Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education
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Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education

Edited by Sara Delamont

The Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education offers both basic and advanced discussions of data collection, analysis and representation of all the best qualitative methods used in educational research.
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Chapter 16: In Cyberspace: Qualitative Methods for Educational Research

Hugh Busher and Nalita James


Hugh Busher and Nalita James INTRODUCTION Cyberspace is an interactive site or space that is used for all computermediated communication (CMC). It has become a space in which people can chat and play, as well as develop online relationships and alternative forms of online identity. It has had significant impact on the conditions of social interaction, providing the opportunity for individuals to construct the reality of their everyday lives with people who are distant from them in time and space as well as those who are geographically proximate to them. In the last five years this technology has become a daily part of many people’s lives rather than just a special place that they visit occasionally. It has reconfigured the way in which individuals communicate and connect with each other especially through the many social sites that now exist, such as Facebook, but also through the use of email, blogs (the Blogosphere), Twitter, bulletin boards and websites on any number of topics, such as the one for new mothers investigated by Madge and O’Connor (2005), Wikis and the blandishments of the media to contact them online. It has also become a site where the social interactions of individuals and communities can be researched and where the construction of practices, meanings and identities can be investigated, including relationships between researchers and participants, in ways that may not be possible in the physical world (Dominguez et al., 2007). In this virtual world, researchers may carry out anthropological research into the cultures of...

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