Interview with Professor Christine Hine, keynote speaker at RME2021
A: The title of your keynote at RME 2021 is “Agile research in the face of ever-changing and unpredictable digital environments”. Why did you choose to deliver this talk at this year’s conference, and what can delegates get from it?
C: I am hoping that the topic will resonate for many participants and that it will help to build on and learn from recent experiences. The pandemic has certainly been a challenging time for conducting social research. Many carefully crafted research plans have been thwarted as face-to-face fieldwork has often seemed impossible and as people have moved online for many activities, often in a rather unplanned way. Beyond the specific challenges of recent times, developments in digital technologies have produced a steady stream of changes in the nature and context of social interactions that are hard to keep up with and that challenge some of our preconceptions about the way to do social research. It has become trickier than ever to work out the best methods and locations for our research – and every time we focus in on one location we feel as though we are missing something happening elsewhere. In the face of these challenges, I will be talking about the benefits of agile research designs and thinking about the kind of adaptations to research methods these occasion and the difficulties that they bring.
A: You are also delivering the workshop “Defining objects of study”. Can you let our readers know a bit more about what they can learn during the workshop and the format it will have?
C: The workshop focuses on thinking about how we define our objects of study and how we choose methods and field sites to operationalise our research questions. We will do some brainstorming around different ways to go about researching a topic using a variety of online and offline locations and we will explore the benefits and drawbacks of different approaches. Participants will be encouraged to think about different and imaginative ways to go about their own research.
A: What is the biggest benefit those attending RME get from this conference?
C: This is a very interactive conference, so there is a lot of opportunity to share ideas peer-to-peer and to explore how to apply new ways of doing things in your own practice. There’s a diverse range of perspectives and approaches to research across the day, so hopefully something for everyone.
A: What are you most looking forward to at 2021’s RME?
C: I’m new to this community, so most of all I’m looking forward to meeting people and learning more about the kind of research that they do. It’s always good to shake up your assumptions by hearing about different ways of doing things.
A: What would you like to say to all those attending RME 2021?
C: Come along ready to share your ideas and experiences and, whether participating online or face-to-face, look forward to feeling part of a community of researchers all grappling with the same kind of issues. It’s great to have these spaces where we can talk with fellow researchers about the craft and practice of research and learn from one another.
To know more and register for RME 2021, please CLICK HERE.
Christine Hine is Professor of Sociology at the University of Surrey. She has a long-standing focus on research methods in relation to digital phenomena. In particular, she has developed mobile and connective approaches to ethnography that combine online and offline social contexts. She is author of Virtual Ethnography (2000, Sage), Ethnography for the Internet (2015, Bloomsbury) and Understanding Qualitative Research: The Internet (2012, Oxford University Press), editor of Virtual Methods (2005, Berg) and co-editor of Digital Methods for Social Science (2016, Palgrave). She has recently published on autoethnographic approaches to the study of smart home technologies. She is co-editor of a forthcoming collection on Research Methods for Digital Work and Organizations (Oxford University Press) together with Gillian Symon and Katrina Pritchard.