This post will be a departure from my usual spotlight on tech tools. I seem to be having a lot of conversations lately about academic freedom, intellectual property, and access to academic resources. In a way, this does tie into our discussion about technology because technology — especially Internet databases — is supposed to make more things accessible to more people. The Internet is supposed to be the great equalizer.
As I approach the dissertation phase of my doctoral program, I’m particularly interested in research methods and the software I may need to analyze data. Of course, I’ve taken statistics courses and used SPSS for my quantitative data analysis. However, it looks like my own dissertation research will require qualitative methods and a different kind of software for data analysis. I’ve discovered Dedoose, a relatively new Web-based application that works well for my needs.
This semester I’ve been working on a technology project with Dr. Pam Eddy, Associate Professor of Higher Education. She decided to use Mendeley, a reference management application, to allow students in her graduate-level Educational Policy class to interact with the assigned readings collaboratively while gaining experience with a useful online research tool. The social dimensionof Mendeley allows users to create interest groups where members may exchange documents, usually in PDF format, and highlight or annotate with comments. The beauty of the application is that it operates with both a desktop version and online repository, so that group members can keep the documents they are discussing on their own computers, but sync with the online version to update annotations.