[Air-l] comparative research projects

Sandra Braman braman at ua.edu
Tue May 14 03:10:52 PDT 2002

While the internet is global, it is always experienced in ways
that are locally specific.  Critiques of existing internet research
often point to their failure to sufficiently specify the conditions
under which the effects described are found.  Comparative
research -- research that addresses the same question
across circumstances that vary -- is one valuable way of
enhancing the value of specific studies by making it
possible to relate what is learned in one setting to what
is learned in another.   Over time, comparative work can
bring to light factors that have differential impact across
settings in ways that should be of design and policy

The Association of Internet Researchers provides an
opportunity for individuals involved in comparative research
that examines the same research question across multiple
settings in different nation-states to develop collaborative
projects.  The variety of research interests of members
suggests the possibility of multiple collaborative comparative

Because I believe such research would be invaluable in
moving the field forward, I'd be happy to help such projects
get off the ground by serving a coordinating role, in three

(1)  Any individual interested in participating in a
collaborative comparative research project on the
internet should write me at braman at ua.edu and let
me know:
- area of research interest
- whether or not you have already done any work
in this area (with citations as appropriate)
- preferred research methodology (ies)

I'll group together folks of like interest and put them
in touch with each other so that they can begin
coordinating efforts among themselves.

(2)  The Maastricht conference will be an ideal
setting for attendees from those research teams already
beginning to form to meet with each other.  Sign-up sheets
at the conference will enable additional individuals who
become interested at that point to join such groups.
Presumably list discussions internal to each group
will make it possible for those who cannot attend
the Maastricht conference to participate in the
collaborative research work.

(3)  If folks already involved in collaborative
comparative research projects can let me know
about them -- what questions they're pursuing,
and how, and contact person with contact
information -- I'll compile the information and make
it available to all.

The field is by now well enough developed that
such collaborations should be possible, and the
Maastricht conference would be an ideal venue
within which to get them off the ground.  Communication
ahead of time among team members would enable
those individuals to make the best use of their face
to face time.

Again, please respond to me at braman at ua.edu,
rather than to the list, if you're interested in
participating in a collaborative team to undertake
comparative research projects across national

Sandra Braman


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