Chapter 4Understanding academics online
Ethnographic approaches to the analysis of online academic discourse and practices
In the 21st century academic activity and communication are mediated by digital technologies, which enable scholars to engage in new social practices. Although ethnography is an appropriate approach to analyse these practices, the online environment, with its constraints and affordances, requires adjustments in pre-digital ethnography, regarding, among others, how the setting of research is defined, or how observation or interviews are conducted (Garcia, Standlee, Bechkoff, & Cui, 2009). This chapter provides a review of ethnographically-oriented research on academic communication in online settings and of the different ethnographic approaches that are being used to analyse scholars’ digital practices. By doing so, the chapter contributes to the overall aims of the book by offering useful insights to advance the methodological knowledge of researchers interested in (online) academic practices.
- Theoretical framework
- What is digital ethnography?
- Adjustments of pre-digital ethnography to the online environment
- Methodology: Selection and analysis of ethnographically-oriented studies
- Online academic practices: Ethnographically-oriented studies
- Surveys and questionnaires
- Observation and document analysis
- Reflection on one’s own writing
- Conclusions and implications