Virtual Methods: Issues in Social Research on the Internet

By Christine Hine | Go to book overview

Research Sites and Strategies: Introduction

Christine Hine


Defining contexts for social research

Among the uncertainties which new media have introduced into the social research process is where to go to in order to carry out a study. Given that we now see the Internet as a cultural context in its own right, it seems clear that we can view that context as a place in which to carry out social research. The success of ethnographers in claiming the Internet as a field site attests to acceptance that the Internet is a form of social space. At the same time, however, it has become apparent that mediated communications can only provisionally be bracketed off as objects of study for social researchers. Uses of the Internet, the telephone, the mass media and the printed word permeate face-to-face social settings, and disrupt any easy assumptions about the boundedness of social life.

For many social researchers, then, the definition of the site for an investigation is not a straightforward issue. As the case studies in Part I showed, the decision whether to conduct research relationships online or offline is situated in the demands of a specific research goal. In Part II we address this concern in more depth, exploring some different ways of defining the field site and exploring socially significant aspects of its organization. The Internet has frequently been understood by social scientists as providing a new space for social interaction and for the development of social formations, and innovation in research methods is needed to address these new spaces. However, this does not mean that the traditional sites of research into everyday life become irrelevant. Where to begin, when to stop and how to combine research into online and offline contexts are the problems which Part II addresses.

The Internet can also challenge us to break down the distinction between qualitative and quantitative methods. The traces which online activities leave provide a valuable resource to social researchers who wish to understand both what people do online and what significance these actions have. The sheer amount of traces that online activities can leave, and that the researcher can amass, tend to lead even hardened (or softened) qualitative researchers towards more quantitative methods

-109-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Virtual Methods: Issues in Social Research on the Internet
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 242

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.