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Post interview debrief- second participant

December 15, 2010

Sunday December 12th I had my second interview with a research participant. It lasted close to 90 minutes.

After this interview, I felt a sudden pressure to “get it right’. By that I mean I am aware of the responsibility I have to accurately represent my participants, their thoughts, experiences and perceptions. I want to do everything I can to ensure that what I end up with is an accurate reflection of what they are telling me.

I also have this fear that what I will end up with has no more insight than a well constructed blog post about Personal Learning Networks. It seems that those who are involved with PLN activities at some point write a blog post about their PLN activities. Some of these that I have read are very well done. In the end, i hope that this research will have something of value to the community.

There is a bit of a rub here in that, as I am doing the interviews, I am aware that my role is to be the naive participant, all experiences and perceptions of the phenomenon are bracketed away. So, I find I am asking somewhat naive questions, and asking for clarifications on concepts and terms I already understand. For example, both participants have gone on at length about hashtags and how those can be triggers for connections and conversations. I am very aware of how hashtags work, yet find myself stepping back and asking some basic questions about this activity. I have found this somewhat frustrating in that I feel it is adding information that needs to be there, but that I am already quite aware of. I won’t know until I dig deeper into the analysis if, by asking clarifying  questions of the mechanics of how certain Twitter functions work, there is anything valuable in those exchanges that will add to my understanding of the research question.

A couple of observations (and I am not sure if this is beginning to border on analysis and whether this is too early in the process to begin to say this, but I think my thoughts at this stage are important, at least in order to explicitly acknowledge them). First, both participants spoke about the importance of key people who assisted them in understanding how Twitter could be used as a tool for professional development (and I use that phrase intentionally as at this point, it seems that the term PLN is somewhat interchangeable with the phrase PLN. That is, the PLN could more likely be called a Professional Learning Network, instead of Personal). Could this “other person” be akin to Vygostky’s More Knowledgable Other (MKO)? I need to do some more exploration on MKO.

Second, the names of Canadians have popped up twice in the conversation. Canucks are well represented and thought of as forward thinking in this area.

The theorists who seem to be coming to the fore as I think about my topic are Bandura, Vygostky, Lave & Wenger. There also needs to be some acknowledgment of Siemen’s connectivism in the paper, as well as networked learning.

Tonight, I am preparing to send out another batch of invitations. I would like to have at least one more interview done before Christmas, and spend the Christmas break transcribing three interviews. Tonight I am going to increase the sample from 20 to 30 in the hopes that I can get a better response.

I have 2878 people left in my population sample. From this list I am pulling 30 random numbers using Research Randomizer. Here are the results (screenshot)

108, 281, 320, 343, 344, 441, 608, 616, 663, 777, 787, 869, 902, 918, 987, 998, 1425, 1440, 1515, 1696, 1865, 1890, 1955, 2032, 2043, 2419, 2438, 2629, 2796, 2821

From this list, I have 4 contactable participants. These have been sent emails.


From → Thesis Research

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