Assembled below are annotated bibliographies of resources that may be of value to community leaders when developing and planning evaluation strategies for their community.

Ardichvili, A. (2008). Learning and knowledge sharing in virtual communities of practice: Motivators, barriers, and enablers. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 10(4), 541–554.

This article includes an extensive review of online learning, knowledge management, and online communication literature. The author proposes a framework for understanding motivators, barriers, and enablers for successful online knowledge sharing and learning; the framework includes key motivational factors, barriers to online knowledge sharing, and enablers for knowledge sharing. The article concludes with specific recommendations for developing and sustaining a vibrant and productive online community of practice.

Barbour, Rosaline S. (2008). Doing focus online groups. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

This book provides the reader with practical advice on planning and organizing successful focus groups. The author discusses the advantages and limitations of using focus groups and outlines effective methods for collecting and evaluating the findings.

De Wever, B., Schellens, T., Valcke, M., & Van Keer, H. (2006). Content analysis schemes to analyze transcripts of online asynchronous discussion groups: A review. Computers & Education 46(1), 6‑28. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2005.04.005

This article presents an overview of different content analysis instruments. The authors discuss 15 instruments and provide critical conclusions based on comparing them. The authors suggest that there is a need to improve the theoretical underpinnings of existing content analysis instruments in order to provide evaluators the ability to reliably analyze online discussions.

Duncan-Howell, Jennifer A.(2008) Graphically mapping electronic discussions: understanding online conversational dynamics. E-Learning, 5(3), pp. 324-337.

This article highlights how graphically mapping electronic discussions helps to create a clearer understanding of the dynamics of electronic discussions. The author presents the findings of a study that was conducted on three online communities for teachers. The transcripts of electronic discussions were collected and examined via conversational analysis. The article offers further insight into the nature of online discussions that can help community leaders better understand online conversational dynamics.

Farooq, U., Schank, P., Harris, A., Fusco, J., & Schlager, M. (2007). Sustaining a community computing Infrastructure for online teacher professional development: A case study of designing Tapped In. Retrieved from

This article explores many of the pitfalls experienced by burgeoning online communities of practice. The authors discuss how many online communities fail due to: underlying community infrastructure that does not meet members’ requirements; the community is unable to maintain a critical mass of participants consistently over time; and/or the community is unable to leverage social capital within the community that better supports ongoing contributions by members. Based on more than nine years of design experience with Tapped In, an online community of practice for education professionals, the authors present a case study that discusses four design interventions that have supported the Tapped In infrastructure and its community. These interventions represent broader design strategies for developing online environments for professional communities of practice.

Gunawardena, C. N., Lowe, C., & Anderson, T. (1997). Analysis of global online debate at the development of an interaction analysis model for examining social construction of knowledge in computer conferencing. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 17(4), 397–431.

This article proposes a theoretical framework as a foundation for building online communities of practice. The authors draw on research on communities of practice, relevant theories of learning, and the authors’ own action research experience in collaborative knowledge creation utilizing Web 2.0 tools. This paper discusses how an online communities move through a spiraling process from members’ discourse, action, reflection, and reorganization toward socially mediated metacognition.

Hansen, D. L., Shneiderman, B., & Smith, M. A. (2011). Analyzing social media networks with NodeXL: Insights from a connected world. New York: Morgan Kaufmann.

This book helps the reader begin to understand what information visualization is. Information visualization is an emerging important evaluation approach that utilizes graphics, scientific databases, and human-computer interactions to create visualizations. This book offers practical ideas for using Network Overview Discovery Exploration for Excel, aka, NodeXL. NodeXL is a free and open Excel 2007 add-in that contains a library of tools for social network analysis and visualization.

Marra, R. M., Moore, J. L., & Klimczak, A. K. (2004). ETR&D, 52(2), 23–40. Retrieved from—a-comparative

This article presents a study that compared the application of two content analysis protocols for online discussion boards. Only recently have researchers developed protocols for conducting meaningful evaluation of online discussion forums. The authors provide a full description of how to use both protocols. They also evaluate each protocol for its strengths and weaknesses with the goal of providing educators and researchers with valid tools for assessing discussion forum content.

Neuendorf, K. A. (2002). The content analysis guidebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

This book provides the reader with step-by-step instructions and practical advice that helps to unravel the complicated aspects of content analysis. The author traces several paths of conducting content analysis as well providing numerous examples of application of this evaluation technique across the social sciences.

Preece, J., & Shneiderman, B. (2009). The reader-to-leader framework: Motivating Technology-mediated social participation. AIS Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction, 1(1), 13–32.

In this article, the authors offer the Reader-to-Leader Framework with the goal of helping researchers, designers, and community leaders understand what motivates technology-mediated social participation. This will enable them to improve the design and social support for their communities and/or organizations. These improvements could reduce the number of failed projects, while accelerating the application of social media for national priorities such as healthcare, energy sustainability, emergency response, economic development, education, and more.

Porter, J. (2008). Designing for the social web. Berkeley, CA: New Riders Press.

This book introduces the reader to accessible and useful design framework for encouraging communication between participants in online environment. The author offers practical advice, ranging from user-interface design guidelines to a selective offering of insights from social psychology and communication studies. This book is useful for the community manager who wants to design their community to allow for the optimum social interaction among its members.

Sue, Valarie M., & Ritter, Lois A. (2007). Conducting online surveys. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

This book provides the reader with a basic introduction to online survey creation. The author also includes sections on selecting software, planning, writing Web-based questionnaires, sampling from online populations, ethics, and evaluation of findings. This book provides the reader with the vocabulary to then interface with vendors (e.g., Survey Monkey) to assist in the online survey designing process.

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