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Researching Online Communities


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presentation on a method for conducting a qualitative research that examines bonds and discourse of activists online communities

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Researching Online Communities

  1. 1. Researching Online Communities and Cyberactivism Methodology Shadi Abu-Ayyash
  2. 2. Research Questions Examining:Online Collective Unified Discourse Identity Bonds & Ties
  3. 3. Study Case: pro-Palestine Activists and SolidarityGroups1. Geographical basis: Ireland, Scotland & England
  4. 4. 2. Groups in Major Cities• Example: Groups in Ireland
  5. 5. 3.On & Off-Campus Groups
  6. 6. 4. Online Activitywebsites, blogs, email lists & social media
  7. 7. Interviews -Semi-Structured-• First Stage:Pilot Interviews- September 2012: 8 Irish, Scottish and English Activists• Second Stage:Large Scale Interviews-October 2012-Feb.2013
  8. 8. Questions Focus- Offline Activism Element- Online Activism Involvement- Nature of Online Content- Relation Among Cyber Activists- Expressing Self-Identity and Collective Identity Online
  9. 9. Online Surveys• Participants:Targeting university groups and activists who are much more active online.• Selection of participants will be based on:- Internet Activity- Gender- Ethnic Background- Level of University Education* Using SurveyMonkey
  10. 10. Survey Questions• Constancy of Online Activism• Time & Effort Contributed to the Cause Online• Type of Online Content Posted:- Organising offline/on ground activities?- Exchange of Information?
  11. 11. Online Content Analysis• Analysing content of:- Groups Official Websites- Content of Newsletter/Press Releases- Social Media network Groups- Activists Blogs
  12. 12. Online Content Analysis• Selected Content posted in 2011, 2012 and 2013• Considering:- Major Political Events- Level of Online and Offline Activities
  13. 13. Analysing Text, Image and Video• Terms Used• Source of Contents: Original, Shared or Copied from Other Sources• Does it express all members’ position(s)?• Comments/replies:- Positive- Negative- Neutral
  14. 14. Nvivo• For organising qualitative data collected from interviews (text & audio content) online, and questionnaires• Nvivo 10 would analyse social media and webpages content
  15. 15. Visualising Data• Mapping Major Groups in Ireland and Britain• Online Connectivity Among Transnational Activist• Online Relation Among Activists in Social Media Networks• Groups/Activists Level of Online Involvement
  16. 16. NodeXL* Examining information exchange among activists who aretwittering /tweeting trending topics on Twitter*Example of connection among users tweeting the phrase welcome2palestine
  17. 17. Gephi to visualise ties among FB group members using Netvizz applicationExample of Connectivity among Westminster University-Palestine solidaritygroup members on Facebook
  18. 18. Expected Outcomes• Emergence of Cyber Groups Collective Identity• Effect of Online Involvement on Offline/Ground Activism• What Decides the Strength of Ties Among Online Activists: Topic, Geography, Political Position, Level of Participation?
  19. 19. In short RQs Bonds, Identity & DiscourseData Interviews, Online Surveys & Online Content Analysis Focus Groups Offline and Online Activity & GeographySoftware Nvivo, SurveyMonkey, Gephi, Netvizz & NodeXl Results 2014/2015
  20. 20. Useful Links• Gephi:• Survey:• Nvivo: vivo.html• Netvizz:• NodeXl :
  21. 21. Thank You Shadi Abu-AyyashHuston School of F & Digital M ilm edia,NUIGshadi.abu-ayyash@nuigalway.ie @shadi3000