Development of methodologies for researching online: the case of food blogs

Domingo, Myrrh and Kress, Gunther and O'Connell, Rebecca and Elliott, Heather and Squire, Corinne and Jewitt, Carey and Adami, Elisabetta (2014) Development of methodologies for researching online: the case of food blogs. NCRM Working Paper. NCRM, London. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The expanding reach of the Internet has opened new sites for conducting social science research. The prominence of blogs in combination with their varied areas of focus makes them a rich source of qualitative ‘user-generated data’. However, there are significant practical challenges in empirical research on digital material online. Central among these are ethical, archival and methodological issues. We highlight these in the development of our cross-disciplinary approach. We combine multimodal social semiotic, ethnographic and narrative methods to examine blogs, in our case here, food blogs, created on Wordpress platforms. ‘Food blogs’ are a prospective source of information about parenting, feeding and caring for children, given blogs’ wide use among parents, particularly mothers, in the UK. This relatively new digital environment of the blog, in which often quite intimate portraits of family life are materialized through public ‘multimodal narratives’ of mothers, provides the context for our online research. In this paper, we explicate on our combined multimodal social semiotic, ethnographic and narrative methods to provide a more encompassing approach: one that is able to attend to the unique, online material, which might not be wholly illuminated by any one of the three methodologies used independently. This involves coming to terms with the different epistemological perspectives that guide and shape the cross-disciplinary collaboration. We explain the framework we developed and the research processes, including data sampling, collection, archival and analysis; provide an overview of key findings from the substantive focus of this project; discuss the overall possibilities and constraints of working with combined perspectives; as well as offer suggestions for future online research in blogging platforms.

Item Type:Working Paper (NCRM Working Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords:blogs, social semiotics, digital ethnography, narrative, methodologies for online data, family food practices, motherhood
Subjects:1. Frameworks for Research and Research Designs > 1.1 Epistemology
1. Frameworks for Research and Research Designs > 1.12 Case Study
1. Frameworks for Research and Research Designs > 1.14 Participatory Research
1. Frameworks for Research and Research Designs > 1.22 Mixed Methods
2. Data Collection > 2.11 Online Data Collection
2. Data Collection > 2.12 Data Collection (other)
4. Qualitative Data Handling and Data Analysis > 4.5 Narrative Methods
4. Qualitative Data Handling and Data Analysis > 4.13 Visual Data Analysis
ID Code:3704
Deposited By: NOVEL User
Deposited On:27 Sep 2014 18:23
Last Modified:12 May 2015 14:19

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