The realities of researching alongside virtual youth in late modernity: creative practices and activity theory

Sclater, M. and Lally, V. (2014) The realities of researching alongside virtual youth in late modernity: creative practices and activity theory. Journal of Youth Studies, 17(1), pp. 1-25. (doi: 10.1080/13676261.2013.847908)

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Young people's use and understanding of the Internet is still under-researched. We argue that researching alongside young people in technological settings (a virtual world on the Internet in this paper) is a complicated nexus of conceptual, methodological and theoretical challenges. We argue that these are in dialectical, and sometimes incoherent, relationships with the realities of research processes and young people's lived experiences with Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). The Economic and Social Research Council/Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESRC/EPSRC)-funded Inter-Life Project developed a ‘Virtual Research Community’ in Second Life™ to investigate how young people can work creatively to develop their own agency and subjectivities. We reflect on these challenges as they articulated with the ‘Inter-Life’ Project's aims. They include the need for more empirical evidence of the realities of young people's lives with ICTs, and for re-theorisation of their subjectivities in ICT settings. We interrogate the challenges of participatory research in such settings and the role of creative practices and virtual spaces in finding a voice and being a participatory researcher. In the second part, we illustrate the realities of researching in a virtual world through the lived experience of young people who worked with us. We also explore how activity theory (AT) might assist in the methodological and analytical work of researching young people's creativity in a virtual world.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sclater, Dr Madeleine and Lally, Professor Victor
Authors: Sclater, M., and Lally, V.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Interdisciplinary Science Education Technologies and Learning
Journal Name:Journal of Youth Studies
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN (Online):1469-9680
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Youth Studies 17(1):1-25
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
468391Inter-life: Interoperability and transitionVictor LallyEconomic & Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/F042116/1ED - INTERDISC. SCIENCE ED TECH & LEARN.