Tuesday, November 23, 2010

We have been discussing a great deal the use of online vs. offline data when studying online phenomena. I have been thinking about this divide a lot within the context of my research proposal. Due to the fact that it has to do with how identities are constructed on Facebook and whether or not Facebook acts as a supplement or substitution to offline communication, I felt that both online and offline data would be necessary to tackle these questions. Orgad's 'How can researchers make sense of issues' was very helpful in solidifying my choice to use both types of data. In Orgad's study he talks about how the face-to-face interviews conducted on breast cancer patients who participated in online support groups revealed much more complex connections between their online and offline experiences. I am hoping for this to happen with my own research as I am seeking to find out not only how people act on facebook, but their motivations for using the social networking tool in a particular way or for a particular purpose. Clearly this divide between online/offline data depends on your research question, goals and objectives. Orgad talks about how many criticisms of using offline data imply that using online data is not as valid as offline data. For my project, I don't feel the need to privelege one or the other. I am studying an online phenomena, but the offline data I hope to collect will allow me to see how these realms relate.

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