In light of my new position as an Information Technology Specialist with the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program at the the Library of Congress I have made significant revisions to my professional goals and doctoral program of study. Instead of looking for academic appointments, my intention is to continue working in the design, development, and promotion of systems that ensure preservation, access and use of digital cultural heritage materials.
While thinking and cognition are still important to the work I am engaged in I have decided to shift away from educational psychology as my primary specialization to research methods. My work at the Library of Congress will be significantly augmented by additional knowledge methods of social science research. Furthermore, the ability to interpret and synthesize research on cutting edge technologies will be much more important to my work than my ability to run any kind of large research projects. Much of my educational psychology coursework was methodological in nature, or focused on issues related to research design, methods and measurement, and is thus still applicable. However, I have altered my program of study to include additional grounding in research methods coursework. I am particularly interested in qualitative methods and thus my program focuses much more directly on qualitative research approaches.
At this point, I have published three articles in peer reviewed journals, a book review, an encyclopedia entry, and a two entries in conference proceedings. I have presented at a range of peer reviewed conferences, including the annual meetings of the American Educational Research Association, the American Historical Association, the National Association for Research on Science Teaching, and the History of Science society. In light of this work I feel confident in my ability to continue to develop and conduct research.
This semester I am planing to continue my exploration of creative production in online communities by designing a study of Etsy.com, a website where (primarily women) create a web presence for selling handmade creative products. I am particularly interested in understanding how if there are significant differences in how this site scaffolds its users into entrepreneurship, creative production, and technical competence. Planning for this project is in the early stages, I will be designing the study as part of my course with Dr. Kim Sheridan this semester.
In the long run, I feel that the work I have done exploring individual online communities will be instrumental in developing toward a more synthetic project that explores some of the issues I am interested in across a series of online communities.
I intend to complete a primary specialization in research methods with a secondary specialization in instructional technology. Through these studies my objective is to develop as a researcher and scholar. At this point most of my remaining course of study includes further engagement and practice in research methods. I have read through the syllabi from previous semesters for each of these courses I am slated to take and am confident that this coursework will provide me with the experiences I need to further develop my competencies in methods and practices of for research about knowledge and production in online communities.