Postdigital ethnography in applied linguistics: Beyond the online and offline in language learning

Chaoran Wang, Suresh Canagarajah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We live in a postdigital world where traversing digital and in-person domains for teaching and learning is normalized, raising important methodological and ethical considerations for ethnographic approaches in language education. We define postdigital as a condition where the virtual and physical mediate each other to form hybrid spaces that transcend the online/offline distinction. We begin the article with theoretical discussions on the epistemological orientations that inform postdigital inquiry. Then we situate our language education research, discussing the value of ethnography for understanding hybrid spaces and identifying the challenges and limitations of existing ethnographic methodologies in addressing postdigital conditions. Following this, we illustrate ways to follow the chosen unit of analysis in postidigital ethnography through three case studies, specifically focusing on pedagogical activities. We also reflect on pedagogical insights from postdigital ethnography, sensitive ethical concerns involved in postdigital research, as well as considerations for addressing those ethical issues. We conclude the paper with practical suggestions for researchers on conducting postdigital ethnographies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100111
JournalResearch Methods in Applied Linguistics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Linguistics and Language

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