Phase 1: A Literature Review

Dates:  January 16th – March 31st 2017 (8 weeks)

Outcome: A broad defintion of Communities of Practice – either (i) a defintion which is used a lot in the literature and is seen as the standard definition of CoPs, or (ii) create my own defintion based on a number of definitions in the literature


  • Monday Janaury 16th – Friday March 17th 2017
    • Collect as many papers and journals as possible in the timeframe on the topic of Communities of Practice
    • record a summary of each paper, reference each paper and keep a copy of each paper on my Communities of Practice repository on Google Drive
    • create a communities of practice table with a column to represent each CoP definition, charaterisitic, maintenance, activity, learning outcomes etc.
    • also create a table to differenciate between the different types of communities
    • research online communities/communities of practice and write a summary of how they communicate in the online environment
    • select one community to investigate as part of my case study (i.e. CoderDojo) – ensure I have objective reasons for selecting this community
    • research the CoderDojo movement online – website, online community, coderdojo literature etc.
    • keep track of all research on my blog, google drive and on my own personal hardrive
  • Monday March 20th – Friday March 31st 2017
    • Remove all the CoP defintions and their references from the CoP table and transfer into a separate document.
    • Determine whether there is a definition that repeats itself a lot in the literature – if so use that definition and use the many references to back it up as the broad CoP defintion
    • If there are a number of different defintions, I will develop my own broad defintion of CoPs referring to the literature
    • the outcome of this phase one will be be a broad defintion of CoPs that can be used by anyone looking to define a community of practice

Phase 2: Characteristic Matrix

Dates: Monday April 3rd – Friday April 21st 2017 (3 weeks)

Outcome: Development of a CoP Characteristic Matrix with a number of characteristics associated with CoPs. All CoPs will be able to fit into this Matrix and all CoPs will have to possess these characteristics. If someone is looking to characterise their community, this Matrix will be designed to help them determine whether it is a CoP or not.


  • Monday April 3rd – Friday April 7th 2017
    • Create a large Matrix table and transfer all characterisitics found in the CoP literature into this Matrix table
  • Monday April 10th – Friday April 14th 2017
    • Bring this Matrix to my superivsors for review and discuss the characteristics with them
    • discuss whether they can be further defined and reduced down to a smaller number of relevant characteristics
  • Monday April 17th – Friday April 21st 2017
    • create the final matrix with the characteristics that can be associated with all CoPs. A community can then be mapped against this Matrix to determine whether it is a CoP or not
  • Monday April 24th – Tuesday May 2nd 2017
    • Complete my Doctorial Consortium Paper and submit on May 2nd

While completing Phase 1 and Phase 2, I will also be writing my Doctorial Consortium and I will be looking to write a workshop paper and attend a workshop at the 8th Communities and Technology Conference in France. The deadline for the Doctorial Consortium is Tuesday May 2nd and the deadline for the Workshop paper is May 30th.

**MAY 2ND – Doctorial Consortium Due**

Phase 3: Evaluate the CoderDojo Movement against the Matrix

Dates: Wednesday May 3rd – Friday June 30th 2017 (8 weeks) – (**C&T Conference 25-30th June 2017 in France)

Outcomes: Determine whether the CoderDojo is a Community of Practice or not by mapping it against the broad defintion and the characteristic matrix. I will do this through online research of the CoderDojo (completed in Phase 1) and through qualitative research methods – observational studies, semi-structured interviews, focus groups and possibly the use of surveys (quantitative research)


**MAY 30TH: Workshop Paper Due**

  • get in contact with CoderDojos in Cork City and County (Champions and Mentors) – email and phone calls (the amount of CoderDojos is yet to be decided)
  • organise a survey
    • list of questions – review with supervisors
    • create survey using an online platform
    • distribute – email or online link
    • collect results
    • analyse results
  • organise semi-structured interviews
    • who will participate
    • how many participants will I interview
    • decide on a venue and time for each interview
    • decide on duration of each interview
    • list of questions – review with supervisors
    • conduct interview and gather information
      • interview notes
      • audio transcripts
    • analyse notes gathered into themes
    • determine the meaning of the results gathered
  • organise focus groups
    • who will participate
    • how many participants will I include in the focus group
    • decide on a venue and time for each interview
    • decide on duration of each interview
    • list of questions – review with supervisors
    • conduct interview and gather information
      • interview notes
      • audio transcripts
    • analyse notes gathered into themes
    • determine the meaning of the results gathered
  • organise an observational study
    • arrange to attend a coderdojo in Cork city and county – venue, date, time etc.
    • check for permission to attend coderdojos – ethics, permission of champions, mentors, parents and participants
    • what do I want to find out?
    • how will I collect data?
      • observational notes
      • video analysis
    • how long will the observational study last for?
    • attend dojo, conduct study and collect findings
    • analyse results (notes and video transcripts) into themes
    • determine what the results mean
  • compare results and findings to the characteristic matrix – is the CoderDojo a CoP?

Phase 4: Applying the Evaluation Process to 10 Communities/Groups

Dates: Monday July 3rd – Friday August 4th 2017 (5 weeks)

Outcome: Determine whether the 10 communities/groups selected are communities of practice by comparing them against the characteristic matrix


  • select 10 communities (international communities) – online and physical – perhaps 5 of each type
  • evaluate their defintions, characteristics, communications, members etc. against the matrix – do they act like a CoP? do they possess the characteristics of a CoP? Are they a CoP?
  • create a table of the results to support the research I have carried out to date

Phase 5: Write Up and Dissemintion

Dates: Monday August 7th – Friday September 1st 2017

Outcomes: Write up a paper with my methodology, results, findings and conclusions from my first case study and decide where to disseminate (i.e. what conference?)