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About Trena M. Paulus

I am a qualitative research methodologist and technologist specializing in the analysis of online conversations. I am co-author of Doing Qualitative Research in a Digital World and Looking for Insight, Transformation and Learning in Online Talk. I am a certified professional trainer for ATLAS.ti and an affiliate of the Center for Computer-Mediated Communication. At ETSU I am coordinating a research team using conversation analysis to study communication skills in healthcare professionals.


Present Director of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, East Tennessee State University Honors College
Present Professor, Research Division, East Tennessee State University Family Medicine, Quillen College of Medicine

Curriculum Vitae


2019 Developing Evidence-Based Messages for Low-Income African American Parents to Limit Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Intake Among Their Young Children
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Role: Qualitative Research Senior Advisor
Colleague(s): C.J. Cotwright, L. Birch, & J. Hall
2011 Improving Online Teaching & Learning: University of Michigan-Flint Professional Development Program
University of Michigan
Role: Consultant and Project Director
2010 Challenge, Create, Connect: University of Tennessee College of Nursing Faculty Development Program
University of Tennessee
Role: Consultant and Project Director
2009 Evaluating an E-Learning Faculty Development Program
Sigma Theta Tau
Role: Principal Investigator
Colleague(s): S. Mixer & T. Wyatt
2009 Implementation and Evaluation of an E-Learning Faculty Development Program
Tennessee Nurse's Foundation
Role: Principal Investigator
Colleague(s): C. Myers
2009 Online Facilitation and Community Building Basics: College of Nursing Faculty Development Program
University of Tennessee
Role: Consultant and Project Director
2007 Promoting Healthy, Happy UT Graduates: Combating Stress and the Freshman 15
University of Tennessee Office of Research
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Colleague(s): L. Jahns
2006 Investigating the Web Pen Pals Project: What Students and Teachers Have to Say About Designing, Facilitating and Engaging in Online Spaces for “Critical Talk” About Young Adult Literature
National Council of Teachers of English
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Colleague(s): S. Groenke
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Honors and Awards

  • 2006 - Helen B. Watson Outstanding Research Award
  • 2009 - Spotlight on Innovative Faculty, University of Tennessee
  • 2009 - Office of Research QUEST Scholar of the Week
  • 2009 - Faculty Fellow, Innovative Technology Center
  • 2012 - Faculty Development Leave, University of Tennessee
  • 2014 - Visiting Scholar, University of Tasmania
  • 2014 - Affiliate, Center for Computer-Mediated Communication, Indiana University
  • 2015 - Certified Professional Trainer for ATLAS.ti data analysis software
  • 2017 - Association of Educational Communication & Technology Division of Distance Learning Distance Education Best Practice Award
  • 2018 - Neal R. Norrick Special Issue Award for “The Microanalysis of Online Data (MOOD)” in the Journal of Pragmatics
  • 2019 - Spotlight on a new text: Treating online talk as a source of qualitative data: A research guide by Trena M. Paulus. Newsletter article for the American Educational Research Association Qualitative Research Special Interest Group
  • 2019 - Indiana University School of Education News: Paulus uses qualitative research to study online conversations


2003 Ph.D., Education, Indiana University
2001 M.S., Instructional Systems Technology, Indiana University
1997 M.A., Applied Linguistics, East Tennessee State University
1991 B.A., English and Philosophy, Franklin College

Contact Information

PO Box 70621
Johnson City, TN 37614
Office: Ed Allen Hall (VA Campus)
Phone: 423-439-6317


Books (3)

Articles (67)