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The Essential Guide to Qualitative Social Media Research

Third Edition
Additional resources:

November 2019 | 472 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Netnography is an adaptation of ethnography for the online world, pioneered by Robert Kozinets, and is concerned with the study of online cultures and communities as distinct social phenomena, rather than isolated content. In this landmark third edition, Netnography: The Essential Guide provides the theoretical and methodological groundwork as well as the practical applications, helping students both understand and do netnographic research projects of their own.

Packed with enhanced learning features throughout, linking concepts to structured activities in a step by step way, the book is also now accompanied by a striking new visual design and further case studies, offering the essential student resource to conducting online ethnographic research. Real world examples provided demonstrate netnography in practice across the social sciences, in media and cultural studies, anthropology, education, nursing, travel and tourism, and others.

Chapter 1: Introducing: Netnography, Qualitative Social Media Research Methods, and This Book
Chapter 2: A History of Social Media
Chapter 3: Media: Communicating and Connecting in the 21st Century
Chapter 4: Socialities: All the Ways We Connect
Chapter 5: Praxis: Introducing Practices and Data Operations
Chapter 6: Ethics: Procedures and Flowcharts, Updates and Rules
Chapter 7: Data: The Methodology of Netnographic Data Collection
Chapter 8: Investigating: Five Steps to Social Media Data Collection
Chapter 9: Interacting: Turning Connection and Communication into Research Data
Chapter 10: Immersing: Journaling and Organizing a Reflective Curation
Chapter 11: Integrating: Combining Telescopic and Microscopic Understandings
Chapter 12: Analyzing: Elemental Data Transformation Operations
Chapter 13: Interpreting: How to Discover and Make Meaning from Netnographic Data
Chapter 14: Communicating: Presenting and Publishing Your Netnography
Chapter 15: The Future of Netnography


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Netnography is a must-read for anyone engaged in or contemplating qualitative research on social media. Online behavior is at once a psychological, social, and technological phenomena, and qualitative approaches require both rigor and context, which Robert V. Kozinets offers in abundance. Both history and methodology are meticulously detailed in what ought to be a guidebook for social media researchers.

Howard Rheingold

If anyone had any doubt that this is the golden age for research, Rob Kozinets has made the case and provided the field guide that shows why this is so. Netnography is a fun locution for a big set of ideas about how to exploit new research methods to explore the biggest social, political and economic issues of our time.

Lee Rainie
Director of Internet and Technology Research, Pew Research Center

Robert Kozinets knows his stuff: over the past 25 years, he has almost single-handedly established netnography as a methodological framework for qualitative Internet research. This third edition of his essential guide to netnographic research practices provides a very welcome update to the framework, taking in even more of the complex and ever-changing landscape of current social media platforms and their uses, and offering a wealth of ideas for working with qualitative social media data. Whether they’re already calling themselves netnographers or have yet to discover the field, this book will inspire and enable many more researchers to investigate social media practices from a qualitative perspective.

Axel Bruns
The Queensland University of Technology

Netnography introduces researchers to the complex social system of people, spaces, and tool interactions existing in social media. Netnographic practices detail ways of understanding and engaging with communities considering the necessary ethics of digital qualitative research. The newest edition includes contemporary examples to support critical methodologies for understanding digital interactions. 

A. Nicole Pfannenstiel
Millersville University

This is a great detailed overview that goes very in-depth into netnography, but is still written accessibly enough for undergraduate students. I will also use parts of this for MA level teaching.

Dr Anna Feigenbaum
Media School, Bournemouth University
May 5, 2023

Although an excellent book, I felt that it is perhaps a little complex for third year design students. However, I will recommend for adoption for our MA courses

Mr Simon Jones
Graphic Design, Leeds College of Art
July 3, 2023

An excellent update text for all your digital research needs.

Mr Paul Edward Matthews
Gloucestershire Business School, Gloucestershire University
March 23, 2022

Informative and a nice read, my students will find this really helpful

Mrs Emma Harvey
Education, Suffolk New College
January 13, 2021

excellent introduction to the field

Dr Calum Neill
School of Health & Social Care , Edinburgh Napier University
September 23, 2020

For students to understand the qualitative method of netnography especially for the analysis of social media.

Mrs Maeve Ahern O'Neill
Business Faculty, Griffith College Dublin
November 28, 2019