Coding and Subjectivity

Emic and etic coding are two types of coding used in computer-mediated discourse analysis. In etic coding, the coder is an observer of the discourse and codes neutrally. Pulling key phrases and key words straight from the discourse or data is how I attempt this coding. Emic coding utilized more investigation or seeking for interpretation. An emic coder may have first hand experience with the discourse, in the role of teacher or participant. I am looking forward to learning more about combining each type of coding for an overall view of the discourse being analyzed.

Misunderstandings occur when communicating with the use of technology. The lack of gestures and important nonverbal communications are missing in online communication. Voice and video cannot replace these cues and this communication is distorted to some extent. Technology interferes with the credibility and trustworthiness of this type of research. We all have biases and it is important, as a researcher and when coding, to reflect on these and be self-aware. A subjectivity statement is something new to me. The purpose of this document is to explain and acknowledge our personal biases to the readers of our research and those we code and collaborate with. S. J. Warren suggests that when looking for the things you want to find when coding, look for the counter argument in addition (course lecture, June 16, 2014). A few items that can be addressed in a subjectivity statement are discussed further, relating to virtual learning environments in this case.

When interviewing, it is important to look for the whole story. The use of semi-structured interviews allow for flexibility in the interview. Developing a framework with themes is essential, as is the use of field notes and audio/video recording. The interviewer must be a good listener who identifies additional areas and questions to explore based on the responses of the interviewee. I am an active participant in the interview.

What do I expect to see?

I converse with my students primarily asynchronously. Email, forum postings, and announcements are common methods I use to communicate with my colleagues and students. My comfort level with this form of communication may influence the way I interpret this form of communication, or verbal communication. I will be self-aware and separate my experiences and biases that may exist as a parent, business owner, and teacher.

Challenge of what I think I already know?

The challenges that may exist are those surrounding my prior experience with the virtual environments (lack of experience, negative experience, technical difficulties). Taking a neutral position to reduce subjectivity is essential. I need to examine the data when well rested and be mindful of my biases. Utilizing inter-rater agreement will increase consistency and reliability.

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