Research Assistant/PhD Vacancy at iCeGS

We’ve just advertised what I think is a very exciting opportunity at iCeGS. I hope that one of the readers of this blog might be interested in applying.

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The International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) at the University of Derby seeks to recruit a Research Assistant to undertake research alongside the Centre???s existing researchers into the areas of career and career guidance. While the postholder will be expected to undertake research across the range of the Centre???s activities they will be supported to develop expertise in the use of technology in the field of career guidance.

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The postholder would also be expected to enrol for a PhD at the University of Derby focusing on the relationship between technology and career guidance.

https://erecruitment.derby.ac.uk/apply/Default.aspx?VacancyGUID=842cfa04-9071-4044-aad1-7e552adb498c

ICT in career guidance

We’ve been very privileged to have Jim Sampson visiting iCeGS over the last week. He is a visiting Professor at iCeGS and so we???ve had a long standing relationship with him. If you haven???t come across Jim???s work have a look on his staff page on the iCeGS website. Jim???s main research interests are in the design of guidance services and in the use of ICT in career guidance. So it was a real treat for me to have the opportunity to learn from someone who has been doing stuff around technology and guidance for a long while.

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While he was at iCeGS we ran a workshop together called Rethinking E-guidance. I???ve attached my presentation to this post but regular readers will have seen much of this stuff from me before. However, Jim???s section of the workshop contained some really interesting ideas that I???ll try and summarise here. Obviously if you are interested in Jim???s work you are best to go back to the source (I???ve started listing some of his work on my citeulike).

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Sampson says that people go to the internet for three main reasons around career. They are typically seeking sources that will help them to

  • understand the problem;
  • act to solve the problem; and
  • cope with problems not solved.

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Obviously the internet offers a wealth of resources to help people do all three of these things. But, in order to get the most out of them they will need to have a decent level of digital literacy and/or some help. So the next thing is to think about how that help might be organised. Sampson argues that the career counsellor has four stages to take their client through in supporting their use of the internet.

?????????????????? Screening e.g. is the internet suitable for them, how much help do they need

?????????????????? Recommending e.g. where should they start

?????????????????? Orienting e.g. helping them to understand what they can expect and how to approach their search

?????????????????? Follow-up e.g. what did they get from what they used, where do they need to go now??

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I found these two models very helpful in thinking about how we integrate web based information and career exploration into a broader guidance process. I hope that this very brief summary is useful to some other people.

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Day two of the online research methods workshop

I wrote this when I was in Florence last week but haven’t managed to add it to the blog so far. But here it is…

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I???ve been told it doesn???t rain in Florence much. It has however rained pretty constantly while I???ve been here. Nonetheless it was worth struggling through the rain to get to day two of the EUI workshop on online research methods.

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Stuart Shulman (University of Massachusetts) led day two of the workshop. Stuart is an academic who is also running a start up which is developing tools for qualitative data analysis. He also edits the Journal of Information Technology and Politics.

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Stuart talked about a range of research tools some of which he had invented himself and others which had been developped by his colleagues. If you are involved in analysing qualitative data online or otherwise some of this stuff is really worth a look.

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The Blog Analysis Toolkit

https://surveyweb2.ucsur.pitt.edu/qblog/page_login.php??

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This is a tool for capturing, archiving and sharing blog posts. Stuart thought that it could??capture Twitter as well although he wasn’t clear about its power to capture #hashtags. Does someone want to try it out and let me know.

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InfoExtractor

http://infoextractor.org/toolbar.php

This tool is for extracting metadata and comments from YouTube, blogs, wikipedia etc

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Coding Analysis??Toolkit (CAT)

http://cat.ucsur.pitt.edu

This tool is both a data coding programme and also a way to adjudicate between different coding choices.?? It is an open source product which is available for free.

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Public Comment Analysis Toolkit (PCAT)

http://pcat.qdap.net/app/main.aspx

This is Stuart’s start up idea. It is a peer-based development of the CAT coding technology. The idea is that you can crowd source your data analysis. The interface and functionality??looked better??than CAT but this is the product that they are looking to commercialise and so it might start to have a cost attached at some point.

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General thoughts

Stuart also had some more general thoughts about doing qualitative research. I’m sure that this doesn’t do him justice, but some of the key points he made were:

  • ??When you are coding qualitative data you should not try and do everything at once. You can’t code 200 codes at the same time. You can code 5. Do the five most important and then have a second pass. This will lead to more accurate coding.
  • Qualitative research needs to pick up both the patterns in the data and the outliers. If it reduces everything to patterns alone it is missing out on the richness of the data.??
  • The more sophisticated the things that you try to code the more
    difficult it is to do reliably. It is valuable to have both very technical taxonomies and more interpretive ones.

Stuart also flagged DiRT the Digital Research Tools Wiki??which provid es an index of tools that can be used by social science and humanities researchers.

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So some pretty essential tools there for people. Go forth and use them and tell me which ones work well!

The language of enterprise

I’m writing something about enterprise/entrepreneurship.

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The following is the definition that I’ve come up with of three key terms. Does this work for people? If not can anyone suggest any alternatives or key sources that I should look at?
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Key terms

This study uses a number of terms to describe the particular skills and experience of the researchers who are profiled. The following definitions should help to clarify the use of language:

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Enterprise: The term ???enterprise??? and ???enterprising??? is used within this study to describe the general skill set that these researchers possess. These skills include creativity, problem-solving and leadership. It is possible to be an enterprising person without ever becoming self-employed.

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Entrepreneur: The term ???entrepreneur??? and ???entrepreneurship??? is used within this study to describe the application of enterprise skills to the problem of establishing a business or organisation.

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Self-employed: The term ???self-employed??? is used to describe an actual employment situation or relationship to the labour market.

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EUI ??? Workshop on online research methods

I???ve just finished the first day of the European University Institute workshop on online methods. I???ve been presenting a cut down version of the Exploring Online Research Methods project that I was involved in a while ago. I mainly concentrated on online interviews, focus groups and surveys (see my presentation).

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I saw a couple of other presentations today. Joshua Tucker (NYU) talked about some of his work looking at the role of partisanship (party affiliation and identification) in voting behaviour. He argued that partisanship was increasingly important and influential in older democracies with more established party systems. What was most interesting about his work was the way in which he used experimental methods. Presenting people with hypothetical policies attached to randomised political parties to explore how the mere fact that a policy was identified with a party led people to support it. The finding (that political parties in established democracies have a big role in leading public opinion) is interesting but so too is the method. I???ve been reading quite a bit about experimental methods in social science and it is something that I want to look into further in the future to see if it has any applications in the career/education field.

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Secondly Smiljana Antonijevic (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts) gave a presentation on her online field research. She argued that ethnography was the genre of the output and that field research was the method that she employs. She has been doing some interesting research on the role of non-verbal communication in Second Life. This was fascinating and made me re-evaluate my sniffiness towards Second Life etc a bit. I may have to have a look when I get back.

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Online research methods

I’m just about head off to Florence to run a workshop for the European University Institute on online research methods. I’ve attached my presentation to this post for anyone who is interested.
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Some key links that I’ll be pointing people to are
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Exploring Online Research Methods
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The Exploring ORM bibliography
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My ORM bibliography on citeulike
During the sessions we’ll be playing with
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The impact of different question types
http://wads.le.ac.uk//gg/orm/timingform.htm