IRC17, Bengaluru, March 03-05, 2017



Last updated on Oct 31, 2016.

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Description of the Session

Borrowing from the third provocation at IRC17, we propose a session on research methods to study, document and analyse work on Internet mediated interactions (IMI). We seek participation from early-career researchers and students currently pursuing research, or with experience only in studying IMI. The objective of the session is to share experiences of grappling with challenges which emerge in doing IMI centred research. Often, early-career researchers/students are simultaneously learning the domains they are researching, methods, and the doing of methods. Being early-career researchers ourselves, reflexive conversations with peers will enable sharing of ways to tackle these challenges, which are often commonly faced. Through the discussions in the session, we hope to facilitate conversations which steer away from the conventional understandings of doing methods.

The participants will come from academic and non-academic backgrounds, who have looked at IMIs in Indian contexts. This session will explore the following two sub-themes:

  1. Access to Participants: Doing a study of IMIs poses challenges such as identifying interactions as IMI; or gaining entry into specific Internet-mediated spaces (which may or may not be openly accessible).
  2. Doing Methods: Fieldwork raises questions of what constitutes doing methods. While conversations about methods often end prior to physically conducting fieldwork, doing methods can cause tension with text-book constructs of methods.

Session Plan

The introduction to the session will be followed by five talks of ten minutes each (of selected abstracts). The participants can present their experience of doing methods of works-in-progress, completed works, or composite reflections from past works. A call for abstracts will be widely shared for people to send their ideas for the talks, from which five will be selected by the session organisers for presentation. These talks will be followed by a discussion for thirty minutes. For the session, we will need a room with a computer and projector, equipped for audio and video presentations; and pens and notebooks for the participants and organisers.

Documentation Plan

The talks and discussions of this session will be synthesised for the working paper (for IRC17). In the working paper, we hope to develop working definitions for key ideas identified during the session (an idea inspired from Boellstorff et al. (2012)1). This working paper will act as a starting point for future publications. Also, the dissemination of discussions to a wider non-academic audience will be informed by suggestions from the participants.

Paper Abstracts

Not applicable.

Details of the Team

Kavitha Narayanan is a Doctoral student at the International Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore (IIIT-B) in the Information Technology & Society (ITS) domain. She has looked recently at mobile-based digital platforms in the transport sector, which was presented at SASE-2016 at UC Berkeley and at the Great Transformation Workshop 2016 at NIAS, Bangalore.

Oindrila Matilal is a Doctoral Student at IIIT-B in the ITS domain. Her Master’s dissertation studied Internet addiction among students at a university in India.

Onkar Hoysala is a Master of Science by Research student at IIIT-B in the ITS domain. He has looked recently at mobile-based digital platforms in the transport sector, which was presented at SASE-2016 at UC Berkeley and at the Great Transformation Workshop 2016 at NIAS, Bangalore. He is currently studying work practice of simulation designers in transportation.