Making Annotation Schemes

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Hello readers!

Firstly, a quick logistics note. I will be away the rest of this week for Thanksgiving break, so my next blog entry will not contain anything new (perhaps not anything at all). Happy holidays, by the way!

Secondly, I will speak about my work this past week. Last week I said I had finalized my research questions, and so this week my focus was on operationalizing these research questions to create a manual called an “annotation scheme”. The manual contains precise definitions of the behaviors my research questions are about (i.e. meta-cognitive reflection and self-efficacy). These precise definitions are given to diligent “coders” who tirelessly review video and verbal transcripts of conversational data, making a label in the corresponding transcript file each time the behavior or interest pops up. Later, these transcript files are exported to R Studio (statistical software package) for statistical analyses.

I spent about two hours thinking first about what kinds of codes would apply to my research question. My mentor had suggested I code meta-cognitive reflection (MCR), because that appears in my research questions, and this is a good idea, but my codes would need to be more nuanced than just MCR because the whole point of doing research in MCR is to shed light on a previously unexamined trait of MCR. To this end, I considered splitting MCR into three types, meta-cognitive procedural (MCP), meta-cognitive knowledge based (MCK), and meta-affective (MA). Each of these codes is based on the idea that when a student reflects enough on his work in order to become aware that he is in a state of Stuck (no productivity, no learning, waste of energy), he can break out of it. If he is encouraged enough, he may be able to develop his own unique internal mechanism to break out of Stuck. My research question (RQ1a) asked whether rapport could encourage this kind of self-reflection.

Today,  I spent an hour and a half in a meeting with my mentor and my CREU-comrade. We discussed whether our codes were unambiguous, discrete categories that serve to answer our research questions. This meeting persuaded me to get rid of my MA code, because affective state was not explicitly stated in my research question. Additionally, my mentor suggested I change the organization of my manual to make it more clear, and provide more elaborate definitions of the motivation behind each of the codes (how they answer my research questions).

I will put a Google Docs link for my annotation manual a.s.a.p — currently, Google Docs is not allowing me to edit an upladed Microsoft Word document. But stay tuned!

UPDATE: here is the link:

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