This is a short post sharing a couple of tricks for using the learning management system (LMS) plugin called Perusall.
This semester I am teaching remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I wanted to find ways to make class more social and provide students with the opportunity to learn from each other and be incentivized to complete assigned reading. The University of Massachusetts Amherst uses Moodle, the free, open source learning management system (LMS). Moodle integrates with Perusall.
How to copy text in Perusall
Tip 1: Perusall prevents users from copying and pasting text. Check out this short video on how to get around this using the browser Safari (the tip may apply to other browsers, but only Safari is shown here).
How to manage notifications in Perusall
Tip 2: Students say that they like Perusall but that the notifications become overwhelming. Well, there is good news, Perusall allows you to control notifications, check out this vide to
Reviewing manuscripts for publication is a unique and rewarding activity. Reviewers get to stay on top of new research and feel good about giving back to the field. It also takes a lot of time and energy.
The following discussion is intended to guide reviewers from start to finish in completing manuscript reviews. Each reviewer develops his or her own style and approach to reviews; you should adapt this information and the template attached at the end of the post to suit your style.
This post represents my experience reviewing manuscripts as well as information and advice I received at a doctoral student workshop at the Public Management Research Conference (PMRC) in June, 2017. Thank you workshop organizers!
Chapters 4 and 6 from the following book informed this post as well: Baruch, Yehuda, Sherry E. Sullivan, and Hazlon N. Schepmyer. 2006. Winning reviews: A guide for evaluating scholarly writing. New York; Basingstoke [England]: Palgrave Macmillan.
In this post, I discuss using Google Forms to organize a literature review with co-authors. Google Forms is designed to be used as survey software, but I have found it works for article reviews as well. Google Forms gathers responses to form fields and sends that data to a Google Sheet. It’s not complicated, but the beauty is that if you are working with multiple collaborators, all the data goes into the same place and in the same format.
Keep you data consistent
One of the challenges of gathering data with other researchers is achieving consistency and version control across users. Google Forms allows you to pre-set the type of answers that are acceptable, whether it be paragraph text, numbers, drop-down menues, or other types of data.
In the screenshot below, I am working in the survey field editor. You can see a form field with pre-set choices for the type of article: theory, practice, or teaching. Each form is editable and you can enable as many people as you wish to have various levels of permission in terms of changing, duplicating, or inviting others to collaborate.
For articles I’m reading for literature reviews, I use the following form field headers:
Contribution to the Literature
Main Argument or Findings
Research Design & Data Sources
Implications for Theory or Practice
Additional Research Cited
Once you’ve created your form field questions to gather the information you want, just begin filling our the form. In the case of literature reviews, I use one form per citation.
You can preview the entered data either directly in the Google Sheets or use the summary tools Google provides in the Forms application which are formatted for easy viewing of the data in each form field.
If you want to use Google Forms in conjunction with other applications, you can browse Google approved Ad-ons or create your own workflows. One workflow I created was to send each form entry (article review) to my Evernote email address which automatically populates to Evernote notes. Of course you can also export the data to other formats such as Excel.
Google allows you to customize your forms in both appearance and content. For example, in the screenshot below you can see I selected a gray-green header with a light gray background for my form. The dropdown box provides additional color palette options. You can also change the font size and style.
This post is about my search for a qualitative data analysis (QDA) software solution for writing literature reviews. I review ATLAS.ti 8 and NVivo for Mac.
One of the challenges of writing a dissertation is compiling, organizing, and synthesizing sources. Reference managers such as Mendeley and EndNote are great for inserting bibliographic information into text documents or grouping sources by chosen tags, but they are not great for coding and analyzing connections between documents or keeping track of ideas and thoughts. Note-taking software such as Evernote is great for taking notes from classes or articles, clipping webpages, and organizing thoughts, but again, there is limited functionality for drawing connections between bodies of literature or visualizing connections. Hence the need for a software capable of organizing, coding, and connecting concepts, ideas, and themes.
Both NVivo and ATLAS.ti are designed for executing qualitative (text based) research. To be fair, neither program is specifically designed for writing literature reviews, however, literature reviews are essentially qualitative data analysis. This review is specific to the Mac versions of the two softwares which have slightly different functionality than the Windows versions.
Below are short bulleted lists of the pros and cons of each program. I ended up choosing ATLAS.ti because PDF rendering issues in NVivo were bad enough to be prohibitive of its use. I also have a feeling that knowing how to use ATLAS.ti will serve me in the future when I conduct qualitative research projects outside of literature reviews. However, had the rendering not been a problem, NVivo is easier and more effective for the purpose of conducting lit reviews. One additional suggestion that may make coding texts easier is to get a subscription to Adobe Acrobat Pro (they have special student pricing too) and use the enhance PDF tool to OCR every PDF you plan on importing into ATLAS.ti or any other QDA program. This process help with text recognition when you are selecting and coding text.
NVivo for Mac
Easy to create and code documents
Allows document importation from citation managers such as Mendeley
Allows memos to be edited and coded just like core document files
Has text query capability
Provides summary of coded text with marker for source document (see screenshot below)
Easy to create code hierarchies wherein multiple codes can be subcategories of a higher level code
PDFs do not properly render leading to choppy, slow scrolling action and in some cases, total program freeze—this makes the program very slow to use
When viewing documents with coded text visible, there seems to be a bug that causes the view to default back to the original hidden setting instead of your preferred view
Pricing As of January 9, 2017:
Student annual subscription $103
Student Full subscription $570
ATLAS.ti for Mac
Easy to create and code documents
Decent PDF rendering and performance
Lots of functionality beyond coding including visualization, quantitative-type analysis of qualitative data, and network analysis capability
Sophisticated user interface
Cannot import bibliographic files with metadata and accompanying PDFs
Cannot code memos
Cannot edit documents even if they are in RTF or .docx formats
Cannot link memos to documents easily
Cannot easily create code hiearchies
2-Year Student license $99
Neither tool is perfect: NVivo has performance issues, but good functionality for the purposes of a lit review. Maybe in the future, once they solve these issues, it will be a clear winner. For now, the bugs cripple the application beyond usability for me.
I’m in the early stages of getting to know ATLAS.ti and will post an update when I have new information to share.