1) Site--Where did you conduct your research? Why?
As an interested outsider I have not been involved in the workings/compilation of the massive wiki, TVTropes.org. The site is an intersection between the fan, the scholar, and the critic of a more general type. TVTropes is a compendium of knowledge about writing for writers according to their main page introduction; however, the site also caters to the casual fan of literature, television, and movies. Within TVTropes.org, I am researching the knowledge it takes to participate as more than a simple observer. Through researching digital literacy practices over the last few months, I have come to realize that TVTropes is two things: first, it is not as simple as the casual visitor might think; and second, that little research is concerned with the community and its impressive use of literacy, both traditional and digital.
2) Participants--Who did you study in your project? Why?
As I mention above, my research centers around the work it takes to learn the digital literacies required for participating in a meaningful way on TVTropes. I chose this avenue because of the startling amount of difficulty I had in going in blind and attempting to make a post. This site has a quite steep learning curve, and the ability to participate takes many literacies. The site seems to have a sense of the "literacy sponsorship" discussed in Bowen (2011, 594).
3) Self--What role did you play in your site?
After the failed attempt (which was slightly humiliating to be honest), I decided that I had to learn what this site required in the ways of digital literacy. I found that there were several key concepts in the study of digital literacies that were required on this site, mostly those dealing with community, technical foundations and knowledge, or the fan fiction community and its importance in online learning.
4) Data--What kinds of data did you collect? How did you collect it? AND
5) Analysis--How did you analyze your data?
The main data that I collected was two screenshots that entailed two important aspects of TVTropes.org and its policies regarding posting/editing works. First, I detailed one of the conversations taking place in the discussion board titled “Ask the Tropers” where people can present problems with the wiki they feel need to be addressed. I wanted this specific interaction because it represents the nature of participation and editing on TVTropes. The interaction between moderators and general users is important because TVTropes is not a stagnant or micromanaged database, but a free upload wiki that is maintained primarily by the users themselves. That said, TVTropes also maintains a high standard for posting, which the second piece of data I collected represents. This piece was from the section “Trope Repair Shop” (which is where needed work is submitted if it is large enough to take teams/skilled editors), and specifically from the introductory statement to that page of the wiki.
6) Tradition(s)--What major research tradition(s) did you draw upon to conduct your study?
This section will incorporate my lit review and synthesis of key terms needed to discuss my topic. Some terms are already discussed briefly but this section will incorporate them in more detail.
A preliminary list of sources that mention TVTropes or related materials.
References for Lit Review
Branch, J. L. (2009). Practising what we preach: Information literacy for teacher-librarians in the 21st century. Feliciter, 55(3), 98.
Janette Michelle Hughes. (2008). Poetry and new media: In conversation with four poets. Language and Literacy, 10(2)
Jayne C. Lammers, Jen Scott Curwood, & Alecia Marie Magnifico. (2012). Toward an affinity space methodology: Considerations for literacy research. English Teaching, 11(2), 44.
Knobel, M., & Lankshear, C. (2009). Wikis, digital literacies, and professional growth International Reading Association.
Poor, N. (2012). Digital elves as a racial other in video games: Acknowledgment and avoidance. Games and Culture, 7(5), 375-396. doi:10.1177/1555412012454224
Rife, M. C., Westbrook, S., DeVoss, D. N., & Logie, J. (2010). Introduction: Copyright, culture, creativity, and the commons. Computers and Composition, 27(3), 161-166. doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2010.06.003
Thorne, S. L. (2009). ‘Community’, semiotic flows, and mediated contribution to activity. Language Teaching, 42(1), 81-94. doi:10.1017/S0261444808005429