How do I plan to gain understanding?

The research will be qualitative so as to offers an ‘interpretive’ perspective as it ‘asks about human experience, social structure or culture’ (Denzin & Lincoln 2011 p. 243) within the online publishing environment.  In addition, Denzin and Lincoln (2011 p. 244) believe a qualitative design must contain a degree of flexibility to encourage the introduction of new understanding as well as to account for the unexpected, which would suit this research enquiry well. 

Although there are three generic types of case studies (intrinsic, collective, process) according to Denzin and Lincoln (2011 p. 244), this case study on the online publishing blog, http://www.memeburn.com will be developed to answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions (Yin R 2009 l. 483) to gain understanding of this ‘contemporary event’.  The case study will be ‘intrinsic’, as defined by Robert Stake (2005) and will be a single focused case study.  Unlike a ‘history’ of an event, the case study is able to add two vital and vibrant sources of evidence; i.e. personal observations and interviews (Yin R 2009 l. 483) and the case study has the additional advantage of being able to accept a variety of evidence or data types. 

As this is research on a new media phenomenon, the case study approach allows the research to include Lievrouw and Livingstone’s (2006 p. 23) fame work for thinking ‘beyond simple classification of systems and features’ of new media which they define as “information and communication technologies and their associated social contexts incorporating: the artifacts or devices that enable and extend our abilities to communicate; the communication activities or practices we engage in to develop and use these devices; and the social arrangements that form around the devices and practices.

 

and thus asks about .  or social constructivism case I am going to use an qualitative methodology to gather all the data that I can find – Google analytics, social network analysis, Brand’s Eye statistics, content sources, links, comments, posts, pages, categories and tags – to analyse a single blogging site (www.memeburn.com) and determine what effect (if any) new technologies and emerging concepts have on the core principles of journalism.  What has shifted?  And what is the result.  Of particular interest will be the “What are the various roles of content creators in an era of networked journalists?”

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