A "Virtual Island" for Qualitative Researchers: A Field Report on an Internet-based PhD-Study Group of Qualitative Researchers Within the "NetzWerkstatt" Concept

Christine Moritz

Abstract


In this article an account is given of the net-based working processes among the members of a group of qualitative researchers, called "Leuchtfeuer" (NetzWerkstatt, Institute for Qualitative Research, Freie Universität Berlin, see http://www.qualitative-forschung.de/netzwerkstatt/arbeitsgruppen/gruppen/NW4/). After presenting the group and the contexts of group development, three main characteristics constitutive for the group's profile will be outlined using the metaphors of: "island life," as extracted before from data analysis (Section 5.1); "'voluntariness in joining or leaving, in taking and giving back" (Section 5.1.1); "specifics in the phase of life of candidates doing their doctorate" (Section 5.1.2); "confining and protective mechanisms adapted by the 'islanders' during their voluntary insulation in a 'virtual island world'" (Section 5.1.3).
Section 5.2 addresses the question in what respect does "island life" meets specific requirements of qualitative research: exploratory phases of qualitative research need expert colloquy in "periods of rough copy and draft" (Section 5.2.1). This can be explained by attributes like "spontaneity" (Section 5.2.2) and "'fluidity" (Section 5.2.3) of successive utterances; both dispositions of mutual support by informational expert interchange emerge from "island life." This situation of enhanced communicative activities among experts will on the one hand stimulate productive thinking and abductive reasoning. Along with extensive activities (Section 5.2.4), each researcher is summoned to develop capacities of reflection and selection in respect to one's own subject matter.
From our point of view, the general conditions of the NetzWerkstatt concept—particularly aspects of "protection" and "continuity"—constitute a potentially serviceable and commonsense definition of the field of communication. However, the range of possibilities opened by permanent and quasi-automatic documentation of communicative research work—in our context referred to as everyday activities in the form of correspondence among group members' synchronous written communication (chat) and asynchronous digital correspondence (mailing list)—have not yet been adequately recognized.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs090134

Keywords


"NetzWerkstatt"; Internet communication; teaching and learning of qualitative methods; qualitative research; dissertation; professional self-reflexivity; interdisciplinarity



DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-10.1.1193

Copyright (c) 1970 Christine Moritz

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