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Computer conference, computer-mediated communication, Discourse analysis, NURSENET



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Computer-mediated communication (CMC) provides a new medium through which large numbers of nurses who might not have other opportunity can "meet" and exchange information and ideas. This article describes methodologic issues and presents findings arising from a case study, including a qualitative discourse analysis, of information exchange and discussion on the NURSENET list server. A 2-day sample of list discussions was analyzed using Fairclough's discourse analysis method, and a small number of subscribers were interviewed via electronic-mail. These methods, as opposed to purely quantitative ones, seem increasingly appropriate to the analysis of CMC. Findings from the study included an over-representation of males in discussions relative to their proportion of subscribers; an absence of the more antisocial on-line behavior (flaming) seen in many discussion lists; and some suggestion that CMC users challenge traditional nursing discourse. This article presents research findings previously available only on-line.