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Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method [Kindle Edition]

Tom Boellstorff , Bonnie Nardi , Celia Pearce , T. L. Taylor , George E. Marcus
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £15.95
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Book Description

Ethnography and Virtual Worlds is the only book of its kind--a concise, comprehensive, and practical guide for students, teachers, designers, and scholars interested in using ethnographic methods to study online virtual worlds, including both game and nongame environments. Written by leading ethnographers of virtual worlds, and focusing on the key method of participant observation, the book provides invaluable advice, tips, guidelines, and principles to aid researchers through every stage of a project, from choosing an online fieldsite to writing and publishing the results.

  • Provides practical and detailed techniques for ethnographic research customized to reflect the specific issues of online virtual worlds, both game and nongame

  • Draws on research in a range of virtual worlds, including Everquest, Second Life,, and World of Warcraft

  • Provides suggestions for dealing with institutional review boards, human subjects protocols, and ethical issues

  • Guides the reader through the full trajectory of ethnographic research, from research design to data collection, data analysis, and writing up and publishing research results

  • Addresses myths and misunderstandings about ethnographic research, and argues for the scientific value of ethnography

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"[W]e can hope that young scholars and established ones, friends and critics of ethnography alike, will read this book, take it seriously, and carry it with them in whatever world they study and inhabit."--Jack David Eller, Anthropology Review

"In this useful volume, the coauthors, each of whom is an accomplished virtual world ethnographer, pretty much put to rest threshold questions that might be raised about whether virtual worlds and online cultures can be proper objects of anthropological research. . . . [T]he authors provide as much insight and instructive commentary about traditional ethnography as they do about the ethnography of virtual worlds."--Choice

"Ethnography and Virtual Worlds provides invaluable advice, tips, guidelines, principles, and further resources to aid researchers through every stage of a participant observation virtual worlds research project, from choosing the online field site to writing and publishing the results."--John F. Barber, Leonardo Reviews

"[The authors] have produced a very interesting and timely contribution; clearly written, with easy-to-follow case studies. . . . Ethnography and Virtual Worlds will be useful to any graduate student in social sciences, but as well in humanities, media and Cultural Studies or in any interdisciplinary approach focused on virtual worlds. It is not an introduction to ethnography as such, rather a helpful guide to help scholars already familiar with ethnography and related methodologies to adapt their approaches to cases using the Internet and interactive virtual worlds."--Yves Laberge, LSE Review of Books

"I would . . . enthusiastically recommend this book to people interested in virtual world and other digital media ethnography--not just as a handbook of method--but as a compilation of the collective wisdom of these four very experienced and highly respected ethnographers--and as a thoroughly good read."--Jeni Paay, Computer Supported Cooperative Work

"Either at the chapter level or as a whole, Ethnography and Virtual Worlds provides invaluable advice, tips, guide-lines, principles and further resources to aid researchers through every stage of a participant observation virtual worlds research project, from choosing the online field site to writing and publishing the results."--John F. Barber, Leonardo

From the Back Cover

"What does 'being there to know there' mean in the virtual world? 'Not much,' I used to think! Maybe 'virtual ethnography' was an oxymoron? This book changed my mind. Most surprising is how the authors' distillation of ethnography for virtual worlds reveals its essential and classical features. This book renews the craft of ethnography for all of the social sciences in virtual and physical worlds alike, making us think differently about both."--Paul Willis, author of Learning to Labor: How Working Class Kids Get Working Class Jobs

"This might be the best thing I have ever read about ethnography. I love this book."--Lori Kendall, author of Hanging Out in the Virtual Pub

"Written by a very authoritative team, this is a distinctive guide, rich in practical advice grounded in the authors' experiences."--Christine Hine, author of Virtual Ethnography

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 676 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0691149518
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (16 Sept. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008U4UKL2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #449,475 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
You get a detailed description of how to engage in this line of research, and all the basics are covered. You're left with a knowledge of how to go about it, not just a philosophical idea of what it is and which problems the approach entails. It's written in a very accessible way with good examples. On top of that, they make this kind of research interesting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! 21 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Comprehensive, well written, and ideal for those with little prior experience of digital anthropology. Compared to other textbooks of it's type it's an absolute bargain!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strong on Traditional Methods But Weak on Virtual Ethnography 2 Jun. 2014
By Jonathan Cook - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ethnography and Virtual Worlds addresses an important gap in anthropological research methods, but does so weakly. While this book is sold as a handbook of method in the ethnography of online experience, most of the book merely repeats traditional advice to beginning ethnographers. Very little discussion is devoted to the special challenges and opportunities of virtual worlds, and the way that new media challenge old ethnographic presumptions about the relationships between researchers, subjects of research, and the audience to whom findings are presented. The authors seem firmly rooted in the conventions of traditional academic culture. It's ironic that, as ethnographers, they would have difficulty seeing beyond those limitations. There is little here in the way of useful advice for people seeking innovative ways to create ethnographic approaches that embrace the liminal flexibility inherent to virtual worlds. Also missing is a consideration of the development of ritual dynamics in online environments. Ethnography and Virtual Worlds is written well, as far as it goes. It simply doesn't go very far.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent methods text 14 Feb. 2013
By Colleen E. Boyd - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Boellstorff is one of my favorite ethnographers. Although this book is geared towards virtual ethnography, it is also quite helpful for all forms of ethnography. I love it.
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