Dissertation: Methodology Chapter

As I write my dissertation, I've been mind-mapping like crazy. It helps me rein in all the material I'm using and everything I need to say. What follows is the map of my methodology chapter, which includes everything I really feel that I need to cover, i.e. stuff I would be remiss if I didn't say. But I want to know what you think: Assuming there's too much going on in this chapter as I've conceptualized it at this point, what can be cut? (This image links out to a bigger, readable one.)

Methodology Chapter of My Dissertation

The chapter basically has four parts.

  1. A review of methodological problems (or complexities) to consider in doing qualitative internet research. Some are from a roundtable on the subject, and others I have learned on my own.
  2. A general definition and overview of my approach: how I'm defining "rhetorical analysis," what is meant by a "feminist rhetorical approach."
  3. A description of my data collection and analytical procedure (to answer the "What did you do?" question).
  4. A reflective section that addresses situatedness and reflexivity -- locating myself in the research. This section is an important part of my overarching feminist approach.

I'm tentatively planning on doing it in that order, but I'm open to suggestions if you think another arrangement would be more coherent and sophisticated. [Edited to add: I should put the "operationalizing gender/online identity" point (which is just a little "how I define and interpret gender online" few paragraphs) under "general introduction." Probably better that way.]


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Additional sources

What do you plan to do about non-trackbacked citation? I'm currently working with this for a Public Library of Science citation analysis for my thesis, and was just curious if only counting comments and trackbacks will give you a full picture. I'm aware of quite a few bloggers who no longer use trackbacks, though it's a great feature. If you were to do something else, I'd use a standard search engine (maybe even Google would work) to rack up the additional times your URL for each article (or URL in general) appears either in text or in the source code. Just an idea! :)


Clancy, I'm very interested in the part "Operationalizing genger". I wonder how you can make out the blogger's gender? via interview, rhetoric analysis, or other text analysis tools?

Counting and Operationalizing

Hey, Spirophita, actually the counting isn't a big part of my methodology at all. I just did it to get an idea of what my sample size is and to get a general idea of who's writing more about "where are the women," men or women.

Jianxin, for the people who use pseudonyms, I'm going by self-identification. "Operationalizing" was maybe a regrettable term to use. I'm thinking of gender as not only a social construct in daily life, but also as a rhetorical position (online and face-to-face). If someone presents as a woman online, whether that person is actually a woman or not, the audience receives that person as a woman, attaches all their various assumptions about femininity to that person, and treats that person as they would a woman. The same for men. I hope that makes at least a little sense...

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