Digital Ethnography of Facebook


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Despite the presence of Web 2.0 applications (i.e., all the interactive sites and “stuff” in the online world), there are divergent definitions and neologisms of digital ethnography and limited academic studies of digital ethnography as method. In this assignment, we will explore the method of digital ethnography by doing digital ethnography in a digital space. We will begin with a mid-range definition that explains digital ethnography as the process and method of doing ethnographic research in a digital space of “complex entangled electronic bites mixed with text, video, images, and social relations and behavior patterns” (Case 2011: 1). From this starting point, we jump into an applied exercise of practicing our ethnographic gaze (e.g., as “lurkers” and “participant experiencers”) into the digital spaces of a widely popular SNS (social networking site), Facebook. We will collect and analyze digital data by using traditional and emerging digital tools; and, we will extend our examination to, for example, ethical standards and dilemmas connected to digital ethnography. This assignment is a good place to begin to seek answers and generate more questions about digital ethnography.


Resource Type(s):
Janet S Armitage 
Date Published:
Subject Area:
Qualitative Methodology 
Class Level:
College 300 
Class Size:

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
1. Apply digital ethnography tools for collecting data from a digital space.
Assessment 1:
Learning goal 1 will require: a) daily/weekly observations of ten users’ pages using both “lurking” and “participant experience” techniques; and b) a check of emic contextual meaning through at least one offline meeting with a digital participant.
Goal 2:
Compare field notes and observation between digital ethnography and traditional ethnography.
Assessment 2:
Learning goal 2 will require all enrolled students to complete the traditional ethnography components of field note journaling and observation and experiment with modifications for a digital field.
Goal 3:
3. Analyze data by coding, summarizing qualitative digital research results, and identifying key themes.
Assessment 3:
Learning goal 3 requires all students to record, manage, and analyze multiple types of multimedia data (e.g., YouTube videos, photos, apps) through initial and focused coding and required data interpretation.

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Digital Ethnography Rubric.docx
TRAILS Digital Ethnography File REVISED 2013.docx