HyperRESEARCH Mac-based qualitative data analysis

If you are a qualitative researcher and Mac-user, you might be interested in using HyperRESEARCH, a Mac-native computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS). The SSRC will be offering a HyperRESEARCH workshop in the fall. Meanwhile, ResearchWare, the creators of HyperRESEARCH, are offering a free webinar to introduce the software next Wednesday, June 15. From ResearchWare:

On Wednesday, June 15th, at 12:00 Noon EDT, ResearchWare will host a webinar on “HyperRESEARCH Basics”. This webinar is designed as a basic orientation to the “code & retrieve” process using HyperRESEARCH. To join our webinar, go to https://www3.gotomeeting.com/join/623084630. You will be connected to audio using your computer’s speakers (VoIP). A headset is recommended. The meeting ID is 623-084-630
ResearchWare is also offering live online chat sessions to help researchers on the following days:

  • Monday, June 13, 2pm – 4pm EDT
  • Wednesday, June 22, 2pm – 4pm EDT
  • Monday, June 27, Noon – 2pm EDT

Note that you must register on the website (free) to participate in the chats. You can access ResearchWare chats by going to http://researchware.com, registering or logging in, and choosing “Chat” from the “Community” website. ResearchWare also keeps an archive of previous chat sessions here:


The Invisible Man Revisited—Sociologically

Ever wonder how sociologists might examine literary texts? An article by Dr. Randal Doane, “Ralph Ellison’s Sociological Imagination,” published in 2004, re-examines Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and his engagement with theoretical frameworks from Marx, Hegel, and Freud. Specifically, Doane interrogates Ellison’s use of concepts such as dialectics, being, and labor (Marx and Hegel), and psychic structure, Eros, and Ananke (Freud).

While literary scholars have been delving into Ellison’s acclaimed novel and unearthing critical arguments posed by the author since its publication, this particular analysis comes by way of sociology, a rare but interesting cross-disciplinary endeavor. For fans or critics of Invisible Man, this article is a thought-provoking sociological analysis of Ellison’s book. The article can be retrieved through the DePaul Library here: http://is.gd/ellison

Doane, Randal. “Ralph Ellison’s Sociological Imagination.”The Sociological Quarterly 45.1 (2004): 161-84.

re/direct: Greg Scott

We’re nearing the end of the spring quarter’s final examination week and things are really heating up here at SSRC. Fortuitously our Senior Research Methodologist, Dr. Rachel Lovell, has returned from maternity leave just in time to spearhead the launching of several major new initiatives. Please join me in welcoming her back and in congratulating her on the birth of her daughter Olivia.

While I certainly hope you enjoy our feature articles this week (and they are really neat), today I want to call your attention to the bulletin’s righthand column (a.k.a., “the sidebar”). Indeed it’s a thin column, and yes it appears in smaller font. But it’s teeming with important information, including a description of who we are and what we do, a solicitation of your incredible scholarship, a blurb on our poster printing services, and information on how to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We’re deep into social media, if you haven’t noticed, and we’d like to help you put the wide variety of social media platforms to use in crafting, conducting, and sharing your research with the digital and analog worlds “out there.” Getting your research into the public sphere is a substantial part of our mission, and we take it seriously. Plus we’re really good at it. A few of you have contacted us already, as a result of reading last week’s bulletin, seeking help in “translating” your research into a multi-media package for public consumption. We’ve still got a couple of spaces left to fill. What are you waiting for? Another invitation? Well, then, let me accommodate ….

Every other week at SSRC we hold a staff meeting. But it’s not your run-of-the-mill “let’s waste time chatting and pumping our own egos” kind of meeting. We all come to the table for a 60-minute “idea factory” session. Spitballing. Think-tanking. Ideas are the principal currency in our shop, and we’re always looking for new ones, for new spins on old ones, and old (i.e., current) ways to accomplish future ideas. What’s a future idea? It’s an idea for something that can’t be accomplished with today’s “state-of-the-art” infrastructure. In a word, it’s a terrific though infeasible idea. Those are the ideas we like best because they challenge us to develop the tools necessary for making the idea feasible. I refer to this process as “transcendent concept formulation.” Do you have a research-related idea that’s truly ahead of its time? If so, we’d love to hear about it. More than that, we’d love to work with you to create the conditions that allow the idea to be actionable. Get in touch with us. All it takes is an email or a phone call. Let’s do some transcendent conceptualization together. Now how can you send regrets on that invitation?

Greg Scott, PhD
Director, Social Science Research Center


Create timelines easily using Dipity
Dipity (http://www.dipity.com/) is a service that helps you create interactive, dynamic, multi-media, collaborative, and printable timelines. Dipity allows you to pull from the open web, social media sites, photo sites like flickr and Picasa, video sites, blogs, music services like last.fm and Pandora, and more—including any RSS feed and other Dipity timelines. Of course, you can also add events by simply entering the information (with the option to add your own photos, links, and more).

In creating the timeline, you can choose to make the timeline public, keep it private, or share it with specific people. You can also decide others’ level of involvement—from simple viewing to complete editing capability. Some timelines are public and editable by anyone, sort of a wiki-timeline. Before publishing, you can also decide whether to allow others to comment on events or on the timeline as a whole (or not), what date should be at the center and the level of zoom (ranging from 30 minutes to 5000 years!), and choose a theme.

After creating your timeline, you can share it on a number of social media sites, embed it on your webpage or blog, or print it as a PDF. The timeline is also viewable online as a flipbook, list, or map if you include geographic information with your events.

Dipity uses the now-ubiquitous “follower” model, meaning users can follow timelines or other users. Timelines can also be subscribed to using an RSS feed.

Searching for specific users or subject areas is extremely limited (Dipity is currently working to improve this), and though browsing is somewhat possible using the directory of profiles and topics (the link is at the bottom of the page), it is not particularly helpful. One workaround is to do a site search in Google (type site:dipity.com and then your search term into Google, add “-tickr -timetube -directory” to exclude results from the directory, tickr, a flickr timeline service, and timetube, a YouTube timelines service).

Here are some good examples of Dipity timelines:

“Katrina+5: Documenting Disaster” by the Historic New Orleans Collection

A history of the Apollo Program created by the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum

Tracing the history of the band Nirvana by The Seattle Times

re/direct: Greg Scott

As the spring quarter and academic year swiftly come to a close, our thoughts turn to summer. Here at SSRC we’ll be taking advantage of the relative dip in the hustle and bustle of campus life to explore such multi-media technologies as Dipity (see the feature article below). Every week, it seems, we’re finding new technologies for solving old research-related problems and adapting old technologies to identify new problems worthy of systematic investigation.

SSRC staff will spend the better part of the summer working with faculty and graduate students to experiment with a broad spectrum of multimedia, interactive technologies to do research and dynamically convey research findings for consumption in the “public sphere.” From 4D mapping to interlaced social media platforms to multiple media timeline-creation to innovative field data collection, we’ll be “playing with purpose” and with an eye toward hatching all new lines of programmatic activity.

Soon, for instance, we’ll be recruiting a small number of faculty interested in working with SSRC staff and graduate student researchers to develop capacity in this skill domain. Our approach will entail “surrounding” each faculty scholar with the support necessary to transform his or her academic research into high-impact multi-media and multi-modal consumer-friendly information products.  We’re particularly keen on working with faculty whose research questions, processes, and/or findings speak directly to issues that affect the quality of public life in the Chicago area and whose enhanced layperson-friendly presentation will contribute to the realization of DePaul’s uniquely Vincentian, urban, social justice driven mission.

Please let us know if you’re interested in joining this select group of faculty who will work vigorously with us in this manner. If you’ve already made strides in this regard and have figured out novel ways of getting your research into the hands of the public , then please also get in touch so that we can learn from you and perhaps feature your work on our website. We look forward to hearing from you.

Greg Scott, PhD
Director, Social Science Research Center

Twitter Tools

Social media are increasingly becoming interesting tools to use personally and academically, as a subject of research, as a classroom tool, a networking tool, and even as a presentation tool. Here we focus on some articles about and tools designed for using Twitter as an academic. These links, and more, can be accessed at the SSRC’s bookmark page on Delicious.com here: http://www.delicious.com/SSRC_DePaul/twitter

re/cite: twitter

Storify is a tool that can be used to collect publicly available posts from a variety of social media sites into one interactive timeline to tell a story. Storify is helpful if you want to to recap a conference session, follow a conversation, reactions to a news story, explore a meme, or collect social media information together in one place for presentation. You can embed your story on your website or blog as well.

Donahue is an app that is currently being developed to support an interactive, Twitter-based presentation at a conference. Instead of slides, the app uses “points” which are essentially tweets, though they appear in the projector view as pithy titles/phrases which can be accompanied by images. Each point is published from the presenter’s Twitter account at the same time that they are projected on the screen, with a shortened url pointing to an image, if there is one, and the hashtag for the presentation. The audience (both in the room and elsewhere) can comment on Twitter using the same hashtag, starting a conversation around the presentation that is collected by the app next to the presentation. Here is an example: http://is.gd/tosstheprojector. Donahue is still in development, but you can contact its creators if you’d like to use it in a talk, or sign up for updates either via email or by following @donahueapp on Twitter.

Hootcourse is a tool for creating an “online classroom” using Facebook and Twitter (the latter collected using hashtags). Students and teacher interact using status updates. Tweets can be hidden from your regular Twitter stream, though it’s unclear if the same is true of Facebook posts. Classes can be kept private using a secret URL. An example #Hoot101 is here: http://is.gd/hoot101

In this article, the authors use Twitter both as a research tool (to query an admittedly non-random sample of Twitter users) and as an object of study. Asking their followers a series of questions about how they use Twitter and who they imagine their audience to be, the authors gain some interesting insights into the different ways that users approach Twitter as a platform, and how they view their audience.

The Archivist allows you to collect and study the results of twitter searches. Unfortunately, the Twitter Terms of Service do not allow you to export the tweets you collect, and if you are studying something hugely popular, you may not get every single relevant tweet. Another downside: The Archivist only collects tweets starting from the 500 most recent posts, so there is no retrospective completeness either.

In April 2010, Twitter donated its archives of public tweets to the Library of Congress for preservation. This blog post from the LOC gives some background information. As of May 2011, no process was in place to provide access to researchers.

Twitterfall allows you to create a search for tweets about a particular subject, or even from a certain area, and tweet from the same page. Highly modifiable, it allows you to preview links, view conversations, and get information on trends. Twitterfall also includes a presentation mode that allows you to display tweets in realtime (say, for a conference session’s hashtag).

Katie Myers, writing a guest post for the column “ProfHacker” in The Chronicle of Higher Education, details the ways that social media tools can be used to enhance a conference experience. Myers introduces the idea of using QR Codes (codes that can be read by some smart phones to send the user to a website for more information) in a poster, using the Twitter “backchannel” before, during, and after the conference for networking and to get a fuller view of the conference proceedings. Though brief and rather perfunctory, this is a good place to start if you’re not sure whether or how social media tools like Twitter are relevant to academic work.

re/direct: Greg Scott

These are exciting times at SSRC and in the College more generally.  As we head into the summer and on into the new academic year, SSRC is going to be stronger than ever.  Before telling you about some of our upcoming initiatives, let me give you an idea of why we’re feeling fitter than ever.  First, earlier this year we brought on a new full-time staff Research Associate.  Please allow me to introduce her: Jessica Speer is a researcher with an advanced degree in library and information science, which gives her a unique set of skills to bring to social science research. Her research interests include human information-seeking behavior and data management and preservation, as well as using new technologies and media in research, education, and training. In her free time, she plays music with her husband and is working on a preservation strategy for their collection of more than 10 years of master tapes from their DIY record label, Colonial Recordings USA.  Aside from being an exceptionally competent social science researcher, Jessica is quite simply a really good person.  Please join me in welcoming her to DePaul … and feel free to come by and pay her a visit, seek her assistance on your research project, or drop off your own favorite mix tape!

The other reason we’re feeling particularly fit is that we’ve spent a good deal of time reflecting on and refining SSRC’s mission.  We exist as a kind of in-house “consulting” enterprise dedicated to building social research capacity among the faculty-scholars in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Methodological consultation is our bread and butter. From ethnography to qualitative interviews to hierarchical linear modeling of secondary data sets, no research design, method, or technique lies outside our range of expertise.  In addition to being methodology consultants, we’re also here to provide you with assistance in finding and obtaining funding and to help you “translate” your research into lay terms and then get it out into the public sphere using new social media information technologies.  So … from nuts to soup, your research is our business.

Speaking of business, we have so many new initiatives on the horizon. As you’ll see in this newsletter, we’ll soon be offering workshops on NVivo 9, the lastest edition of the qualitative data analysis software (QDAS) program popular among PC users.  In the fall, I’ll be teaching a workshop on HyperResearch, a 25+ year old QDAS program that runs native on the Mac OSX platform. Also in the autumn we’ll be convening a series of working groups comprised of faculty and advanced graduate students who share a common interest in “visual” social science — the use of photographic and/or videographic evidence as data and/or as a vehicle for the conveyance of research results, findings, and/or implications.  Another working group will focus on the use of new social media and information technologies to present research results in the public realm.  More on these working groups to come … please stay tuned.  Finally, near the end of the fall term we’ll be starting up a speaker series — a kind of “brown bag” colloquium on research methods where experts from within and outside DePaul come to share their wise ways with us.

As I said, these are some really exciting times at SSRC and in the College more generally.  SSRC has matured rapidly into what I would call a real powerhouse research methodology consulting group. The professional staff and graduate research assistants who work here are all top flight — they’re very good at what they do, but they’re also just really neat people. So if you haven’t come by to see us yet, please do so soon.  You don’t need to have a question or problem with your data or a poster to print for a conference or a request for conference room space or need to borrow audio-video recording equipment … just drop by for a friendly chat over a cup of freshly brewed Eight O’Clock Bean Coffee.  I guarantee you’ll be glad you did.

Greg Scott, PhD
Director, Social Science Research Center