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Netnography: An Internet-Optimized Ethnographic Research Technique

Netnography: An Internet-Optimized Ethnographic Research Technique
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Author(s): Shirin Alavi (Jaypee Institute of Information Technology, India)
Copyright: 2015
Pages: 7
Source title: Market Research Methodologies: Multi-Method and Qualitative Approaches
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Amandeep Takhar-Lail (University of Bedfordshire, UK) and Ali Ghorbani (Payame Noor University, Iran)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6371-8.ch005


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This chapter seeks to impart understanding of Netnography as a new qualitative, interpretive research methodology that uses Internet-optimized ethnographic research techniques to study the online communities. As a method, Netnography is faster, simpler, and less expensive than ethnography, and more naturalistic and unobtrusive than focus groups or interviews. It provides information on the symbolism, meanings, and consumption patterns of online consumer groups. As a marketing research technique, Netnography uses the information publicly available in online forums to identify and understand the needs and decision influences of relevant online consumer groups. Compared to traditional and market-oriented ethnography, Netnography is far less time consuming and elaborate. Owing to the relevance of studying sensitive research topics, in particular when access to informants is difficult, Netnography can be applied in an analysis of cross-consumer online communication.

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