Final Project (MSTU 4020; Week 11)


Over the past few weeks, I've mulled over ideas for the final project. I think I have a solid idea of what I'd like to focus on. I'm thinking about a literature review that discusses emerging methods of researching identity and communities within digitally connective spaces. I'm particularly interested in Christine Hine's idea of 'connective ethnography'. I think perhaps it's useful to think about how we, as researchers and educators, go about researching and understanding identity and community engagement within this space. I've felt as though some of the methods that have been presented in class, for example, the research studies on Facebook, are missing something - not sure what though. However, I do believe that ethnography can be a great entry point to begin exploring new ways of researching the Internet.

My interest in this topic is grounded by the following quotes (though not limited to these):

"We do not have the empirical ground on which to assess how (if any) online community affects offline community (Bayum, pg. 1998). Bayum asks us to develop an 'emergent model of online community (pg. 1998).

"[When] enacting space, a way of being as you interact with space, a new kind of imaginative space emerges" (Vasudaven, in class, 10/21/10).

"A really good ethnography is one in which you can present it to the community and they're not surprised [by the research]" (Vasudaven, in class, 10/21/10).

Likewise, I may look at how ideas/theories of time and space can lead us toward a new understanding of research models.

A few references I intend to use:

  • Gloria Anzaldua's writings on nepantla theory: I will refer to my MA thesis on nepantla theory to see if I can apply this idea, in terms of borderland/liminal space, to understanding what the Internet looks like as "a kind of imaginative space" that emerges.
  • Leander & Mckim's Tracing the Everyday 'Sitings' of Adolescents on the Internet: a strategic adaptation of ethnography across online and offline spaces: This article takes a look at ethonography within online and offline social spaces.
  • Jankowski's Creating Community with Media: History, Theories, and Scientific Investigations: I'm hoping to use some of the questions that Jankowski and Bayum propose in the article to ground my research paper.
  • Christine Hine's Virtual Ethnography & Connective Ethnography and the Exploration of e-Science: Hine's provides useful ideas about connective ethnography that I'd like to explore further.

I'll be looking over more readings from the beginning of the semester this week to see if there's some more useful ideas to work with.