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“where nothing we’ve actually seen has been mapped or outlined…”

Archive for March 2009

what to do with blog posts: another test

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With my confirmation seminar next week (Tuesday to be precise, more details on that later), I’ve been thinking about what I’m trying to get out of this research project, which bits of the data to study, and how these might be represented within my thesis (and any other outcomes). Because I am quite possibly insane, over the last two days I’ve grabbed (manually) the full text of each blog post made on Pineapple Party Time – a blog hosted on Crikey and run by Mark Bahnisch of Larvatus Prodeo, William Bowe of the Poll Bludger, and Possum (Scott Steel) from Pollytics. I chose this blog mainly because it had a brief, and complete, lifespan – it ran for a month, being launched on Tuesday 24 February 2009, when the Queensland state election was called, until Monday 23 March (two days after the election itself, enough time for a few final analyses). Of course, that didn’t mean there were only a few posts, around 130 in total (having copied and pasted each one into its own document), of which Bahnisch contributed the most.

So, with all the posts in raw(ish) text format (except for the election day liveblog – see below), and not worrying about links or comments just yet (I didn’t save comments, but I’ll probably get some graphs happening comparing number of posts per day and comments per day, both for the whole blog history and per author), what should be done with this data? Well, textual/content analysis of some description, but something quick would be preferable for the moment. I’m going to run everything through Leximancer a bit later, but earlier in the week ManyEyes (featured here previously) added a new data visualisation tool to its range of options: phrase net. This method allows you to upload your data set of many words and find common combinations of phrases along the lines of ‘x is y’, ‘x’s y’, ‘x of the y’, ‘x and y’, and so on. So, in the name of research, I’ve been testing it out. Here’s the visualisation (currently of the ‘x is y’ format) for posts from the entire blog:

ppt [ManyEyes]

Given the general themes of the election coverage – Premier Anna Bligh calling it early, the LNP looking to gain a big swing of voters away from the ALP, polls being seen as giving the LNP a slim victory or making the contest too close to call – some of the combinations showing up are unsurprising (‘Labor is worried/scared/vulnerable’ for example).

Going on an author by author basis, though, this changes a little, given Possum and Bowe’s focus on, for example, poll analysis and electoral data. Read the rest of this entry »


Written by Tim

26 March, 2009 at 12:17 pm

phd update

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It’s been a while between updates, but most of that is due to spending time on the next major stage of the phd candidature: confirmation. In just over a week, I’ll be one year into the great work, which means I have a 45 minute seminar to present on my research (and also prepare an accompanying 60-80 page document for the seminar panel). The presentation itself is on 31 March, more details forthcoming. Once that’s out of the way, there will be more work-in-progress type posts; I’ve put in abstracts for a few conferences later in the year, and chosen to focus on particular sets of data being collected from the Australian and French political blogospheres, so there’ll be some information coming out of that hopefully.

One more immediate bit of news regards the paper I presented last year at the Ignite conference for QUT Creative Industries postgrads – ‘Which way up? Reading and drawing maps of the blogosphere’. I posted the slides and discussion of the conference here at the time, but not the paper itself. Soon after the conference, I received an email asking if I wanted to submit the paper for the proceedings journal, and it is now online at ejournalist along with several other papers from Ignite on a variety of Creative Industries theoretical and practice-based studies.

Written by Tim

8 March, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Posted in articles, ignite, phd, qut