Title

Online Methods and Analyzing Knowledge-Production: A Cautionary Tale

Publication Date

3-1-2012

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Currently, many scholars have increasingly turned to the Internet to examine diasporic communities and corresponding identities. While I am happy that social scientists have embraced the use of online methods in studying communities formed within cyberspace, I also believe that we should continually reflect on whether our research is best served by conducting our studies online, offline, or in both arenas. In this article, I first address the seemingly "natural" convergence of two different scholarly communities that are deeply affected by transnationalism-those who study diasporas and migration and those who conduct research on online communities. Then, I discuss the use of online methods (particularly with regard to research on diasporas) and assess the benefits and challenges of conducting online research to study diasporic communities. This essay simultaneously advocates for the continued use of online methods, particularly in the study of diasporic communities, while also offering a cautionary tale on its possible overuse or misuse.

Publication Title

Qualitative Inquiry

Volume

18

Issue

3

First Page

237

Last Page

246

DOI

10.1177/1077800411431558

Version

pre-print, post-print with 12-month embargo

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