Vol. XIX, n. 38, 1st semester, March 1 2012
E-ISSN: 1988-3293 / ISSN: 1134-3478
This article presents a research and teaching experience that took place within an international research project, Digital Inclusion and Participation (2009-2011) involving researchers from Portugal and the USA (Texas). The main aim of the project is to understand the conditions and tendencies of access and appropriation of digital media by users and non-users, with a particular focus on families and groups which are more vulnerable to digital exclusion (elderly people, immigrants, ethnic and linguistic minorities). Together with this aim the project also includes advanced education in digital media, focusing on the training of graduate students through supervised research among those social groups. These two objectives came together in an interdisciplinary Seminar on Methods of Researching Media and Journalism (2009-10 and 2010-11) co-lectured by the authors of this paper, respectively from the Departments of Media Studies and Sociology. This article focuses on the process of research and teaching that was activated in the Seminar, how graduate students were prepared and supervised to conduct interviews with two members of the same family from different generations, how they were actively involved in the adaptation of the original questions, used at the University of Texas in Austin, into a narrative script focused on life stories and relationships with the media (see Annex), and in the sampling process of the interviewee families. The implications of using such a qualitative methodology and research-based learning for the students, as well as the other advantages and pitfalls found during this process, are discussed in detail.
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