Articles About Formal Research by ezg99044

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									Rory O'Brien's research journal
             to June 21
Literature /    After spending many months reading several books and articles on social movement
Theory          theory and transnational advocacy networks, I have not found many detailed
                references to the use of ICT. What is discussed at length is the growing relationship
                between inter-governmental organizations (IGOs) such as the UN, and civil society
                organizations (CSOs) leading to greater influence in the global policy-making arena.
                The use of ICT as a factor in facilitating these relationships has not been fully explored.

Text Analysis   I have collected and read several papers on text analysis. Two of the more useful ones
Theory          are "Computer-assisted text analysis methodology in the social sciences", by Melina
                Alexa 1997, and "Text Analysis and Computers" by Cornelia Zuell, Janet Harkness,
                Juergen H.P. Hoffmeyer-Zlotnik (Eds.), 1996.

                I have been in correspondence with Warren Sack, who is working on a software
                program that analyzes large online 'conversations' among members of Usenet
                newsgroups. He has run a test conference of mine through his program and posted the
                results at http://techne.sims.berkeley.edu/obrien.html.

                I have arranged to meet with Kelly Garrett, a PhD student at the U. of Michigan
                studying online activism, while I am in Ann Arbor at a conference in August.
Text Analysis   Neither Andrew nor Chun Wei know of any particular software for analyzing large
Software        textbases. Don Turnbull (FIS PhD student) also wasn't too sure, but suggested
                'Harvester' - I checked for it, but couldn't find it online.

                I have read the book A review of software for text analysis, by Melina Alexa and
                Cornelia Zuell 1999. Based on my review, I have narrowed the search for appropriate
                software for my research to 4 programs, and have downloaded demo programs of each
                for further testing: ATLAS.ti, NVivo, TATOE, TEXTPACK. It appears likely that I will
                use either ATLAS.ti or NVivo, both of which cost approximately $500.

Perl scripts    I have been working with Rob Ellis, a programmer who has worked with the APC in
                the past. He has developed some perl scripts that parse the data from the online
                conferences and extract pertinent information from the message headers (date of
                posting, poster's email address, topic title, and number of responses).

                He has told me that the data I have on my home computer is not in a form that is easy
                to work with, and so I must wait until I get permission from the APC before I can get
                'official' access to work with the data online.
APC / WNSP          I have been corresponding with the APC / WNSP and made an official request to gain
liaison             access to the online data. I expect access to be granted by the end of June. Recently I
                    responded to their inquiries as to why I am not looking at more recent WNSP-UN
                    related materials, which is of greater interest to them - the availability of a full dataset,
                    in a standard format, in an historical (pre-WWW) period are the main reasons.

                    I have set up a meeting on June 27 with Karen Banks and Maureen James to discuss my
                    research.

                    I have accepted a request by APC to write a two page article on the history of online
                    activism for the APC's 10th anniversary report. This is due sometime within the next
                    month.


Data collection /   I have reviewed more conference materials and have decided that I will only analyze
analysis            the public conferences. This will save time and eliminate any potential problems with
                    ethical disclosure of data. Though the private conferences are worthy of study in their
                    own right, they only pertain to the staff of the APC/WNSP and have a completely
                    different pattern of interaction than the public conferences. Being APC-only, they also
                    do not reveal much about the relationships of online exchanges among IGOs and CSOs,
                    which is a primary focus of my thesis research.

                    There are also many instances of 'news' postings that will need special attention, insofar
                    as they are re-posts from other conferences. This also leads me to believe that news
                    agencies played a larger role than I previously expected.




Thesis              Re thesis proposal: I have written some notes on various aspects of how the data might
administration      be investigated. However, I have decided to wait until I have a better grasp of the
                    methodology of text analysis and how it might be applied to the data before I submit a
                    more comprehensive proposal and convene the thesis committee.

                    Professor Nadia Caidi of FIS has accepted an invitation to be a member of my thesis
                    committee. I hope to be ready to convene the committee in late July. Other members
                    are Andrew Clement (supervisor, in FIS), Chun Wei Choo (FIS), and Ron Deibert
                    (PoliSci).
Conferences /   I submitted my paper "Introducing ICT to Global Civil Society" to the Journal of
Papers /        International Development, though it may be too late and may only be considered as a
Presentations   potential chapter in a book being compiled by the editor.

                I will do a guest lecture at FIS on the subject of "Online Activism"

                I have been invited as the Canadian representative for a by-invitation-only conference
                for doctoral students researching the digital divide, August 1-5, 2001, U. of Michigan
                School of Information, Ann Arbor Michigan. I must submit a bibliography by July 1
                and a 15 page paper by July 15.

                I have been invited to present my paper "Global Civil Society Networks Online" at
                INTERNET RESEARCH 2.0: INTERconnections The Second International Conference
                of the Association of Internet Researchers A(o)IR, October 10-14, 2001, University of
                Minnesota, Minneapolis-St.Paul Minnesota.
Other work      I have applied to coordinate Andrew Clement's SSHRC study on the Everyday Use of
                ICT.

                I have been requested to complete the SIO's handbook on Socially Responsible
                Shareholdership in Canada.

                My proposal to conduct a one-day workshop next spring on "Online Facilitation" has
                been accepted by the Continuing Education department at FIS.
Things to do    Write a paper on text analysis
                Choose a text analysis software program
                Finish a draft proposal
                Compile a bibliography for the digital divide conference
June 22-July 5
I began reading a good book called Globalization, communication, and transnational
civil society / edited by Sandra Braman, Annabelle Sreberny-Mohammadi.




I further researched the Text Analysis software programs and tested 4 of them.
ATLAS/ti and NVivo seem to be the best, but both require extensive pre-processing of
the data before they can be used.




The perl scripts need minor refinements to account for anomolies in various conference
datasets.
After a planned face-to-face meeting was canceled at the last minute, I prepared for
and participated in an online meeting with Maureen James and Karen Banks, using the
Yahoo Messenger chat software, supplemented by telephone. I received approval to
access APC's conferences for research purposes. Maureen will be my main contact for
the research. In order to try to meet their needs for more current relevance, I will try to
incorporate as much as possible the data that is available in conferences and mail lists
that were set up for communication around the Beijing+5 conference in New York in
2000.

Maureen wrote a message notifying Mark Graham, Chair of IGC, that APC had given
formal approval for my use of the conference data. Maureen sent this off on July 3.
Mark responded positively on July 5, but needs to check protocol first.


I did a bit more work on my database of the attributes of all the APC summit-related
conferences.




I created my research journal in Excel format. And in order to keep everyone apprised
of my work, I have posted it on my personal website for downloading.
Prepared for and conducted a presentation on Internet Activism and the APC at the
UN Summits in Andrew Clement's FIS class LIS1210H Information and its Social
Contexts.

I researched and wrote a 13-page bibliography on the Digital Divide, as part of my
contribution to the upcoming Digital Divide conference next month.




Andrew and I decided I would be better hired as an ad hoc consultant on his project, as
coordinating it would distract me from my thesis work.

I began research on an article on my personal reflections on the WSSD summit in
Copenhagen for the next APC newsletter. Originally, it was to be about the history of
net activism, but apparently someone else had already claimed that topic.


Finish a draft proposal
Convene the thesis committee
Write Digital Divide paper (15 pages)
Write APC article (2 pages)
Begin using perl scripts on data
Test Text Analysis software on data
July 6-19




Had a chat with Elaine Toms (FIS prof) and she suggested I look more into
'bibliometrics' theory, which is applied mostly to citation analysis (see A
Beginner's Guide to Bibliometrics -
http://alexia.lis.uiuc.edu/~standrfr/beginner.html).
Maureen and I were in correspondence with Mark regarding access to
IGC's conference materials, but have not yet received his go-ahead. He
wanted to see some 'Ethics Review' documents, which aren't available yet,
though an Ethics Review should not be needed for accessing public
documents (i.e., public online conference archives). I will undergo the
Ethics Review when (and if) I need to access the private APC conferences
(which aren't going to be formally analyzed, but can provide contextual
information regarding APC/WNSP's activities).




I printed out the final Declaration and Plan of Action of the World
Conference on Women in Beijing (over 100 pages!) and have been going
over it to see how I might link its wording to the 'concept clusters' for
particular issues I would like to track throughout the online conferences.




I have set up a meeting of my Thesis Committee for Monday August 27, at
10am.
I have been working on the paper I will be presenting at the Digital Divide
conference.

I did a presentation on the Digital Divide in Canada to those students
working on Andrew's Everyday Use of the Internet project, as well as
sociology students working with Barry Wellman.

Preparations for the above have taken up the bulk of my time this period.




I have switched APC report topics again (finally) to "The pioneering role of
the APC in international networking before the rise of the public Internet,
covering APC's work facilitating communication between thousands of
NGOs around UN conferences, UNCED to Beijing".




finish Digital Divide paper
finish APC paper
arrange for working with Rob Ellis to run perl scripts on conferences
July 20-31
Still have not heard from Mark about access. I have emailed him again but have not
had a reply yet.




I have been going through the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and
developing a set of words and phrases associated with issues that were highlighted as
critical areas of concern, namely:
-The persistent and increasing burden of poverty on women
-Inequalities and inadequacies in and unequal access to education and training
-Inequalities and inadequacies in and unequal access to health care and related services
-Violence against women
-The effects of armed or other kinds of conflict on women, including those living under
foreign occupation
-Inequality in economic structures and policies, in all forms of productive activities and
in access to resources
-Inequality between men and women in the sharing of power and decision-making at
all levels
-Insufficient mechanisms at all levels to promote the advancement of women
-Lack of respect for and inadequate promotion and protection of the human rights of
women
-Stereotyping of women and inequality in women's access to and participation in all
communication systems, especially in the media
-Gender inequalities in the management of natural resources and in the safeguarding
of the environment
-Persistent discrimination against and violation of the rights of the girl child

I have been writing up the documentation required for the Ethics Review on my thesis
work. This is primarily directed at the access of the internal, private APC conferences.
I have finished and submitted the Digital Divide paper, but will be revising it shortly to
incorporate both the results of a new statistical study on Household Internet Usage
done by Stats Canada and the paper on the Digital Divide by Fong et al.




I have been working on the APC article, but have been told to wait until their Editorial
Board okays my abstract before submitting the piece.




attend Digital Divide conference and do up a report
rewrite Digital Divide in Canada paper
finish and submit APC article
finish Ethical Review documentation
August 1-16




I have instructed Rob Ellis to go ahead with preparing the IGC
conferences' data, using nfprint on the pnotes system and then applying
the perl scripts to the output.
I have gotten approval from Mark to conduct my research on IGC's
conference materials.




I have checked out the NGO databases of the Union of International
Associations [http://db.uia.org/scripts/sweb.dll/features_table], which
may prove useful in determining the type and location of NGO posters
that aren't listed in the APC database of users.
I participated in the Digital Divide conference, which was an excellent
opportunity to meet and network with other PhD students working in
similar areas. My paper presentation was well received and the group has
decided to remain in contact as an online 'collaboratory'.




I received feedback from the APC editorial board and have written and
sent them the article, which they will now edit.




go on vacation from Aug. 13-23
prepare proposal/update for Thesis Ctee
August 24-September 6
I have been reading several books on theories of social movements.
I made an arrangement with Scott Weikert, the IGC technical coordinator
to get access to their 'confmanager' database, which contains attribute
information on all the computer conferences. This will make it easier to
collect and analyze the meta-data about the conferences themselves.




Rob has also been working with Scott to have the conferences ported over
to his system in Toronto, so he will be able to work with the data better.




I finished submitted my first draft of a Thesis Proposal and met with my
Thesis Committee. They stressed that I needed to work on developing a
better theoretical construct, refine my research questions, and choose to
track a single issue across several conferences over time.
I later met with Nadia Caidi and got some good feedback.
I submitted an abstract for a presentation to the upcoming Connections
2001 conference - U. of Western Ontario, London, Oct 27-28




I accepted the position of seminar leader for FIS 1210 - Information and Its
Social Contexts - Professors Clement and Caidi instructing.




prepare report on Digital Divide conference
rewrite Digital Divide in Canada paper
rewrite thesis proposal
September 7-20
I continued my readings on social movements.




Rob Ellis has customized the scripts to improve the output.
Rob has provided me with 11 conference header datasets, comprising
almost 10,000 records. I have created an MS-Access database and
imported the data into the following fields: Bangpath, Hour, Day, Month,
Year, UserID, Email domain name, Conference name, Title, Topic ,
Message ID, Response message ID, Number of lines, Host system.
I have created a number of initial database "queries" to analyze the data, as
well, such as: number of postings per user, number of postings per unique
domain name, and users and email addresses.
I have begun a database linking the users and their email addresses with
the organizational records on those userIDs found in the online database of
APC users. This is very tedious and slow to do by hand and I will have to
see if I can automate it. The success rate in matching is about 66%, with
many userIDs presumably having been deleted from the database when
their account expired.
I have been in contact with Rob and provided him with instructions to
obtain the data from the remaining 78 UN-related conferences, plus 40
women-related conferences.




I met individually with Nadia, Ron and Andrew. Nadia has suggested I
use a model that links the policy-making/social movements with
computer conferencing/ICT use with the interaction dynamics of the
specific players/posters (concentrating on women's issues).
Ron suggested I move forward by exploring the data while at the same
time exploring the theoretical literature, finding tie-ins whenever they
appear in either case.
Andrew suggested I make the women's policy-making the main research
question, tracking the online content and comparing it to the final
Declaration and Platform for Action of the Women's Summit. The other
data on posters and statistically interesting correlations would be of
secondary importance.
The seminar work was cancelled as the course was revised at the last
minute.




work on preparing a general overview and analysis of the various APC
conferences
Rory O'Brien's research journal
             September 7-20
Literature /        I continued my readings on social movements.
Theory
Text Analysis
Theory
Text Analysis
Software
Perl scripts        Rob Ellis has customized the scripts to improve the output.
APC / WNSP
liaison
Data collection /   Rob has provided me with 11 conference header datasets, comprising
analysis            almost 10,000 records. I have created an MS-Access database and
                    imported the data into the following fields: Bangpath, Hour, Day, Month,
                    Year, UserID, Email domain name, Conference name, Title, Topic ,
                    Message ID, Response message ID, Number of lines, Host system.
                    I have created a number of initial database "queries" to analyze the data, as
                    well, such as: number of postings per user, number of postings per unique
                    domain name, and users and email addresses.
                    I have begun a database linking the users and their email addresses with
                    the organizational records on those userIDs found in the online database of
                    APC users. This is very tedious and slow to do by hand and I will have to
                    see if I can automate it. The success rate in matching is about 66%, with
                    many userIDs presumably having been deleted from the database when
                    their account expired.
                    I have been in contact with Rob and provided him with instructions to
                    obtain the data from the remaining 78 UN-related conferences, plus 40
                    women-related conferences.
Thesis              I met individually with Nadia, Ron and Andrew. Nadia has suggested I
administration      use a model that links the policy-making/social movements with
                    computer conferencing/ICT use with the interaction dynamics of the
                    specific players/posters (concentrating on women's issues).
                    Ron suggested I move forward by exploring the data while at the same
                    time exploring the theoretical literature, finding tie-ins whenever they
                    appear in either case.
                    Andrew suggested I make the women's policy-making the main research
                    question, tracking the online content and comparing it to the final
                    Declaration and Platform for Action of the Women's Summit. The other
                    data on posters and statistically interesting correlations would be of
                    secondary importance.

Conferences /
Papers /
Presentations
Other work          The seminar work was cancelled as the course was revised at the last
                    minute.
Things to do        work on preparing a general overview and analysis of the various APC
                    conferences

								
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