Date of Award

Summer 6-22-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Learning Technologies Division

First Advisor

Jennifer Darling-Aduana, PhD

Second Advisor

Jennifer Esposito, PhD

Third Advisor

Brendan Calandra, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Jake Cohen, PhD


Very little research examines the intersection of virtual research team labor, the experiences of women and diverse people working on virtual research teams, and the role that power dynamics play in constraining and opening up possibilities for resilience and agency on virtual research teams between members of all roles, including the non-human actors and digital technologies that support human researchers. The general body of research that does exist focuses on corporate virtual teams that seek to reduce conflict between members in order to increase profit margins. Likewise, research settings, theory and methodology is homogenous in the literature and tends to align with the profit goals of large corporations. A few studies do conceptualize and study power dynamics on virtual research teams and these all suggest that a flattened hierarchy increases creative adaptation, satisfaction amongst researchers, and research output. Still, these studies don’t consider all-women virtual research teams in their exploration of power nor do they specifically work through a critical lens. In my work, I sought to fill these gaps by doing interpretive, empirical research on diverse academic women researchers, supported by other human and non-human actors, working on a single-gender virtual research team over several years together. Theoretically, my work was situated in both the critical feminist and actor network theory postmodern worldviews. Using these worldviews, I conducted 10 interviews and gathered recorded meetings and related documents. I then performed a thematic analysis of the 10 interviews and 9 selected meetings. Next, I completed two rounds of critical discourse analysis. First, within a larger critical ethnographic lens, I analyzed interviews, documents, and recorded meetings using Grbich’s frames of analysis technique. Then, I ran a second discourse analysis using Venturini’s cartography of controversies approach. I presented these as a consolidated set of analyses within analyses in this manuscript. I also offer a pragmatic model for virtual research teams to work from to flourish better together in the academy. In this way, I hoped to contribute to the literature and to the praxis of VRTs composed of diverse woman-identifying researchers, and the non-human actors that support them, in co-creating more resilient systems together.

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