What Was The Summer Research Project?

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.


13 thoughts on “What Was The Summer Research Project?

  1. This was a very good, and informative post. I think it is awesome that you have a mentor like that. I know how helpful you have been to me in life and in writing. Keep up all the good work man!

  2. Very interesting! I wonder if I guessed correctly on the survey.
    1) Did you write the post first and then read it into the software?
    2) Did you have a strong suspicion we would respond differently to the transcribed posts?
    3) I think posts and comments have gone down, summer provides me with less time and less opportunity to comment (it’s taken three fits and two peanut butter and honey sandwiches to make this comment)

    1. ankoku1331

      1. All spoken posts were spoken directly into the computer. I did not write any of them down first. This was part of early problems.
      2. I had hoped that someone would have noticed and said something. That is how this project came about I noticed on someone else’s blog and asked.
      3. This summer has seen a ton of bloggers flee (yes flee), a ton just quit, and a ton more disappear. (I went from following 200 blogs down to 78 due to the fleeing, quitting, and disappearances).

      1. 1) did you have an outline at least? It’s hard to compare the two thought processes because of the different parts of the brain involved (ahhh hence the brain scan) in both types of communication. I really wish I paid more attention now. The daily posts were too much for me to keep up with.
        I’m really curious if you found it easier to make a certain word count with the voice transcription software. Like, “whoa that was hard to make 500 words of complete thoughts.”

        People who spend most of their time online vs people like you who seem to balance real life and online life are going to be such different participants. Okay I’m going to go forever, better stop now.

        This is making more sense, how you seem to be on to something…very excited for you Nate!

      2. ankoku1331

        1. No outline. I don’t outline my written posts so I did not outline my spoken posts. In both cases I have an idea, I ponder the idea for anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks and then create content.

        For me at least initially it was very hard to use Dragon. It felt awkward to be talking to my computer along with having to watch everything to see if it was even understanding me. However, by the end I was able to create blog posts without too much problem. There were topics or types of topics that were much harder to do with spoken than written, for example anything technical.

        Thank you. Keep asking questions I am enjoying sharing what I have been doing and will make this upcoming presentation easier for me.

      3. I oftentimes use my phone voice transcribe function (to text or create notes on future posts) but it is so frustrating. My fingers move way faster so I get the complete thought out before I move on to the next. My phone won’t keep up so I get half thoughts out, disrupts the “flow”…

      4. ankoku1331

        That was a similar problem I was having with the spoken posts, I would either be so focused on what the software was doing that I would lose my train of thought or I would be thinking ahead and disrupted or I would have to make a correction which would take multiple attempts and thus disrupt my train of thought. There are several spoken posts that ended in mid-sentence or thought.

      5. ankoku1331

        I’m not sure. I tend to be, especially of late, proactive: If some says they are done then I remove their links and un-follow their blog. Now that I think of it there are few people who no longer have blogs but still interact on WordPress. I probably didn’t answer your question well.

      6. That answers it, I’m pretty sure I’m just getting unfollowed by at least one follower every Friday and one every Saturday. Now I’m just going to tell myself its fine and not everyone has to like me. 🙂 I need candy….

  3. Ah, yes, Dragon Bleeping Naturally. The first time I used that trash software it was still just called Dragon Speaking (there was nothing natural about it). The Student Support Services staff at the college I worked at wanted to load the software onto a computer in the lab where I worked. I had to sit down and “train” the thing (because none of the people in SSS could be bothered with it despite the fact they were setting this up for “their” students). Dealing with that software for an hour a day for two weeks (just to get the thing up to something like 100 words) was a real chore. Hopefully you’re working with the software in a reasonably quiet room. The computer we had it installed on was out in the open where every noise from the first floor below us, the second floor we were on, and the third floor above was focused on the mic. So while I’m sitting there saying, “Go home” for the training, the computer is picking up, “We eat at McDonald’s today!” from some student yelling at his buddy down the hall.

    Of course, DS translated it as, “E t Dunles day.”

    1. ankoku1331

      Sounds like, aside from the quiet part, things are a lot better for the software. Translation was more good than bad. The correction methods worked once I understood them. Not saying it was a joyride as there were some very frustrating moments, but more positive than I expected after reading lots of reviews before buying.

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