Dr Christine Hine


Internet and Society
Analysing Media
Documentary Analysis and Online Research

PhD supervision. Applications are welcomed from potential PhD students with interests in online research or digital culture, or in Science and Technology Studies.

Contact Me

Phone: 01483 68 6986

Find me on campus
Room: 05 AD 03

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Journal articles

  • Hine C. (2012) 'Headlice eradication as everyday engagement with science: an analysis of online parenting discussions'. Sage Public Understanding of Science,


    This paper focuses on the way in which people deploy scientific knowledge alongside other resources in everyday interactions. In the UK headlice are common amongst schoolchildren, and treatment is viewed as a parental responsibility. Choice between treatment options lies with individual parents, with official guidance giving no clear steer. In the face of this combination of responsibility and uncertainty, users of an online parenting forum justify their actions using a variety of resources, including claims to scientific knowledge of both headlice and the action of various treatments, but also drawing on the authority of having direct experience, trust in brand-named products and generalised suspicion of “chemical” treatments. These discussions occasion expression of knowledge as part of portraying oneself as a responsible parent, and thus while they do not necessarily represent public knowledge about science more generally, they do offer a useful site to explore what people do with science.

  • Hine C. (2012) 'The emergent qualities of digital specimen images in biology'. Taylor & Francis Information, Communication and Society,


    Whilst digital technologies are often popularly portrayed as inherently different from their material counterparts, recent research has accentuated continuities between the two. Research on the material aspects of digital technologies has emphasised that both material and digital technologies are embedded in practice and acquire their meaning in context. This is particularly so in science, where research in science and technology studies has illuminated the contextual interpretation of representations and their contingent manifestation through embedding in specific sociotechnical configurations. The current paper explores how digital technologies are experienced in a specific field of science, biological systematics. Email accounts were solicited from biologists who have been working with digital images of the biological specimens conventionally used in work on the classification and naming of organisms. Thematic analysis of the interviews shows that qualities of digital images were highly contextual, often defined in dialogue with their material counterparts which are also defined in fluid and contextual fashion. Discussing the use of digital specimen images involved distinctions between different forms of work and different organisms being studied and referenced the varied institutional and geographic positioning of respondents. The introduction of digital images offered the possibility of new sociotechnical configurations emerging and to some extent realised the aspirations of digitization projects to enable new forms of distributed working. This was, however, a qualified success restricted to only some aspects of the systematists’ work.

  • Hine C. (2012) 'Tales from Facebook'. WILEY-BLACKWELL SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW, 60 (1), pp. 180-182.
  • Hine C. (2011) 'Towards ethnography of television on the internet: A mobile strategy for exploring mundane interpretive activities'. Sage Publications Media Culture Society, 33 (4), pp. 567-582.


    This article aims to expand on the currently popular practice of conducting ethnographic studies of individual online fan groups to find other ways of using the internet ethnographically for television studies. The example of the Antiques Roadshow is used to explore a strategy for ethnographic attention to the diversity of mundane engagements with a particular television text via the internet. The development of this strategy draws on recent thinking on the constitution of ethnographic field sites, focusing on conceptualization of the field as a made object, and development of multi-sited approaches as appropriate forms of engagement with contemporary culture. This strategy also builds on recent debates about the significance of ‘found’ digital data for social research. Potential problems with this approach include loss of depth and contextualizing information, and the risk of only focusing on that data which is easily found by dominant search engines. These problems can be offset to some extent by increased focus on reflexivity, and by allowing the field site to spill out beyond the internet as the ethnographer finds it necessary and useful in order to explore particular practices of meaning-making.

  • Hine C. (2010) 'Reviewed work(s): Sex Discrimination and Law Firm Culture on the Internet: Lawyers at the Information Age Watercooler. By Amanda K. Baumle. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Pp. x+197. Making Virtual Worlds: Linden Lab and Second Life. By Thomas M. Malaby. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2009. Pp. x+165. $24.95.'. University of Chicago Press American Journal of Sociology, 116 (2), pp. 719-721.
  • Hine C. (2010) 'Review of Nalita James and Hugh Busher, Online Interviewing. London: Sage, 2009.161 pp. ISBN 9781412945318 (hb) ISBN 9791412945325 (pbk)'. Sage Publications Ltd. Qualitative Research, 10 (4), pp. 502-504.
  • Hine C. (2007) 'Multi-sited ethnography as a middle range methodology for contemporary STS'. SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY & HUMAN VALUES, 32 (6), pp. 652-671.
  • Hine C. (2007) 'Connective ethnography for the exploration of e-science'. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12 (2), pp. 284-300.
  • Hine C. (2006) 'Databases as scientific instruments and their role in the ordering of scientific work'. SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD SOCIAL STUDIES OF SCIENCE, 36 (2), pp. 269-298.
  • Hine C. (2005) 'Internet research and the sociology of cyber-social-scientific knowledge'. TAYLOR & FRANCIS INC INFORMATION SOCIETY, 21 (4), pp. 239-248.
  • Hine C. (2004) 'Social research methods and the Internet: A thematic review'. SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH ONLINE, 9 (2)


  • Hine C, Snee H, Morey Y, Roberts S, Watson H. (2015) Digital Methods for Social Science: An Interdisciplinary Guide to Research Innovation. Palgrave Macmillan
    [ Status: Accepted ]
  • Hine C. (2015) Ethnography for the Internet: Embedded, Embodied and Everyday. London : Bloomsbury
  • Hine C. (2013) Virtual Research Methods (Four Volume Set). Sage Publications Limited
  • Hine C. (2012) The Internet. Understanding Qualitative Research.. Oxford University Press
  • Hine C. (2008) Systematics as cyberscience: Computers, Change, and Continuity in Science. Cambridge/London : The MIT Press


    The use of information and communication technology in scientific research has been hailed as the means to a new larger-scale, more efficient, and cost-effective science. But although scientists increasingly use computers in their work and institutions have made massive investments in technology, we still have little idea how computing affects the way scientists work and the kind of knowledge they produce. In Systematics as Cyberscience, Christine Hine explores these questions by examining the developing use of information and communication technology in one discipline, systematics (which focuses on the classification and naming of organisms and exploration of evolutionary relationships). Her sociological study of the ways that biologists working in this field have engaged with new technology is an account of how one of the oldest branches of science transformed itself into one of the newest and became a cyberscience. Combining an ethnographic approach with historical review and textual analysis, Hine investigates the emergence of a virtual culture in systematics and how that new culture is entwined with the field's existing practices and priorities. Hine examines the policy perspective on technological change, the material culture of systematics (and how the virtual culture aligns with it), communication practices with new technology, and the complex dynamics of change and continuity on the institutional level. New technologies have stimulated reflection on the future of systematics and prompted calls for radical transformation, but the outcomes are thoroughly rooted in the heritage of the discipline. Hine argues that to understand the impact of information and communication technology in science we need to take account of the many complex and conflicting pressures that contemporary scientists navigate. The results of technological developments are rarely unambiguous gains in efficiency, and are highly discipline-specific.

Book chapters

  • Hine C. (2012) 'The formation of conventions for Internet activities.'. in Brousseau E, Marzouki M, Meadel C, Méadel C (eds.) Governance, Regulation and Powers on the Internet Cambridge : Cambridge University Press Article number 12 , pp. 257-274.
  • Hine C. (2008) 'How can qualitative internet researchers define the boundaries of their projects?'. in Markham AN, Bayn NK (eds.) Internet inquiry: conversations about method Sage
  • Hine C. (2008) 'The internet and research methods'. in Gilbert N (ed.) Researching social life 3rd Edition. Sage
  • Hine C. (2008) 'Internet research as emergent practice'. in Leavy P, Hesse-Bibber S (eds.) Handbook of emergent methods Guilford Publications.
  • Hine C. (2008) 'Virtual ethnography'. in Given LM (ed.) Sage encyclopedia of qualitative research methods
  • Hine C. (2008) 'Overview: virtual ethnography: modes, varieties, affordances'. in Fielding NG, Lee RM, Blank G (eds.) Handbook of online research methods Sage

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