How strong can this sense of community be? 4. What kinds of cultural identity have been formed in this virtual community? Research Method The data collection method that I will be using is ethnographic interviews and an analysis of the website. In this case, the structured interviews consisted of asking the Respondents 20 open-ended questions, which are found the Appendix C. The Respondents were encourage to expound upon their answers in a concrete way, and give as much detail as possible in their answers. In order to find the right respondents, I visited the popular discussions on the site to see the interactions which occurred among various topics. After this, I posted 10 general questions (Appendix A). These questions were posted individually within a period of seven days. Fifteen respondents were observed. From all the Respondents, I followed the profiles of each user to personally determine whether they pass the first criterion of having maintained a distinct Chinese culture. The criteria for determining if the user maintained a distinct Chinese culture was by evaluating their point of view to ascertain if their viewpoint was oriented towards Chinese culture or towards the culture of the host country. Afterwards, the shortlist of 15 users was identified based on the duration of their usage and membership on the website. They were sent an invitation to participate in the study further through an interactive interview conducted through emails or instant messaging platforms of their choice. They were also asked the following questions in order to qualify them for the second criterion – that traditional media does not play a significant role in his daily life (Appendix B). Based on the responses to these questions, I selected ten users who display the second criterion the most. That is, they exhibit interest in getting the latest updates about China, and the Chinese people and culture at large, and that they do not get this information from traditional media. Furthermore, they exhibit knowledge about the fifth question’s subject matter, not only through their actual subscriptions and affiliations, but through their expression of interest to get connected and develop deeper understanding. After ten users were selected based on the criteria mentioned above, I proceeded to schedule the interactive interviews. The questions which were asked in the interview are in Appendix C. These happened within a period of one month. I also allowed the respondent during the time to deliver a meaningful personal account of experiences, and the flexibility to do it at his or her own pace. With regards to the website analysis, I examined the website carefully, then grouped the website categories into themes. These themes fit under the rubric of the four research questions which were asked, then fit into subthemes within these four research themes. The subthemes were as follows: a.) Common cultural practices b.) How having a common homeland connects users c.) Connection through current Chinese events d.) Connection between Chinese living throughout the globe d.) Connection through activities and services. These themes fit under the larger themes and larger questions regarding the sense of community and the strength of community, plus the cultural identities which are formed by the ethnic community. How these subthemes fit into the larger theme is that these themes focus upon how the Chinese users of
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104 pages (26000 words)Dissertation
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