Tag Archives: Virtual Ethnography

Practical considerations for virtual ethnography

How strongly should a clear focus be set from the outset or should the researcher respond to the context as it unfolds – will you choose the sample or will the sample choose you?

How will access to the site be gained? (Access may be gained to a particular institution but not to everyone within that institution.)

How long will you need to spend in the field? How/when will you leave it?

Will you study a full cycle of activity or a smaller segment of life?

How will you identify event boundaries and make them transparent?

How will connections be made between one bit of life and others in order to construct and give grounded explanations of social phenomena?

Which rich points will be identified as anchors for analysis

How will the tension that arises from being an insider and an outsider simultaneously be dealt with?

How will data be archived and retrieved? Are there any issues with data security?

Mixing and Mingling


Ethnographic research has typically followed a reasonably fixed chronology and geography: ethnographers travel to the field, return home to analyse and write up their findings, which are then published.

With virtual ethnography the geographical distinction between field and home is blurred and thus makes drawing boundaries between personal and professional spaces and identities more much challenging. Leaving the field is no longer a trip back home but a process of breaking with the routines and practices of fieldwork.