Best research outputs

+ Last updated December, 2021 +

Dr Travis Noakes’ best research outputs have addressed gaps in knowledge concerning (1) academic cyberbullying, (2) the importance of protecting academic free speech from censorship, (3 and 4) young adult OCC in South Africa, plus (5) critique and academic argument in data visualisation, as well as (6) how disparities between Qualitative data analysis software (QDAS) packages for live Twitter data imports shape contrasting analytical opportunities: 

Travis’ most important contribution, Distinguishing online academic bullying: identifying new forms of harassment in a dissenting Emeritus Professor's case, addresses the negative phenomenon of Online Academic Bullying and how to identify its particular characteristics. The shift of academic discussions to online spaces without guardians gives motivated cyberbullies from Higher Education an opportunity to harass susceptible recipients. Such cyberbullying is a neglected phenomenon; despite the dangers it poses to academic free speech as well as other negative outcomes. Travis wrote this based on an Emeritus Professor’s decade-long experiences of cyber harassment. These attacks began after changing his mind on what constitutes a healthy diet, and why.

The second, Who is watching the World Health Organisation? ‘Post-truth’ moments beyond infodemic research agenda, was co-authored with Dr David Bell and Professor Tim Noakes. Their opinion piece raising several constructive criticisms of the World Health Organisation (WHO) infodemic research agenda. A major criticism is its lack of earnest discussion on how health authorities’ own guidelines contribute  to mis-/mal-/disinformation. Rushed guidance based on weak evidence from international health organisations can perpetuate negative health and other societal outcomes, not ameliorate them. If health authorities’ choices are not up for review and debate, there is a danger that a hidden goal of the WHO's infodemic (or related disinfodemic funders’ research) could be to direct attention away from the multiple failures of authorities in fighting pandemics with inappropriate measures.

His third, key output was a solo-authored journal article, Young black women curate visual arts e-portfolios: negotiating digital disciplined identities, infrastructural inequality and public visibility. As its title suggests, it foregrounded the challenges that young black women face when curating portfolios as visual arts learners. It described how three young women negotiated: assimilatory norms in the subject; differences in the expected versus available digital infrastructures; as well as the benefits of online visibility versus privacy concerns and cyberbullying risks.

A related contribution is Online content creation: looking at students’ social media practices through a Connected Learning lens. It emerged from a conference paper (2013), Students as Creative Producers that Travis conceptualised. As a research assistant to Professors Lara Czerniewicz and Cheryl Brown, he suggested a focus on three university students’ who were unusual in being OCC. He then proposed that the pedagogical framework of Connected Learning could be used as a heuristic for their digital content practices. Their paper was substantially expanded by the Professors for a Learning, Media and Technology journal (2016) special issue. As third author, Travis did additional fieldwork for describing the students’ vocational trajectories and changing OCC practices. He also suggested minor edits.

The fifth piece is the chapter Design principles for developing critique and academic argument in a blended-learning data visualization course, which he wrote with Professor Arlene Archer. It is a sequel to their chapter Multimodal academic argument in data visualisation, which proposed a framework for analysing and producing argument in data visualisation based on second year journalism students’ infographic poster designs in 2017. This social semiotic framework provides a holistic view that is useful for providing feedback and recognising students’ work as realised through the ideational, interpersonal, and textual meta-functions. The follow-up chapter explored the learning design changes that Travis made to his blended-learning course in 2018, which included teaching the framework. To illustrate the benefits of this shift for helping students' argument-development, Arlene and Travis’ article focused on two students, whose work differed from those of the 2017’s class in presenting meta-level critiques. As second author, Travis’ contribution to both chapters was the fieldwork that led to the article’s conceptualisation, contributing to the original draft’s writing, editing, plus adding its visualisations.

The final article concerns the research implications of differences in QDAS packages’ functionalities, and how such disparities can contribute to contrasting analytical opportunities. Noteworthy disparities with four CAQDAS tools: Explorations in organising live Twitter data presents a software comparison across the four QDAS tools that support live Twitter data imports, namely, ATLAS.ti™, NVivo™, MAXQDA™ and QDA Miner™. Notwithstanding large difference in their pricing, it was surprising how much the tools varied for aspects of qualitative research organisation with live Twitter data. Notably, the quantum of data extracted for the same query differed, largely due to contrasts in the types and amount of data that the four QDAS could extract. Variations in how each supported visual organisation also shaped researchers’ opportunities for becoming familiar with Twitter users and their tweet content. Such disparities suggest that choosing a suitable QDAS for organising live Twitter data must dovetail with a researcher’s focus.

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