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Hypermedia and Ethnography: Reflections on the Construction of a Research Approach

Hypermedia and Ethnography: Reflections on the Construction of a Research Approach Current interest in ethnography within social research has focused on itspotential to offer insights into the complexity of the social world. There haveincreasingly been calls for ethnography to reflect this complexity moreadequately. Two aspects of ethnographic enquiry have been particularly singledout as areas in need of redefinition: the delineation of ethnography's object ofstudy and its mode of presentation. Both of these areas are implicated in therecent attention to the possibilities of hypermedia authoring for ethnography.The paper offers a discussion of this potential in the light of an ongoingresearch project with which the authors are engaged. The project is designed toenable this potential to be assessed, and to provide for the construction ofwhat the authors call an ethnographic hypermedia environment (EHE). We believethat the promise of hypermedia lies not only in its facility for non-sequentialdata organisation, but also in its ability to integrate data in different media.The synthesis of the visual, aural, verbal and pictorial planes of meaning holdsconsiderable promise for the expansion and deepening of ethnographic knowledge.Consequently, we suggest that hypermedia has implications for all stages of theresearch process, and argue against the current tendency to see it as merely atool either for analysis or for presentation. These arguments are illustrated bymeans of a commentary on some work in progress. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sociological Research Online SAGE

Hypermedia and Ethnography: Reflections on the Construction of a Research Approach

Sociological Research Online , Volume 3 (3): 15 – Sep 1, 1998

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References (8)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© 1998 SAGE Publications and the British Sociological Association
eISSN
1360-7804
DOI
10.5153/sro.179
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Current interest in ethnography within social research has focused on itspotential to offer insights into the complexity of the social world. There haveincreasingly been calls for ethnography to reflect this complexity moreadequately. Two aspects of ethnographic enquiry have been particularly singledout as areas in need of redefinition: the delineation of ethnography's object ofstudy and its mode of presentation. Both of these areas are implicated in therecent attention to the possibilities of hypermedia authoring for ethnography.The paper offers a discussion of this potential in the light of an ongoingresearch project with which the authors are engaged. The project is designed toenable this potential to be assessed, and to provide for the construction ofwhat the authors call an ethnographic hypermedia environment (EHE). We believethat the promise of hypermedia lies not only in its facility for non-sequentialdata organisation, but also in its ability to integrate data in different media.The synthesis of the visual, aural, verbal and pictorial planes of meaning holdsconsiderable promise for the expansion and deepening of ethnographic knowledge.Consequently, we suggest that hypermedia has implications for all stages of theresearch process, and argue against the current tendency to see it as merely atool either for analysis or for presentation. These arguments are illustrated bymeans of a commentary on some work in progress.

Journal

Sociological Research OnlineSAGE

Published: Sep 1, 1998

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