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Doing Too Much: Using an Online Discussion Board, Interviews, and Developmental Vignettes to Explore Young People’s Negotiation of Their Love/Sex Relationships and New Media Environments

By: Published: 2018 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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The rapid development of new media technologies has changed the ways in which we live our lives. As these technologies emerged, there has been concern over how they have affected young people’s negotiation of their romantic and sexual relationships. The study discussed in this methods case explored this phenomenon through the lens of Michel Foucault’s work on ethics of the self. It challenged assumptions that social media places young people “at risk” by examining the creative ways in which these technologies are used in the negotiation of various stages of love/sex relationships. Undertaken as a PhD project in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, this research utilized an online discussion board, individual in-person interviews, and developmental vignettes to engage young people in discussions about their use of new media technologies, negotiation of love/sex relationships, and aspects of “ethics of the self.” The online discussion board consisted of 28 young people (aged 18-25 years) from around Australia, and interviews were conducted with an additional 12 young people living in and around Melbourne. Both methods made use of developmental vignettes to facilitate discussion about a young couple negotiating casual sex. Here, I describe the methods used and discuss how this project design was overly complicated and strived to accomplish too much.

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