Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Netnographic Ideas

I'm about halfway through reading Kozinets' book Netnography, which I borrowed from one of my dissertation committee members.  And I have a few ideas stirring around in my head, I'd like to jot them down now before more ideas come and I start forgetting the first ideas.  Before I begin, I'm not certain that I will do a netnography, which requires the researcher to participate with a community online or an online community.  The difference between these two is that the former is a community that also exists offline.

If I were to quickly choose a community online, which I may discover to be an online community, is one of the many forms found on Dave's ESL Cafe.  I haven't used that site much since I have become more established in my profession as it seems the target audience is for new ESL instructors, who are the target for my study.  There are 3 different forums I am interested in, two are specific to countries (China & South Korea) and the third is for international jobs specifically.

I wanted to check if someone had already investigated Dave's ESL Cafe for research.  I found one peer-reviewed article published in the Journal of Language, Identity, and Education in 2010, written by Kristene K. McClure.  Her study is not what I intend to investigate, but her findings may help me understand the forum as it was during her data collection period.  I'm very interested in her findings, and I will definitely read the article once I finish reading Kozinets' book.

McClure also investigated another website, which I haven't used much and it doesn't seem to offer much in terms of an interactive community.  It's a lot more Web 1.0 then Web 2.0, but perhaps I haven't explored the site enough.

There's somewhat of a community online of EFL teachers in Japan found in the blogosphere.  I have written a document analysis paper covering three blogs written by EFL teachers in Japan, but this wouldn't count as a netnography because I did not participate in their blogs.  Some of these blogs aren't really written for participation, but I could seek out ones that have consistent commentary by a regular group of people.  Some of these blogs also provide a helpful blogroll of other blogs about Japan or teaching ESL or both.  In passing, I noticed that some of these bloggers interact with one another.

I feel strongly to collect data from some of these blogs, especially if they are active and frequently written.  At this point, I am not sure if I would like to dive into participation, thus qualifying my study as a netnography.  I have to keep asking myself how much I would gain from it and how much it would answer my research questions, which may be modified anyway.

Just as I was about to end this posting, I remembered another online community that I have joined but have participated solely as a lurker.  It is EFL Classroom 2.0, and the last time I check it seemed to be dominated by local and sojourning EFL teachers in South Korea.  I will have to explore it more fully after finishing Kozinets' book.  From what I remember, it was a bit chaotic to explore.  I hope it's a little bit more user-friendly now.

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