This morning Devin Gaffney and I ran a workshop on trace interviews at the Social Media and Society Conference. Trace interviews involve collecting and visualizing trace data (in this case, social media data, like tweets or likes). The researcher brings visualizations into the interview setting and invites the interviewee to help interpret the data. Since the interviewee is the person who left the trace data in the first place, their insight is valuable for understanding the context of communication, the validity of data and the meaning behind traceable online interactions.
Heather Ford and I describe the strengths and weaknesses of this approach in our International Journal of Communication article.
You can also check out the slides we used for this workshop. I will add a full bibliography shortly.
This is a mixed-methods approach in development. We would love to hear your feedback, suggestions, questions and concerns. We’d also love to hear about other research using similar techniques. Feel free to comment below, tweet or email.
Here is a simple network graph which visualizes the relationships among some of our workshop attendees. Each node (circle) is an attendee. The edges (lines) represent times one attendee has mentioned the other.