Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Last But Not Least Participant

After my web conferencing interview, I have completed interviewing three of the six participants who gave me their informed consent.  Two of the remaining three participants have completed two of their three interview sessions, and I believe one will be done by the end of the weekend.  I have not yet begun interviewing the sixth and perhaps last participant for my study because he has been on vacation for the past few weeks, but he should be back soon if not already.

The last participant provides an interesting approach to data collection as he is more of a vlogger than a blogger.  (A vlogger is a video blogger.)  Actually three of my participants have or had vlogs on their own YouTube channels, but this participant is the most dedicated towards his videos.  Of the other two participants, one started vlogging but switched to blogging, and that is where most of my document data for him is found.  For the most part, the other participant's videos support her blog, and she doesn't produce as many videos as she used to.

So how dedicated is this last participant to his online videos?  I say very much so as I spent the last few weeks cataloging his videos, which basically means listing all of his videos in chronological order and initially coding them when their titles are directly relevant to my research questions.  Unlike for most other bloggers, I did not date each video because to find the date, I have to play the video, and when I play a video, I lose my place on YouTube where I was cataloging videos.  This isn't usually a problem, but, as of yesterday, I have cataloged 1036 videos!

He has more than 1036 videos because halfway through my cataloging I stopped listing repeated videos, which don't happen often, and a series of videos on sumo wrestling, which do not directly answer my research questions.  If sumo wrestling videos dominated his channel, then I would have considered that they may, but they don't.

With 1036 cataloged videos, I have come to a dilemma.  How can I possibly thoroughly code all these videos?  Coding all these videos requires thoroughly transcribing all of them.  The average length of these videos seems to be around 10 minutes.  There are many that go beyond 15 and 20 minutes, but there are also some that are less than 5.  If the average is truly 10 minutes, then that's 10,360 minutes of video.  That 172 hours and 40 minutes!  Now, when I took courses on qualitative research I had to practice transcribing recorded interviews.  When I wasn't tired, I could transcribe about 20 minutes of raw data in 1 hour.  So to transcribe 10,360 minutes would at least take me over 31,000 hours which is 518 hours.  If I dedicated 8 hours a day to transcribing these videos, it would take me over 2 months straight, and that's if I didn't slow down!  After that, then I could start coding.  I wonder how many pages of text that would be.

Now, if I were rich or well-funded, I would hire an army of people to transcribe and code his videos.  No!

So...I decided to not be as rigorous with analyzing his videos as I am with my other participants, who average about 10 videos each.  This is not a case study, it's a multiple case study, and I want to spend roughly the same amount of time analyzing the data for each participant.  Otherwise, this last participant would definitely dominate my time and perhaps my study.

Fortunately, fortunately, my initial coding turned up only 42 videos of the 1036 that directly answer my research questions.  One of my other participants didn't even blog 42 times.  Anyway, once I transcribe one of these videos, I will check how many pages long it is because nearly all of my bloggers didn't blog more than a page per post.  I think I can handle a rough estimate of 420 minutes (7 hours) of videos to transcribe and code.

And I didn't even get to write about how I will collect and analyze the last participant's interview data.  That's another interesting post for later.

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