Source: International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Volume 23, Issue 4
(July 2010), pages 393 – 405.
In this article, the author maps important 'messy' elements that the author learned from his five-month small-scale research project, one that was designed around pivotal works on online social research.
The author used computers and the Internet with Mian, a young man living in Guinea, West Africa, in order to examine his perceptions surrounding the value of these technological tools for his future.
Throughout the paper, the author addresses multiple levels of ethics in practice such as recognizing the different effects that the Internet environment can have on participants, the realities that cross-cultural barriers pose the researcher and the participant, the impact of previous relationships on the research process, and how meanings produced by language are easily misinterpreted via the Internet.
As a result, the author asserts that during online social research, reflexivity is a moral obligation, where meaning and representation can have a tendency to be skewed, especially when working in cross-cultural situations.