Being a research student is often seen as lonely pursuit but there is definitely a feeling community and plenty of social activity here. Each week we’re invited to a CAMRI Seminar at UoW which is presented on a different media topic. This week’s was given by Graham Murdock, Reader in Sociology of Culture at Loughborough University. His title was The Return of the Gift: Participation and Exploitation on the Internet. This was a very popular and engaging seminar with standing room only for late comers.
The web has seen a rise in the so-called ‘gift’ economy, where services and software are given away freely. In his seminar Murdock discusses his research into the digital gift. He begins by giving a historical discourse into the moral economies describing them as commodities, public goods and gifts and covers the relationships of professional practice versus amateur initiatives and expert versus lay knowledge. His seminar is well received and his topic sits within a wider discussion about the future and cultural effects of gift culture.
The evening seminar analysed two different types of research methods, qualitative and quantitative, within the context of research relevance. picking the right one would be based on many criteria included how scientific or ethnographic our research results need to be and how to get the best results from our research informants. I’m fairly sure mine will be qualitative using creative research methods.