Summer 2020 Collaborative Research

Jeff Nichols
Jul 19, 2020 · 21 min read

Here at IMR we’re hoping that you have a chance to escape to the mountains during these incredibly challenging times. We’re very fortunate on that front here in Northern Utah.

Among the many things that are far more difficult is mountain research. But we’re pleased that two teams of researchers proposed important topics with innovative methodology. Please follow their progress.

Mountain Time and Beyond: Nepalese Family Stories — Prashanti Limbu and Xiumei Pu

This project aims to collect the stories of three generations of a Nepalese extended family with whom Prashanti Limbu has close connections. The origin of the family is in Lamitar, a mountain village in Ilam district of Province 1, Nepal. Now, they are dispersed in Lamitar, Dharan (a town in the plains of eastern Nepal), Barahachhetra (a town in eastern Nepal)​ ​and Tennessee (U.S.). The heart of the research is their complex relationship to mountain environments whether they still live or have left there. The research will center around their experiences and memories of living in the mountains, their struggles and hopes, aspirations, and sense of belonging in changing environments.

To collect stories, Limbu will interview her grandparents, mother, uncle, aunt, and cousin’s husband. All of them have confirmed to participate in the research. Her cousin who teaches in the village school in Mangsebung could be a potential interviewee as well. Limbu will conduct interviews either by phone or the internet from June 1 to July 31. She will record the interviews, or take notes when recording is not an option. Interviews will be conducted in either English or Nepalese (the national language of Nepal) which she will translate into English.

The following section, written in the first person voice of Limbu, details the biographical information of participants and selected tentative interview questions.

My grandparents live in Lamitar, a village in the Illam district of Province 1 in Nepal. The village lies in ward number 3 of the Mangsebung Village Development Committee (VDC) where the population is approximately seven thousand, with 70% of the population migrating to other countries​ ​as manual laborers. Although Lamitar is in the Ilam district where tea cultivation is commercialized, the village still practices subsistence farming. People in the village, including my grandparents, are mostly traditional farmers and herders. In my childhood, I often visited them and loved being in the village with my cousins who were in my same age group. I enjoyed time with my grandparents who were always very kind and patient to me and my sister. Having lived in the mountainous environment their whole life, my grandparents have inherited and developed a great amount of knowledge of the place, they have also experienced and witnessed many changes in their village. In my interview with them, I’m interested in knowing more about the history and culture of the village, their experiences of living in a mountain village, the ecological knowledge they have, their struggles and aspirations, and their hopes for their children and their home village. Below are some questions I plan to ask my grandparents:How did the village get its name? What does the name mean? Any story behind the naming?
●How was it like living with all the children around a place where there are cliffs everywhere? Did you fear for their safety?
● How did you provide for the family through subsistence farming? Was there enough manpower? What crops do you grow? How have you learned to farm?
● Besides farming and cattle rearing, what other opportunities were available for earning income?
● How was the relationship with your neighbors in terms of resources in commons?
● How were resources distributed among siblings in your family?
● How often do you leave the mountain area for town? For what purpose?
● What is a mountain story that you told to your children when they were young?
● What does your daily schedule look like?
● Over the years have you seen any changes in the weather pattern, or how hot or dry is it during the summer compared to when you were younger?
● How have travellers or pilgrims affected the environment of your village?
● What is the spiritual tradition in the village? Does it help to protect the environment?
● What is your spiritual belief? How has it shaped your lives?

My mother is the third daughter of my grandparents and the family’s first person who moved to Dharan for education. Dharan is a city where she completed her high school and where I was born. After graduation, she worked in small firms and later got married to my father. Her marriage was arranged by her relatives and not her parents who lived in the mountains. My mother helped my father establish their restaurant and took care of my sister and me while my father was busy with work. She was not able to be fully committed to her education because of her responsibility for household chores. I hope to interview her to know more about her lived experiences as a woman who has roots in a mountain village and whose life does not go as she would have hoped for.
My uncle and aunt are the younger siblings of my mother. My uncle is the one who has earned a college degree. He spent his childhood in the mountains, then he went to Dubai to work. After that, he came back to Nepal and went back to school. My aunt is the fourth daughter of my grandparents and my mother’s younger sister. Unlike my mother, she went to a school in the village that was built much later and was closer to home.

Questions for my mother, aunt and uncle:
● How did you feel about the mountains where you grew up?
● What was the best part about being in a mountain?
● How did you manage to balance going to school and doing household chores?
● How much did you miss the mountains when you left the village for opportunities
elsewhere?
● What mountain stories did you hear while growing up?
● Were you happier in the town with better facilities compared to the village?
● What do you miss about the village that you can never find in towns?
● Did you think the mountains have some significant value for people, or do you think they are more of an inconvenience?
● If you were given a second chance, would you still choose to move out of the village to live and work in town?

My cousin’s husband is from Bhutan and lived in Nepal as a refugee before he got married to my cousin. He lived in a refugee camp in Damak, Jhapa which was close to my mother’s village. He often visited the village and that was how he met my cousin. Later on, they moved to the US as a part of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) program. They now live in Tennessee. The Questions for my cousin’s husband include:
● Did you find any differences in culture, religion and people in Nepal and Bhutan?
● When and why did you move to Nepal and how was your life like in the refugee camp?
● What kind of mountain stories were popular in the camp that was close to the
mountains?
● Did you find the mountains in the camp different from those in your hometown in
Bhutan?
● How much do you miss the mountains in Nepal or Bhutan after you moved to the US?
● Do mountains represent home or what aspect of the mountain resembles home to you?
● Do you feel you belong in American culture? How did you find a sense of belonging?
Questions for my cousin who teaches in the village school and can offer a different perspective as a teacher:
● How much has the mountain culture changed in the process of modernization?
● Why did you feel you needed to come back to your village to teach?
● Are the roads to school more accessible nowadays?
● How do you perceive the mountains around you?
● Do you talk about mountains in your classes?

Mountain Time and Beyond: Nepalese Family Stories
(July 1 Report)

Prashanti Limbu w/h Xiumei Pu

The Research: What and Who

This research project is to collect the stories of three generations of a Nepalese extended family with whom I have close connections. The origin of the family is in Lamitar, a mountain village in Ilam district of Province 1, Nepal. Now, they(family and relatives) are dispersed in Lamitar, Dharan (a town in the plains of eastern Nepal), Barahachhetra (a town in eastern Nepal), and Tennessee (U.S.). The heart of the research is their complex relationship to mountain environments whether they still live or have left there. The research centers around their experiences and memories of living in the mountains, their struggles and hopes, aspirations, and sense of belonging in changing environments. The interviewees are my maternal grandparents, mother, uncle, aunt, and cousin’s husband.

My maternal grandparents are farmers and herders who live in a place called Lamitar, a small village located in Mangsebung Village Development Committee (VDC) of Nepal. Both of them have lived in the mid-hill or the mountainous area for their entire lives. They occasionally go to urban areas when needed. My mother is the third daughter of my grandparents and the family’s first person who moved to Dharan. She completed her high school education in Dharan and worked for a small firm for a while and got married to my father. My uncle is the second son and the sixth child of my grandparents. He is the one who has earned a college degree. He spent his childhood in the mountains, then he went to Dubai to work. After that, he came back to Nepal and went back to school. My aunt is the fourth daughter of my grandparents. Unlike my mother, she went to a school in the village that was built much later and was closer to home. She now lives in a small town called Barahachhetrai and is a stay at home mom with two children. My cousin’s husband is from Bhutan and lived in Nepal as a refugee before he got married to my cousin. He lived in a refugee camp in Damak, Jhapa which was close to my mother’s village. He often visited the village and that was how he met my cousin. Later on, they moved to the US as a part of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) program. They now live and work in Tennessee.

Progress (May 20-July 1)

So far I have completed interviews with my grandparents, mother, aunt, and uncle. Due to COVID-19, I wasn’t able to go back to Nepal to interview them in person, so, all the interviews were conducted remotely. For every interview, I made sure to get the consent of the interviewee before recording the conversation. Each week, Xiumei and I met in the Microsoft Teams to talk about my progress and the next steps. Prior to the interviews, Xiumei suggested that I look into the national, environmental, and clan histories to contextualize the personal stories of my extended family. In terms of national and environmental histories, I read sources on Land Reform, religious tolerance, social hierarchy, and ethnic minorities in Nepal.

The Land Reform took place in the 1950s when the Hindu Monarchs came in power again after the end of the Rana Regime. Before the Land Reform, the land was owned by landlords. The tenants labored for the landlords and had little rights. Land Reform improved the conditions of the farmers.

Religious tolerance was developed after Nepal became the Federal Democratic Republic in 2008 when the last Hindu Monarchy ended after years of movements and fights. In 1990, the first People’s Movement took place and established the Nepal Federation of Nationalities (later changed to Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities). A second People’s Movement took place in 2006 when people protested against the Hindu Monarchy. From 1999 to 2006 there was the Civil War that was led by Maoists (also called the communist group) and other political parties and supported by ethnic minorities. In the new Republic, secularism brought religious tolerance that gave a chance for the ethnic minorities, who were suppressed by the Hindu Monarchs for a long time, to elevate their social status. However, social hierarchy does not go away with the end of the Hindu Monarchy because of the residues of the caste system.

My family belongs to the Limbu Clan which is one of the ethnic minorities in Nepal. In my research, I mainly focused on the history of the Limbu clan’s integration into the Nepalese society. Dr. TB Subba’s article “Limbu Nationalism and Integration” gives insights into my clan history, particularly how the Hindu culture in Nepal influences the Limbu clan. For instance, the Limbu god “Tagera Nyingmaphuma” is personalized as Shiva, a Hindu deity with the influence of Hinduism. Despite the differences in the two cultures, both gods are seen as one in the Nepalese and Limbu communities. Historically, the Limbu clan has a strong spiritual connection with the natural environment around them. The Limbu reverence for the natural environment resonates with the Nepalese national value that states “Healthy Green forests are the wealth of Nepal.” However, with the influence of other religions like Hinduism, the Limbu beliefs have significantly decreased among the Limbu people.

Based on the textual research, Xiumei and I added new questions to the list of initial interview questions we compiled prior to the research. The original questions are mostly open-ended questions about the interviewees’ experiences and memories of living in the mountains. The new set of questions asking them how the national policies and historical events affect their daily lives and their relationship with the mountain environment.

Summaries of completed interviews

My first interview was with my mother. She told me that the Land Reform did not affect her family much because they only had small plots of land where the family worked with the help of relatives and neighbors. However, my father’s family was affected by Land Reform policies. Both my paternal grandparents including my father had to give some portion of their land to the farmers who work their crop fields. My mother remembers that her life in the mountain village was difficult and she had to attend a school that is over an hour’s walk. She lived in the village for 12 years before moving to Dharan to go to a school close to where she lived. To my mother, mountains are difficult terrains but she enjoyed her life in the mountains where she grew up eating fresh and organic food which is not easily found in towns and cities.

Similarly, my aunt and uncle shared with me that mountains give them feelings of happiness, sadness, and a sense of belonging at the same time. In their eyes, mountains are their home no matter what. My aunt and uncle stayed in their village for a longer period than my mother did and this gave them time to explore the mountains where they foraged for wild mushrooms, firewood, and grass. Both of them agreed that mountain life is difficult, especially when they had to juggle household chores and school. But still, the mountain is their home because it is where their parents and other family members live. My uncle, as a son with a college degree, thinks it is his responsibility to help his siblings and provide consultation on business ideas that have finally made their way to their small village in a rural part of Nepal.

Almost all the children of my maternal grandparents moved out of the village to live in towns or cities, but my grandparents have lived their entire lives in the mountains. Although they experienced hardships, both of them consider the mountain as their home. Twelve generations of my grandfather’s family have lived in Mangsebung VDC. Mangsebung translates to a place chosen by god. Lamitar, a village in Mangsebung, where they live now translates to a place chosen by Lamas or monks. My grandparents saw both positive and negative changes in the village as their children grew older.

From my grandparents, I got conflicting information about the Civil War and the uprising of the Maoist group in Nepal. My grandfather said that Limbu people supported the Maoist as they were defending their clan and their heritage against the Hindu Monarchs. My grandmother had a different perception of Maoists. She heard that they killed villagers in a nearby village, ate their crops and vegetables, and caused fear and distress among the villagers. They also have contradicting views on the resources of the commons. My grandmother said that neighbors fought and stole each other’s firewood and grass. She was very upset that there used to be an abundant amount of trees and animals and now they are nowhere to be found. But my grandfather told me that resources were evenly distributed and he did not mention the disappearance of trees and animals.

In my interview with my grandparents, I realized how gender difference influences their experiences. My grandmother did not get any land or property from her parents when she was married, but my grandfather got a good share of the property from his family. While my grandfather traveled to the District offices for official matters, my grandmother was never involved in such matters, instead, she was busy taking care of children and household chores. She knew little about the politics and nationalism and integration of the Limbu people. I knew there was and still is gender division in labor in Nepal, but it became even more apparent to me when my grandmother stated all she knew was to prepare “Bhat and Tarkari” (rice and curry).

Even though my grandparents gave different opinions on the same matter, both of them have grown to love their village and are happy to see modern infrastructure (tap water, electricity, roads) there. They love their home, the mountains where they were born and raised. Like my grandparents, my mother, aunt, and uncle all love the mountains and they all refer to mountains (Pahad) as their home (Ghar).

Next Steps

In July, I will conduct an interview with my cousin’s husband who lives in Tennessee. As I did in the previous interviews, I will ask about his personal experience living in and around mountains in order to better understand how his life is influenced by living in the mountains and the connection he has developed with the mountains over time. I will also ask questions about the links between my textual research findings and his lived experiences to show how the broader social contexts such as class hierarchy affect his experiences. When I complete the last interview, I will write a final report that includes a summary of the interviews, the transcriptions of selected questions and answers from the recorded interviews, and my reflections on the research experience. The end product will be a podcast episode for the Mountains and Stories series.

_______________________________________

№2: Leandra Hernandez, Jennifer Hylwa, and Kellie Gerbers

Pandemic Shaming: An Analysis of Facebook Comments in Outdoor Activity Communities During the First Month of the Covid-19 Pandemic

Primary investigator: Kellie Gerbers, Ph.D.
Student researcher: Jennifer Hylwa

Introduction

Communities have used outdoor recreation activities as social outlets for thousands of years, as evidenced by pre-Columbian mesoamerican ball games and water-jousting matches of ancient Egypt (Blomster, & Chávez, 2020; Mark, 2017). In addition to contributing to physical and social wellbeing, outdoor recreation activities create platforms for communities to engage in larger discussions related to politics, culture, and social change (see Mechikoff, 2006). While modern outdoor recreation shares many social and community-oriented characteristics with earlier forms of recreation, the means by which people can connect to discipline-specific outdoor communities has changed greatly in the last two decades, due largely in part to the proliferation of online social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Meet-Up, etc. Since the creation of Facebook Groups in 2006, individuals can join activity- or region-specific groups to network, share ideas, organize outings, and discuss current issues. In 2019, more than 400 million people were part of a Facebook Group, up from 100 million in 2017 (Rodriguez, 2020). Facebook group interests range from “SPAM Lovers Around the World” (92 members) to “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” (over 17,000 members) (Facebook, 2020).

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges and uncertainties to the recreation industry in the United States. Popular destinations such as national parks and ski resorts are closed indefinitely, the 2020 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Expo was canceled; guiding contracts for hundreds of outdoor instructors (NOLS guides, for example) were terminated due to a canceled summer season, and academic faculty found themselves confronted with the new challenge of converting field-based outdoor courses into an online format.

As of April 2020, the United States federal government has not issued a nationwide stay-at-home mandate, instead allowing states to determine courses of action individually. With individuals working from home (or out of work entirely), school closures, and shops and restaurants shut down, many individuals and families are turning to outdoor recreation activities as a means of staying healthy while practicing social distancing. Nevertheless, the guidelines by which people have been directed to recreate (or not) safely are murky at best.

In March 2020, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt waived entrance fees to some national parks, effectively encouraging use, while other national and state parks closed operations completely in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus (NPS Communications, 2020). Some state authorities encouraged safe social distancing through walking, hiking, and bike riding, but many recreationalists continue to ignore — either unintentionally or willfully — the recommendations to do these activities alone. Without clear, definitive guidance in place, climbing sites in popular destinations such as Moab, UT continue to see crowds, despite recommendations from Climbing Magazine and the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance to “empty the crags” to avoid risk of injury, unnecessary strain on small rural towns, and continuing to spread the virus (Corrigan, 2020; Geisler, 2020). USA Cycling suspended the 2020 racing season and recommended that all sanctioned cycling competitions be cancelled or postponed (USA Cycling, 2020); however, in Utah, the Utah Crit Series organizers encouraged cyclists to still participate in “The Social Distancing Series: A series of Thursday Time Trials and Hill Climbs that brings racing together but keeps us six feet apart” (Utah Crit Series Facebook Page, 2020). When most ski resorts completely closed operations several months earlier than anticipated, more skiers entered the backcountry — many of which who were new or less experienced in backcountry terrain — resulting in 34 human-triggered avalanches in Colorado between March 20 — March 26, 2020 (Meyer, 2020).

Understandably, recreationalists have turned to social media to crowdsource advice and seek or offer support during an uncertain and lonely time. As social distancing prohibits — or strongly discourages, for states without a stay-at-home mandate — group outings, virtual communities provide spaces for users to still feel connected to others while recreating alone. Yet another byproduct of COVID-19 pandemic is what Tait (2020) refers to as “pandemic shaming,” a form of online public shaming in which people “name, blame, and shame others” for improper pandemic practices. For example, a backcountry skier may post to a Facebook group asking for advice on which area to ski and request a partner for the weekend; the user’s post may be met with judgement, vitriol, and condemnation from other Facebook group members if that behavior is considered out-of-line with industry recommendations to avoid backcountry skiing during the pandemic.
Without legal mandates or clear directives, the decision to recreate outside responsibly becomes a question of ethics. Some recreationalists knowingly act in opposition of local, state, or national recommendations, feeling justified in their decisions or behaviors (i.e. “I’m young and healthy, so I won’t be impacted;” “This is the best season to be climbing outside — and it’s great that there aren’t any other people around;” “This entire shutdown is a government conspiracy,” etc.). Others unknowingly go against recommendations simply because they are uninformed; based on their level of connection with the activity or the community, they have not yet gained access to industry-specific directives or lack mentors who could assist in their decision making processes. Further complicating the matter is that recreationalists are receiving mixed messages from authorities, exemplified by the NPS decision to waive entry fees for some national parks while closing others. When recreationalists make their intentions known publicly through social media, they open themselves up to a barrage of commentary, raising the question as to whether this public shaming has an influence on these recreationalists’ behaviors.

Purpose of the Study

As a tool for creating desired behavioral change, the power of public shaming may be limited or ineffective on an individual level, but Tait (2020) notes that it can potentially adjust cultural norms. The purpose of the study is to explore the frequency and nature of public shaming within online outdoor recreation communities during the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic, officially declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020 (Chappell, 2020). The primary research questions are as follows:

- How does public shaming present in online outdoor communities?
- To what extent do members of online outdoor communities engage in public shaming?
- Does evidence support a connection between public shaming and a change in a member’s attitude or behavior?
Significance of the Study

Given the potentially severe consequences of public shaming (social isolation, shame, loss of reputation, loss of income, self-harm), the outdoor community needs to consider if public shaming is the best approach for creating behavioral change and/or adjusting cultural norms. During the COVID-19 pandemic, lives are literally at stake based on individual actions and behaviors, so some advocates for public shaming might argue that the ends justify the means. The results of this study may provide key insights into the nature and consequences of public shaming within the outdoor community, so that outdoor leaders, mentors, and recreationalists can consider the best course of action when engaging with other community members on controversial issues.

Methodology

Overview

Pending IRB approval, the research team will conduct a content analysis of Facebook group member posts in a 30-day period (March 11- April 11, 2020) in three online outdoor communities located in the Intermountain West. Content analysis is the “systematic assignment of communication content to categories according to rules and the analysis of relationships involving those categories using statistical methods” (Riffe et al, 2005, p. 23). Content analysis is a process that is both systematic and replicable, the result of which allows researchers to either describe the content or to create inferences about meaning. Specifically, Riffe et al (2005) note that content analysts may make inferences about the consequences of consumption or production of content, as is the case for this study (p. 35).

Sample

Given that the purpose of the Institute for Mountain Research (IMR) is to explore “cultural, economic, scientific and political facets of mountain landscapes and the people who live in them,” the proposed sample for this study focuses on individuals who live and recreate in a geographic area supported by the work of the IMR — namely, the Intermountain West. While the selected Facebook groups represent different outdoor disciplines (climbing, backcountry touring, mountain biking), all of these online communities share similar characteristics:

  • Housed in same geographic region (Intermountain West)
    - More than 4,000 members (largest is over 13,000)
    - More than 5 years old (newest established in 2016; oldest established in 2007)
    - Highly active (multiple members post on the group each day)
    - Private (must request access to join)
    - Visible (anyone can search for the group)
    - At least two moderators; two of the three groups have established rules defined by moderators

Data Collection and Analysis

For each Facebook Group, all member posts (and subsequent replies) posted between March 11 — April 11, 2020 will be downloaded into separate databases for analysis using both deductive and inductive strategies. Deductive coding will allow the research team to set predetermined categories (codes) to facilitate data analysis. These codes may refer to subject matter (i.e. equipment recommendations) or type of post (i.e. initial post, reply, etc.). Using an inductive approach, the research team will allow themes (codes) to emerge directly from a close reading of the data. These initial themes will eventually be refined into codes and sub-codes until the most important categories have been identified and the data has been coded accordingly. Researchers will examine data with similar codes to determine what (if any) overarching patterns of thought or behavior emerge. Data will be stored and coded using Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS), specifically, NVivo 12 for Mac.

Content Analysis and Human Subjects

An advantage of qualitative content analysis is that it creates separation between the message and the content creator; analysis is unobtrusive and non-reactive. Researchers can describe content or draw inferences about the content’s meaning without having to gain access to the communicators (Riffe et al 2005). To protect the identities of Facebook group members, when data is entered into the databases for analysis, individual users and individual posts will receive unique numeric identifiers, so the source of each message will remain anonymous.

References

Blomster, J. P., & Chávez, V. E. S. (2020). Origins of the Mesoamerican ballgame: Earliest
ballcourt from the highlands found at Etlatongo, Oaxaca, Mexico. Science Advances, 6(11), eaay6964.
Chappell, B. (11 March 2020). Coronavirus: COVID-19 Is Now Officially A Pandemic, WHO
Says. National Public Radio. Accessed 13 April from https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/11/814474930/coronavirus-covid-19-is-now-officially-a-pandemic-who-says
Corrigan, K. (17 March 2020). Is it OK to climb outside during the coronavirus epidemic?
Climbing Magazine. Accessed 12 April 2020 from https://www.climbing.com/news/is-it-ok-to-climb-outside-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/
Geisler, J. (19 March 2020). Show your love — empty the crags. Salt Lake Climbers Alliance.
Accessed 12 April 2020 from https://www.saltlakeclimbers.org/news/2020/3/19/show-your-love-empty-the-crags
Mark, J. J. (2017, April 11). Games, Sports & Recreation in Ancient Egypt. Ancient History
Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/article/1036
Mechikoff, R. A. (2006). A History and Philosophy of Sport and Physical Education: From
Ancient Civilizations to the Modern World. Mcgraw-Hill.
Meyer, J. (26 March 2020). Human-triggered avalanches rise as more people go into
backcountry to exercise. The Denver Post. Accessed 12 April 2020 from https://theknow.denverpost.com/2020/03/26/backcountry-avalanches-rise-colorado-coronavirus/236182/
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Facebook Group (2020). Facebook. Accessed 10 April from
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MLPAdmins/.
NPS News Media (18 March 2020). National Park Service to Temporarily Suspend Park
Entrance Fees. NPS.Gov. Accessed 12 April 2020 from https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1207/national-park-service-to-temporarily-suspend-park-entrance-fees.htm
Riffe, D., Lacy, S., and Fico, F.G. (2005) Analyzing Media Messages: Using Quantitative
Content Analysis in Research, 2nd ed. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum
Rodriguez, S. (2020, February 16). Mark Zuckerberg shifted Facebook’s focus to groups after
the 2016 election, and it’s changed how people use the site. CNBC. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/16/zuckerbergs-focus-on-facebook-groups-increases-facebook-engagement.html)
Tait, A. (4 April 2020). Pandemic shaming: Is it helping us keep our distance? The Guardian.
Accessed 12 April 2020 from https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/apr/04/pandemic-shaming-is-it-helping-us-keep-our-distance

Re: IMR Report 1

Submitted by: Kellie Gerbers, Leandra Hernandez, Jennifer Hylwa

The research team submitted IRB paperwork on 6/4 and was approved (“exempt” status) the following day. After receiving IRB approval, we began to collect data from one of the selected Facebook Groups as a pilot.

We have learned through this process that Facebook makes it exceedly difficult to pull data chronologically; through trial and error, we have developed a system for pulling data that will hopefully be efficient and streamline our coding processes.

As we collect data, we are creating initial codes which will be further refined upon a second, closer analysis of the data. We are also discovering limitations (i.e. the potential for administrators to have removed certain posts if they deem the posts “too offensive”).

Data collection and analysis is moving ahead slower than anticipated — the goal was/is to have all data coded and analyzed by July 15th, which seems somewhat ambitious (although not impossible) at this stage.

Overall, things are still moving forward, albeit a little slower than anticipated. The research team is also evaluating cultural considerations as we interpret data, consider our own biases, etc.

Current status: data collection / initial coding

Next steps: Refine codes / analyze data

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