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Sharpening the Ethnographer’s Toolkit: Introducing the Freelist Method to Information Systems Research

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Title:Sharpening the Ethnographer’s Toolkit: Introducing the Freelist Method to Information Systems Research
Authors:Califf, Christopher
Stumpf, Tyler
Keywords:Topics in Organizational Systems and Technology
ethnography, freelist, methodology, anthropology, e-textbook
Date Issued:03 Jan 2018
Abstract:Ethnography has been presented as a promising research method for information systems researchers. However, IS research using ethnographic techniques still remains scant. We believe this has occurred for four primary reasons: (1) the techniques needed to conduct effective ethnographic research are often discussed in vague detail; (2) data collection in ethnographic studies is perceived as unfocused and unsystematic; (3) ethnographic studies are perceived as highly time consuming and thus impractical; and (4) IS researchers may not be well-versed in understanding how to make sense of the findings of an ethnographic analysis. In this paper, we address these constraints by introducing a well-established ethnographic method called freelisting to ethnographic research in IS. Specifically, we discuss the essence of freelisting, how it fits into ethnography, and provide an example of how to conduct and analyze a freelist in IS. The benefits of freelisting for IS researchers are also explained.
Pages/Duration:10 pages
Rights:Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Appears in Collections: Topics in Organizational Systems and Technology

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