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PhD! September 20, 2010

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Aalborg University, Academic, PhD.
14 comments

I am happy to announce that I now have a PhD 😀 Friday was the day of my PhD defence and it was a really good experience. Especially, I want to thank the assessment committee, Mikael Vetner, Elza Dunkels and Leena Kuure, for creating a nice atmosphere  with relevant questions and a good academic discussion.

Thanks to everyone who helped celebrate me (colleagues, students, friends and family) – I had an amazing day.

The entire defence was videotaped and will be available at Aalborg University’s web page at some point. I will add a link when it’s online!

For the time being, I will focus on my next big project – the birth of my future daughter (I am 38 weeks pregnant). This also means that I am now officially on maternity leave and will probably not be bogging that much.

Thanks to all the readers of My PhD Blog who have followed my academic efforts the past 3,5 years.

PhD defence September 9, 2010

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Aalborg University, Academic, PhD.
3 comments

It’s official! My PhD dissertation has been accepted for defence. The defence will take place next Friday, September 17, at Aalborg University from 9-12.

During the defence I will be giving a 45 minute presentation of my work where after each member of the assessment committee will have 30 minutes to ask me questions.

The assessment committee consists of:

  • Associate professor Mikael Vetner, Department of Communication, Aalborg University (head of committee)
  • Associate professor Elza Dunkels, Umeå University, Sweden
  • Dr Leena Kuure, University of Oulu, Finland

After the defence the Department of Communication will host a reception. Read more about the defence here (in Danish) and sign up for the event on Facebook.

Download the full dissertation here (in Danish).

PhD thesis submitted! :-) August 6, 2010

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Academic, Dissertation, PhD.
17 comments

After 3,5 years of PhD studies I have finally submitted my thesis to The Faculty of Humanities at Aalborg University. The thesis is entitled “Youth and Online Social Networking: A Nexus Analytic Study of Mediated Actions and Public Discourses” and is 388 pages long.

For several practical reasons, the thesis is (regretfully) written in Danish, but here is a short English summary:

The present PhD thesis investigates Danish children and young people’s use of a relatively recent web-phenomenon: Online social networking. The so-called social network sites (SNSs) are internet based social spaces where users via personalised profiles can list each other as friends and communicate and socialise across time and space. The main purpose of the thesis is to gain an understanding of the meanings SNSs, such as Arto and Facebook, have for young people’s individual and social lives and how they use them as part of everyday life. In order to investigate this, the thesis takes its analytic departure in an extensive amount of various empirical data. The primary data consist of five years of ethnographic engagement (including participatory observation within the field) and a large-scale qualitative questionnaire aimed at investigating the experiences that 12-18 years old Danes have on social network sites. In this way, the thesis encompasses both the level of social actors and the level of discourse. It explores and analyses the central actions young people carry out across social network sites, as well as the ways in which they discursively construct and articulate their concrete use and experiences.

(more…)

Making a Mess with Situational Analysis May 12, 2010

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Academic, PhD, Talks.
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At the Department of Communication here at Aalborg University we have a doctoral program in Human Centered Communication and Informatics (HCCI) which each Wednesday hosts  informal lunch seminars where PhD students can discuss ongoing research, present paper or dissertation drafts etc. Today me and guest from Aarhus School of Business, Annette Agerdal-Hjermind, each gave a presentation under the headline ‘Making a Mess with Situational Analysis’. Annette and I are both using Situational Analysis (Clarke, 2005) in our PhD projects and we wanted to exchange experiences and receive feedback from colleagues.

Annette is working with blogging in an organisational context and gave an interesting presentation on her case, data and how she is planning to use Clarke’s situational maps when coding, mapping and categorising her data. You can learn more from her PhD blog.

The situational maps are exactly the parts of Clarke’s framework I have integrated in my PhD project. Here, I am using Scollon & Scollon’s (2004) Nexus Analysis as a methodological and theoretical framework. As a first step in a Nexus Analysis the Scollons suggest that you make broad-stroke maps of your field and the many discourse cycles that are circulating through the moment of social action you are studying. I think Clarke’s maps are useful tools when engaging in such a task, since the point is to map out “the complex situations of inquiry broadly conceived” (Clarke & Friese, 2007, p. 366). Both Clarke and the Scollons believe that ‘context’ should be understood and treated as something that exists within the siuation of inquiry (and not as mere background). Therefore, I think the two frameworks go well together and the combination has worked for me when trying to sketch out maps of young people’s use of social network sites in Denmark.

You can learn more and see the slides from my presentation here (at the last slide I have included a list of references.):

Science communication competition April 16, 2010

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Academic, Science communication, Talks.
5 comments

Next week I am participating in a national competition in science communication called ‘Forsker Grand Prix 2010’.  The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation, who is behind the competition, has launched it as an academic version of X Factor or as “Rock ‘n Research”.

We are eight PhD students with very different academic backgrounds competing to be ‘Research Communicator of the Year’. We each have three minutes to present our research in a vivid and enthralling manner whereupon the audience and a panel of judges will vote two of us in the final. The three judges will provide us with comments and rate us after each performance. In this way, the competition very much resembles a talent show and even though I am used to giving talks and presenting my research I think it will be a huge challenge presenting under these conditions.

Read more about the competition here (in Danish).

I have prepared two presentations on ‘The Digital Youth Culture’ and ‘Youthful Emotions in Public Space’. I will let you know how it turns out 🙂

Update: I came in on a shared third place. See press coverage of the event here, here and here.

Giving lectures on tv February 5, 2010

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Academic, Lectures, Television.
8 comments

The Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) recently launched a new initiative involving several Danish universities called “The Danes’ Academy” (“Danskernes Akademi”). The project involves broadcasting short university lectures on daytime TV on the national channel DR2.

DR is inspired by for instance BBC’s The Open University or Ted.com and has created a website where all lectures can be viewed and discussed.

I have been involved in filming two 20-25 minutes lectures which were broadcast a couple of days ago. In both of the lectures I talk about social network sites and my own research on youth and new media. In the first lecture I focus mainly on defining SNS and in the second I highlight central concepts and research results explaining the popularity of the phenomenon. Both lectures can be viewed here (they are in Danish, though).

I like the idea of communicating research results in this manner (it’s nice with more than 20 seconds of airtime) and I plan to record more talks when I have handed in the dissertation.

New paper out: Social Network Sites and Digital Youth Culture December 11, 2009

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Academic, Papers, PhD Data, Social network sites, Youth Culture.
6 comments

I have a new paper out in the latest volume of the journal MedieKultur. The paper is called ‘Social network sites and digital youth culture: When young people practice friendships online (‘Sociale netværkssider og digital ungdomskultur: Når unge praktiserer venskab på nettet’). I regret to say that the paper is in Danish, which will probably discourage some of you from reading it. I can, however, provide you with an English abstract:

During the past few years, hundreds of thousands of Danes have created personal profiles on websites such as Arto, Facebook and MySpace. With the emergence and popularisation of these sites, we have witnessed a new media concept: social network(ing) sites. As is often the case with new media, teenagers have been the first to take social network sites to heart. In this paper I discuss the concept of online social networking and describe how social network sites are used as part of everyday teenage life to maintain social relations. I do this, firstly, by presenting a number of concepts that I consider to be important in relation to young people’s use of social network sites. Secondly, I highlight some results from my own research on 12-18-year-old children and adolescents’ use of various social network sites, including Arto.com, which has been Danish teenagers’ preferred venue on the Internet for a relatively long time. Using empirical examples, I analyse and discuss how social network sites are an integral part of the young users’ friendships and social lives. The article is based on four years of ethnographic studies.

The paper does not really contain any of my newest PhD results (since I wrote it a year ago), but I am using the paper in my dissertation as part of my chapter 3, where I define and frame my research topic.

You can download the paper in a pdf-version here. Also, check out other interesting papers from the volume.

New citation manager August 31, 2009

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Academic, Dissertation, Research.
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When I first started writing my PhD dissertation I used Endnote to manage citations and references. Half way through the period I switched to RefWorks, which I liked because of the possibility to store all of my references online. Then a few weeks ago some colleagues of mine pointed me towards Zotero,  which is now my favourite tool for creating in-text-citations. Zotero is actually an open source Firefox extension so I have all my research sources stored in the web browser itself. The Word plug-in is really easy to use and I haven’t encountered any problems importing all my references.

Learn more about Zotero here.

Btw, if you wonder what I am up to at the moment and why I am an awfully unstable blogger, I can tell you that all I am doing is writing my dissertation. It is going okay and I enjoy having the time to be absorbed into the project.

Twittering from Social Media PhD Course June 24, 2009

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Academic, PhD, Twitter.
4 comments

I’m attending a PhD course on “Social Media: Analysing Identity, Sociality and Creativity in Online Networked Environments“. Some of us are twittering using the hashtag #PhDsmc. Feel free to follow 🙂

Nancy Baym at Aalborg University June 17, 2009

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Aalborg University, Academic, Lectures.
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Next week Nancy Baym, University of Kansas, will be visiting Aalborg University to give a summer lecture on ”Qualitative Internet Research: New Media and Methodology”. Nancy is coming to Denmark in connection with the PhD course on Social Media I have been involved in planning, and luckily she agreed to come by Aalborg first to talk about her research and how she deals with methodological issues in social media studies.

The abstract of Nancy’s talk is:

Nancy Baym will be discussing the methodological issues she’s encountered in her recent qualitative and quantitative research online. Her research on friendship in the music-based social networking site, Last.fm, for example, combines quantitative and qualitative survey questions and raised several challenges in recruiting appropriate participants as well as integrating the two kinds of responses. Her work on independent Scandinavian music and its online fans involved multiple forms of online interviewing including email, chat and skype (audio and video), and she will discuss the variation in interviews that resulted.

The guest lecture takes place Monday 22nd at 10. Read more about it here and feel free to attend or pass on the invitation.

After the lecture Nancy will join the local researchers for a lunch seminar and an informal discussion on “The new shape of online communities“.