Exploring social life as it is constructed through language and technology choices

I am a qualitative research methodologist & technologist, specializing in the analysis of online conversations and use of digital tools and spaces in research design. I am co-author of Doing Qualitative Research in a Digital World (Sage, 2021), Looking for Insight, Transformation and Learning in Online Talk (Routledge, 2019), and Digital Tools for Qualitative Research (Sage, 2014).

I have been a certified professional trainer for ATLAS.ti for several versions now, and I am an affiliate of Indiana University’s Center for Computer-Mediated Communication.

This video from the Qualitative Research Summer Intensive in Chapel Hill is a good introduction to my work.

My first formal teaching experience was as an English teacher in Lesotho, Southern Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. One of my favorite parts of the experience was learning to speak Sesotho and the opportunity to travel to Swaziland, South Africa, Botswana, Madagascar and Zimbabwe.

When I returned to the States I studied applied linguistics at Ohio University where I received my Master of Arts degree. I taught English as a second language as a graduate teaching assistant and won the outstanding teaching assistant award. I also published findings from my Master’s thesis in the Journal of Second Language Writing. (Effective teamwork, collaboration, and peer feedback have been an interest of mine from way back.)

After finishing my Master’s program I completed a two year internship with the English Language Center at Michigan State University, during which I taught intensive English and academic English classes for international students. I then moved back to Indiana, my home state, to pursue my Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Technology, minoring in computer-mediated communication, at Indiana University.

From 2003-2014 I was an assistant and tenured associate professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, serving as the coordinator of the qualitative research methods graduate certificate program, facilitating the Discourse Analysis Research Team, and helping to design and re-launch the instructional design Master’s program as an award-winning fully online program.

In 2014 I moved to the University of Georgia as a professor with the qualitative research program. Until 2019 I taught a variety of qualitative research courses in face-to-face, online and blended learning environments, including workshops on ATLAS.ti.

East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee is now home. I am an affiliate faculty member with the Applied Social Research Laboratory, and a Professor in the Research Division of the Department of Family Medicine. I served as Director of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities from 2020-22 and am currently serving as a scholar in the Provost’s Academy.

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to facilitate professional development programs at South East European University in Macedonia and for the University of Alabama in Quito, Ecuador. I have also worked on faculty development programs in online teaching with the College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee and at the University of Michigan-Flint.

I consult and provide workshops on the use of digital tools in a variety of qualitative research contexts in the USA and abroad. I am particularly excited to be headed to Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan Poland as a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar in 2023.

After work and on the weekends I live to be outdoors – running, hiking, backpacking, gardening and biking. I have worked as a trail guide in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, served as an Appalachian Trail maintainer, coordinated a monthly hiking group for women, and was a founding member of Girls Outside. So far I have been to every continent except Antarctica.

You can follow me on Twitter or on ORCID, Academia.edu, ResearchGate, or SSRN.

Check out my SelectedWorks profile, Impactstory and Google Scholar pages

3 thoughts on “Exploring social life as it is constructed through language and technology choices

  1. Pingback: SNAPSHOT: Trena Paulus - Geek Puff

  2. Eli Meinhard

    Hello I am Eli Meinhard and I go to the University of Cincinnati but I reading about Qualitative Data Analysis tools for my co-op and I think this is one of articles is one of the foundational texts. The article is Advancing Qualitative Research Using Qualitative Data Analysis Software (QDAS)? Reviewing Potential Versus Practice in Published Studies using ATLAS.ti and NVivo, 1994–2013, but it is hidden behind a pay wall. I have heard that if you reach out to the author they can send it to directly so I thought I would give it a shot. Thank you!


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