Sunday, April 3, 2011

Online Research… Lurkers, Lurkers, Everwhere… Beware, Beware

The topic of lurking came up as one of the chapters assigned… lurking is basically using the online resource without actually participating… most commonly lurkers appear in message boards/forums. Since my potential research involves the online environment in some way, I would probably have to gather research in some manner. This brings me to the ethical side of things - how this gathering of data can be seen as unethical because it is gathered without the permission of the subjects, or in the cases of them being minors, their parents as well.

Personally, I don't like lurkers. This stems from hanging out in those very online environments and being active in the forums (mostly anime and manga ones) and understanding that being a part of the forum meant having to participate and that lurkers or inactive accounts got thrown out.

Since I potentially would be looking into how online reading has changed teen reading habits I would have to get data from these online environments. I think that with some being zines or similar sites, I could look into collaborating with those running the sites and see if something could be achieved through that. For others, like blogs, it would mean seeing what types of information participants have released on their profiles to see if age or other information was made public and then to try and make them anonymous. I think I would have to balance this out through utilizing a mix of online and in person interviews and data collection. I also think that in addition to being transparent about the process when gaining permission from parents and adolescents themselves, I would introduce myself to the online community I am observing and create a profile that includes my mission and intentions as well as establishing my credentials. In addition to that, I would see if my status statement would include a cool and yet open way to represent myself.

Richman, A. (2007). The outsider lurking online: Adults researching youth cybercultures. In Best, A. L. (Ed.), Representing Youth: Methodological Issues in Critical Youth Studies. (pp. 182-202). New York: New York University Press.

No comments:

Post a Comment