Netnography: Researching Online Populations

  • Stephanie T. JongEmail author
Reference work entry


This chapter explores the transition of netnography, a consumer marketing research method, to the field of health social science research. In contemporary society, the Internet has become an essential communication and information medium. Researchers are increasingly using the Internet as a research medium for participant recruitment and data collection. Netnography, an adaptation of ethnography, is primarily concerned with online communication as a source of data to form an understanding of a cultural phenomenon. It is through the use of this qualitative research method that holistic research about online cultures and communities can be conducted. In the provision of a common set of methodological procedures and protocols, netnography contributes to the debate of researching online populations, and innovation in appropriate settings. Using the example of a study related to fitness communities on social networking sites (SNSs), this chapter will identify key strengths, practical implications, and ethical considerations of netnography. Discussion focuses on netnography as a dynamic adaptation of a research method emerging in the field of health social sciences research.


Netnography Qualitative research Innovative methods Health research Social networking sites Online research 



I acknowledge the receipt of the Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia

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