Doing digital team ethnography: being there together and digital social data



With the digital availability of social data helping reshape ethnographic research and thus broadening the mainstream understanding of ethnography, this research proposes a set of strategies to overcome current limitations in doing ethnography. Based on a two-year online and offline ethnographic project on social media use in later life, insights are provided into how the practices and meanings of ethnography are being reconstructed and negotiated in response to the explosion of digital social data and through team practices. This paper reviews how collaborative and interdisciplinary ethnographic reflection is sustained and extended by digital tools, creating a live source of data that can be analysed within the framework of ethnography. As a contribution to current debates on the ’Social Life of Methods’, it also reviews epistemic issues associated with digital data and team ethnography, such as the role of the ethnographer(s), the field(s) and computational data analysis. The article reaches the conclusion that digital team ethnography is a viable option for undertaking thick and descriptive studies about the use of social media, which in turn favours a collaborative, non-hierarchical and dialogue-driven knowledge production process.

Beneito-Montagut, R., Begueria, A., & Cassián, N. (2017). Doing digital team ethnography: being there together and digital social data. Qualitative Research17(6), 664-682.