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The Googled ethnographer

Sue Saltmarsh (Australian Catholic University, Strathfield, Australia)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Article publication date: 28 October 2013




The purpose of this paper is to consider how researcher positionality is reconfigured by internet use.


Drawing on recent ethnographic studies conducted in Australia and Canada, the paper considers here how participant agency is symbolically and materially enacted through technology use.


The use of information communication technologies by researchers, research participants and industry partners in online information searching, and the production and dissemination of text poses challenges to conventional assumptions of unequal power relations in research sites.

Research limitations/implications

The paper explores methodological, theoretical and practical implications of being a Googled ethnographer whose life, work, professional activities and networks as represented online are available for public scrutiny.


The paper argues, taking inspiration from Sarah Pink's recent work, that the author's and others’ use of information and communication technologies implicates us in shared “entanglements” of responsibility within and beyond research sites. The importance of these entanglements for contemporary thinking about researcher positionality, research relationships and researched/researching subjectivities is also considered.



Saltmarsh, S. (2013), "The Googled ethnographer", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 236-243.



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