The Performative Pull of Research with New Media

Janette Michelle Hughes

Abstract


In this paper the author tells the story of how the technology she used in her research reshaped her thinking about her research as she reshaped the technology for purposes beyond its initial intent. Her research story provides a real-life example of the dialectical relationship between humans and technology. When she immersed herself in a multimedia authoring environment called Flash in the process of her research, the experience led to the reorganization or restructuring of her thinking, and her research looks very different than it would have if she had used technology only as initially planned. She discusses the performative potential of new media and, in particular, a digital environment she created to store, organize, and represent her data, and she discusses the role of the digital environment in providing a meeting place for the participants and the researcher in the study. Thinking with new media on an ongoing basis in her study meant thinking about research data, analysis, and presentation through the lens of new media’s affordances: multimodality, multilinearity, and performance.

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