Analysis of qualitative data gathered during the course of social research and the Internet requires both a set of specialized skills and an understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of qualitative approaches to social research. Ethnographic approaches to research in particular are often employed in the study of ICTs, particularly since they are well suited to the study of leading-edge developments. They also provide a means for complementing more quantitative studies through the collection of in-depth and contextualized observations. This methods option course for the OII MSc in “Social Science of the Internet” is designed to give students experience both collecting and analysing qualitative data as part of ethnographic research, and to give them a conceptual understanding of the reasons for using ethnographic approaches, the limits of the methods they will be using, and the opportunities and challenges unique to qualitative social research methods and the Internet.

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