Active engagement with stigmatised communities through digital ethnography

Barratt, Monica J. and Maddox, Alexia 2016, Active engagement with stigmatised communities through digital ethnography, Qualitative research, vol. 16, no. 6, pp. 701-719, doi: 10.1177/1468794116648766.

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Title Active engagement with stigmatised communities through digital ethnography
Author(s) Barratt, Monica J.
Maddox, AlexiaORCID iD for Maddox, Alexia
Journal name Qualitative research
Volume number 16
Issue number 6
Start page 701
End page 719
Total pages 19
Publisher Sage
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2016
ISSN 1468-7941
Keyword(s) Big Data
community-based research
digital ethnography
digital trace analyses
drug use communities
illicit activities
stigmatised populations
Social Sciences
Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary
Social Sciences - Other Topics
Summary Conducting research in the rapidly evolving fields constituting the digital social sciences raises challenging ethical and technical issues, especially when the subject matter includes activities of stigmatised populations. Our study of a dark-web drug-use community provides a case example of ‘how to’ conduct studies in digital environments where sensitive and illicit activities are discussed. In this paper we present the workflow from our digital ethnography and consider the consequences of particular choices of action upon knowledge production. Key considerations that our workflow responded to include adapting to volatile field-sites, researcher safety in digital environments, data security and encryption, and ethical-legal challenges. We anticipate that this workflow may assist other researchers to emulate, test and adapt our approach to the diverse range of illicit studies online. In this paper we argue that active engagement with stigmatised communities through multi-sited digital ethnography can complement and augment the findings of digital trace analyses.
Language eng
DOI 10.1177/1468794116648766
Field of Research 169999 Studies In Human Society not elsewhere classified
16 Studies In Human Society
13 Education
Socio Economic Objective 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2016, Sage
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Faculty of Health
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