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Exploring Methodologies for Studying Readers of Digital-born Fiction Astrid Ensslin, Bangor University Alice Bell and Jen Smith, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Presentation on theme: "Exploring Methodologies for Studying Readers of Digital-born Fiction Astrid Ensslin, Bangor University Alice Bell and Jen Smith, Sheffield Hallam University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Exploring Methodologies for Studying Readers of Digital-born Fiction Astrid Ensslin, Bangor University Alice Bell and Jen Smith, Sheffield Hallam University

2 What is digital fiction? ‘…written for and read on a computer screen that pursues its verbal, discursive and/or conceptual complexity through the digital medium, and would lose something of its aesthetic and semiotic function if it were removed from that medium’ (Bell et al., 2010). => ‘born digital’

3 Research questions How can we use empirical literary methods to examine reader engagement and interaction with digital fictions? Do different readers’ levels of digital literacy affect their interactions with digital fiction? Do readers’ responses to digital fictions corroborate or challenge current theories of narrative ‘you’ (Bell and Ensslin 2011, Ensslin and Bell 2012) as well as medium-specific multimodality (Ensslin 2009)? What is the relationship between what readers expect to find and what they do find hyperlinks and other interactive interface devices when following in digital fictions (Bell 2014, Ensslin 2014)?

4 ‘You’ typology (Ensslin & Bell 2012)

5 Text 1: Opacity (Bouchardon et al. 2012)

6 Text 2: The Princess Murderer (geniwate & Larsen 2003)

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8 Protocol overview Introduction and briefing First text: Free reading session: up to 10 minutes Guided session: 10 minutes Retrospective think-aloud replay: up to 20 minutes Second text: Free reading session, guided session, retrospective think-aloud replay Semi-structured interview and demographics questionnaire

9 Free reading vs. guided sessions Free reading sessions Provide ‘naturalistic’ reading experience and ‘experimental’ (Swann & Allington, 2009) Allow for ‘reader constructions’ (Bortolussi & Dixon, 2003) Guided sessions Provide consistent text for ‘experimental’ empirical research (Swann & Allington, 2009) Present ‘textual features’: ‘enduring properties of the text [that] do not vary with the reader or the reading situation’ (Bortolussi & Dixon, 2003)

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11 Retrospective think-aloud replay Technologically enhanced version of ‘self-probed retrospection’ (Seilman & Larsen, 1989; Kuiken at al., 2004) Non-obtrusive Tobii equipment facilitates immersion Mouse-tracking and eye-tracking Ability to review screens from guided reading

12 Public Engagement Project Partners

13 The Future of Literature? programme Literary festival lecture by Kate Pullinger (‘Off the Shelf’, Showroom Cinema) ‘The Future of Reading? An Exhibition of Digital Literature’ (Bank Street Arts) Launch, guided tour, pop-up book club ‘Introducing Digital Fiction’ workshop (Sheffield Central Library) Creative Writing master class with Christine Wilks (SHU)

14 References Bortolussi, M. & Dixon, P. (2003). Psychonarratology. Cambridge: CUP. Bouchardon, S., Dumas, L., Volckaert, V., & Zénouda, H. (2012). Opacity. Ensslin, A. & Bell, A. (2012). “Click = Kill”: Textual You in Ludic Digital Fiction. StoryWorlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies 4 (1): geniwate & Larsen, D. (2003). The [somewhat disturbing but highly improbable] Princess Murderer. Herman, D. (1994). “Textual You and Double Deixis in Edna O’Brien’s A Pagan Place.” Style 28.3: 378– 411. ———. (2002). Story Logic: Problems and Possibilities of Narrative. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P. Kacandes, I. (1993). “Are You in the Text? The ‘Literary Performative’ in Postmodernist Fiction.” Text and Performance Quarterly 13.2: 139–53. Kuiken, D., Miall, D.S., & Sikora, S. (2004). Forms of self-implication in literary reading. Poetics Today, 25 (2), Montfort, N. (2003). Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction. Cambridge, MA: MIT P. Richardson, B. (2006). Unnatural Voices: Extreme Narration in Modern and Contemporary Fiction. Columbus: Ohio State UP. Seilman, U. & Larsen, S.F. (1989). Personal resonance to literature: a study of remindings while reading. Poetics 18: Swann, J. & Allington, D. (2009). Reading groups and the language of literary texts: a case study in social reading. Language and Literature 18 (3): Walker, J. (2000). “Do You Think You’re Part of This? Digital Texts and the Second Person Address.” Cybertext Yearbook Ed. Markku Eskelinen and Raine Koskimaa. /articles/122.pdf.

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