Virtual Ethnography Assignment Guidelines 1. Choose a community to observe and p

Virtual Ethnography Assignment Guidelines
1. Choose a community to observe and participate in. Have a second and third choice.
2. Participant Observation: Join the community, go through the process of acquiring membership, and interact with other users in the community.
What is the process of membership, and why is it difficult, or not?
Disclose that you are there participating as part of a research project for a school assignment. Tell an administrator, and ask if you should post on the site about it. If they decline to let you observe them, you cannot and you must leave the site.
A script for asking permission to observe:
Hi, I’m a student and I am doing research on online communities for a class I’m taking. I think your online community would be a wonderful place for observing how people interact online in a community because……. May I join your site and observe and participate as part of my research? I would like to conduct my observation from “this date” to “this date.”
I will follow all the rules of the site, and be respectful of anyone who does not want me to include them. I will write up my research and submit it to my Professor. It will not be published anywhere, or read by anyone else. I can change names to preserve anonymity.
I understand if you decide I cannot participate, and thank you. Best,
Your participant observation should last for a period of at least 5 days. Try to go on the site at different times of day.
Observe which conversations gain traction, how people interact with one another on line, and the specific rules and norms of this particular community.
Participate in conversations, begin a conversation thread of your own. Are you able to successfully establish yourself as a member of this community? Why or why not?
Note the roles people occupy, how they express shared identities, and share resources and support.
Gather specific examples to refer to. Try to identify patterns, themes, in the ways in which the members of this community interact.
3. Paper 3-5 pages Times New Roman
Make sure to include these elements.
Provide a definition of an online community, and an explicit argument for why this site is a community. This definition and argument must engage with the discussion of community in the readings. If you are using a definition of community from the readings without modification, explain why.
Analyze, do not simply describe your experiences on the site. Think about them in relationship to the concepts from the readings we’ve discussed in class. How do these interactions indicate the formation of shared identity? The sharing of resources? The creation of a shared space?
When you engage with a concept from the readings think about the whole argument that the author is making, and consider their discussion of that concept as part of their larger point. Do not take one or two lines from a reading out of context and use it as support.
Integrate examples from your participation and observation to illustrate the points of your analysis.
What relationship do these online communities have to offline experiences of the world? And, what does this tell us about community, and social media’s role(s) in society?