Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Academic Online Research & Reading Fun

Even social science research design and methodology wonks like myself sometimes ask, "How did they ever come up with that research project?" Today was one of those "special" days. After a cursory read at Crookedtimber, I followed some links and nodes to the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, which will have an upcoming special issue on The Social, Political, Economic and Cultural Dimensions of Search Engines (!) It seems my unreconstructed positivist allies in computer science and communications have their own academic journal version of Social Text (go to your favorite search engine and type in "Alan Sokal Hoax" for all the entertaining history). A cusory read of the latest JCMC research offerings includes:

Our Latest Issue

Volume 10, Issue 2, January 2005

Gender, Identity, and Language Use in Teenage BlogsDavid Huffaker & Sandra Calvert

The Language of Online Intercultural Community FormationJustine Cassell & Dona Tversky

Hazing as a Process of Boundary Maintenance in an Online Community Courtenay Honeycutt

Mechanisms of an Online Public Sphere: The Website SlashdotNathaniel Poor

The Role of the Habitus in Shaping Discourses about the Digital Divide Lynette Kvasny

Experienced Presence within Computer-Mediated Communications: Initial Explorations on the Effects of Gender with Respect to Empathy and Immersion Stef G. Nicovich, Gregory W. Boller, & T. Bettina Cornwell

A Content Analytic Comparison of Learning Processes in Online and Face-to-Face Case Study Discussions Robert Heckman & Hala Annabi

The Media Downing of Pierre Salinger: Journalistic Mistrust of the Internet as a News Source Thomas E. Ruggiero & Samuel P. Winch

Congress on the Internet: Messages on the Homepages of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1996 and 2001 Sharon E. Jarvis & Kristen Wilkerson

The Italian Extreme Right On-line Network: An Exploratory Study Using an Integrated Social Network Analysis and Content Analysis Approach Luca Tateo

Research Brief

The Story of Subject Naught: A Cautionary but Optimistic Tale of Internet Survey Research Joseph A. Konstan, B. R. Simon Rosser, Michael W. Ross, Jeffrey Stanton, & Weston M. Edwards

Reactions? While I'm not a big fan of many communication research projects (institutional allegiances), I do use social network analysis, some content analysis, and conceptual mapping from cognitive anthropology. But the brevity of some of these projects makes me think of their place within the larger context of academic publishing and Darwinian survivial tactics in the Ivory Tower. The famous Red Queen Hypothesis proposed by Van Valen in evolutionary biology held that species had to "run in place" in order to stave off extinction, and it seems that an analogy might be made for certain research projects in certain academic fields.

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