16 September 14:15   Room D107

Data Visualization in Qualitative Research

  • Anne Luther Central Saint Martins, UAL and Parsons Institute for Information

In the arts, researchers are often confronted with large quantities of data generated through methods of qualitative social research such as interviews, participant observation and field notes, reflective diaries, interpretive narration and oral history. The paper presents a visualization tool, the Entity Mapper, which allows an instant visualization of complex and unstructured qualitative data, through a simple online upload format. The visualization is based on coding methods of Grounded Theory research and its premiss is to keep the qualitative nature of the analysis and to not simply quantify text datasets in visual representations of word counts, clouds and other graph statistics.

The ENTITY MAPPER is an open source web application for visualizing qualitative data as an interactive node-link diagram. By abstracting away the time-consuming process of constructing a visualization manually, the tool allows the researcher to focus on deriving insights from their data through an instant upload format. It features user authentication, dataset caching, and an integrated administration interface for dataset management. The open source software was developed as a research project of my PhD research at Central Saint Martins with a collaboration with Parsons Institute for Information Mapping at The New School.

I am the founder of the Lab for Qualitative Data Visualization at Parsons Institute for Information Mapping as a result of this project. The Lab for Qualitative Data Visualization is a transdisciplinary research initiative bridging qualitative inquiry and data visualization: http://www.qdv.parsons.edu The paper will present the possibility to integrate data visualization and software development in arts research that is based on qualitative research methods.

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Digital Scholarship and Academic Culture: The Historic Urban Environments Lab at the University of Notre Dame

  • Dennis Doordan University of Notre Dame

This paper describes a digital humanities project at the University of Notre Dame and explores not just what the project seeks to document but what changes in institutional and academic culture it seeks to promote. The Historic Urban Environments Lab at Notre Dame (HUE/ND) is an interdisciplinary team of architects, computer scientists, librarians, programmers, anthropologists and GIS specialists whose goal is to create new tools to research, study, and present the built environment virtually.

Building on the success of two digital projects created by the Architecture Library, the Seaside Research Portal – an online archive of the first New Urban community, and SPQR-ND – an application for the iPad, the team is currently working on several websites and applications to better study the built environment. This paper describes one such application: expanding the SPQR-ND iPad app to cover the entire historic city-center of Rome. Building on past experience, phase one of this project involves the creation of a digital template that can be used to integrate material from a variety of sources to support both classroom and on-site investigations of Rome’s historic environments.

Phase I begins with the digitization of three historic guides to Rome dating from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. These guides allow the modern scholar to experience the development of the city of Rome chronologically at distinct periods of the city’s history. Written and illustrated during a time when travel was considered an activity that enhanced an individual’s education, these books are more akin in their textual and graphic form to contemporary history textbooks rather than 21st century travel guides. In a city with a history as long as Rome, what is no longer visible becomes vitally important to understanding what exists today.

This project will allow one to view the city of Rome in a new way by peeling back its layers to experience its urban and architectural transformation throughout history. Beyond describing the specific components of HUE/ND this paper will explore the generative role digital scholarship projects like HUE/ND can play in establishing a digital humanities community within the university. Historically institutions of higher education have been organized according to long-standing disciplinary definitions of subject matter, appropriate methodologies for exploring this subject matter and acceptable formats for reporting result.

Establishing productive, collaborative interdisciplinary centers of scholarship can be surprising difficult. The challenge is not opposition to the concept of digital humanities but understanding of the practice of digital scholarship. HUE/ND was conceived as an important institutional learning experience internally as well as a useful and useable scholarly tool for the general scholarly community. The implications of the HUE/ND experience therefore apply as much to institutional cultures and the nature and challenges associated with promoting interdisciplinarity as they do to academic scholarship and the associated conventions for sharing research.

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We Listen in Pittsburgh: Using Digital Story Telling/Listening to Capture Engaged Learning

  • Nicholas Smerker Pennsylvania State University
  • Heather Hughes Pennsylvania State University

Teaching and Learning with Technology at Penn State aims to engage with wider communities across the western Pennsylvania region in the coming semesters through a digital story telling and listening program. In pursuit of this goal, colleagues from Instructional Design and Media Commons are establishing a partnership with the innovative Penn State Center in Pittsburgh - a space that combines a long-standing history of connecting state residents with University resources through agricultural research with a new commitment to channeling these resources into urban spaces and concerns - that will open the door to many new opportunities for real-world learning experiences.

Starting as a single-campus program at the Penn State Harrisburg campus, this initiative has evolved into a multi-campus program called “We Listen”, which is designed to reflect and support the unique qualities and needs of each partner community. We Listen offers participants a chance to share their own backgrounds with others, and exposes through appropriate critical incidence prompts the places where their experiences intersect and interact with their work at the institution.

Through the Penn State Center in Pittsburgh, TLT is leveraging We Listen to capture the engaged scholarship moments taking place in a unique urban environment. Beginning this summer, session presenters will facilitate We Listen at a 24 hour public art exhibition organized by the School of Visual Arts and with undergraduate students in a Landscape Architecture internship course. The stories gathered then and at future events will allow students to further explore their own growth as well their impact on the communities in which they are engaged. Stories recorded through the program go on to become vital artifacts for students’ digital portfolios, excellent case studies for their instructors, invaluable documentation for stakeholders, and mission oriented communication material for the Penn State Center’s outreach efforts.

This session will present a brief history of the We Listen program, in general, and highlight the ongoing collaborative work in development by TLT and the Penn State Center, which focuses on curricular and co-curricular activities in and around Pittsburgh. Particular attention will be paid to summer 2015 engagements, including outcomes. Additional plans for the program will be discussed and feedback highly encouraged from the audience to inform future developments.

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