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Trena M. Paulus Ph.D.

  • Professor, Department of Lifelong Education, Administration, and Policy (Qualitative Research)

Portrait of Trena Paulus

Contact Information

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Office Location

310 River's Crossing
850 College Station Road
Athens, Georgia 30602

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Affiliated Units

Areas of Expertise

  • digital tools in qualitative research
  • discourse analysis
  • computer-mediated communication

Research Interests

  • digital tools in qualitative research
  • discourse analysis
  • computer-mediated communication
  • online learning
  • discursive psychology
  • conversation analysis

Research Summary

I explore how new technologies impact qualitative research methodologies, in particular how conversation and discourse analysis techniques can be used to understand computer-mediated communication environments.


My first formal teaching experience was as an English teacher in Lesotho, Southern Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. After my Peace Corps service I earned my M.A. in applied linguistics at Ohio University where I won the outstanding teaching assistant award. I also published findings from my Master’s thesis in the _Journal of Second Language Writing. _

I then completed a two year internship teaching intensive and academic English for international students with the English Language Center at Michigan State University. In 2003 I moved back to Indiana, my home state, to pursue my Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Technology, minoring in computer-mediated communication, at Indiana University.

I was an assistant and tenured associate professor from 2003-2014 at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, serving as the coordinator of the qualitative research methods graduate certificate program, facilitating the Discourse Analysis Research Team, and helping to design and re-launch the instructional design Master’s program as an award-winning fully online program.

At the University of Georgia I teach a variety of qualitative research courses in face-to-face, online and blended learning environments, including workshops on ATLAS.ti.


Degree Concentration Institution Year
Ph.D. Instructional Systems Technology Indiana University 2003
M.A. Applied Linguistics Ohio University 1997
B.A. English, Philosophy, History Franklin College 1991

Awards and Accolades

Year Award From
2018 Neil R. Norrick Special Issue Award Journal of Pragmatics Editorial Board
2017 Distance Education Best Practice Award Association of Educational Communication & Technology Division of Distance Learning