Françoise Blin's research group

CALL and Social Media Graduate Research @ DCU

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What to do with interview data…

Posted by Françoise Blin on 02/07/2010

Another video from Ian  Robertson:


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On research paradigms…

Posted by Françoise Blin on 02/07/2010

No time to read about research paradigms, epistemologies and methodologies? Have a look at this short video clip from YouTube.

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Software for analysing qualitative data

Posted by Françoise Blin on 02/07/2010

I was looking for Qualitative Research Software (apart from NVivo), and I came across  HyperRESEARCH and HyperTRANSCRIBE, produced by Researchware:

Has anybody tried any of these? Any comments? I must say that I am very tempted to give it a try… The trial versions may be very useful for anybody doing a pilot study or a MA dissertation…

Posted in Methodology | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Research methods…

Posted by Françoise Blin on 02/07/2010

Just thought I would post a couple of  links on methodology before I disappear for a month or so… Can be useful if you don’t have your favorite research methodology book handy! I tend to go back to these quite a lot!

  • A very comprehensive Knowledge Database of Research Methods for the Social Sciences:
  • And if you want to know more about statistics, or check a particular test or method, StatSoft, an electronic statistics textbook:

Those of you interested in Experimental Research may be interested in, and if you are working in Design Research, you are likely to find valuable information at All About Design Research:

For Activity Theory, Developmental Work Research and formative interventions, visit the Centre for Research on Activity, Development and Learning (CRADLE) at the University of Helsinki:

And don’t hesitate to familiarise yourselves with Discourse Analysis and Conversation Analysis.

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Live from ED-MEDIA, Toronto

Posted by Sylvie Thouësny on 01/07/2010

Hey guys,

I am in Toronto, Canada, at the ED-MEDIA 2010 world conference on educational multimedia, hypermedia and telecommunications. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Today, I have attended Jan Herrington’s talk on “Completing your thesis on time: motivation and monitoring”. Since I have to submit the full draft of my thesis at the end of July, I thought maybe this would give me some good ideas.

The speaker gave us some strategies to help us keep on track. Really nothing new for me, but there were some small tips for when you are writing up your thesis that amused me. The only thing you don’t want to experience is the writer’s block syndrome. To avoid this, you write all the way through, and if you think that it isn’t worth anything, you can write in white instead of black. This allows you to still produce something, but you cannot judge yourself, since you cannot see what you are writing. Another solution, maybe a bit less extreme, is that you type everything in a 4pts size, that way, you know something is happening, but you still cannot read what you are writing.

I asked for her slides and if you are interested in other things, such as motivation, time management, writing up, and literature review, I would be more than happy to share them with you, if I can have them.

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and here I am…

Posted by llana82 on 15/06/2010

Dear fellow researchers, my name is Svetlana, and I apologise for joining this blog later than anyone else. I come from (a country far far away) Belarus and I am a native Russian speaker. As it happened with some of you, my job is taking over most of my time and it is difficult to concentrate on my final piece of work, which is due by the end of August this year. I am very interested in online communities formed on the social networking sites, as well as intercultural communication. Thanks to Françoise, I am hoping to put up together a project on “Evaluating intercultural affordances of social networks: the case of intercultural online communities in Facebook”. It is only a dissertation for Master’s, but essentially a solid introduction to research and an extremely valuable piece of work for my job at Facebook.

I would appreciate your comments/recommendations and any tips that you have to share and will write more about my area of research in the next few days. Time to go to bed now! 🙂

Posted in Beyond the thesis, Discussion, Reading, Research questions | Tagged: | 7 Comments »

The vexed question of writing

Posted by Cathy Fowley on 15/06/2010

No question about it, writing is difficult. For a long time, I thought I was the only one who had problems writing, that everyone else sat happily at their computer and typed their days away, while I procrastinated, took notes, made plans, and ended up with very few words worth saving at the end of every day. Then, there would be other days, happy days, where my fingers seemed to have a life of their own, and flew on the keyboard, translating my thoughts into words and sentences before I even had time to think them.

It has taken time for me to realise that I am not alone, and today, a great post on writing in Inside Higher Ed. suggests the use of writing groups as a means of keeping on track; it seems writing groups are many and varied, and answer specific needs in struggling writers. You should first of all identify your problems and needs when it comes to writing, and then find a group which suits those needs. After reading the article, I think I would benefit from a Writing Accountability Group. What about you? And would any of you be willing to try an online writing group? I suppose there’s always the old reliable advice as related in the article “shut up and write”; speaking of which…

Posted in Writing up | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

… better late …

Posted by snocchi on 07/06/2010

Hello 🙂

Here I am (eventually, I can feel Francoise thinking …) … I’m late in joining the group and I’m sorry about that, but I seem to be able to work on my research only in a discontinuous way, as work manages to eat up most of the time I want to dedicate to my studies 😦

My name is Susanna Nocchi, I am Italian and I am a part-time PhD student at SALIS in DCU under the combined supervision of Dr. Francoise Blin and Dr. Vera Sheridan. I am now in the middle of my second year and I feel I’m going really slowly 😦 I wish I could take a year off my job (I’m a lecturer in Italian in DIT) to concentrate on my research and put some order into the huge amount of data that’s now on my computer and, in part, in my head as well 😦 , but, for the moment, I can’t see that happening …

My interest is in researching the affordances (yeap, me too Lingsong .. I think it might be interesting to share ideas …) that Virtual Worlds (I’m working with Second Life now) can provide for studying foreign languages and in particular for increasing Intercultural Competence in a foreign language. I spent all my first year reading (and I am still doing it everywhere I can, even on the bus … as it is not always easy to find the time for it) and during this second year I set up a pilot-study with some of my students in DIT. You can read more about the pilot-study in my blog, where I wrote my thoughts and comments during the time the course took place.

I plan on contributing to this research group as much as I can, but, please, be patient if I disappear from time to time … 😉

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Doing a literature review: some resources

Posted by Françoise Blin on 25/05/2010

There are many resources out there to help you understand the purpose and process of doing a literature review. Here are a few sites that you may find useful. Do not hesitate to add to the list!

  • Write a Literature Review (UC Santa Cruz). I particularly like this site as you can access an annotated example of a literature review. Well worth a read.
  • The Literature Review: A Few Tips On Conducting It (University of Toronto). This is also very good. It gives you a list of questions to guide your writing and to help self-assess your literature review.
  • Tools for preparing literature reviews (The George Washington University). This is not as concise and user friendly, but it is very comprehensive. I would recommend the “lessons” on Integrating Multiple Studies On A Given Topic.

There are also many books to help you. I recommend this one, which I used to have on my shelves, but I can’t find it anymore 😦

Christopher Hart (1998)Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination (Published in association with The Open University) by Christopher Hart (1998)

And of course, do have a look at theses and dissertations in the library (recent PhD theses are now online:

Posted in Literature review | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Doing a literature review…

Posted by Françoise Blin on 25/05/2010

As many of you are trying to put together literature reviews of different kinds and at different stages of your research work, I thought it would perhaps be useful to discuss this topic .  Whether you are writing up your thesis, preparing for a transfer to the PhD Register, writing a journal article, or simply preparing some draft chapters or reviews for your supervisor(s), a literature review is likely to focus your attention for a good while! And as you know, it takes time and practice to get it right!

I know that some of you find it difficult, frustrating (especially when I tell you that it is too long, too short, too descriptive, not really relevant, etc. :)). But don’t despair! You will get there! In the meantime,  do share your experience and questions, no matter what stage you’re at.

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