One way to accomplish an ethnography with fuzzy boundaries is to consider an approach of following people, ideas, narratives, conflicts, etc rather than a spatially oriented outlook. (Marcus, 1995). This emphasis on connectivity recalls my hypothesis that sociability — people connections! — are a hallmark of information seeking behavior in virtual worlds like SL.
However, in an ethnography, researchers do not have a priori hypotheses. One of the reasons I like the approach so much is because it allows the research to approach the subject matter stripped of assumptions and just see what is happening in a given culture-sharing community. What I’m finding, however, is that going in without any preconceptions is the hard part….but something to strive for.