Addressing Methodological Challenges: A New Approach to Tracing Participation Patterns in Online Writing

Addressing Methodological Challenges: A New Approach to Tracing Participation Patterns in Online Writing

Paterson’s Land 1.26, The Moray House School of Education, Holyrood road, Edinburgh

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Alecia Marie Magnifico (University of New Hampshire, USA)

Jen Scott Curwood (University of Sydney, Australia)

Jayne C. Lammers (University of Rochester, USA)

Scholars of media literacy have described a range of ways adolescents use digital tools and spaces to conceptualise, produce, and share creative works. However, research often has focused on the experiences of young expert creators, even as the field acknowledges the importance of activities like archiving, lurking, reading, liking, reviewing, and sharing original and transformative works. Few researchers have devised methods to trace or describe these broader, more common participation patterns. In this presentation, we draw on our online ethnographic research to address this challenge by focusing on feedback that fanfiction authors receive from their readers. We then outline a linguistic analysis method for understanding fanfiction reviews and detail how it allows us to trace online interactions. We argue for a move away from space-based framing into more transliteracies approaches to addressing the methodological challenges of tracing participation patterns in online writing. We share examples from our fanfiction dataset and involve participants in a hands-on workshop with coding, analysing, and making sense of participation patterns and practices within online writing. 


Jen Scott Curwood, PhD, is a senior lecturer in English education and media studies at the University of Sydney, Australia, where she is a member of the Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation. Her research focuses on learning and literacy in school, community, and online contexts, and recent projects have explored how youth are engaging in spoken word poetry and how they are sharing their creative work through social media and within online spaces.

Alecia Magnifico, PhD, is an assistant professor of English and the coordinator of the English Teaching program at the University of New Hampshire. She teaches courses on teaching methods, research methods, and digital literacies, and she studies writing and learning in formal and informal environments. Her recent work has explored students’ writing and feedback in classrooms and online, as well as building cross-institutional teacher partnerships.

Jayne C. Lammers is an Associate Professor of Education, and Director of the secondary English teacher preparation program at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education and Human Development. She studies adolescents’ writing, particularly in online affinity spaces.


Date of Event 
04 Jul 2018
Event Leader 
Dr Jen Ross
Paterson's Land room 1.26 (tbc)
Research Area 
Digital Cultures
Event type