Research Methods for Digital Work and Organization

Investigating Distributed, Multi-Modal, and Mobile Work

Gillian Symon, Katrina Pritchard, Christine Hine

Research Methods for Digital Work and Organization

Investigating Distributed, Multi-Modal, and Mobile Work

Gillian Symon, Katrina Pritchard, Christine Hine






13 Jan 2022


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Digital work has become increasingly common, taking a wide variety of forms including working from home, mobile work, gig work, crowdsourcing, and online volunteering. It is organisationally, interpretively, spatially, and temporally complex.  An array of innovative methodologies have begun to emerge to capture this complexity, whether through re-purposing existing tools, devising entirely novel methods, or mixing old and new.  This volume brings together some of these techniques in an accessible sourcebook for management, business, organisational, and work researchers.

It presents a range of innovative methods which capture and analyse digitally-related work practices through reflexive accounts of real-world research projects, and elucidates the range of challenges such methods may raise for research practice. It outlines debates and recommendations, and provides further reading and information to support research practice. Research Methods for Digital Work and Organization is organised in four sections that reflect different areas of focus and methodological approaches: working with screens; digital working practices; distributed work and organising; and digital traces of work. It then concludes by reflecting on the methodological issues, research ethics, requisite skills, and future of research given the intensification of digital work during a global pandemic that has impacted all aspects of our lives.

This title is available as an eBook. Visit VitalSource for more information or to purchase.


1. Introduction: The Challenge of Digital Work and Organization for Research Methods

Section 1. Working With Screens
2. Wrestling with Digital Objects and Technologies in Studies of Work
3. Screen Mediated Work in an Ethnography of Statistical Practices: Screen Theories and Methodological Positions
4. 'Me, Myself, and iPhone': Sociomaterial Reflections on the Phone as Methodological Instrument in London's Gig-Economy
5. The Heartbeat of Fieldwork: On Doing Ethnography in Traffic Control Rooms

Section 2. Digital Working Practices
6. Digital Diaries as a Research Method for Capturing Practices In Situ
7. Using Netnography to Investigate Travel Blogging as Digital Work
8. Autoethnography and the Digital Volunteer
9. Research Methods to Study and Empower Crowd Workers

Section 3. Distributed Work and Organizing
10. Exploring Organisation Through Contributions: Using Activity Theory for the Study of Contemporary Digital Labour Practices
11. Thick Big Data: Development of Mixed Methods for Study of Wikipedia Working Practices
12. Images, Text, and Emotions: Multimodality Research on Emotion-Symbolic Work
13. Structuring the Haystack: Studying Online Communities with Dictionary-Based Supervised Text Analysis and Network Visualization

Section 4. Digital Traces of Work
14. After Vanity Metrics: Critical Analytics for Social Media Analysis
15. Investigating Online Unmanaged Organization: Antenarrative as a Methodological Approach
16. Tinkering with Method as we Go: An Account of Capturing Digital Traces of Work on Social Media
17. Organizational Culture in Tracked Changes: Format and Affordance in Consequential Workplace Documents
18. Conclusion: Reflections on Ethics, Skills, and Future Challenges in Research Methods for Digital Work and Organizations


Edited by: 

Gillian Symon - Professor of Organisation Studies, Royal Holloway, University of London.

Katrina Pritchard - Professor in the School of Management, Swansea University.

Christine Hine - Professor of Sociology, University of Surrey.