Digital ethnography is becoming an increasingly used and needed approach when studying digital culture and practices and the use of digital media and technologies in research . Digital ethnography is an online research method that adapts ethnographic methods to the study of the communities and cultures created through internet-mediated social interaction. We now live in a digital society. New digital technologies have had a profound influence on everyday life, social relations, government, commerce, the economy and the production and dissemination of knowledge. People’s movements in space, their purchasing habits and their online communication with others are now monitored in detail by digital technologies. We are increasingly becoming digital data subjects, whether we like it or not, and whether we choose this or not. The Internet is an open context for social interactions where practices, meanings and identities are intermingled. Social interactions on virtual environments present a challenge for social researchers and open up a new field for qualitative research. Challenges of mediation, of online settings and shifts in distance or in time, here subsumed under the term “digital ethnography,” are all
met in the course of trying to establish this engagement.
This course provides theoretical, methodological and practical tools for conducting ethnography in a digital age, and for the approach of digital ethnography as a set of methods and as a research practice. It covers a broad range of methodological approaches aimed at answering the complexities of the object of research and the different ways in which this object has been constructed. Digital ethnographers, ethnographers of the Internet mediated cultures are faced with the need to answer very pressing questions such as how to use heterogeneous data (text, audiovisual data, etc.) in their analysis, or how to combine research in front of the screen and in the virtual field. A perennial point of tension lies between the apparent ease of data collection and the difficulty of getting access and participating in the field. The present course on Digital Ethnography explains students each and every step of the ethnographic process
how to develop research questions, create research designs and models, decide which data collection methods to use, and how to analyze and interpret data. It aims to provide detailed, accessible and up-to-date treatments of such technologies, and to assess in a critical way their methodological implications. The digital ethnography provides a means by which the impact, development and use of digital technologies and their incorporation into social worlds, social institutions and concepts of selfhood and embodiment may be investigated, analyzed and understood. Digital ethnographic accounts are not only for students and academics in anthropology, sociology, media and communication, digital cultures, digital humanities, internet studies, science and technology studies, cultural geography and social computing, but for other readers interested in the social impact of digital technologies. More information