Two months ago, roughly, I started an experiment* on here. This experiment was my summer research project which was a college funded experiment. This meant that I had to present what I wanted to research to other people, have that proposal approved, take an online ethics class (yes you can take ethics online, don’t get me started on the incongruity of it all), accept the award when it was finally given, and then start the research.
I did not do this alone. Paul Zube, a name you might recognize if you are a long time reader, and/or took the survey, who is a good friend and professor was my mentor. He was the one that suggested that I give research a try. He is the one responsible for directing the research and making sure that I actually learn something (shocking I know, but I have learned much). At the college he is a communications adjunct in real life he is a researcher and my friend. Since I know he reads this, thank you without you this would not have happened.
So what was this research?
Simply put the difference between written text and spoken text-including but not limited to my reactions to the process of creation and your reactions to the product as readers.
Did that make sense?
I didn’t think so. Sounds like Star Trek babble to me. 🙂
Here is a break down:
1. Using Dragon Speaking Naturally software I created blog posts.
2. These blog posts alternated between Nate and Life on a semi-regular schedule.
3. I kept a journal of my experiences with Dragon Speaking Naturally. There is a page that says nothing but FUCK! in large letters. The software eventually became second nature, but in the beginning it was very rough.
4. I collected all of the posts written and spoken along with all of the comments made on the blogs.
5. At some point we noticed that nobody seemed to be seeing a difference or at least not saying anything to me about a perceived difference. In an effort to shake things up all spoken posts went up unedited. Previously spoken posts were edited using the software which was very hit or miss. For example I still have not gotten capitalization of words down.
6. While this was going on Paul was finding articles for the literature review portion of the paper. This was a lot more difficult and time consuming than either of us expected. Why? We may be one of the first people to do research on this subject. Which means that where most literature reviews consist of previous research, why we feel that that research applies, what we are doing different, and what we learned. Our literature review consists of some theories on cognition and writing, lurking behavior of bloggers (which will be a Building A Better Blogger post soon), and some bits about not yelling at the Dragon Speaking Naturally software (true story).
6a. The literature review was my first experience with this and was very frustrating. From my POV if we are the first we don’t need a literature review as we are creating the literature for the next person-hopefully ME! Prior experiences with research were all self-driven and motivated. I like to dive deep into a subject, immerse myself, read voraciously, ponder, and follow the research trail where it goes-which has lead to a book on Japanese-Asian History before. This was not the same and thus frustrating.
7. A survey was created. The survey that some of you took.
And here we are.
Starting next week we begin to analyze the data. The data consists of:
1. My journal.
2. The written and spoken posts.
3. All of the comments, likes, and emoticons.
4. The results of the survey.
Then in 19 days, I give an 8 minute presentation on what we/I learned. Then…well according to Paul there have been enough questions generated from this research that I could take it through to a PHD and beyond. Given that when I started out I wanted to get my brain scanned I think I have a ways to go. A paper will be written, but does not have to be finished by the time of the presentation, and sent off to various conferences for me to present to other people.
Allow me to wrap this up:
Thank you again to Paul. I know I may not have been the best researcher that you could have hoped for, as this is not how I do research, but I have learned a lot and had fun. I am more than interested in taking the questions that came out of this further. I have had fun and I have learned a lot more than even I expected.
A special thank you to Seattlepolychick, as her motorcycle accident many moons ago was what started all of this.
A special thank you to Mrs. Fever as she provided the much needed inspiration and advice to me which allowed me to write the proposal that got accepted.
Thank you to everyone who took the survey.
Finally, some of you may have questions as always I am open to them. 🙂
* I am usually running one or more experiments (read interviews) on here.