Attempting Data Collection

This week I tried to record data, read more about my first attempt and my thoughts below.

On the weekend I decided to record my readings over the following days. As a child/teenager I loved to read, but as my job and degree took over, I saw reading more as part of the academic side of my life and not so much of my free time. It’s only since the first lockdown that I found more time, or should I say finally decided to take more time, to read more. From the beginning, it made sense, at least to me, to divide my readings into three categories: academic, for pleasure and for school.

I choose these three categories for my data collection because it is relatively easy to follow them up. This data record does not include digital reading in the sense of scrolling through my phone or through forums, websites….. it also does not include reading signs, destination boards…. Therefore my data collection should better be called “document reading “, because it only includes files, books and student’ papers which were clearly indicated with a page number, making it easier to count them. I already noticed at this point what you have to take into account when collecting data and what to state at the outset.

I realised as I collected my data, that I had to record it in more detail. That’s why I came up with the differentiation of day, space, access and language. This led to me taking more detailed notes, which also meant that it took more time. I started tracking my readings on Sunday morning and stopped on Tuesday evening. 

Here’s my data collection:

By looking back at the readings during these three days, I am actually quite surprised what this visualisation shows me. For example, how language is clearly linked with the categories: I read all of my study texts in English, whereas my reading for pleasure and school consists only of German and Italian. Funnily enough, I know this completely shifts, once term is over. Access is also closely tied with my readings since school and pleasure readings were only on paper. Another interesting fact is that you can see how my reading is connected with space. I tend to do work (school) and academic reading at my desk, in the second line you can see I tried to sit on the bed for academic reading, which did not work out and I switched back to my desk.

The big chunk of red lines (reading for school) were stories by my students which I marked. While tracking this, I noticed, that it would also be worth to record the time I spent reading a page, since there’s a considerable difference between skimming, scanning or reading. Although in the context of this collection I would say I really read all of those pages! You can also see that I do my academic reading on the weekend because once the school week starts, I can only make time on the train in the morning to do study-related reading. 

For now, all my readings were in A4. However, I also asked myself how to track pages in different sizes (A5, A4…) and different fonts. For further data collection on this topic, it would be great to see how I could extend the space category when we are allowed to work in coffee shops again, which are actually my favourite space to do work.

4 Replies to “Attempting Data Collection”

  1. Hi Francesa,

    I also love your visualisations! I think I will try to find some ‘dotted paper’ as well. Or did you print it by any chance?

    I look forward to seeing more of your data!


  2. Hi Francesca,

    Really beautiful visualisation! Obviously, a lot of work went into the recording and analysis too.

    Looking forward to seeing more of your visualisations.

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