Articulating Data Intersections: From Networked Individual to Digital Community
14 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2015
Date Written: February 24, 2015
This paper proposes a conceptual model of the networked individual that articulates their agency and activity patterns within a digital community constituted through open social structures. The model is intended to visually assist the triangulation of the quantitative and qualitative analyses by providing clarity to the relationships between sets of variables and theoretical ideas that have been used to analytically describe the community under study; in this case, the community of people with common interests in reptiles and amphibians (aka Herpers).
Drawing upon data collected from 1,498 survey respondents across 47 countries, and interviews and participant observation conducted across 12 countries, the model proposed in this paper aims to collapse the digital dualism inherent to many community studies. Conceptually, this model is derived from the environmental approach to community studies of early Chicago school scholars and is updated for the Internet age.
Within this model, the research questions asking about the place, composition, boundaries and cohesion of the community are constructed from the results to provide the assumptions and parameters for the social ecology of the community and the action of the networked individual within it. It is proposed future research could validate this model within a similar network and continue to develop and refine the environmental approach to studying the imprint of a community as a way to describe and characterise contemporary community experience in the digital age.
Keywords: digital community, research methods, big data, networked individual
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