Although I am still collecting data from my research site, I’ve started to think about how to organize and write my thesis. For those of you who are unfamiliar with my blog, I have been doing research in Second Life for my thesis since April.
My data collection has three different phases:
- Phase I – included detailed observations and field notes of classes, events, and chat logs from my site. In this phase, the intent was to understand the site, the community, and the activities that were happening at this institution in Second Life. I then began to develop a coding scheme to analyze my data and to develop a learning model from my analysis.
- Phase II – I am currently in phase II of data collection, which includes surveys on what people do, and how they learn in Second Life, as well as detailed interviews with community members. During this time, I’ve started to interview different people within my community to understand their experiences and perspectives. These data are also coded, but with the intent to further develop my learning model and to refine the patterns that I am seeing. At this stage, I’m also testing for variations in my data, exceptions, and alternative explanations. In other words, my data collection and analysis is intended to further develop and test the validity of my learning model.
- Phase III – Next month, I will be in the final phase of data collection. During this time, I will be rigorously testing my model, and deliberately looking for instances where perhaps my model does not hold up. I’ll also start the member-checking process – whereby, I will share my findings and observations with community members to see whether what I have learned and observed is an accurate representation of their learning experiences.
During my current, Phase II, of data collection, I’ve conducted three interviews. I’ll continue to contact interview people throughout the month. At the same time, I’ll be analyzing the transcriptions that I gather from these data, and comparing them with and against my survey data as well as data from Phase I!
As far as the big picture… there are 96 more days left before my November 30th deadline to get my first dissertation draft completed. That leaves me with 14 weeks left, and my goal this week is to write a draft of Chapter 4, which is the methods chapter of my thesis.