My PhD Research in plain English

Answer meme #1 of the Writing Researcher challenge

My research focuses on the use of participatory media by academic researchers in the current changing environment.

In this post I will try to deconstruct this title into something more intelligible to those who do not work in this area.

For the past 3 ½ years I have been studying the influence and implications the use of web technologies ( online tools and applications such as twitter, facebook, blogs, wikis, skype, other social network sites, etc.) have on the practice of academics, i.e, individuals who work in an Higher Education institution as educators and/or researchers.

I am not so much interested in which tools each individual uses, how often, or what they use them for, as I am in learning how participating online has shaped and innovated their professional practices. My research participants are highly online networked individuals who collaborate and communicate in online environments, represent their work and present themselves through the digital medium. By doing so, they are inevitably also faced with the advantages and implications of being digitally active. Hence, I am also interested in teasing out how their forward thinking and innovative practice might encounter some barriers regarding implicit and explicit rules stipulated by their institution and external regulating bodies.

In a nutshell, I am looking into the practices of a cohort of highly online networked scholars to try to understand how activities and philosophies practised online are transferred to their workplace, and what impact academics feel these practices have on their academic venture. – 263 words