Borrowing from the third provocation at IRC17, we are organising a session on research methods to study, document and analyse work on Internet mediated interactions (IMI). We define Internet Mediated Interactions (IMI) as any interaction enabled by the Internet. Such interactions can take place across diverse platforms or devices such as mobile phones, tablets, or computers. For example, booking a cab through Ola/ Uber is an IMI; virtual games are IMIs; collaborative document editing is an IMI, etc. With the definition of an ethnographic field site evolving over the past few years to include the Internet and virtual worlds, ethnographic research in IMI would involve studies of the people designing and interacting over such platforms. We seek participation from early-career researchers and students currently pursuing research, or with experience in studying IMI.
Please submit a 250-300 word abstract about your work, addressing any of the below mentioned, or related themes. Accepted abstracts will be required to make a short presentation. Authors are not required to send full papers.
The objective of the session is to share experiences of grappling with challenges which emerge in doing IMI centred research. This session will explore the following two sub-themes:
- 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).
- 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.
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, 20121). This working paper will act as a starting point for future publications.
1 Boellstorff, T. (2012). Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method. Princeton University Press
Last date for submission of abstracts: 5th February 2017
Announcement of selected abstracts: 12th February 2017
Limited travel and accommodation support for out-station participants will be provided by IRC 17.
To submit your abstract and for any further clarifications, please write to