Thursday, November 22, 2012

Class Mini Ethnography Assignment

Here are the descriptions/options Harrison gave in class this week. Hope you had fun! OPTION 1 - MINI-ONLINE RESEARCH ASSIGNMENT You are an aspiring research assistant for a major social science project entitled “Emotional Information Seeking: ICTs and the commercialization of emotional and affective spaces online.” The project broadly investigates why ICTs are increasingly tailored towards emotional communication, resources, and identities, as part of a larger trend in marketing and commercialization. At this stage it is too early to undertake in-depth qualitative interviews. Your supervisor has asked that you select a specific example of an online environment tailored towards emotional information seeking, which might serve as an ideal case study for the project. Either individually or in small groups, pick any example, and prepare a 200 - 400 word explanation of the site/app. Include what it is, who it is tailor to, what emotional relations might exist, why it would make an ideal case study for the larger project, and (if applicable) the potential methodological challenges you will have to address. Post to blog. OPTION 2 - MINI-ETHNOGRAPHY OF INFRASTRUCTURE You are an aspiring research for a large social science project which broadly examines how urban infrastructure is being reconfigured by networked ICTs. As an exploratory study, your supervisor has asked that you go out “in the wild” and pick a particular infrastructure as a potential case study. She has no requirements or expectations concerning what kind of infrastructure you choose, and you have a carte blanche to interpret it however you see fit. Either individually, or in small groups, pick any example of something you consider to be infrastructure, and analyze it using Star’s (1999) analytical framework. Try and make the familiar strange. Prepare a 200-400 word write-up detailing your analysis. Post to blog.

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