Monthly Archives: July 2012

Affinity Mapping

At our first event, we asked delegates to reflect on the opportunities and challenges of digital methods through an affinity mapping exercise. The idea of this activity was to solicit ideas and to develop some consensus around the key issues for the network to take forward.

Delegates were asked to brainstorm ideas in groups, write one issue per post-it note and stick them on the table.

Then, the notes were stuck on the back wall of the meeting room and the group was asked to organise them by placing linked ideas together. Through this  collaborative sorting exercise, we were able to categorise the issues and identify over-arching themes.

The affinity mapping was used as a prompt for a group discussion on the opportunities and challenges identified. Key issues included defining ‘digital methods’, dealing with data, and thinking about research populations and context.

The output from the exercise was summarised as a mindmap. You can download the map as a PDF here.

(Map produced using MindMeister. H/t to Temporal Belongings for the workshop idea.)


Post-it notes, affinity mapping and sweets: Digital Methods in pictures

A few photos from the first Digital Methods seminar held this week, including a group “affinity mapping” exercise (the post-it notes representing themes and challenges in employing digital methods in research); and the bowls of sweets placed on tables by the organisers, to keep participants… sweet!

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Photos by one of our postgraduate network members, Carole Kirk.

The first Digital Methods seminar: learn what happened

The first in the Digital Methods as Mainstream Methodology seminar series was held on 9th July at the University of the West of England in Bristol.

Speakers at the event were Axel Bruns of the Queensland University of Technology, talking about mapping online publics; Eric Meyer from the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, discussing how technological innovations are shaped by disciplines to transform research; and Christine Hine from the University of Surrey, exploring the internet in ethnographies of the everyday.

If you missed the event and would like to find out what was discussed, video interviews with the speakers are being uploaded on our YouTube channel.

We also have a Storify of conversations around the day, including Twitter coverage (you can also search on Twitter for the hashtag #DMMM1).

First Digital Methods Seminar: Keep Informed

The first in the Digital Methods as Mainstream Methodology seminar takes place today at the University of the West of England in Bristol.

We will be tweeting the event using the #DMMM1 hashtag. Follow the conversation, and join in using Twitter (we’re at @DMMM_NMI), or comment via the blog. We’re also on Facebook – see the badge on this site – and will be both blogging about the event and posting videos from the day on YouTube.


Introducing Jo Belcher

 Jo Belcher, PhD Scholar, University of Surrey

I’m a PhD researcher based in the Sociology department at the University of Surrey. My research is funded by the South East Doctoral Training Centre (ESRC grant) and fuses online with offline methods (both quantitative and qualitative). It aims to explore the nature of online support spaces for parents of children with a rare syndrome (Rett syndrome). It will involve the use of online methods including an online survey, an online record completed after use of these sites (on PC or smartphone) and Skype and email interviews where synchronous or face-to-face methods are not feasible.

In terms of participating in the network, I am particularly interested in:

  • exploring how the inclusion of digital research options might help to increase response rates in certain audiences (such as carers)
  • how we might position digital methodology alongside offline modes of data collection, which all have biases and advantages
  • discussing how digital and offline methods can be combined in a complementary and robust way
  • exploring the ethical dilemmas involved in accessing, analysing and reporting upon online interactions about sensitive issues
  • how, as a research community, we can convince funders, ethics boards and other researchers of the value of online methodology as a mainstream research tool

I am looking forward to working with others to develop this exciting area of methodology, to meeting others from a range of disciplines and to supporting the network through promoting these seminars through a range of digital methods.


Twitter: @jo_belcher