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Mchua Readiness

Mchua Readiness

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Published by: Mel Chua on Oct 30, 2012
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Radically Transparent Research: Show Me The Codes
Mel Chua – Readiness Assessment, Fall 2012
Prelude: How to read this work 
This document is released under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 license. Feel freeto remix and share as long as you credit this work and make your remixes publicly available under asimilar license. Commentary is welcome athttp://blog.melchua.com/2012/10/29/rat-the-document,  the online home of this document.Feel free to skip this prelude if you're not on my committee, interested in licensing, or simply wantto jump into the nitty gritty of Radically Transparent Research already. For everyone else: thisdocument was written in response to the three questions in my Readiness Assessment, theequivalent of qualifying examinations for Purdue's Engineering Education PhD program. You canfind their full original phrasings in Appendix A at the document's online home.You'll notice, however, that this document is a unified whole that doesn't
quite
answer them insequence. That's why, if you're on my committee, you'll have gotten a copy of this PDF withcolored bars running down the side. Red indicates this portion responds to the first question, yellowindicates a response to the second, and blue a response to the third.If you'd like to examine some of the in-progress thoughts and notes that were taken in the process of writing this final document, look at my blog (http://blog.melchua.com) between the dates of October 15 and 29, 2012; a compendium of posts specifically related to this is also present at theend of the document as Appendix B at the document's online home.Let's get started.
 
This paper attempts to:
Characterize radical transparency as an epistemological perspective and discuss what its patterns look like when applied to research – this is an introduction to the concept of Radically Transparent Research (RTR). (background)
Discuss the affordances offered by RTR (Question #3, in blue)
Characterize the nature of learning in radically transparent communities that results fromtaking advantages of those affordances (Question #1, in red)
Discuss how various qualitative research methods work with RTR (Question #2, in yellow)
What the heck is the title about?
It's a pun. In software development, „coding“ is a basic act that refers to the creation of sourcematerial (code) that makes up the finished product. „Show me the code“ is the open source softwarevariant of „talk is cheap, back it up with action.“ In qualitative research, „coding“ is a basic act thatrefers to the categorization of source material; analysis of these codes eventually becomes thefinished product, but the data, codes, and analysis themselves are typically hidden from view.Among other things, RTR requires that this material be exposed. Therefore, „show me the codes“ isa directive that partially answers the question „what does RTR do?“
Introduction, or: I know this sounds crazy, but...
My first claim is an audacious one – so audacious, in fact, that I've spent most of this writing periodtrying to prove myself wrong. I posit that
radical transparency is an epistemological perspective
 
and that
Radically Transparent Research (RTR) is emerging as a new qualitative researchparadigm that is primarily about seeing and creating possibilities
.In order to do this, I need to explain what I mean by radical transparency and by research, sincethose are the two existing and separate components that RTR joins together.
What is Radical Transparency?
 Radical transparency
refers to the cultural practices used by healthy open communities (Free/Libreand open source software, open content, and open hardware projects) to expose their work in asclose to realtime as possible and in a way that makes it possible for others to freely and non-destructively experiment with it.Let's break this down.
...cultural practices...
 Radical transparency is
a praxis that has been adopted across various domains (for instance, the production of encyclopedias, operating systems, web browsers, and so forth) by communities of  practice as part of their practice. A
community of practice
, a notion first articulated by sociologistsJean Lave and Etienne Wenger (1991), consists of a
community
of people who share a common
 practice
within a
domain
of knowledge (Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder, 2002).Exploring all the possible permutations for domains, communities, and practices gets complicatedquickly. Multiple communities of practice may exist for a given domain; BSD, Linux, OSX, andWindows are all situated within the domain of operating systems development, but the former two

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