At Home with Students: Observing Online and Offline Contexts

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article reflects the methodological challenges presented in the research
process, where the principle of 'following the field’ means that the researcher
must also follow students engaged in online activities in their own homes.
The ethnographic studies are a part of a PhD project on “NETeducation,” a
full-scale development project in nursing education (Lyngsø, 2014). With a
focus on online professional education as the starting point, the process of
research will follow the shifting learning process, through phases in the
virtual classroom and in the students’ own homes.
Research in online contexts demands a rethinking of the traditional
ethnographic approach (Hammersley, 2006; Hine, 2005), sharpening the
focus on the online and offline contexts, and the shifting between them
(Webster, da Silva, 2013). The methodological reflections in the first part of
this article can relate to this division due to the “netstudents” activities in
studying online at home. On the other hand, the dichotomy between online
and offline contexts is found to be inadequate, during the observations
conducted. In light of some preliminary findings, the challenges of observing
online and offline activities almost simultaneously are considered, despite a
dearth of literature existing on this subject.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-12
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • field work
  • internet based educations

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