Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Reflections on 2013
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Research ethics: Check list for regulatory ethics
I'm in the process of writing the chapter on ethics. This feels like quite a responsibility to get right! Each section of the chapter will end with a series of questions which students can use to reflect on their decisions made at different parts of the research process.
Here are the questions which I have drafted for the section on 'regulatory ethics'. Are there any other questions about regulations that I should include?
- · Are you carrying out your work in a context which requires your project to be approved by an institutional committee or review board?
- · Will you be collecting data which is subject to data protection or copyright legislation?
- · Have you consulted the best practice guidelines for your discipline?
- · What ethical decisions did other researchers make about similar projects, and was this satisfactory?
- · Is the material you want to study governed by site-specific regulations? Do these regulations restrict how you represent yourself, interact with others, collect or reuse data from the site?
- · Who are the people in your academic community with whom you could discuss ethical decision-making?
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Teaching Creative Writing Using Wikipedia
We've been discussing how to write and publish material online, using Wikipedia as a case study.
The students have chosen a controversial topic, written their own version, have compared this with Wikipedia's version of the same topic and are now editing each other's work.
The topics they have chosen include: Sir Jimmy Savile, Same Sex Marriage in the UK, the Soham Murders, the Watergate Scandal, and Mormonism.
We're using this experience to generate a list of top issues that emerge when (1) Writing about controversy and (2) Editing each other's work. Here is a summary of the topics they raised:
Issues related to Writing about Controversy:
- How much can you rely on your reader's knowledge?
- It's hard to stay neutral because the cases are very big and well publicised. This influences your opinion.
- The reliability of 'experts' can be questionable.
- It is difficult not to give undue weight to particular aspects of a case (in terms of focus and sidelining other material)
- You need an explanation of key terms: jargon can exclude fair representation of a topic.
- Repetition can be difficult to avoid - and repetition can be dangerous because you can obscure details and repetition can be used as a rhetorical effect which sways audience response.
- The publication or use of controverisal material might have long term implications (e.g. what if Maxine Carr's child found they were studying the Wikipedia article for the Soham murder in class?)
- If you are quoting newspapers, how you contextualise these can vary in terms of how biased the citation might appear.
- It's difficult to provide enough information for your audience without overwhelming them with detail.
Tips for editing a non-fictional account of a controversial event:
- Don't overload the lead section with detail: include the key facts first.
- Be careful about how you structure giving information: think about how sections can be used to organise definitions and topics, and give focus to the subject matter.
- Make sure that the information is logical and chronological: that it does not jump around too much.
- Make sure that the opening sentence makes the topic clear from the outset.
- Use signposting judiciously to guide the reader
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Article on Counter narratives and Wikipedia
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Google Plus and Student Feeback
Labels: Googleplus student feedback
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
It's all about you? Celebrating a year of BBC Woman's Hour on Twitter
So the linguist in me couldn't resist taking a peek at the tweets @bbcwomanshour have posted over the last year and seeing how their vital statistics matched up with some of the patterns I've observed in celebrity, corporate and 'ordinary' use of Twitter. And this is what I found:
Followers v. Following:
The profile information for @bbcwomanshour lists 26,354 followers and 2,590. Like celebrities and 'ordinary' Twitter members, there are more followers than those that @bbcwomanshour follows. But the scale of the asymmetry is a ratio 10:1 (followers: following), so closer to the asymmetry that you see on average between 'ordinary' Twitter members (6:1), rather than the disparity on celebrity accounts (60:1).
Types of Tweet:
But that belies the way that @bbcwomanshour seems to be using Twitter, which is not only to promote upcoming features, but to ask the audience for their opinions. If we look more closely at the pronouns that appear in the tweets, the updates use the pronouns 'you' and 'your' (that focus on the audience) far more frequently than 'us', 'our' or 'we' (that focus on the show's producers and presenters). And this difference is especially obvious in @bbcwomanshour if we compare it with the way corporate accounts, celebrities and 'ordinary' members of Twitter talk, and if we compare it with large offline corpora (like the British National Corpus or the Contemporary Concordance of American English).
High frequency words and Hashtags
It's not surprising that the most frequent lexical items that appear in the word list for the @bbcwomanshour tweets are topped by 'tomorrow' (which is usually followed by information about an upcoming feature) and 'women' (which appears three times as frequently as 'men') and signals the main themes that the features address. When we look at the hashtags which are used in tweets we can see that this focus on the show and its featured themes is still present: 8% of all the hashtags used by @bbcwomanshour were directly making the term '#bbcwomanshour' more visible. The choice of hashtags also shows @bbcwomanshour engaging with current events (like #spendingreview, #tubestrikes), but more than anything else (even more than the #ff tag), the hashtags are about food: (#cooktheperfect, #cooking, #recipe, #pasta, #italianfood, #Maryberry and so on).
It's refreshing that @bbcwomanshour are not simply using Twitter to 'broadcast their brand'. Their tweets show engagement with their audience (especially in the use of retweets which forward on audience comments for wider response). And perhaps they hint of the importance that food has for 'women's talk'. Given that I'm married to the wonderful @tobizzy2bake, talking about, making, eating and sharing food has a key place in family life and the friendships that surround our home. All we need now is for a form of virtual #cake that would actually taste good too.
Labels: Twitter BBCwomanshour hashtags