November 7, 2008


When a researcher becomes fully involved in a practice (s)he is studying, game play for example, (s)he inevitably transforms during the study. Thus, writing out these transformations and changes in us is an important aspect of any study. It may even be possible that a researcher transforms into a well-known persona because of his or her participation. At very least this participation changes the way the researcher understands the world around him/her. From previous ethnography we know that it may be troublesome to find a way of being involved without intervening too much OOC (out of character, from role play contexts). On the other hand it was suggested that the different roles researchers take while participating and observing simultaneously should be argued based on the aims of the study. After all, the researcher is usually intervening in a way or another and this is a feature to be aware of instead of denying it. In some studies it may occur that the primary participant under study is the researcher her/himself.

Doing research in highly mediated setting such as the internet offers possibilities that make it easier for a researcher to get involved in action and reflection in numerous ways. This often results that the researcher becomes more embedded into the field and the boundaries of the research practice and non‐research practice get blurred. There is no lab to leave in the afternoon (or night) and ‘field’ becomes settled in the private house of a researcher. When the field appears virtual and immaterial, it is also hard to find. New ‘places’ force researchers to invent versatile ways to find people to study ‐ to locate them in the Internet for example. In addition, notions of co‐presence, performance, transformation, being embedded, feeling of being there, reconfiguring the ‘armchair’ and seduction seem fruitful concepts for future ethnographers.

Development of methods also leads to the development of writing up research. Many of the innovative research tools already integrate writing outside field notes into the process of ethnography. Playful ethnography and writing, the suggested “vertical slice” and other examples were brought up during the workshop. Also ways to include (text that has originally been) hypertext and other experimental formats into a research paper were discussed.

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