Doing research

Guidelines and methods for research in library & information science, education, writing studies, and related areas.

You’ll need to make the case in your dissertation (or other research) for the choices you make in data gathering and analysis. Those arguments are actually part of the larger argument you’re making in the project as a whole. For example, if you’re studying the interactions of people in an online community, you’ll need to convince the reader why it makes sense to look at the talk pages, but not blogs, Flickr pages, and mapping parties, or why you selected pages from a particular period of time and not others. Even in the case of the talk pages, per se, you’ll need to show why using say, Internet Community Text Analyzer, gives you the right grain size, not so fine as to obscure significant patterns and not so large as to miss them entirely. The arguments you make here need to be supported by the actual data, and can rarely be addressed in a general way.

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