Down The Rabbit Hole

This quarter I will be entering the rabbit hole of literature to prepare for my qualifying exam in the spring (It’s basically a large literature review). There are a few questions that I need to start answering to situate my work:

[1] How many people are looking at technology in Congress and in what ways?

Yesterday I discovered a whole group of political science researchers looking at technology use in Congress, but most of them were looking at campaigns, rather than constituent-based communication. In some ways, it was almost embarrassing to know that I had completely missed their body of literature over the past year.  However, I think this is just part of academia, and it takes practice to discover similar content in very interdisciplinary concepts.

[2] Where is my work best situated?

This also leads to a bigger question of where do I want to frame my research career. Do I want to be known as the one who studies Congress? Or as the one who studies digital forms of civic communication? Do I want to situate all my future research in civic-based ICT, or broader development? Do you I want suggest future designs or processes? I don’t know yet, but creating an outlet for impact is important.

[4] Where are the arguments, discrepancies, and gaps within the literature?

This is where I can squish my own work into pre-existing work…yes, I did say squish. I think it describes the process quite nicely.

[5] What skills do I need to develop from reading certain pieces of literature?

I clearly need more experience with both qualitative and quantitative measures. So what do I need to read to gain those skills?

[6] Anything else?…

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