Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pondering Research Methodologies

At the moment I'm writing a 5-page paper for the Analytical strategies and methodologies for the study of virtual worlds workshop at Roskilde University, and the pros and cons of research methods are certainly on my mind. Due to my literary background, textual analysis has indeed been my favoured method, but I'm moving more and more into ethnography and, among the tools of this field, I have primarily conducted interviews. The next step will be participant observation, which I'm looking forward to but at the same time I am slightly afraid of it. The part about joining in and then having to write analytically about the events and actions of people I might learn to know and respect feels a bit scary. What if I feel that I have to write something they would not like me to write about? What if they feel that I sell them out? I wouldn't want to do that. I want to write in an honest way and present things the way I see them, but what if people feel that I don't do them justice? When I used textual analysis only, the text was simply there and although someone had written it and might object to the way I interpret it, the original would still be available to anyone and therefore someone else could make up his or her own mind. It feels as if I have to be more careful as I begin using ethnographical methods more and more.

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