The Teenage Expertise Network (TEN): an online ethnographic approach

Nicola Frances Johnson, University of Wollongong
Nicoli Humphry, University of Wollongong

Johnson, N. Frances. & Humphry, N. (2012). The Teenage Expertise Network (TEN): an online ethnographic approach. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 25 (6), 723-739.


The take-up of digital technology by young people is a well-known phenomenon and has been subject to socio-cultural analysis in areas such as youth studies and cultural studies. The Teenage Expertise Network (TEN) research project investigates how teenagers develop technological expertise in techno-cultural contexts via the use of a purposefully designed, youth-friendly, online environment - significant in this current age of Internet-mediated learning and rapid technological development. The design of TEN follows principles of ethnographic research adapted to an online environment. This article discusses the design, objectives and outworkings of this new media object, highlighting the tensions associated with conducting online research. This article considers why and how we should reengineer online methodologies and the complexities associated therein. It discusses the classification of this method considering the literature surrounding online data collection methods and virtual ethnography.


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