Park Virtual Ethnography Field Research Summary
Virtual Ethnography Field Research
This assignment gives you an opportunity to practice developing ethnographic field research skills such as participant observation, taking field notes (qualitative notes you take during your research), and coding (identifying themes/categories in your data). An ethnographic study generally takes many months or even years, but for the sake of this assignment you will engage in the process for one week.
- Begin by watching Hey Gabster’s video. Then imagine you are designing your own virtual ethnography (a.k.a netnography, cyber ethnography, digital ethnography) study.
- Think of a category, group, community, topic that you are interested in learning about and have access to digitally/virtually (e.g. social media, TV, film, podcasts, internet…).
- Gabby was interested in learning about YouTube vloggers
- Identify a question or questions that you have about the category, group, community, or topic. Spend some time during the week watching/reading/listening to your sources and taking field notes. *Remember to keep track of your sources so that you can cite them.
- Gabby specifically wanted to learn how YouTube vloggers make money, gain subscribers, and build up their social media platforms. *Since she also began her own YouTube channel as part of her research process she was engaging in participant observation.
- Once you feel you’ve reached a saturation point (where you are no longer getting new information about your topic/question) move on to coding.
- Review your data (field notes) and begin to code (place the notes into categories). You can start by creating your own codes (framework analysis or structured coding) or simply identify them as your read through/listen to (grounded theory or emergent coding) your data. *Use one color for each theme or code (e.g. yellow for mental health, green for physical wellbeing).
Summarize your findings in-500 words or a 2-3 minute video response.
Your summary should include:
1. Who/what did you observe and how? Approximately how much time did you spend observing?
2. What was your research question or questions?
3. A copy of your coded field notes with a theme/code key (state which color goes with which code/theme). You can use highlighters on handwritten notes and photograph or scan them or use the highlight function for typed notes.
4. What codes and themes did you identify?
Based on your findings did you develop a theory that helps to answer your question/questions? If so, what is it?
Do you believe you found an answer to your question/questions? If so, discuss.