1st Edition

Research Methods and Global Online Communities A Case Study

By Alexia Maddox Copyright 2015
    270 Pages
    by Routledge

    270 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book brings into focus the technologically augmented nature of global online communities, advancing research methods that reveal the imprint of emergent social forms and characterise digital frontiers of social engagement. Drawing on insights from across the social sciences, it presents a case study of people with passions for reptiles and amphibians to illustrate for next generation researchers how to conduct community research in the real world. Richly illustrated with ethnographic research, together with extensive survey and interview material drawn from around the world, Research Methods and Global Online Communities explores the changing nature of communities that form around common interests and are embedded in a digital architecture rather than place. In doing so, this book transcends the digital dualism of online/offline models of community and engages with debates on the social impacts of the internet and the adaptive nature of community. As such, it will appeal to social scientists interested in innovative approaches to characterising digital communities through mixed-methods research practice.

    List of Figures and Tables



    1 Introduction

    Part I T he Study of Global Online Communities

    2 C ommunity and Technology

    3 T ranscending the Dualism

    4 A Methodological Approach for Researching Digital Community

    5 S ensitising Quantitative Methods to the Research Population

    6 Sensitising Qualitative Methods to the Research Population

    Part II Illustrating the Connections between

    Research Methods, Concepts and Analysis

    7 C ommunity Place

    8 S ocial Composition

    9 C ommunity Boundaries

    10 C ommunity Cohesion




    Alexia Maddox is Research Officer for Deakin University Library and Sessional Lecturer in Research Methods in the Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University, Australia. She also conducts research into the social impacts of cryptomarkets in her role as Research Officer at the National Drug Research Institute, in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Curtin University, where she is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Substance Misuse Prevention and Service Improvement Grants Fund.

    ’In this book, Alexia Maddox presents a compelling and engaging account of how online communities operate. Not only does she include a thorough overview of previous research, the book also discusses new findings from her own study that extends her insights in exciting ways. It will be of interest both to scholars new to this field and those looking for the latest developments in networked sociability studies.’ Deborah Lupton, University of Canberra, Australia ’This is what a community study looks like in the information age. It is a really rich attempt to ground contemporary debates in research methods appropriate for the digital era in an engaging substantive study of a global community of - what one comes to know as - herpers. Although the specifics of the study are of interest, the real strength of the text is the manner in which lessons about researching global online communities in general are drawn.’ Roger Burrows, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK