analysis, social organization, classroom talk

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Originally uploaded by angie cat

Here's a pic that I took today during the tuning process. Marvellous isn't it.

Monday, August 18, 2008


kershaw gardens
Originally uploaded by angie cat

I've been passing the Kershaw Gardens for over two years as I drive to and from my office each day. Last week I finally visited the gardens and they were definitely worth the visit. While the gardens can be seen from the highway that passes by, once inside it is a different matter. There are numerous paths to follow and the highway isn't visible any longer. It's a fantastic place for those who like to walk, and don't want to do that on the roads of Rocky.

Now to wonderings ... I'm on leave this week. It is mid-term break at CQU but I decided to take leave to write. Yes, sounds silly but I need some connected time to produce a draft of the literature review on transcription. So, this week is the time. I've been plodding alone on it each day. I have words but not quite WHAT I really want to say.

Today, I'm getting my piano tuned. This is a very exciting event for me. I played piano for years but sold my last one to buy a computer when I started research for my masters. That was around 1990. When my father died I inherited the piano that he bought for me to learn on. The piano is out of tune - not badly, but enough to make playing it a silly idea. So, last week decided to bite the (expensive) bullet and get it tuned. The piano tuner says it is in good nick overall, so I'm happy about that. He will do the tuning in two lots because the "strain" of altering pitch in one go might do damage to the piano. He is doing the first tuning today and I'm really excited about it. I still have a lot of sheet music (mostly serious classical and baroque stuff)and i'm looking forward to doing some regular playing.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I have finally been able to open Transana, the software program that I'm going to use to develop my transcripts for my At Home in Cyberspace research project. I've had the program for a couple of weeks but I needed to have access to QuickTime as well. I don't think I downloaded the latter correctly and so could not open it or delete it. That was very frustrating. A good soul on the helpdesk at work came to my rescue yesterday and I now have QuickTime and I can open Transana. The following descriptions capture the difference the transcription program has made so far.

scenario 1 - me doing my PhD a few years ago
At the time i had video recordings and audio tapes "lifted" from the recordings. I made word only transcripts from the audio tapes, and then worked for months going back and forth between the video recordings and the transcript (a word document on my computer). it was very intensive work, and I travelled a lot of kilometres walking between the TV screen and my computer.

scenario 2 -me doing the cyberspace project
I now have DVD recordings, and these have been uploaded to my computer. I purchased Transana from here. It was a snip at only US$50. Yesterday, I imported the first of my recordings into Transana. When I open the file I see the child in one corner of my computer screen. I see sound waves in the left hand corner that represents the talk that can be heard on the recording, and there is all sorts of information that will be useful (time is captured, for example). Underneath that is a screen for developing the transcript as I watch the recoding on the computer. just brilliant!

I'm clumsy using the program but I've enjoyed trying it out today and I will get faster with practice. To my delight, I discovered that some of the Jefferson notation symbols are available in the program and (perhaps more importantly) I can directly type in symbols from the computer keyboard. So, for example, I can use [ ] to show overlap. That's important for CA work.

So, I'm now set to develop transcripts of the At Home in Cyberspace project. It is several years since I developed a transcript from scratch (for my phD) and that took many months. The process will be slightly faster this time because I don't have 23 people (children) in the mix of the recording. Still, it will take a time and I haven't got a lot of that. I'm going to make notes about use of Transana as I go cos I reckon it could be useful for my on-going thinking and writing about transcription.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Transcription: The choices we make

Today, I've been working with a colleague, pursuing and refining an idea that I had while working on my AERA proposal. In essence, it addresses the matter of how explicit education researchers are about their approach to transcription development. The idea came out of repeated conclusions in the transcription literature that researchers need to be explicit about transcription matters - such as the choices they make in the development of a transcription. Basically, the argument in the literature is that all researchers make choices when they develop a transcript but that many do not make their choices explicit to others in the reporting of research, and they should.

Today we considered numerous dimensions of making choices apparent in relation to transcription. One thing that appeared salient is that researchers take care to explain choices in relation to numerous other aspects of research. For example, researchers explain how they approached interviews, what they considered in relation to questions, and how interviews should be conducted. Explanations related to decisions about how interviews were approached in research usually draw on literature about interviews, and researchers show understandings of the range of interviews and interview questions, and how these provide options and constraints that influence their selection of a specific approach to the conduct of interviews.

The idea that we played with today, is that approaches to transcript development do not reflect the same awareness of options in relation to transcription i.e. the range of ways that a transcript might be developed, nor suggest the need to explain choices and show familiarity with literature about transcription. The differing ways of approaching interviews and transcription of those confirm a claim in the literature that data collection is given more attention in qualitative research than the production of transcripts which become the focus for analysis. Thus transcripts, and the choices made in their development, are (perhaps) frequently skipped over.

The question becomes, is this a problem?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

"Click on the big red car"

I've just finished about four days of really hard slog. Today, I'm thinking about how hard work looks like "not much" when reduced to a line on the CV. nothing can be done about that, but it takes a lot of determination to keep going sometimes.

On Thursday I produced a proposal for the CA/MCA symposium in Brisbane for later in the year. For that I selected a section of a recording of children playing a Wiggles game. It's pretty interesting interaction. I called the paper something like "Click on the big red car": An analysis of an extended sequence in computer game playing.". Although the data are new, I will be returning to the idea of "an extended sequence", a concept that i played with in my phD but didn't really bring to a satisfactory conclusion. in the case of this new work, what will make the extended sequence even more interesting is that the social interaction is around a Wiggles computer game.

Yesterday, I put up my AERA proposal (with about two hours to spare before the cutoff time). I wasn't so much rushing, as I've been working on the proposal for over three weeks, but just finding it tricky to manage aspects of a conceptual review rather than the CA analysis that i usually do.Anyhow, I've put it up within "qualitative inquiry" and I hope it gets up. People have told me that San Diego is an interesting place, and going to AERA has become something of an annual event for me, so fingers crossed.

Today, I'm going to start fleshing out ideas for a small research project to do with transcription. there appears to be very few studies of transcription so I think my idea is a go-er. if so, then I will have two research projects running in tandem, and of course, I will have to write the journal article that formed the basis for the AERA proposal.

plenty to do, right?