Keywords:methodology, ethnography, reflexivity, online learning
This article reflects the methodological challenges presented in the research process, where the principle of 'following the field’ means that the researcher must also follow students engaged in online activities in their own homes. The ethnographic studies are a part of a PhD project on “NETeducation,” a full-scale development project in nursing education (Lyngsø, 2014). With a focus on online professional education as the starting point, the process of research will follow the shifting learning process, through phases in the virtual classroom and in the students’ own homes.
Research in online contexts demands a rethinking of the traditional ethnographic approach (Hammersley, 2006; Hine, 2005), sharpening the focus on the online and offline contexts, and the shifting between them (Webster, da Silva, 2013). The methodological reflections in the first part of this article can relate to this division due to the “netstudents” activities in studying online at home. On the other hand, the dichotomy between online and offline contexts is found to be inadequate, during the observations conducted. In light of some preliminary findings, the challenges of observing online and offline activities almost simultaneously are considered, despite a dearth of literature existing on this subject.
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