Netnography involves studying online socialites and cultures to gain insights into emergent social phenomena. The method was developed by Professor Robert Kozinets in the 1990s as a way of understanding the techno-social dynamics of online spaces. Typically, netnography involves a combination of qualitative research methods, including immersion journaling, participant observation and interviews amongst others. Various interpretive approaches to data analysis can be used, including hermeneutic and thematic analysis.
Owing to the increasingly digital nature of social life, netnography is well established as a rigorous way to gain creative, deep, and cultural insights into a range of phenomena. Given that the data collected in a netnography is often spontaneous, indigenous, interactive, and naturally occurring, it offers fresh and often uncovered perspectives straight from a public of people, dwelling online.
Dr Rachel Ashman