Ethnographic study of experiences online
I came across this quote in Veletsianos Open practices and identity: Evidence from researchers and educators’ social media participation which strikes me as a useful approach to auto-ethnographic research of (online) experiences in different contexts:
This study was influenced by cyberethnography (Ward, 1999) and virtual ethnography (Hine, 2000). However, unlike these analytical approaches, and akin to Watulak (2011), instead of doing ethnography (Green & Bloome, 1997), my use of ethnography is limited to ethnographic data collection methods. Specifically, I have been an active participant and contributor on social media sites. In these spaces, I interact with educators, researchers and students within the field of educational technology, participate in virtual events (eg, open courses) and keep a journal of digital artifacts, reflections and observations. This journal consists of observations, thoughts, reflections, screenshots and news articles. Some of these artifacts are derived from a wide array of social media sites such as blogs, microblogging sites and video‐sharing sites. This journal centers around three questions, “What am I observing in my social media participation with regard to scholarly practice? What phenomena and/or issues arise? What do these observations mean for scholarly practice, and how can we make sense of them?” This journal, guided by my observations and experiences, then becomes the main data source that I analyze to answer the research question posed above. The result of that analysis is the qualitative study reported herein.
This approach seems a necessary one for me in terms of regulating and directing learning activities by requiring both capture and reflection on each object captured.