6.0443 Research Project on computer discussion lists (1/65)

Thu, 21 Jan 1993 15:20:40 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 6, No. 0443. Thursday, 21 Jan 1993.

Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1993 15:36:20 +0200 (EET)
From: sheizaf rafaeli <sheizafr@shum.cc.huji.ac.il>
Subject: Computer mediated communication -- research project


This is an invitation to join an exciting ongoing research project, on
the use of electronic mail discussion lists. A large group of scholars,
from numerous universities, is engaged in a collaborative study of
discussion lists. This is a last-chance offer to jump on the bandwagon.

For over eight months, a group of several dozen researchers has been
discussing the state of computer-mediated discussion groups, and the
state of research on such groups. We are now collaborating in a large,
comparative survey of such groups. The method of choice is content
analysis of a representative sample of messages, groups and discussion
threads, across different networks.

The project has produced, so far:

* A unique research experience:
A large group of previously unaffiliated researchers
has undertaken (and is carrying out) a collaborative
study. The research is run, so to speak, on stage.

* A joint bibliography:
Hundreds of citations about the subject matter have been
collected and are shared.

* Hypothesis list:
A rather elaborate set of theories and hypotheses
has been formulated regarding the experience,
quality, longevity, nature structure and impact of
computer-mediated groups, and their structural and
social characteristics.

* Policy deliberations:
We have painstakingly developed treatments of such
thorny issues as the ethics of studying online public
lists, the ownership of data resulting from such
collaboration, sampling procedures in the study of
online groups, etc.

* Some financial support from industry.

* A pretested codebook.

* Several conference papers.

But the best is yet to come. We are about to begin the full-fledged
data collection stage. Thus, now is probably the latest oppportunity to
join in.

Take part in the data collection and analysis phases. If the
computer-mediated exchange of ideas is a process that intrigues you, if
you have ideas about what makes online groups tick (or sick), if you
think this is a topic ripe for empirical, content-analysis comparative
study, and if you would like to join work in this project, please
contact one of us:

Sheizaf Rafaeli Fay Sudweeks
Hebrew University of Jerusalem University of Sydney
sheizafr@shum.cc.huji.ac.il fays@archsci.arch.su.edu.au