Digital Ethnography

Today I had the random idea to search for the keyword “ethnography” to see what, if anything, it would come up with. The first two videos that were listed intrigued me. The videos are products of Kansas State University’s anthropology department. The students and faculty of that department have created an on-going project focusing specifically on digital ethnography.

I think this type of project is so exciting and can come up with really interesting results. The videos are short and to the point but can also inspire further research or interest. I myself recently, for the first time, created a short ethnographic video. The analysis done in the video editing stage is valuable practice. There is something about merging, cutting, and pasting video clips together that feels more “hands on” than working in a 2D surface compiling data and writing reports. The results can be seen by a larger audience of people who may not be willing to sit down and read a book-length report on your research. In fact, the video may work well as a tool to get people to want to read further into your research. In the second video, “A Vision of Students Today”, the research team could have compiled their data and analysis in a long detailed report, however, their message is still strongly conveyed in this five minute video. Digital ethnography is definitely going to be an important tool of future research and communication and hopefully more projects like Kansas State University’s are soon implemented at other colleges.

Introduction to the project —

A Vision of Students Today…

There is more information about the project at:

2 thoughts on “Digital Ethnography

  1. I have a student who is doing here Sr. Honors Thesis on internet celebrity. Some of the “hit” Youtubers are surprisingly accessible. I suspect that their accessibility to students, and people in general, is part of why they are celebrities in the first place.

  2. I was actually sent the second video you cited (A Vision of Students Today) earlier this week by a Sociology faculty friend of mine as part of an on-going conversation at our institution regarding student engagement.

    The statistics cited as part of the “narrative” of the film are quite sobering as a faculty member – and are not consistent at all with my own experience of being a college student.

    While this is a large and complex topic that clearly links to Tony’s post about what it means to provide a quality education, I will just say this for now: what my students perceive as “working alot” and “taking a long time to finish” seems to be measured by quite different standards than I did in college.

    Perhaps when I’m done grading (without the help of any T.A., of course) the papers, tests, and projects of my nearly 100 students this term (in three classes) all of whom I know by name (and some far better than I really would care to!!) I will be able to post more thoughts on the subject…

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