06 SES 11 B, Developing Research Approaches for an Era of Digitalisation
The digital age accompanied by what is often named a digital revolution (see Heffernan 2011, Schoenherr 2004) presents researchers of all disciplines including the educational sciences with new phenomena and challenges to the established methodological approaches the humanities have come to rely on. Under the banner of Digital Humanities (see Berry 2012) researchers try to incorporate what we know about digital media and the digital mediality in modern methodological concepts, which more often than not are comprised of classic research methods plus bigger or smaller updates to enable research that includes specific digital media phenomena, analysis of digital or virtual data (see Marotzki et al. 2013) and takes place in forms of virtual communities (see Rheingold 1994, Marotzki 2004) or social network sites (see Ellison & boyd 2007). Ethnography can be understood as one crucial research method to open up sociocultural contexts to research and is an attempt to understand those contexts by actively observing and partaking in them, reconstructing meaning from specific artifacts close to the actual actors in such an environment. In the early years of the Internet, Cyberspace was thought to be one of those new environments that seemed to create a new kind of culture or subculture of people with specific languages, significant artifacts, stories and forms of communities (see Wellman & Gulia 1999). Ethnographic approaches seemed like a perfect fit to map out these new virtual worlds about which the humanities knew almost nothing. The Internet has been constantly changing though and today digital media are thought to be ubiquitous and part of everyday life for a very large group of people on the planet, no longer being thought of as a separate cultural phenomenon but rather being part of our very culture in many visible and invisible ways. Ethnography, like all other forms research, has to deal with the fact, that digital aspects may be included in almost every research endeavor, since parts of any significant social interaction might include the use of digital media in some shape or form. Several advancements to ethnography have been made to address those challenges. This presentation looks into a selection of those methodological theories to specifically point out the challenges of digital media that are addressed and to represent the progress that has been made in a systematic fashion.
Between the concepts of Netnography (see Kozinets 2010, Kozinets 2015), Cyber- or Virtual Ethnography (see Coleman 2010, Hine 2000) and elements of structural online ethnography (see Marotzki 2003) the common goals and foundations shall be laid out. The proposal focuses on a theoretical discussion but may refer to empirical examples for illustration.
This is also a beginning to create a coherent updated methodological framework compatible with the theory of Strukturale Medienbildung, an ongoing theoretical and methodological research project at the Otto-von-Guericke-Universität, and thereby serves to extend previous works on that project (see Jörissen & Marotzki 2009, Jörissen 2010). Therefor a major focus will be the relevance of socio-technological infrastructure on ethnographic research and how to represent complex digital architectures within it.
Berry, D. M. (2012). Understanding digital humanities. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan. doi:10.1057/9780230371934 Coleman, E. G. (2010). Ethnographic Approaches to Digital Media. Annual Reviews of Anthropology, 39(1), 487-505. doi:10.1146/annurev.anthro.012809.104945 Ellison, N. B., & boyd, D. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 13(1), 210-230. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00393.x/full Heffernan, V. (2011). The Digital Revolution. La Clé des Langues [en ligne], 11th February. Retrieved from http://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/civilisation/les-dossiers-transversaux/nouvelles-technologies/virginia-heffernan-the-digital-revolution Hine, C. (2000). Virtual ethnography. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. Jörissen, B. (2010). Strukturale Ethnografie Virtueller Welten. In P. Grell, W. Marotzki, & H. Schelhowe (Eds.), Neue digitale Kultur- und Bildungsräume (pp. 119-143). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-531-91917-1 Jörissen, B., & Marotzki, W. (2009). Medienbildung - Eine Einführung: Theorie - Methoden - Analysen (1st ed.). Stuttgart: UTB. Kozinets, R. V. (2010). Netnography. Doing ethnographic research online. New York: SAGE Publications Ltd. Kozinets, R. V. (2015). Netnography redefined (2nd ed.). New York: SAGE Publications Ltd. Marotzki, M. (2003). Online-Ethnographie – Wege und Ergebnisse zur Forschung im Kulturraum Internet. In B. Bachmair, P. Diepold, & C. D. Witt (Eds.), Jahrbuch Medienpädagogik 3. Leverkusen: Leske + Budrich. Marotzki, W. (2004). „Virtual Communities “: Zum Verhältnis von Wissen, Bildung und Vergemeinschaftung. In Grundbegriffe der Ganztagsbildung (pp. 99-109). Wiesbaden: Springer. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-322-97610-9_8 Marotzki, W., Holze, J., & Verständig, D. (2013). Analyzing Virtual Data. In U. Flick (Ed.), The Sage handbook of qualitative data analysis (pp. 250-264). London: Sage Publications. Retrieved from http://www.sagepub.com/books/Book237405 Rheingold, H. (1994). The virtual community homesteading on the electronic frontier (Reprint ed.). New York, NY: HarperPerennial. Schoenherr, S. (2004). The Digital Revolution. Retrieved 29.1.2019 from http://history.sandiego.edu/gen/recording/digital.html Wellman, B., & Gulia, M. (1999). Net surfers don’t ride alone: Virtual communities as communities. In B. Wellman (Ed.), Networks in the global village (pp. 331-366). Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Retrieved from http://groups.chass.utoronto.ca/netlab/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Net-Surfers-Dont-Ride-Alone-Virtual-Community-as-Community.pdf
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