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What question(s) do you have about your digital discourse community after reading multiple sources?

August 6, 2022
Christopher R. Teeple


Your second project is adapted from Gaillet and Eble’s “Primary Research and : People, Places, and Spaces.” You will once again conduct an observation (a form of ethnography) in order to learn more about a discourse community. Additionally, you will also be using secondary sources to help you delve deeper into our understanding of a community and the way it impacts our lives. Here is the prompt:

This assignment asks you to observe a digital community and DO a 4 pa argumentative esY about an online discourse community. Your observation will focus on a form of social media—Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Instagram, for example. Your goal is to collect qualitative and quantitative information about how people use social media to interact in a digital community and to DO wherein your findings add to the current research on your chosen community.

You will need to launch a review of the literature related to your digital community. As Rosenberg noted, think of this step as “participating in a conversation” about your topic (2011, p. 212). You must include at least three scholarly so(e.g., peer reviewed journal articles, etc.) in your ASSIGNMENT, but you will want to read more to determine your research question. What question(s) do you have about your digital discourse community after reading multiple sources? What kinds of problems/issues/concerns circulate concerning this community? How can your observation help to answer those questions? Your sources can guide the development of your research question or vice versa; you may also use your research question to locate your sources. It all depends on the knowledge you bring to this project. Either way, it’s important that your research question is determined before you complete your observation.

Next, for one day (or more, if you like, but you must do at least one day) you will conduct an observation of a public space online. Because observing requires the ability to make objective judgments, you may only read your friends’ posts, view their photos, etc. You may not comment on anyone’s posts, post anything yourself, or “like” anyone’s status, photo, etc. If you wish, post a status the day before saying you are taking a 24-hour social media break. What posts appear in your Newsfeed? What photographs do people upload? What comments do people make? Which posts are the most popular and receive the most comments and/or likes?

For this observation, you need to complete another observation log (double-entry notebook): on one side, record “Observations” or quantitative data; on to the other, “Thoughts” or qualitative data. These notes can (and probably should) be handwritten so as not to distract you from your observation. Make sure you record the date day of the week, and times when posts are made. After your observation, read back over your two column notes and use them to write a one-to two-page observation report.

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