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Nova Southeastern University

3301 College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale Fl, 33314



Trena M. Paulus is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at East Tennessee State University. Her scholarly work examines the impact of new technologies on qualitative research methods, specializing in the adaptation of language-based research methodologies such as conversation and discourse analysis to understand online talk and text. Dr. Paulus holds a Ph.D. from Indiana University and was an Associate Professor of Instructional Design and Qualitative Research at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville from 2003-2014 and Professor of Qualitative Research at the University of Georgia from 2014-2019. She has authored over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and is co-author of Looking for Insight, Transformation and Online Talk (Routledge, 2019) and Digital Tools for Qualitative Research (Sage, 2014). Her new book, with Jessica Lester, Doing Qualitative Research with Digital Tools will be published by Sage-US in 2020.

Conference Presentation

Digital tools 2020: Frontiers in qualitative research


With the rise of new technologies has come exciting possibilities for qualitative researchers, ranging from new data sources to be explored via online ethnography to the use of artificial intelligence to transcribe recordings of social life to re-envisioning how and where we represent our findings. Nascent digital tools are expanding how participation in qualitative research unfolds, while simultaneously presenting thorny ethical dilemmas. In this talk, 1) we offer a historical overview of the rise and use of digital tools in qualitative research, 2) suggest ways in which technological developments challenge the very nature of research, and 3) highlight ethical quandaries emerging alongside new technologies. From the earliest stages of planning and envisioning a qualitative research project to disseminating research findings in public and accessible ways, we illustrate how digital tools shape and expand the day to day work of contemporary qualitative researchers.  

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