This article outlines a research design for a qualitative comparative study of communication across platforms, media and contexts – in China, the US and Denmark. After addressing the limitations in previous research on digital media in everyday life, we argue in favour of a comparative ethnography of communication that emphasizes the study of intermediality by taking a people-centred approach. The methodological design combines network sampling and maximum variation sampling with communication diaries and elicitation interviews. This design makes it possible to collect small and deep communicative trace data, to capture individuals’ unique linking of all the communication tools and channels available to them and, in turn, to identify the role of the internet as it interacts and intersects with other forms of communication.
Beneito-Montagut, R. (2011). Ethnography goes online: Towards a user-centred methodology to research interpersonal communication on the Internet. Qualitative Research, 11(6): 716-735. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1468794111413368
Carter, S. & Mankoff, J. (2005). When participants do the capturing: The role of media in diary studies. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems, CHI ’05 (pp. 899-908). New York, NY: ACM. doi: https://doi.org/10.1145/1054972.1055098
Cook, J., Laidlaw, J. & Mair, J. (2009). What if there is no elephant? Towards a conception of an un-sited field. In M. A. Falzon (ed.), Multi-sited ethnography, theory, praxis and locality in contemporary social research. New York: Routledge.
Couldry, N., Livingstone, S. & Markham, T. (2007). Media consumption and public engagement – Beyond the presumption of attention. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.
Garcia, A. C., Standlee, A. I., Bechkoff, J. & Cui, Y. (2009). Ethnographic approaches to the Internet and computer-mediated communication. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 38(1): 52-84. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0891241607310839
Geddes, A., Parker, C. & Scott, S. (2017). When the snowball fails to roll and the use of “horizontal” networking in qualitative social research. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 0(0): 1-12. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/13645579.2017.1406219
Granovetter, M. S. (1973). The Strength of Weak Ties. American Journal of Sociology, 78 (6): 1360-1380.
Gundelach, P., Nielsen, R. S. & Frederiksen, M. (2014). Mixed methods-forskning, principper og praksis. 1. udgave. Samfundsvidenskabernes metoder <>. Copenhagen: Hans Reitzel.
Hasebrink, U. & Domeyer, H. (2012). Media repertoires as patterns of behaviour and as meaningful practices: A multimethod approach to media use in converging media environments. Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies, 9(2): 757-779.
Noy, C. (2008). Sampling knowledge: The hermeneutics of snowball sampling in qualitative research. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 11(4): 327-344. https://doi.org/10.1080/13645570701401305
Patton, M. Q. (2015). Qualitative research & evaluation methods: Integrating theory and practice (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Poels, K., Ijsselsteijn, W. A. & de Kort, Y. (2015). World of Warcraft, the aftermath: How game elements transfer into perceptions, associations and (day)dreams in the everyday life of massively multiplayer online role-playing game players. New Media & Society, 17(7): 1137-1153. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444814521596
Silverstone, R. (2006). Domesticating domestication: Reflections on the life of a concept. In T. Berker, Hartmann, M., Punie, Y. & Ward, K. J. (eds.), Domestication of media and technology (pp. 229-248). Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press. Retrieved from http://mcgraw-hill.co.uk/openup
Silverstone, R., Hirsch, E. & Morley, D. (1994). Information and communication technologies and the moral economy of the household. In R. Silverstone & E. Hirsch (eds.), Consuming technologies, media and information in domestic spaces. London: Routledge.
Slater, D. (2002). Social relationships and identity online and offline. In L. Lievrouw & S. Livingstone (eds.), Handbook of new media: Social shaping and consequences of ICTs (pp. 533-546). London, UK: Sage Publications. Retrieved from http://www.sagepub.co.uk