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This assignment asks you to plan future research using ethnographic methods to study an online culture or a group of users on Twitter OR Reddit. You may choose a group of users or a community on Twitter or Reddit that connects in some way to one of the topic categories listed below. These categories are intended to serve as a prompt for thinking about possible online cultures you could explore. They require narrowing in to particular users/subreddits/hashtags. Answer the four questions below to explain how you plan to collect qualitative data for a future ethnography, and how you plan to manage this data ethically.
Topic categories: Activism; arts and design, crafts; celebrity culture; comedy; finance; education; environment; entertainment; film & TV; food; gaming; hobbies; health, fitness; marketing; music; politics; sports; technology.
Format: Please answer the four questions below, responding to the prompts in full sentences. Do not use point form. Approximate length recommendations are provided. These are approximate guidelines. You may use ‘I’ and a paper template is available. Please double-space your work and use APA style.
A reminder the ethnography should not be conducted for this assignment – this is a plan for future work!
You may find it helpful to observe public online communities on either site in order to provide some details about users, hashtags, and/or group names that help you define the online culture to your reader.
Important Resources: Your data management plan should draw on, apply and cite relevant elements on:
● Ethnography: Lingel & Gray; Deacon et al., week 6, 7 and 8 lectures
● Ethics fundamentals: TCPS-2 (Part B of Core principles), week 6 and 8 lectures
● Informed consent, collection of research data online: Sugiura et al.; Markham (week 8)
QUESTIONS (pp. 1-2):
1) Description of the field site and your guiding research questions: What topic or culture do you plan on researching using the virtual ethnography method? What will the field site be (on Reddit or Twitter)? What research questions do you have about this online space, community, and/or culture? Please provide details to introduce your reader to the focus, and provide three qualitative research questions. ~250-300 words.
2) Description of the online culture, group, community and/or users: Within the outlined field site, who are your ideal research subjects for your planned virtual ethnography? What spaces and/or accounts and/or hashtags on the site will be accessed to observe interactions and/or for you to participate in the field site? What preliminary observations do you have of this community and users’ interactions? To answer this question, it will require some preliminary searching and observing on the site in order to offer a detailed description of the community you wish to observe and/or participate in. ~ 300-400 words.
3) Description of the method of qualitative data collection to be used: How will the virtual ethnography be conducted? What qualitative method will be used in the field site? Please define the method you will use, using applicable resources from the course. Walk the reader through how you would collect data about the specified group or users for your future project. See Week 7, 8 lectures and readings ~ 500-800 words.
4) Ethics Decisions and Considerations: Please answer all of the following questions as fully as you can.
Will you obtain informed consent from users? Why or why not? How will participants’ personal information be secured? Would the research potentially make participants’ vulnerable? If there are potential risks in the research, how would your project attempt to mitigate these risks? Please consult and cite relevant points raised by Markham, 2016, Sugiura et al., 2017. The TCPS’ definitions for vulnerability, informed consent noted in the week 6 lecture will also be helpful here. You do not need to cite all of these sources, but some of these should be used and cited to answer this question with detail. ~ 500-800 words.
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