Studying Social Media Communities: Blending Methods With Netnography

Abstract

In his work “Netnography Redefined,” Kozinets, highlights the massive growth of online communities, calling for new ways of conducting research online. This case explains an application of this approach providing a valuable methodological framework for contemporary Internet-based ethnographic research. This case example is derived from an empirical research study of the online communities of a UK football club. This involves the blend of the three qualitative research methods: interview, social network analysis (SNA), and online participant observation. Interviews and participant observation are usual features of ethnographic work but evolving digital tools and social media networks present new research opportunities. The application of netnography and blending of social network analysis therefore presents new opportunities for research. In this case, we describe the tools, techniques, and practicalities of applying netnography using blended methods in the digital age. This approach provides a complementary blend for those researchers wishing to study contemporary social media communities. The research approach makes an academic and practical contribution to digital marketing, Information Systems (IS) and sport business.

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