Monthly Archives: January 2013

T-shaped academia : bridging interdisciplinarity

As I was listening to the The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO’s Strategies for Defeating the Devil’s Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization by Thomas Kelley, on my way to school. I listen to audiobook while I walk. It is a good way to get a break from scientific reading. Anyway, the idea of a special kind of people got me thinking about interdisciplinarity.

T by chrisinplymouth

In an interview, IDEO CEO Tim Brown talked about T-shaped people. They have two main characteristics :

    • Wide breadth of knowledge across disciplines
    • Deep knowledge in one or two specific areas

The vertical stroke of the “T” is a depth of skill that allows them to contribute to the creative process. That can be from any number of different fields: an industrial designer, an architect, a social scientist, a business specialist or a mechanical engineer. The horizontal stroke of the “T” is the disposition for collaboration across disciplines. It is composed of two things. First, empathy. It’s important because it allows people to imagine the problem from another perspective- to stand in somebody else’s shoes. Second, they tend to get very enthusiastic about other people’s disciplines, to the point that they may actually start to practice them. T-shaped people have both depth and breadth in their skills.

I think that in academia, we should also try to be more like T-shaped person. This could build more bridges across disciplines and create new forms of knowledge production as Kincheloe proposed with the idea of researcher as bricoleur (2001).

Bridge reflection by Mundoo

As bricoleurs recognize the limitations of a single method, the discursive structures of one disciplinary approach, what is missed by traditional practices of validation, the historicity of certified modes of knowledge production, the inseparability of knower and known, and the complexity and heterogeneity of all human experience, they understand the necessity of new forms of rigor in the research process. (Kincheloe, 2001, p.681)

As researcher, we tend to dig deeper in our field, elongating the vertical stroke of the “T”. And our horizontal stroke get shorter in comparison, making it harder to cross the gap to another discipline. This mean even more rigorous work so the bridges we’ll build wont collapse at the first crossing over.
Kincheloe, J. L. (2001). Describing the Bricolage: Conceptualizing a New Rigor in Qualitative Research. Qualitative Inquiry, 7(6), 679-692.



I was curious to see how much time I spend on my computer for 2012.

I use RescueTime to see where I spend the most time on each week. According to my RescuTime, I was productive for a total of 869h 43m. And a total of 305h 23m on distracting time. On the positive side, I did spend more time doing productive stuff on my computer than distracting ones. On the down side, that is a lot of time seating down. I know that  sitting at your desk all day is really bad for your health.

Productive Time

Productive Time

For 2013 I’ll try  to hit 1000 hours of actual work on my computer.

Here is a great review of RescueTime.

It’s fabulous that you have given your time to read this introductory blog. This wordpress account, our @socphd twitter feed and our Facebook page have been created to assist those of us working in the social sciences. The aim is to facilitate and support the sharing of knowledge and support. It is not intended to replace what social media you already use but to complement those portals. Many of you may have your own blog site, that’s great tell us about it and we will follow. But if you would prefer to collaborate and blog here instead or as well we would love to hear from you. These blogs are not peer reviewed nor have any defined word limit, although we feel often less is more with blogs you actually want people to read all the way through. You can blog about something you have learned today, talk about a…

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TQR 2013 – Wrap up day 2

Here are the highlights of the conference.


The Lived Experience of a Doctoral Student: The Process of Learning and Becoming. Betina Callary

This was one of my favorite presentation.

Betina presented her lifelong learning perspective, through a reflective self-study. She shared her process of learning throughout her PhD degree. She used Jarvis (2009) concept of biography, which is part of the theory of human learning. Basically, we are in a state of constantly becoming :

We are constructing our own biography whenever we learn – whilst we live our biography is an unfinished product constantly undergoing change and development – either through experiences that we self-initiate or else through experiences which are initiated by others. (Jarvis, 2009, p. 25)

She explained how she followed Louie et al. (2003) three phases of the self-study methodology:

  1. the assessment phase : why you want to engage in a critique of yourself?
  2. the implementation phase : explore different issues about yourself with a journal
  3. the dissemination phase : contribute to the academic discourse by sharing your result

You can read her article here :

Glaze, J. (2002). Ph.D. study and the use of a reflective diary: A dialogue with self. Reflective Practice, 3(2), 153-166.

Jarvis, P. (2009). Learning to be a person in society. London, UK: Routledge.

Louie, B. Y., Drevdahl, D. J., Purdy, J. M., & Stackman, R. W. (2003). Advancing the scholarship of teaching through collaborative self-study. The Journal of Higher Education, 74(2), 150-171.

Moon, J. (2006). Learning journals: A handbook for reflective practice and professional development (2nd ed.). London, UK: Routledge.


With Design in Mind: The E-Interview Research Framework. Janet Salmons

The E-Interview Research Framework (Salmons, 2012) is a tool for analyzing a study’s research design, ethical issues and approach for using text-based, visual or virtual world communications technologies to collect data with interviews and related observations. The E-Interview Research Framework includes eight interrelated categories of key questions and steps that can help a researcher think through and plan an e-interview study This session will introduce the Framework and invite participants.

A new metaphor for the researcher position : The gardener

I was familiar with the 2 metaphors by Kvale (2007). He suggested that researchers may act as either miners (knowledge collection) who dig the data from participants, or as travelers (knowledge construction)who journey with participants.

Salmons (2010) suggest that we may use the metaphor of the gardener: because we may need to do some digging, some cultivating, and some weeding.

Kvale, Steiner. (2007). Doing interviews. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Salmons, Janet E. (2010). Online Interviews in Real Time. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.


Some useful web sites:


Available for both Windows and Macintosh, InqScribe sports a deceptively simple interface, pairing your digital video and audio with a transcript editor that lets you synchronize specific portions of your transcript with corresponding time segments within the media.

It can be use for:

  • Direct Transcription
  • Iterative Analysis
  • Timecode Tagging
  • Teaching
  • Presentations
  • Collaborative Review
  • Subtitling



Need to make a call to someone far away or arrange a web or video conference across different time zones?

Find the best time across time zones with this Meeting Planner.



“Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by”


Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) is a framework that identifies the knowledge teachers need to teach effectively with technology. The TPACK framework extends Shulman’s idea of Pedagogical Content Knowledge.