2016 Research Methods Workshops-Call for Participation

ATTW 2016 Research Methods Workshops

April 5, 2016 12:30-4:30

Scholarships Available!

The Research Methods Workshops are an initiative of the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW) aimed at providing an opportunity for those entering the profession and those less trained in research to develop more sophisticated research skills.
This year, ATTW is sponsoring two Research Methods Workshops. See below for full descriptions:
These two half-day workshops will be held in Houston on Tuesday afternoon, April 5, 12:30-4:30. This is the day preceding the ATTW conference (April 6) and the CCCC conference (April 6-9).
Each workshop focuses on a methodology for data analysis and is designed to help researchers devise and try out an analytic approach. Modeling Qualitative Data with Clay Spinuzzi focuses on modeling techniques that guide the systematic analysis of qualitative data, helping us to spot verifiable patterns, dismiss spurious patterns, and qualify claims. Genre Fingerprinting with S. Scott Graham focuses on techniques for analyzing a wide range of recurrent texts, helping us to identify both typical and common variations within a genre. 
Registration for each workshop is $100. Ten scholarships of $200 each are available to graduate students to defray the cost of the workshop and hotel. 
Participation in these workshops is awarded on a competitive basis and constitutes a place on the ATTW program. 
To apply for a place in one of these workshops, complete this application form
Send your application along with a 1-page description of your project to cgeisler@sfu.ca. Applications are due December 1, 2015 and acceptances will emailed to you by Jan 2.
Questions about these workshops can be directed to Cheryl Geisler (cgeisler@sfu.ca), Chair of the ATTW Committee on Research.

Modeling Qualitative Data

Clay Spinuzzi, University of Texas at Austin
As a newly minted PhD, I once explained to a quantitative researcher that I conducted qualitative research. His dismissive reply was “Data is not the plural of anecdote.” The message: quantitative research involves systematically, rigorously analyzing a broad set of representative data; qualitative research doesn’t.
It’s easy for qualitative researchers to be upset by such a statement. But in this workshop, we won’t get mad, we’ll get even more rigorous—and confident—in our analysis of qualitative data. We’ll do this through modeling techniques that guide us in systematically analyzing data, spotting verifiable patterns, dismissing spurious patterns, and qualifying claims. These modeling techniques are based on my book Topsight: A Guide to Studying, Diagnosing, and Fixing Information Flow in Organizations, but will go beyond the guidelines in that book.
Specifically, participants in this workshop will: 
  • Learn the basic types of models used in qualitative research (network, flow, and matrix) and their uses.
  • Learn specific models that have been optimized for understanding information flow (resource maps/genre ecology models, handoff chains, and triangulation tables).
  • Learn the basics of triangulating data.
  • Learn to qualify claims based on models.
The workshop will begin with an introductory presentation and demo, and then follow with an exploration session, in which small groups of participants will apply the key concepts and techniques to explore parts of the data they (or others in their group) brought to the workshop. The workshop will end with a review of the methods and discussion of how to move forward in analysis. 
In preparation for the workshop, participants will be asked to read two articles and are encouraged to bring their own qualitative data (e.g., notes from fieldwork observations, interviews, texts and other artifacts collected during fieldwork) to the workshop. However, the workshop is also open to people who consider doing qualitative research and do not necessarily have data in hand yet.)

Genre Fingerprinting

S. Scott Graham, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Since 1984 the idea of genre as a typified response to a recurrent rhetorical situation has been a cornerstone of research in technical communication. More recently, the advent of new technologies for computer-assisted content analysis has provided scholars in the field with exciting opportunities for developing robust accounts of typification across larger datasets than ever before. In particular, genre fingerprinting allows technical communication researchers to account for a wide variety of responses to a given recurrent situation using quantitative analysis, and in so doing precisely identify both typical and common variations. 
This workshop will introduce participants to the basic protocols of genre fingerprinting, which include validated content analysis and simple descriptive statistics. Participants will explore how these techniques can be effectively applied to analyzing a wide range of recurrent texts: common technical communication genres, student literacy practices, newly emergent communication genres, regulatory and/or judicial discourse, and more. The workshop will also introduce a technique for modeling argumentative outcomes, allowing us to assess which deviations from the typical genre responses are more likely to be successful. 
We will begin the workshop with an introductory demonstration of genre fingerprinting, which will then be followed by a series of breakout sessions where participants will gain hands-on experience: 
  • Developing effective research questions for statistical genre analysis, 
  • Generating useful and valid coding schemes for genre fingerprinting, 
  • Applying and assessing the reliability of those coding schemes, and 
  • Generating visual representations of genre fingerprints using the free open source program R.
In order to prepare, participants will be given access to free open source software to be used in the workshop, a shared sample data set, and a set of informative readings. A bibliography for further study will also be included.
Researchers at all levels are invited to participate and no prior experience with quantitative methods is necessary for this workshop. 
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