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Radically Transparent Research: Show Me The Codes

Mel Chua Readiness Assessment, Fall 2012 #PIC revised version of comic Prelude: How to read this work Feel free to skip this prelude if you're not on my committee, interested in licensing, or simply want to jump into the nitty gritty of Radically Transparent Research already. For everyone else: this document was written in response to the three questions in my Readiness Assessment, the equivalent of qualifying examinations for Purdue's Engineering Education PhD program. You can find their full original phrasings in Appendix A. You'll notice, however, that this document is a unified whole that doesn't quite answer them in sequence. That's what the colored bars running down the side indicate; red indicates this portion responds to the first question, yellow indicates 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 the end of the document as Appendix B. Finally, this document is released under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 license. Feel free to remix and share as long as you credit this work and make your remixes publicly available under a similar license. Commentary is welcome at #LINK, the online home of this document. Let's get started. What learning theories can inform and explain the kinds of learning happening in a Radically Transparent Research (RTR) environment? In other words, what's going on here? #PIC mini-panel of comic Here's the short graphical version. #PIC Svinicki edpsych history comic, highlighted. Possibly redrawn, possibly with minimap. Whoa. Step back from the upside-down mushroom for a moment. Before we wind our way into what happens in an RTR environment, we need to explain RTR first. I'll conjecture that radical transparency and research are two existing and separate things that RTR joins together. Fine, but what are those two things?

Radically Transparent
What are the rules and effects of radical transparency? #BLOG cultural norms and practices of radical transparency (from writings on/by FOSSers) membership is as low-barrier as possible

Research
What is the purpose of research? #BLOG purpose list of various paradigms

Radically transparent research refers to research done in a radically transparent manner rather than research done on something that is radically transparent. Radically transparent communities (open communities) can and have been studied without RTR, and RTR can be done on groups that aren't open communities. For some particularly good examples of the former, see #CITATIONS. For the remainder of this document, we'll be talking about the latter in order to keep things cleaner; when we talk about radical transparency, we know we're talking about the nature of the research being done, not necessarily the nature of the group under study. The Changemakers project is one example of such a research project. Changemakers #CITE is a work-in-progress that draws on interviews with figures generally considered to be changemakers in their STEM disciplines in order to identify what their change knowledge is and how it was acquired. It doesn't study an open community. In fact, it doesn't even study a community; all the interviewees work in separate facilities ranging from academia to corporations to the government, and none of their employers are particularly strong drivers of transparency; if anything, they're drivers of confidentiality. The changemakers do not comprise an open community, but the research project working to understand their insights and experiences is a space where radical transparency practices are utilized. Now, some of the changemakers participate in that space in various ways, and (while this hasn't happened yet) it's conceivable that they may someday encounter and collaborate with each other in that space. However, the starting grounds for that collaboration will be as contributors to the open research space, and any sort of radically transparent changemakers community that may evolve will grow from that the study isn't examining one to begin with. Now, the Changemakers research team can be completely public on the open web, but sometimes the group under study doesn't have such an option. Is it possible to use RTR with things that must be kept confidential? For instance, a government or corporate social science research team might be working on a classified product or studying a group whose nature or existence can't be publicly revealed. Less dramatically, a college preparing for accreditation or a lab group preparing for publication may not want to expose all their work to the entire world just yet.

The answer is yes. When we use the word transparency, we always need to ask: transparent to whom? Even things put out on the open web aren't transparent to everyone, because not every human being in the world has web access or is literate in the language we are writing in. In cases of transparency within confidentiality, we're simply drawing smaller and more explicit boundaries in terms of who will be included within the boundaries of our transparency practices. In other words: #PIC cushions picture with label And actually, if we tilt this picture a bit and zoom in... #PIC differentiating between cushions and glass See the cushions and the glass wall? The latter represents transparency, or being-able-to-see. The former represents participation, or being-able-tocontribute. Transparency and participation are two distinct things, and we're talking about Radically Transparent Research, not Radically Participatory Research. You can watch a play but be unable to affect what happens onstage (transparency without participation), you can fill out teaching evaluations but not know how it affects your professor's future classes (participation without transparency), and of course you can have both or neither. In what may be a counterintuitive move, I'm going to claim that we actually don't care about participation in the main project so long as certain transparency criteria are met. This is in keeping with the source of our transparency practices; open communities are not anarchic chaos. In fact, they frequently have strict rules on who can commit to mainline, which means to make changes to what is considered to be the project's canonical version. #CITE # BLOG explain how not commiting to mainline coexists with the ability to fork and make your own mainline you can create your own forum for participation; it's enabled by transparency,and absorbence-back into mainline is also enabled by transparency. Tie to the Four Freedoms, which you may have explained earlier. Transparency and participation are both particular types of things: affordances. # BLOG definition of affordances Let's break this down.

Properties of things in the environment


#PIC cushions

Taken in reference to an actor in the environment


#PIC blobbies

#BLOG what are the things data etc? #BLOG who's who in RTR Of course, actors are also things actors can afford each other things reciprocally. #CITE # BLOG affordances stuff distinction between transparency and participation, yada yada. # BLOG explain CoP #PIC pillow-circle with quad labels # BLOG expert/core distinction who learns what? PE what's up, CE how seen? CN how done? PN what is? The usual interactions and transitions here look something like this: #PIC 2x2 flows ...partially because the terrain looks a little like this. #PIC sideways view of staircase But RTR changes that landscape quite a bit. #BLOG LPP #PIC LPP quadrant # BLOG CogApp shop floor access # BLOG ZPD # PIC ZPD quadrant # BLOG: At the community level, CoP , LPP , SitCog, CogApp But then there's also the level of the individual learner. # PIC mastery/ignition 2x2 # BLOG social learning , individual learning differences , self-efficacy , selfdetermination , goal orientation , volition , attribution theory A lot of RTR relies on the creation and sustenance of an abundance mentality, the belief #BLOG #CITE that there's going to be enough to go around that life isn't a zero-sum game, and that sharing makes the pie bigger for everyone. This begs the question of how one carries out the actual RTR research what things are being shared, accessed, and/or revealed, and what methods can be used to see and understand them?

How can we see what's What's being shared, being shared? anyway?
#BLOG methods list # BLOG what methods are good for seeing

Point being... #PIC this is participation Wait a minute. We know all methods have their limitations. So we could just as well rework our previous table to look like this...

How can we see what's being shared?


#BLOG methods list

What can't we see with that method?


# BLOG grounded theory looks at process, ethnography looks at existing communities, etc

You can see that RTR takes to multiple methods it takes to some more easily than others, but it doesn't dictate the choice of research methods per se. That's because RTR is a paradigm and epistemological perspective for research rather than a particular method for carrying it out. RTR uses a variety of research methods to accomplish its version of the goals of research, just as every other research paradigm does. #BLOG paradigm summary and historical development #BLOG paradigms table with RTR alongside How might this paradigm look like applied to various settings? # PIC established/open tree In other words, the RTR paradigm is about seeing and creating possibilities. RTR affords serendipity, opportunity, malleableness. #BLOG We can think of each of the Four Freedoms as an affordance.

Freedom
Use Modify

Affordance
Access the knowledge/practice/tool Make it make sense to you Make it useful to you Modify your thoughts/viewpoints

Modify the practices emerging as we go Share Acess the knowledge of others Reveal your sources Reveal your thoughts Access variants of data and technique Access the thinking of people you might not have time with personally Reveal patterns and potentially biases

Share modifications

# BLOG four freedoms as affordances One case study of all these things in practice is my upcoming dissertation. #BLOG, answering each of the three questions for THIS SPECIFIC CASE. You can see me struggling to define, refine, and establish melting boundaries in the RTR picture throughout this paper. I'm showing a static picture when it's really more like a movie. # PIC photo vs film How do I backtrace #BLOG and write a better explanation of the melting boundaries? And where along this timeline does RTR fit in? # PIC paradigm timeline This is what I'm going to OSU for. #BLOG Conclusions: What sort of theories can explain the learning that takes place in the context of RTR? # PIC summary of question 1 What methods are appropriate for RTR? # PIC summary of question 2 What affordances does RTR create? #PIC summary of question 3 References #MAKE citations list Appendix A #TRANSCRIBE original questions

Appendix B #COLLATE blog posts