"Virtual togetherness: an everyday-life perspective." Media, Culture and Society 25:3 pg's 291-313.
The problem that is being explored in this article is the effect of "virtual communities" on the internet and the way they allow people to privatize experiences that otherwise would have been public. I think it is an example of explanatory research because the author tries to explain why these communities exist. She tries to explain why these communities affect private and public experience and interest, and how "virtual communities" is not necessarily the best terminology making this explanation.
The existing literature is limited because most of it doesn't connect people's online experience with their daily life functions, which is a big part of the public vs private interest as stated above. However these previous studies seem to show that the real and virtual identity of people is delicate, and the internet allows people to conduct their socialization within their home without the same pressures or values that come with the non-virtual world.
The main concept of this material is the use of the term "virtual communities" in studies on online internet use. The authors argument, and supposed hypothesis, is that the use of the word community is not accurate because the activities and actions being used by these people online is not always community-like, and she offers instead the terminology "virtual togetherness." The main concepts were the history of the word community and its application to online communication, the relationship between consumption and community, and the relationship between privatization and the internet and its effect on the public. The independent variables in this case are level of internet use, amount of non-internet socialization, and the changing definition of the word community. The dependent variables are the strength of the ties between the user and those they communicate with online, the strength of the ties between the user and their friends and family not communicated with online, and the changing of what is a appropriate definition of what makes makes a community online.