9. A walk between real and virtual contexts: why blended ethnography?

Cinzia Ferranti


The article provides an account of a blended ethnographic research study that allowed participant observation of a professional community. This community uses online and offline tools and spaces to exchange knowledge and professional cases and discuss their problems of interpretation and application of laws that regulate their profession. The purpose is to describe the characteristics of the context that make it suitable for blended ethnography. We want to provide some basic guidelines for conducting ethnographic research in the domain of online educational technologies: the characteristics of participant observation, the moment of access into the field, the choice of observable events and data collection tools, the selection of the model of organization and interpretation of the data. We will also present some criticalities of the method connected to the management of the entire process of investigation and related to some epistemological considerations on the validity of the results.

Parole chiave

Blended ethnography, research design, educational technology, professional community, activity

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