A Theory of Change

Why not take a look at Matthew Taylor’s lecture entitled Why policy fails – and how it might succeed?

During an interesting lecture, Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA, outlines his theory of change with reference to the Scottish Constitutional Convention, the ban on smoking in public places and the minimum/living wage.

He also refers to the RSA’s work on developing a model of Basic Income.

The lecture is available here.

The RSA report – Creative Citizen, creative state: the principled and pragmatic case for a Universal Basic Income  can be downloaded here.

Text Mining with ‘tm’

It is possible to identify top level categories in qualitative data analysis by using text mining methods. One can count the frequency of terms or words in a text or texts. Words which occur frequently may be top level classifications or themes.

Text mining involves the creation of a corpus or collection of texts for analysis, some initial work to preprocess the corpus so that punctuation, capitalisation and numbers are removed as well as common words which are, ipso facto, very frequent in any text. A document term matrix is then created where the documents in the corpus are represented by rows and the words by columns. Analysis could then include identification of frequent terms and a ‘frequency of frequencies’ i.e. how many words occur in a corpus at specific frequencies?

For further detail, check out Kailash Awati’s Gentle Introduction to Text Mining with R here and an RStudio resource here which describe how to text mine with R’s tm package. The RStudio link also includes additional links to books on text and data mining as well as material on ‘clustering’ methods.

Both tutorials assume that R is already installed. If this is not the case, go to The R Project for Statistical Computing here and follow the instructions for your system.

R binaries are available for Windows, Mac and Linux distributions.

CAQDAS with RQDA

The R package RQDA may be one alternative for qualitative researchers who do not have access to, or do not wish to use, proprietary CAQDAS software. RQDA allows the user to import text files, create codes and file categories and to visualise file categories with  sociograms.

It’s also possible to run the package from the command line and to export RQDA data to LaTeX.

Further information is available from:

  • the RQDA site;
  • the RQDA User Manual;
  • and Metin Caliskan’s excellent YouTube tutorials.

 

 

Research as activism

JustPublics@365 have produced some interesting skills guides for scholars who wish to build an audience for their work beyond academia. Example guides include a Social Media Toolkita report: Engaging Academics and Reimagining Scholarly Communication for the Public Good and thought provoking material on altmetrics.

The site is particularly interesting because of the collaborations which it encourages between scholars, activists and journalists in the pursuit of social justice.

So why not take a look at their resources here ?

Ethnography

In Watching Closely: A Guide to Ethnographic Observation, Christena Nippert-Eng presents a new guide to undertaking ethnographic observation, providing both exercises and advice for researchers. This book will be of use to scholars regardless of their level of experience [….. and combines] solid instruction in the technicalities of ethnographic research methodologies with an engaging, inspiring and insightful approach.

If this sound interesting, why not check out my review at LSE US Centre  here ?

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Multilingualism

How can people most effectively talk to each other if they do not share a common first language?

In a fascinating lecture, Italian interlinguist Professor Federico Gobbo introduces us to a unique, but little known, phenomenon: the international language Esperanto.

The full citation for the lecture is:

Gobbo, Federico (2015) Interlinguïstiek, een vak voor meertaligheid. Interlingvistiko, fako por multlingvismo. Interlinguistics, a discipline for multilingualism. Oratie 532 van de Universiteit van Amsterdam. Uitgesproken bij de aanvaardiing van het ambt van bijzonder hoogleraar ‘Interlinguîstiek en Esperanto’ aan de faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen op vrijdag 13 maart 2015. Amsterdam: Vossiuspers UvA.

Read my review here.

Creative Communication

What creative methods of research communication can help scholars get their message ‘out there’ effectively? In Creative Research Communication: Theory and Practice, Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp offer a new guide which will be accessible to researchers working across the arts, humanities, social and natural sciences. Wilkinson and Weitkamp successfully blend the theoretical and the practical in an approachable manner in an excellent book full of interesting and relevant content for academics and non-academics alike.

Click here to see my complete review in LSE Review of Books.