Tuesday, July 25, 2006

AOIR conference

A while back I submitted an abstract to the conference of the Association of Internet Researchers Conference (AOIR) which is being held in late September in Brisbane. I also applied to attend the Doctoral Colloquium on the day before the Conference. To my surprise my abstract was accepted but I was put on the second round offers list for the Colloquium (I thought it might turn out the other way around). I had just started to fret about writing the conference paper and then received an email just last week saying that I've been accepted into the Doctoral workshop in the second round offer. I had a brief crisis feeling a bit overwhelmed by the combined demands but have decided to push on and give them both a go. When I looked closely at the schedule for the Colloquium, each student is presenting for only 20 minutes with an additional 15 minutes set aside for discussion. This seems reasonably manageable and it would be beneficial to receive feedback from a community of researchers who are theoretically working in a similar field. I've set aside today, after I finish blogastinating, to complete the requirements for the Doctoral Colloquium. I have to write an 8 page summary of my phd research which will be circulated to the other members of the Colloquium.

My initial motivation for participating in the AOIR conference probably comes down to my search for a community of academics doing likeminded research, something in the field of social research of technology and technology use. However, I'm not sure there are any networks/communities that are a perfect fit. This conference primarily attracts researchers doing projects on the Internet. My supervisor did say to me that she felt that the AOIR crowd defined this pretty loosely but I still feel that my research is a bit peripheral to this field's self-defined parameters. I'm on the AOIR mailing list and from the posts, I have not discerned any researchers who are interested in the field of technology and work. The use of catch terms like the Internet, CMC, CSCW and SST by communities of academics can be very confusing. These terms are significant key terms drawing together many of these researchers into coherent networks and are often fiercely defended and yet they don't stand up to very much scrutiny or hold the same meanings outside the ongoing circuits of academics attending conferences around the world.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mid fieldwork

I've completed 13 interviews and 2 observation sessions and have received 2 diaries back so far. My trip to Melbourne is fast approaching too. I haven't booked any accomodation yet so have to get on to that. I'm staying there for 2 nights and 2 days while I conduct the interviews at my research site there. I realised that the organisation of my method means that I need to make an additional trip to Melbourne in a few weeks time to collect the diaries and conduct the observation sessions. I've considered altering the sequence so that I do it all in the two days that I'm there but not only will this be a real stretch timewise but I think it will be a bit overwhelming. As it is, I'm conducting 3 interviews on one day and two on the other. I'm hoping that Sarah can come with me on the second trip and we can make a long weekend of it.

I'm really happy with the material generated so far. The 2 returned diaries are packed full of interesting snippets and details. I'm impressed with how much thought has gone into them. Yesterday I picked up a book at Gleebooks, "Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes". Not that I have any shortage of data but I feel that there are many interesting observations in and around the actual contact that I have with participants that can add to my overall data. I've been a bit ad hoc though with my method of notation and felt that a more systematic approach could really assist me. What I like about this book is that it touches on some of the theory behind writing as part of the ethnographic process but is very practical in its orientation.

Qwerty is back and getting stronger every day. She's also hungry as a wolf and gives me those starving eyes all day long. Her appetite is greatly increased by the medication she is on for her autoimmune condition. Oh woah is me, it is difficult to resist them.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Qwerty's coming home

My dog is coming home from vet hospital today. We are picking her up in an hour and I can't wait to bring her home. Last Tuesday morning she looked a bit under the weather and was off her food. By Wednesday night she was seriously ill and by Thursday morning, she had a blood transfusion. It turned out she has an autoimmune illness which means that her white blood cells were destroying her red blood cells. This made her seriously jaundiced and anaemic. She is now on immune suppressant medication and her red blood cell level has been steadily rising since last Thursday. We've been visiting daily and praying to all the dog gods in the universe that she would make a speedy recovery. In addition to some prayer, we thought that we'd mix it up a bit and so we've been sending good vibes and asking all our friends to think positive thoughts for Qwerty every day. We have many neighbours, the lady in the cafe around the corner, many friends and family all sending her positive thoughts. Thanks everybody...

This did put a bit of a spoke in the field work but not a major one. I had to reschedule a few interviews but I've completed six so far and have another four arranged for this week. I've had a few more recruits come through from the Council and I rearranged my trip down to Melbourne for August 10th. This is probably a better time anyway since I'll be a good way through my Council field work by then.