This book brings into focus the technologically augmented nature of global online communities, advancing research methods that reveal the imprint of emergent social forms and characterise digital frontiers of social engagement. Drawing on insights from across the social sciences, it presents a case study of people with passions for reptiles and amphibians to illustrate for next generation researchers how to conduct community research in the real world. Richly illustrated with ethnographic research, together with extensive survey and interview material drawn from around the world, Research Methods and Global Online Communities explores the changing nature of communities that form around common interests and are embedded in a digital architecture rather than place. In doing so, this book transcends the digital dualism of online/offline models of community and engages with debates on the social impacts of the internet and the adaptive nature of community. As such, it will appeal to social scientists interested in innovative approaches to characterising digital communities through mixed-methods research practice.
Alexia Maddox is Research Officer for Deakin University Library and Sessional Lecturer in Research Methods in the Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University, Australia. She also conducts research into the social impacts of cryptomarkets in her role as Research Officer at the National Drug Research Institute, in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Curtin University, where she is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Substance Misuse Prevention and Service Improvement Grants Fund.