The last panel for me for today was a collection of papers focused on methodological questions, ranging from the formulation of research premises, through the collection of data, to the publication of results. Radhika Gajjala began with a paper on the immersive nature of online research, describing a methodology that acknowledges the researcher’s interconnection with the phenomena under study; Michelle Kazmer presented the results of her work with Bo Xie on the difficulties of using internet technologies to do qualitative interviews; Kirsten Foot talked about her work with Steve Schneider on the creation of a set of methodologies for researchers to use in archiving web objects; Dan Li spoke about her work with Gina Walejko on the difficulties of sampling blogs and bloggers; and Anders Fagerjord, finally, talked about the ways that electronic publishing promises innovation in the modes of composition and presentation for scholarly research.
Needless to say, this last was closest to my heart. Anders explored the history of the research journal, growing out of the letters once written from one scholar to another, transformed by print into letters written from one scholar to an entire learned society, before talking about the ways that multimedia, linking structures, and other network-based technologies might both speed the dissemination of research and create more engaging formats. His paper, still in progress, and being published in what he calls “stretch text format,” is, appropriately enough, available online.
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