Mixed methods Internet research

Thanks so much to everyone who sent me suggestions of mixed methods Internet research in response to my recent query on the Association of Internet Researchers list air-l  http://listserv.aoir.org/listinfo.cgi/air-l-aoir.org . I’m still working my way through the responses in detail. It’s been really enlightening to see the sheer amount of methodological mixing going on in Internet studies and  clearly there’s something about the multiple affordances of digital data that stimulate people to draw on multiple methodological traditions. I’m finding it very interesting to think through these examples of mixing in research according to the “facet methodology” that I’ve just come across – see Mason (2011). I know several other people were interested to know about the outcomes of my query, so I’ve prepared a brief summary of the various projects and resources I heard about. I’ll split them up, first a list of the published articles I’ve been told about, then a list of ongoing projects, forthcoming dissertations etc.

Best wishes,


Mason, J. (2011) Facet methodology: the case for an inventive research orientation. Methodological Innovations Online 6(3): 75-92 http://www.pbs.plym.ac.uk/mi/pdf/8-02-12/MIO63Paper31.pdf

Published articles drawing on combinations of methods and/or modes in Internet research

Brügger, Niels 2012 When the Present Web is Later the Past : Web Historiography, Digital History, and Internet Studies, Historical Social Research, 37(4), Cologne 2012, 102-117.

Collister, Lauren B. (2012) The discourse deictics and <– in a World of Warcraft community. Discourse, Context and Media 1(1): 9-19

Ford, Sarah Michele. December 2012. “The Mother In Law Effect: Managing the Publicity of Personal Content.” Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 56(4).

Ford, Sarah Michele.  2011.  By Invitation Only: LiveJournal Users’ Conceptions of Access to Their Content.  Cyberstudies: Best of IR11. http://www.cyberstudies.org/journal/2011/2/24/by-invitation-only-livejournal-users-conceptions-of-access-t.html

Geiger, R. Stuart and David Ribes (2011) Trace Ethnography: Following Coordination through Documentary Practices HICSS ’11 Proceedings of the 2011 44th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences pp 1-10 IEEE Computer Society Washington, DC, USA. doi:10.1109/HICSS.2011.455

Geiger, R. Stuart and David Ribes (2011) The Work of Sustaining Order in Wikipedia: The Banning of a Vandal. CSCW 2010, February 6–10, 2010, Savannah, Georgia, USA. http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/groups/connect/cscw_10/docs/p117.pdf

Halfaker, Aaron, R. Stuart Geiger, Jonathan T. Morgan and John Riedl (2012) The Rise and Decline of an Open Collaboration System: How Wikipedia’s Reaction to Popularity Is Causing Its Decline American Behavioral Scientist 0002764212469365, first published on December 28, 2012 doi:10.1177/0002764212469365

Hampton, Keith, Lauren Sessions, & Eun Ja Her (2011). Core Networks, Social Isolation, and New Media: Internet and Mobile Phone Use, Network Size, and Diversity. Information, Communication & Society 14(1), 130-155.

Hampton, Keith (2007). Neighborhoods in the Network Society: The e-Neighbors Study. Information, Communication & Society 10(5). 714-748.

Hampton, Keith (2003). Grieving for a Lost Network: Collective Action in a Wired Suburb. The Information Society 19(5), 417-428.

Hepburn, P. (2012) Local government and the online networked public sphere – a case study. Journal of Information Technology and Politics 9(4): 370-387

Hepburn, P (2012) Is this local e-democracy? How the online sphere of influence shaped local politics. Empirical evidence from the Manchester Congestion Charge referendum. Journal of e-Democracy and Open Government 4 (1) http://www.jedem.org/issue/view/7

Herodotou, C., Winters, N. & Kambouri, M. (2012). A motivationally oriented approach to understanding game appropriation, International Journal of Human Computer Interaction, 28 (1), 34-47. DOI: 10.1080/10447318.2011.566108

Herodotou, C., Kambouri, M. & Winters, N. (2011). The role of trait emotional intelligence in gamers’ preferences for play, Computers in Human Behaviour, 27 (5), 1815-1819. DOI:10.1016/j.chb.2011.04.001

Leurs, Koen (2012) Digital passages. Moroccan-Dutch youths performing diaspora, gender and youth cultural identities across digital space. Phd thesis Utrecht University. http://igitur-archive.library.uu.nl/dissertations/2012-0614-200543/UUindex.html

Malta, S (2012) “Using Online Methods to Interview Older Adults about their Romantic and Sexual Relationships” in (ed) M. Leontowisch, Researching Later Life and Ageing – Expanding Qualitative Research Horizons, Palgrave Macmillan, July 2012.

Markham, A. N. & Lindgren, S. (2013 in press). From object to flow: Network sensibilities, symbolic interactionism, and social media. Studies in Symbolic Interactionism. Pre-publication draft available at: http://www.markham.internetinquiry.org/writing/MarkhamLindgrenOptimizedForBlog.pdf

Markham, A. N. (2012). Moving into the flow: Using a network perspective to explore complexity in Internet contexts. In S. Lomborg (Ed.). Network Analysis: Methodological Challenges (pp. 47-58). Aarhus, Denmark: University of Aarhus CFI Monograph Series.

Menchen-Trevino, E., & Hargittai, E. (2011). Young Adults’ Credibility Assessment of Wikipedia. Information, Communication and Society, 14(1). doi: 10.1080/13691181003695173

Pearce, K.S. and S. Kendzior (2012) Networked authoritarianism and social media in Azerbaijan. Journal of Communication 62(2): 283 298

Poell, T. & K. Darmoni. 2012. Twitter as a Multilingual space: the articulation of the Tunisian revolution through #sidibouzid. NECSUS – European Journal of Media Studies , 1. http://www.necsus-ejms.org/twitter-as-a-multilingual-space-the-articulation-of-the-tunisian-revolution-through-sidibouzid-by-thomas-poell-and-kaouthar-darmoni/

Radsch, C. 2009 From Cell Phones to Coffee: Issues of Access in Egypt. In Surviving Field Research, edited by C. Lekha Sriram, O. Martin-Ortega, J. C. King, J. Mertus and J. Herman. London: Taylor and Francis Ltd Routledge.

Venkatesh, V., Brown, S.A., Bala, H.: Bridging the Qualitative-Quantitative Divide: Guidelines for Conducting Mixed Methods Research in Information Systems. MIS Quarterly 37 (1), 21-54 (2013)

Volker Wulf, Kaoru Misaki, Meryem Atam, David Randall, Markus Rohde: ‘On the Ground’ in Sidi Bouzid: Investigating Social Media Use during the Tunisian Revolution, in: Proceedings of ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2013), ACM-Press, New York 2013, 1409-1418 http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=2441776.2441935#

Yasseri, T., Kornai, A., and Kertész, J. (2012) A practical approach to language complexity: a Wikipedia case study. PLoS ONE 7(11): e48386.

Projects drawing on combinations of methods and/or modes in Internet research

Niels Brügger has been extensively using and reflecting on mixed methods in the context of Internet history. http://pure.au.dk/portal/en/persons/id(2814967c-56b1-4b7c-9599-50ff791909b7).html

Lauren Collister http://www.pitt.edu/~lbc8/  studies multimodal communication in World of Warcraft — specifically the way players interweave text chat, voice chat, and face-to-face chat in the course of interaction during gameplay. She draws on discourse analysis of textual chat logs, recordings of voice chat, videos of players who are gaming together, and interviews.

Ethnography Matters is hosting a special issue on “ethnomining” – combining qualitative and quantitative data in April 2013 http://ethnographymatters.net/2013/02/06/2013-themes/   Ethnography Matters also has posts from Wendy Hsu on multiple sources of data in digital ethnography http://ethnographymatters.net/tag/wendy-hsu/

Sarah Michelle Ford’s dissertation involves “a large scale survey of personal bloggers plus observations and interviews with individual bloggers”. ford@soc.umass.edu

Elke Greifeneder’s dissertation focused on lab and natural environment testing and used an asynchronous remote usability test. Her study was largely quantitative, comparing lab and natural environment participants in a between-group design, but also contained qualitative descriptions of individual participants who were outliers. http://edoc.hu-berlin.de/docviews/abstract.php?lang=ger&id=39485

Keith Hampton pointed me to Lauren Sessions Goulet’ dissertation http://lsgoulet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/LSGDissertation_11_5_2.pdf  using national survey data, Facebook logs, plus interview data and also his Pew Internet and American Life report on Facebook http://www.mysocialnetwork.net/downloads/offprint/PIP_Facebook%20users_2.3.12.pdf  using national survey data and Facebook logs.

Alex Hanna http://alex-hanna.com  has combined Facebook trace data with interview-based data in a computer-aided content analysis of a digitally-enabled social movement

Thea Herodotou used a mixed-methods approach for studying online games (MMORPGs), including an online survey and face-to-face and email interviews. http://www.lkl.ac.uk/niall/Herodotou-PhD-2009.pdf

Alex Leavitt http://alexleavitt.com  is presenting a ‘mixed method’ paper at ICA using YouTube data: “using one framework of analysis, I start with a small sample of data doing manual interpretation and then I look at large scale data scrape that attempts to match up the small sample using more computational methods.”

Carmen Lee’s work is concerned with language-related practices on the internet, including IM. She has a forthcoming book with David Barton, Language Online (Routledge, April 2013). Their primary interest is to combine text analysis with details of people’s practices, using both online and offline methods. http://www.eng.cuhk.edu.hk/eng/about/academic_staff_detail/1

Sonia Livingstone’s study of The Class http://clrn.dmlhub.net/content/class is following “the networks within and beyond a single class of 13-14-year-olds at home, school and elsewhere over the course of an academic year – observing social interactions in and between lessons; conducting interviews with children, parents, teachers and relevant others; and mapping out-of-school engagements with digital networking technologies to reveal both patterns of use and the quality and meaning of such engagements as they shape the learning opportunities of young people”.

Nancy McDonald mcdonaldkenworthy@gmail.com  conducted an “insider” ethnographical study of a text-based online community using various techniques of linguistic, metaphorical and narrative analysis.

Sue Malta looked at new late-life romantic relationships and sexuality in both the online and offline context – and used four different interview methods: face to face, telephone, instant messaging and email.  smalta@swin.edu.au

Ericka Menchen-Trevino http://www.ericka.cc/  combined log file analysis and in-depth interviews (as well as surveys) in her dissertation research, completed in 2012

Courtney Radsch carried out doctoral research on the political impact of cyberactivism and citizen journalism in Egypt using mixed methods and modes including ethnographic field work in Egypt and online in the Egyptian blogosphere. http://www.radsch.info/

Mirko Tobias Schaeffer http://www.mtschaefer.net/publications/ is carrying out participant observation of expert meetings on social media in advisory councils for the Dutch government and mapping the security concerns and opinion forming among policy makers and bureaucrats, together with analysis of Twitter data, Facebook data, interface design to map media practices. He is also involved in a project exploring Twitter and Facebook communications of Dutch mayors.

Di Shaw’s doctoral research looked at the social experience of aging in a technologically connected world, involving 14 months online observing and participating in a social networking site designed specifically for older (40 plus) people – focusing on Australians over the age of 60. She combined online and offline ethnographic methodologies. di.shaw@ymail.com

Jocelyn Williams used multiple case studies to explore how internet access and social cohesion are related in a free home internet scheme. The study combined two waves of interviews with adult family members with observation, surveys and interviews with key stakeholders  http://mro.massey.ac.nz/handle/10179/1358

Kim Witten’s PhD in sociolinguistics focused on an online community deploys “quantitative methods include statistical analysis of data from two large-scale surveys, corpora, and publicly downloadable meta-data about the community and participants; qualitative data include sentiment and discourse analysis from discussions, surveys, interviews, meetups and podcasts”, within an ethnographic framework. kaw522@york.ac.uk


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