My dissertation is slowly rising up from the pile of raw data. After crunching survey data, working on checking transcriptions and of course working some inevitable writing this month, I’m starting the process of coding my video observations of docents interacting with visitors. I’ll be using activity theory and multimodal discourse analysis to unpack those actions, and attempt to decipher the interpretive strategies the docents use to communicate science.

This is the really interesting part for me here because I finally get the chance to break down the interpretive practice I’ve been expecting to see. However, what I’m still trying to work out at the moment is how micro-level I should go when it comes to unpacking the discourse and action I’ve observed. For example, in addition to analyzing what is said in each interaction, how much do I need to break down about how it’s said? For potential interpretative activities, where does that activity begin and end? There’s a lot of decisions to be made here, to which I need to go back to my original research questions for. I’m also in the process of recruiting a couple of additional researchers to code a sample of the data for inter-rater reliability of my analysis.

I’ve also been starting the ball rolling for some potential member check workshops with similar docent communities. The idea is to gather some feedback on my findings with these communities in a couple of months or so. I’ve been looking in to docent communities at varying aquariums in both Oregon and California.

So far so good!

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