Studying the Digital: Directions and Challenges for Digital Methods

Posted: 14 Aug 2017

See all articles by Keith N. Hampton

Keith N. Hampton

Michigan State University - Department of Media and Information

Date Written: July 2017

Abstract

The methodological tool chest available to those who study digital technologies ranges from those that are uniquely digital methods to approaches that are well established in the social sciences. This domain of work includes the application of methods to answer questions about the relationship between digital technologies and the social world, as well as the use of digital methods to answer questions about the offline world. New or old, quantitative or qualitative, the methods used to study the digital have strengths and weaknesses unique to this area of research. These issues include questions about the scope of cyberethnography, the validity of trace data, and the analytical division between on- and offline interaction. This review focuses on an overview of different methods, their history, and their strengths and weaknesses as applied to the study of digital technologies, including ethnographic approaches, interviews, surveys, time and media diaries, trace data, and online experiments.

Suggested Citation

Hampton, Keith N., Studying the Digital: Directions and Challenges for Digital Methods (July 2017). Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 43, pp. 167-188, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3018075 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-060116-053505

Keith N. Hampton (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - Department of Media and Information ( email )

406 Communication Arts Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1212
United States

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