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Developing an ethnographic methodology to study Web 2.0 literacies as professional practice: a case study of cricket journalism

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper

Published

Publication date5/09/2013
Original languageEnglish

Conference

ConferenceBritish Association of Applied Linguistics Annual Meeting
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityEdinburgh
Period5/09/137/09/13

Abstract

Taking a sociocultural perspective on a case study of Web 2.0 literacies entails striving to understand the complexity of a specific domain of professional practice, taking into account historical, cultural and economic factors. In this longitudinal study of the work of a BBC cricket journalist, Jonathan Agnew, I explore how an overall commitment to ethnography led me to craft various methods of participant observation and analysis. Making critical use of a media ecology framework (Lum, 2005), and an understanding of technobiographies (Barton & Lee, 2013), I argue that an ethnographic approach to his use of Twitter, for example, requires investigations of texts and practices using other platforms and communications technologies (Gillen, in print).
I demonstrate the fruitfulness of taking a flexible approach to fieldwork and show how I sought to integrate understandings of values, attitudes and practices towards Web 2.0 literacies through investigating also his use of traditional media, such as book authoring and radio commentating, shaping and shaped by a distinctive media ecology. This methodology enabled me to explore some interesting changes in activities and practices providing support for Hine’s (2000: 27) claim, “A style of ethnography that involves real-time engagement with the field site and multiple ways of interacting with informants has proved key in highlighting the processes through which online interaction comes to be socially meaningful to participants.” Finally I discuss some of the difficulties and limitations of the approach.

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