Why methods textbooks fail to adequately address “the digital”

Why can’t I find a qualitative methods textbook that adequately represents the challenge of doing research in/with/of what we might call the digital, technological, internet, online, or networked? Here’s my short answer: It would require rethinking the entire textbook. Like ethics, “the internet” is often thus relegated to a single chapter, as if this could possibly cover everything. The longer answer is actually a fairly interesting example of how habits become structures that are so normalized they can discipline even the most creative scholars.  This is an interesting dilemma for qualitative research that seeks to remain explorative, emergent, and responsive to contextual shifts.  The challenge is to identify that there’s...

Read More

The dialogue of evidence: A Summary

In 1994, the Western Journal of Communication produced a special issue (V58, N1) called “The dialogue of evidence: A topic revisited.” This special issue revisited a previous special issue by the same journal (volume 41, issue 1, 1977 Western Journal of Speech Communication). This 1994 special issue asks the question: What criteria should be used to judge the admissibility of evidence and how does the choice of methodology limit and enhance that which we consider to be evidence? Both issues provide an excellent cross section of thinking about what counts as evidence in scientific/scholarly inquiry.  To give you a taste of this topic, I’ve summarized the contributions in the 1994 issue, with the addition of minor gratuitous editorial commentary,...

Read More

Digital Living Summer School: 2014 in Aarhus

Digital Living Summer School: 2014 in Aarhus

Our first annual summer school will be held August 11-22, 2014, in Aarhus, Denmark.  A lineup of fantastic international scholars will give lectures, facilitate workshops, and engage in creative making with students. Confirmed faculty participants: John Carter McKnight, Dept of Sociology, Lancaster University, UK Ann Light, Dept of Participatory Design, Northumbria University, UK Jannek Sommer, Dept of Marketing, Globalization, & Culture, Southern Denmark University Line Hassall Thomsen, Dept of Media Studies, Aarhus University Claus Bossen, Dept of Information Studies, Aarhus University Annette Markham, Dept of Information Studies, Aarhus University in 2014, the summer school is targeted to students at the BA level.  Want to see this at the MA and PhD...

Read More

Creating Lit Reviews as Arguments

Creating Lit Reviews as Arguments

Why write a lit review as an argument? The argument format of writing encourages you to build claims supported with evidence or reasoning. Stating your points as declarative statements (that could be answered true/false on a quiz) can help you discover your own attitudes, believes, and values….etc….

Read More

Figuring control in the algorithmic era

Control. What does this term mean in the 21st Century of networked sociality and digital information tangles? I don’t mean control in the sense that systems theory or cybernetics considers it, at least not at first. Rather, I want to explore  this question as one that is a real, embodied concern, primarily in everyday use of  social media, although it can be asked at many levels outside this everyday use. At the individual level, we might ask: How much control do we have over our information and its flow through global social networks? What should we do to control our presentation of self in various social network sites and search engine results? At the organizational,corporate, or developer level, we might ask similar questions using different words:...

Read More

Study “Digital Living” at Aarhus University Fall 2014

Study “Digital Living” at Aarhus University Fall 2014

Interested in social and mobile media? Do you care about how technologies impact social and work life? International MA or MS: Digital Living Aarhus University Application deadline: March 15 (April 1 for Danish residents) Notification of Acceptance: early May 2014 Start Date:  1 September 2014 This MA focuses on how digital technologies are used in everyday life and offers students the opportunity to consider how we might design better futures by exploring the intersection of networked sociality, organizational practices, and IT design. Discuss cutting edge knowledge about the social impact of digital technologies with internationally established professors (including yours truly). Learn from computer scientists how digital forms of communication and interaction...

Read More

Metaphors of Internet: Tool, Place, Way of Being (the 2003 version)

This is an unpublished article I wrote in 2003. I am currently revising it to update it, but actually, I have realized that the baseline concepts and overall framework are still quite useful.  I’d be interested in how others might apply this framework to think about how people frame their experiences with digital technologies and media.  For example, my colleague Anja Nylund Hagen at University of Oslo is using (and adapting) this framework in some interesting ways. Anyway, here’s a link to the unpublished (but paginated) print version of the paper here.  It should be cited as an unpublished manuscript or a conference paper. Markham, A. 2003. Metaphors reflecting and shaping the reality of the Internet: Tool, place, way of being. Paper presented...

Read More