How can collaborative ethnographic research be used to analyse contemporary media use in the home?

Brian A. Hoey explains the term ethnography to, ‘provide a detailed, in-depth description of everyday life and practice,’ that refers to the various studies between individuals and cultures. Collaborative Ethnography on the other hand refers to the research made by multiple parties during the process being made, to ensure ethical practice during the investigation. This is the key to the study of the media trends and media consumption which impacts those working within the media industries to understand their audiences and achieve their goals.

Quantitative data is useful in tracking certain trends over time, focusing on numbers can hinder relationships between the researcher and the subjects. An example of a quantitative study was conducted by Nie and Hillygus known as a sort of time diary that involved a family to fill out surveys every week of six hours of interaction with each other or accessing the internet. It focused on the impact of the internet on individual’s social lives because Nie and Hillygus were interested in the debate on whether it enhanced or inhibited sociability. The results however that the displacement of the hypothesis had a greater bearing and revealed, “The more time spent on the Internet at home the less time spent with friends, family and on social activities (Nie & Hillygus 2005, pg. 11).”

Qualitative research on the other hand studies in ‘examining the personal meanings of individuals.’ An example of what qualitative research involves an interactive interview with just a single individual that would connect with them in a more in-depth approach. This encourages more of a personal approach to research, delving deeper into the media consumption of individuals with qualitative research.


To conclude how a study into the collaborative ethnographic research can be used to analyse contemporary media use in the home depends on the topic of the research. When measuring statistics say, how much time does a family spend with each other compared to the internet than quantitative methods would suit this better or when targeting a plural area of people. Qualitative research methods would be used when focusing on the main key topics of collaborative ethnography being cultures, customs and differences, being an example of a single individual’s perspectives or actions.

Brian.A.Hoey, 2000-2015, ‘What is Ethnography,’ webpage, viewed 19 of August

Nie, N.H., Hillygus, D.S. 2002, ‘The Impact of Internet Use on Sociability: Time-Diary Findings,’ IT&Society, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 01-20.


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