Evaluating the Method

Keeping it in “the family”: How Gender Norms Shape U.S. Marriage Migration Politics

1.Summarize briefly each study: what are the researchers trying to accomplish?  Where do they get their data? What are their findings? What are they arguing?

The researcher is trying to examine how gendered standards of legitimacy are applied to both family and sexuality. The researcher also shows how these gendered standards of legitimacy are used among petitioners to achieve genuineness and define red flags that indicate potential marriage fraud.

The researcher got her data from using an online ethnography and textual analysis of conversation threads on a large online immigration forum where U.S. petitioners exchange such information. She used an analytic process called constructivist grounded theory in order to incorporate members’ stories into the analysis to determine the “what, how, and why” of their evaluations (Charmaz 2008). Through two years of being a bystander in ethnographic immersion, she learned the site’s social dynamics, terminology, and common themes. She became aware of how members used the term red flag to mean the opposite of genuine relationships. To analyze red flags, she downloaded and sorted all the posts quantitatively by forum. Then, she wrote a script written in Python. The script was used to collect, clean, and conduct a key-word search for the term “red flag”.

The findings show that “discursive negotiations in virtual spaces are consequential for re-imagining intersectionally gendered citizenship and the policing of national identities and borders.”

She argues that forum members will police immigration requests even before cases reach an immigration officer. “Petitioners use the formal criteria of U.S. immigration in ways that reveal gender ideologies, expectations for conformity to a gendered hegemonic family ideal, and sexual double standards surrounding sexual agency, fertility, and desirability. These intersectional norms shape members’ online discussions about the suitability of marriages and of the migration of noncitizen partners to the United States.”

Speaking ‘unspeakable things’: documenting digital feminist responses to rape culture

1.Summarize briefly each study: what are the researchers trying to accomplish?  Where do they get their data? What are their findings? What are they arguing?

The researchers are trying to examines the ways in which girls and women are using digital media platforms to challenge the rape culture they experience in their everyday lives. This includes street harassment, sexual assault, and the policing of the body and clothing in school settings. The researchers ask three main questions: What experiences of harassment, misogyny and rape culture are girls and women responding to? How are girls and women using digital media technologies to document experiences of sexual violence, harassment, and sexism? And, why are girls and women choosing to mobilize digital media technologies in such a way?

The researcher gets their data from ethnographic methods such as semi-structured interviews, content analysis, discursive textual analysis, and affect. They use the anti-street harassment website Hollaback! to map both the types of misogyny/sexism/ harassment that women frequently encounter as well as their responses to it.

The findings show that the mediation of marginalized voices produce social, cultural, and political possibilities. Social media apps have given girls and women spaces and opportunities to connect, sharing their experiences and finding solidarity with one another. The findings also show how teens responded to the complexity of real, embodied sexism and expressions of rape culture at school through their creative and innovative uses of Twitter.

The researchers argue that digital mediation enables new connections that were previously unavailable to girls and women. This allows them to redraw the boundaries between themselves and others. Feminist activism has been more visible in media culture. Digital culture has the radical potential of reanimating feminist politics both online and off-line.

2.How are they using content analysis?  What are they coding for? What is their methodological approach to coding? (inductive? Deductive?)

Longo uses content analysis by coding for the number of red flags that appear in the online discussion forums. Her methodological approach to coding is an inductive approach, because she was trying to induce the theory to explain the patterns from the data that she was collecting.

Keller, Mendes, and Ringrose use content analysis by looking at posts on the anti-street harassment website Hollaback!. They also look at the Twitter hashtag #BeenRapedNeverReported. Lastly, they look at how teen feminists use Twitter.  Their methodological approach to coding is an inductive one. They looked at social media and induced a theory.

3.What are the strengths and weaknesses of the methods that they are using?  What do they capture well? What do you think they are missing out on? If you were to conduct this study, would you do anything differently?  What and why or why not?

Strengths: In both of the methods the researchers used, the data was able to be obtained easily. It was fairly accessible since it was available online through forums and social media apps like Twitter.

Weaknesses: Collecting data for both could have been time consuming. In Longo’s study, she was only able to look at a snapshot of people’s lives. Keller, Mendes, and Ringrose could have looked at other social media apps to collect data. They also could have looked at other hashtags.

If I were to conduct Longo’s study, I would follow the people who post and see if their interactions are similar in their other forum posts/communications.

If I were to conduct Keller, Mendes, and Ringrose’s study, I would look at other social media apps and hashtags.

2 thoughts to “Evaluating the Method”

  1. Great post, and really good summaries and identification of both strengths and weaknesses of the research, as well as ideas for how to improve upon the methods. Your comments for strengths mirror that of others who have posted- the ease of obtaining data from online environments, which is a major advantage to digital data and one of the reasons it is used so often. Your comment regarding one of the main weaknesses was also mirrored by others- that the data collection can be time consuming- one of the main disadvantages to doing digital data- especially when it comes to the methods used to extract data and what forms of data analysis are used after data collection. Interesting- following users and comparing their posts across multiple digital spaces, it would be interesting to see the results. I agree with your comment regarding the Keller, Mendes, and Ringrose research, expanding the search to other social media platforms and digital spaces may better provide insight into the prevalence of what is being said and experienced online.

  2. Hi Alice, great post! I like how you would follow the people who post and see if their behaviors online are the same in person, as well as see their own relationships and how the hegemonic family is perpetuated in their lives. I would also like to see whether or not those women who were seen to have “red flag” relationships went through with their marriages or did the policing on the forums discourage them resulting in the termination of their relationships.

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