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PhD thesis submitted! :-) August 6, 2010

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

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.


#PhD twittering June 30, 2010

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Dissertation, PhD, Twitter.

At the moment I have less than a month left before I absolutely have to turn in my PhD dissertation. On Twitter I am using the hashtag #phd to communicate my ups and downs – and it is comforting to know that there are other people out there in the same position. So if you are a PhD student on Twitter I recommend that you use #PhD in your dissertation related tweets.

Here are some of my latest PhD tweets that nicely illustrate this last phase of dissertation writing:

  • Writing a PhD is filled with many ups and downs. Yesterday I was down – today I’m up. Please remind me of this tomorrow! #PhD #dissertation
  • Trying to sum up this part of my analysis on “Youthful emotions in public space” – seems like a never-ending task 🙂 #PhD
  • Yellow post-its overload in office! #PhD
  • Have ran out of yellow post its #PhD
  • Ahh – the joy of copy/pasting from things you’ve already written #PhD

And here are two ‘must-follow’ accounts on Twitter for PhD students:

@phdcomics: http://twitter.com/phdcomics

@TDDissertation: http://twitter.com/TDDissertation

Happy #PhD tweeting! 🙂

PhD metaphors November 29, 2009

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Dissertation, PhD, Procrastination.

I have three months left before I have to turn in my PhD, which of course means that all I am doing at the moment is writing and working on my dissertation. Being in this state of mind has made me think about all the different metaphors one could use to describe what this last phase of the PhD process is like.

I think for me – at least at the moment – writing a PhD thesis is like completing a jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes you have only four pieces and other times 4000 pieces to fit together.

Another, and not necessarily optimistic, metaphor could be viewing the process as a train ride. Normally it goes fast, sometimes there are delays – and you just hope it doesn’t crash!

What is the PhD process like for you? Can you come up with other eloquent metaphors?

New citation manager August 31, 2009

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Academic, Dissertation, Research.
1 comment so far

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.

Nine months, nine chapters… March 28, 2009

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

I have nine months left of my PhD scholarship, which means nine months to finish the nine chapters, that my dissertation is composed of. As anyone who has ever tried it can probably testify, writing a 300 pages dissertation is a bumpy ride with many ups and downs.

On a weekly basis I enjoy the comics from PHD Comics – and I could especially relate to this one, as I often ask myself “how, when and why” 😀

Btw, I feel sorry for not being so active when it comes to blogging – but now you know why.

An archive of data September 30, 2008

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Academic, Dissertation, Ethnography, Methodology, PhD, PhD Data.

I am working on the methodology chapter for my dissertation at the moment. Here, I am trying to describe all of my data material, which is a rather tricky affair. As you probably know, I have been using various ethnographic approaches in my PhD project. My engagement and ‘zone of identification’ within the field of youth and online social networking in Denmark is quite strong as I have been entangled in the field since 2004 (both as a researcher, a public speaker, a blogger and as “an expert” in the media).

Therefore, I am trying to incorporate the idea of having an ‘archive of data’. The idea comes from Tim Rapley’s book “Doing Conversation, Discourse and Document Analysis“. But where Rapley presents two categories of data, researcher-generated and already existing, I am trying to add a third one: The kind of data that are generated by my own research results.

In this way, my ‘archive of data’ consists of three different types of data material:

  • Data generated by me (such as interviews, open-ended questionnaires, ethnographic observations
    and field rapports)
  • Already existing data (such as newspaper articles about the subject, public debate and discourses etc.)
  • Data generated on the basic of my previous research (such as comments on my blog, reactions on my public talks and articles, newspaper articles with me as a source etc.).

At the moment I am working on building up and describing this archive. One of my main challenges is being able to handle this massive amount of data and to analyse it righteously. But hopefully this division will help me analyse and reflect on my own role as a researcher within the field I am studying.