Back to the Grad School Grind Stone!
What I worked on this week:
This week I had to learn how to use a quantitative data analysis software called Nvivo for a major group project involving job descriptions. That was pretty peculiar, since I've never had to use anything like that before. Whenever I've had to do "research analysis" it meant finding literary criticism, or analyzing a text all by myself. You read and reread and if you notice patterns of word usage you have to count them yourself. This software allows you to make a coding scheme out of 3-4 pieces of "data" (an article or document) and it will evaluate any others you add in. It will also count the most frequently used words and allows you to put them into graphic organizers (Word Trees, Word Clouds, charts, tables). I honestly don't think I will ever use this software again unless it is required for a future class, and there is no free student version anyway, so we had to use a 14 day trial of it to complete the assignment. It was an incredibly frustrating program and overall I just didn't find it to be new user friendly. Usually I can sit down with something new for about 2-3 hours and I'll have down all the basic functions rather well. With additional regular practice, I can effectively remember what I did and reapply it without many issues. This software was just a pain. Right when I thought I was getting it down, it decided to not do what I needed. I was trying and trying and it just wasn't plugging in the coding the way it needed to (so I did end up doing a lot of manual analysis, just because I find it so much more effective). I honestly hope I never have to use Nvivo again. Watching a lecture, a few tutorials, and a PowerPoint were not enough to really get me able to use this software to its full capabilities. I dedicated lots of time to it and full concentration and it still jsut didn't lend itself to be a great program I would recommend to people. It is probably best for uniform text formats (headings that share the exact same wording), because if there is any variation, it throws things off and won't complete successful queries.
The same class I was using Nvivo for, I am doing a presentation in (hence why I have to use Nvivo in the first place for data collection). So this is my first time using and creating a Prezi. I have always been really partial to PowerPoint, basically since elementary school when I first learned how to use it (I was the kind of nerd child who would randomly make PowerPoints about anything I wanted to...dinosaurs, Disney movies, whatever, during computer use time when I was done with work. Sadly, USB drives were not a common tool at that point so those files have been lost for a very long time). I've had Prezis used in some class presentations during my time in Undergrad, but I've never made one, so this is a pretty interesting experience. I can't say that I hate Prezi, but I don't find it as user friendly for certain things the way PowerPoint was, like making charts easily. It kind of forces you to be innovative if you don't want to pay a premium fee (and I NEVER want to pay premium frees). I'd make Prezis again with no complaint if they were required of me or if I was tasked to give a Prezi presentation anywhere for whatever reason, maybe for a job.
This is pretty much standard fare and there is no need to bore anyone with details about them.
Page Count for Week 4: 190
Running Total for the Semester: 538