Wow… these bricks do give a little…

12 08 2008

My last post had a nice image of a brick wall. I just typed into Google image search “Otter puts head through brick wall”. I actually got lots of results, just none with an otter with its head through a brick wall (no… I wasn’t expecting to get that picture). So I typed “head through brick wall” and this image was about the 3rd result. I laughed, so here it is.


Silliness out of the way, I managed to solve a couple of problems in my development that really had me stuck and a little despondant. The main one was one of those times when you are saying to yourself “I am sure I have tried it this way, but let’s give it another go”. Anyway, some stars aligned, my office filled with an orange mist with gold sparkles (as our resident goat would say), and it worked. Phew.

So I have one more main thing to solve and then I think it is tidy up (touch wood). Fingers crossed that at the end of this week I am pretty close to having the main functionality all working. Hopefully…

… Matt


Otters hitting their heads against brick walls

11 08 2008

It had to be too good to be true. After a few weeks of stellar progress, I have hit the wall in my development. This is because of a few things…

The first is that I have struck two things I need to do with my code that it just won’t do. I know there will be ways to do it, but one particularly is just frustrating the hell out of me. The longer I look at it, the further away a solution seems. So in part this entry is me trying to take my brain away from it for a moment.

The second problem is not really a problem, but a reality. Semester is underway and slowly but surely other commitments sneak in. Teaching, supervision, a meeting here, a meeting there. Then your week has disappeared. My load this semester is quite good, but things are starting to pile up ūüė¶

The final influencing factor I guess is being against the clock. I really have to have this nutted out as I want to do some evaluation of it in class in a month or so. So I need to get this puppy sorted and some preliminary testing done like by yesterday. Nothing like a deadline to bring out your best!

So, here is hoping that moment of clarity comes sometime today. Please. Pretty please? Maybe it is time to change my music.

… Matt

Music to research to – More Sigur Ros

11 08 2008

Since I saw Sigur Ros live the other week, I have been listening to them heaps. Particularly I have been cranking out their older album Takk. Gorgeous stuff.

… Matt

Reading between the lines: Unleash the Goat!

23 07 2008

Why is¬†it that I can easily analyse a phone call with my mother and interprete what she said in five different ways but when it comes to analysing my interview data, I feel stuck? Do I feel constrained by¬†the need to maintain some reserach integrity and not let my imagination run wild?¬† I thought all women are experts in reading between the lines; interpreting creatively what their partners say beyond the words that were actually spoken. Yet I look at an interview transcript and don’t see that clearly behind the text itself.¬† Maybe I have been striving for objective evaluations for so long now that it seems my own voice has disappeared from my writings.

So I’ve decided today to¬†conduct a little experiment. No more logical brain processing, let’s employ the imaginative side. Let’s see if the good old female intuition has something to offer in interpreting qualitative data and reading between the lines.

Unleash the goat! (photo by the goat herself).

…to be continued.¬†***Lucie***

Otter Development Screenshots

22 07 2008

Sorry to bump you from the top post Lucie… just popping some development screenshots up so I can trace the progress of the actual application as I develop it!

Here we have some screenshots of rough but functional steps through my student activity.

… Matt

The Goat is chewing over her data

21 07 2008

Last week¬†I began my thematic analysis and¬†Discussion of findings.¬†Despite¬†the initial enthusiasm, I soon started to feel that¬†the chapter was shaping up to be¬†more ‘descriptive’ rather than ‘analytical’.¬† So I decided to take a step back and look first at other PhD theses that revolved our qualitative data and semi-structured interviews like mine.¬† I used the australian online database (¬†¬†¬†

and searched specifically for theses utilizing qualitative methods. It proved to be a very valid excercise that gave me some ideas for improvement:

  • Dont’ be afraid to use the word “Theory”, it has many definitions and can represent¬†researcher’s concepts, opinions or conclusions based on previous study, experience etc. Theories don’t have to be all purely scientific and factual.
  • If suitable, “Discussion of Findings” can include citations of literature review to show how interview data confirm or contrast existing literature.
  • Examine how interview data address various themes and dig deeper to understand how one quote may talk both about the bigger picture as well as the more immediate issues.
  • Use¬†subheadings within each Theme in the Discussion of Findings to make the chapter more reader-friendly and structured. Although I wanted¬†the discussion¬†to flow like a story, it needs to clearly identify the topics and sub-topics the data addresses.
  • Provide a summary at the end of each theme and highlight what was significant about the findings.

Lots to chew over in the next few weeks, I ought to be careful not to choke! ūüôā


The Otter’s Week – Publications and more Development

20 07 2008

Funny… teaching semester as started and I feel I had more time this week to work on the research. This week was two things:

First, I am getting two papers together for the ASCILITE conference. These aren’t about my PhD, rather based on the work of two of my honours students. They did some good work so it is important to get it out there!

The main work though has been more development. I have had a great run with the Flex 3 / Air development this week… I have my XML docs working pretty sweet, as well as getting round the actual logic and flow of my app. But Friday I was bashing my head against the desk… a strange problem I just couldn’t solve! So I left it, frustrated.

Anyway, it was a lazy Sunday so I thought why not do a bit more. And, as I expected (well, hoped!) I solved my problem in 15 minutes. Woo hoo! So I went on to spend more time consolidating my code and understanding so I can get more into the actual PhD app. Overall, a great day.

The other thing I have started doing is keeping my work process diary. I ask all my 3rd year students to keep both a blog and a workbook of their work. Well, a case of practicing as I preach, cause I now have both. This blog lets me share my successes and frustrations, while the process diary is letting me keep notes about my development that will fit into my actual thesis. The notes aren’t extensive, but enough to make writing my thesis hopefully a lot easier.

So there you go… not a bad week!

… Matt

What does this picture have to do with anything?

I did an image search for “good week” and this is what I got!