful as I have so many images that are virtually the same, yet subtlely different, what with the topic and level of scaffolding varying just slightly. I don’t think describing the “levels” of scaffolding in words will be quite the same. It may mean a lot of color images for my dissertation printing, though. Hm, another thing to figure out!

I’m also diving into using the new eyetracking tools, which are also powerful for that analysis, but still tricky in terms of managing licenses across computers when I’m trying to collect data in one place and analyze it in another. We’re certainly epitomizing free-choice learning in that sense, learning in an on-demand fashion to use tools that we want to learn about in order to accomplish specific tasks. One could just wish we had had real data to use these tools with before (or money to purchase them – NVivo and StudioCode, another powerful coding tool for on-the-fly video coding, are not cheap). Between that and the IRB process, I’m realizing this dissertation process is even more broadly about all the associated stuff that comes with doing research (not to mention budgeting, scheduling, grant proposing …) than it is about even the final project and particular findings themselves. I’m sure someone told me this in the beginning, but it’s one of those you don’t believe it until you see it sorts of things.

What “else” have you learned through your research process?

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