During 2007 I was asked to become a moderator (I would have been the first female moderator on the
forum). I declined this offer as it would have allowed me access to the personal information of
the forum participants and might have been deemed unethical by the participants. These
events provided signs that I had become an accepted member of the community, able to joke
with fellow participants, follow their conversations and respond emphatically to their world
nowonmai wrote:Anyway,you have just shown the main problem with infiltration: going native.
...Kerr and Hiltz (1982) note two main dangers in computer-mediated participant observation: going native and role conflict. The fact that I had visited Afghanistan assisted in establishing credibility but it also increased the risk of going native, which is defined generally as when a researcher “identif[ies] so closely with one’s subjects [thatone] inadvertently skews his description and analysis of the world being portrayed” (Monti 1992, p.326). Within computer-mediated communication, going native is described as “involving oneself in the group to the extent that objectivity is lost” (Paccagnella 1997, p.6) to the point of negatively influencing behaviour
both in the field and in data analysis (Monti 1992). Within an online forum it is difficult to distinguish between participating and becoming the phenomenon studied (Jorgensen 1989), as the researcher’s actions cannot be removed from the field without removing meaning from the data (Tedlock 1991).
Although a period of active participation (Adler and Adler 1987) was required to gain full membership of the group, this did not correspond with an equivalent emotional or physical involvement, so objectivity was maintained. Hammersley and Atkinson (1995) suggested that the researcher should attempt to become a marginal native. The nature of the research (periods of participant observation followed by data collection and analysis) meant that my participation in the forum could be scaled down during certain phases of the research, allowing me to step back from the forum and its participants to take a more dispassionate view.
Role conflict is described as the conflict between the goals of the group and those of
the research or researcher (Kerr and Hiltz 1982) and the potential for ethical conflicts
between the group’s possibly illegal activities and the views of the researcher (Lee 1993).
The subject of distressing and illegal activities is explored in Section 3.12.4. The
development of a research protocol (Appendix 12.1), which ensured a professional as
opposed to deeply personal involvement within the forum, also assisted me in maintaining my
distance from the forum members.
Non-virtual ethnography involves an exit strategy which requires the withdrawal from the field
(Hammersley and Atkinson 1995). Virtual ethnography differs, however, in that the “research
does not end with a neat and distinct ‘exit’ from the field” (Kendall 2004, p.132) as there is no
natural end point to the participation in an online community. Instead, the end of the research
provides little closure unless the researcher withdraws suddenly from the field. This is likely to
prevent future access into the community, however, and possibly other similar virtual
communities, since it would result in the loss of goodwill from the participants. I do not
currently intend to leave the Black Flag Café forum as I plan to follow up other areas of
research within the community.
Aha, a joke!Kurt wrote: I was not "trained" in ethics.
http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/ wrote:Restricted to Repository staff only until 31 December 2013.
Aryan wrote:What pisses me off the most...I get zero mentions. Nowonmai gets to be SBS in Vlindsay's fantasy world, I should at least be MI5. Maybe I should have made more hot stewardess threads.
Skirita wrote:Aryan wrote:What pisses me off the most...I get zero mentions. Nowonmai gets to be SBS in Vlindsay's fantasy world, I should at least be MI5. Maybe I should have made more hot stewardess threads.
I would be shocked if I were mentioned, but now I can't even download it to check. Can someone who has it (and is willing to email it) PM me?
Also, BFC, don't think I didn't notice that you gave Tarkan a "Welcome back!" but not me. Bastards. I am at least as neurotic in my opinions on constitutional law as he is.
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