Now available!

Looking for insight, transformation and learning in online talk is now officially available from Routledge.

We wrote the book to offer researchers a comprehensive guide for analyzing digital interactions in formal and informal online spaces. It provides a clear framework for addressing major challenges that have arisen as social exchanges, meaning-making, and knowledge-building increasingly take place through social media, discussion forums, and digital communities. We hope you and your students find it a useful tool for planning and conducting studies using online talk as a data source.

Read more about Looking for Insight, Transformation and Learning in Online Talk.

Order a copy of Looking for Insight, Transformation and Learning in Online Talk.


Jessica Lester and I had a fun time teaching a one-day professional development course on “Using ATLAS.ti Windows 8 Across the Research Process” at the American Educational Research Association meeting in Toronto last week. Even though half the class brought Macs, and we were teaching the Windows version, I think the participants learned a bit : )


Power Friday at Purdue

On February 1 I had the pleasure of participating in Purdue University College of Education’s Power Friday at the invitation of Dr. Wayne Wright, Associate Dean for Research, Graduate Programs and Faculty Development.

It was my first time on the road in a few months to talk about digital tools, and I especially enjoyed the chance to talk about our book on analyzing online talk that is FINALLY in press.

I didn’t even mind flying right into the heart of the polar vortex – I got a chance to use my uber-warm winter coat while walking across campus and re-learning how to balance on ice and slush.


Come see us at AERA!

Dr. Jessica Lester of Indiana University and I will be teaching a one day professional development course at the American Educational Research Association annual meeting in April in Toronto. Details are below.


PDC13:             Using ATLAS.ti Windows 8 Qualitative Data Analysis Software Across the Research Process
Instructors:      Jessica Nina Lester, Indiana University; Trena M. Paulus, University of Georgia – Athens

Date:                 Thursday, April 4
Time:                 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Fee:                    $135

This course introduces how ATLAS.ti 8 qualitative data analysis software (QDAS) can be used to support the entire research process, including managing and collaborating on projects, conducting paperless literature reviews, collecting data through mobile apps and social media, synchronizing audio and video files with transcripts, analyzing text/Geo-docs/multimedia data, and visualizing and representing findings. Although most researchers understand the benefits of QDAS, fewer have thought about how such software can support every aspect of their work. Through a variety of instructional strategies including demonstrations and hands-on work with data, participants will learn how to integrate ATLAS.ti 8 into a research study. The target audience includes graduate students, methods course instructors, practitioners, and qualitative or mixed methods researchers. Participants should have a working knowledge of qualitative research and, ideally, a research study in the design phase. While no prior experience with ATLAS.ti 8 is required, those who have never used it will be asked to watch a short webinar to become familiar with the interface. Participants should bring a laptop computer with the software installed (trial versions will be made available prior to the course). While sample data will be provided, participants may bring the following in the context of their own studies: text, audio, and/or video data; PDFs of scholarly literature; an iPad with the free app installed; a Twitter and/or Evernote account; and an XML file from a citation management system.


Manuscript submitted

I’m happy to report that last week Alyssa Wise and I submitted our manuscript to Routledge. Our working title is Looking for Insight, Transformation and Learning in Online Talk. The preface is below. It should appear in 2019 – keep an eye out! A special thanks to Robyn Singleton, a doctoral student at UGA, who helped out with the chapter on quantitative methods of analysis.


From social media and MOOCs to mobile apps and discussion forums, online talk is being harnessed by people in a variety of fields who are hoping to identify the insights, transformations and moments of learning that take place in these spaces. It is surprising, then, that until now there has been no research design text to provide a comprehensive guide to analyzing online talk for evidence of insight, transformation and learning. In this book, we offer a framework to guide the process of analyzing online talk. This framework is designed to help researchers define the precise object of research interest; identify the foundational assumptions about the object that will impact research design; draw upon previous literature and relevant theoretical frameworks to craft research questions; treat online talk as data in ethical ways; inscribe boundaries around online talk for analysis; articulate meaningful units of analysis; and select appropriate inferential (quantitative) and/or interpretive (qualitative) data collection and analysis methods.

To date little attention has been given to the ways in which statistical, computational and qualitative methods can be productively joined in the analysis of online talk, as the majority of texts have focused on one set of techniques to the exclusion of the other. Equally importantly, prior texts have devoted most of their emphasis to specific analytic techniques without dedicated attention to how to set up the larger research design in which they can be usefully employed. In this way, this book is at the cutting edge in its methodological coverage and conceptual grounding. This book is also unique in its emphasis on how differences between researcher-influenced online talk and pre-existing online talk as data have important implications for research design decisions.

Through multiple examples and practical guidance, the reader will finish the book with a better understanding of how to design conceptually congruent research studies of online talk. We  emphasize the relationship between theoretical assumptions, research design and treating online talk as data. Additionally, this text serves as a tangible resource to practitioners in a variety of fields seeking to better understand how to study, understand and productively utilize online talk. Finally, the text will stand out as a focus for current and future discussion on best practices around research design to understand what is happening in online talk.

We anticipate that this book will be helpful to researchers across the social sciences in fields such as education, psychology, communication, media studies, informatics, business, anthropology, health sciences, political science and the data sciences. This framework will assist researchers in creating conceptually congruent research designs to answer important questions around how insights, transformations, and moments of learning occur in online talk.