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Paul Caplan

Thanks for the links et al. As an example of qualitative analysis, I did some work for the RAF in the UK. They'd taken the brave initiative of giving one of their guys in Kandahar a video camera and set him up a YouTube page []. The guy was a natural. Real voice. I was asked to do an evaluation. As well as churning some stats and graphs etc, I did a discourse analysis of how the lad was talking but also how his commenters were talking with him. I looked at how the 'RAF story' was being created and repositioned around this guy, his stories of ups and downs and real life. By using the tools of discourse analysis and lingustics, I helped (hopefully) the client see how venturing onto the Live Web was about opening up storyspaces and using voice to make new connections - connections and conversations that could construct a new story for the 'business'.

Sure the client wanted the Excel spreadsheets tracking numbers of views, comments etc but by widening the analysis we could discuss the broader discursive shifts they had set in motion and so look at how to move it on by engaging constructively and creatively with the conversation community they had set in motion.

My fear about a purely quantitative analysis is that this wider Live-Web-conversation-relationships-narrative world can be lost. And also that charlatan agencies with clever software can flog evaluation services with no real sense of the new spaces they are supposedly analysing.

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