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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Online Ethnographies

Online Ethnographies
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Author(s): Hannakaisa Isomäki (University of Jyväskylä, Finland) and Johanna Silvennoinen (University of Jyväskylä, Finland)
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 18
Source title: Information Systems Research and Exploring Social Artifacts: Approaches and Methodologies
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Pedro Isaias (Portuguese Open University, Portugal) and Miguel Baptista Nunes (University of Sheffield, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2491-7.ch007


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Various new approaches of ethnographic research have been developed for inquiries in online settings. However, it is not clear whether these approaches are similar, different from each other, and if they can be used to study the same phenomena. In this chapter, the authors compare different suggested methodological approaches for conducting ethnographic research in online environments. Based on a literature review, 16 approaches, such as netnography, Webnography, network ethnography, cyber-ethnography, and digital ethnography, are analysed and compared to each other. The analysis of the online ethnography proposals is conducted through a case comparison method by a data-driven framework. The framework provides structures for the analysis in terms of relations between Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), research object, researcher position, and research procedures. The results suggest that these approaches disclose fundamental differences in relation to each other and in relation to the basic idea of traditional ethnography. Finally, the authors discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the analysed approaches.

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