Re-imagining Qualitative Research with Netnography

Social media research is still in an emergent stage of development. Big data approaches are common and traditional qualitative research rarely involves the interpersonal online interactions that are vital to contemporary social life. With deep background on method, and examples from a recent research project, we explain how netnography is being deployed to help brands and organizations understand and adapt to the age of COVID, influencers, and ubiquitous social media.


Robert V. Kozinets, University of Southern California (USA)
Robert V. Kozinets is an academic who has developed widely recognized qualitative social media research methods and theories. In 1995, he developed netnography, an application of ethnographic inquiry to social media networks. He has worked around the world with academic groups, non-profit organizations, governmental agencies, and companies such as Lowe’s, AMEX, Nissan, TD Bank, Campbell Soup, L’Oréal, Sony, Merck, and many others. Asking questions about technology, entertainment, utopia, and desire, his research pushes the envelope to a help bring a more empathic, cultural, moral, and interconnected understanding of the world we share. His theories and method transformed social media inquiry, and his research –over 100 articles and chapters as well as 6 books to date–have been cited over 30,000 times according to Google Scholar. His latest book, Netnography: The Essential Guide to Qualitative Social Media Research was published in 2020 by SAGE and his upcoming co-edited volume with Ross Gambetti Netnography Unlimited: Understanding Technoculture using Qualitative Social Media Research will be published by Routledge in 2021. He holds the Jayne and Hans Hufschmid Chair of Strategic Public Relations and Business Communication at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and Marshall School of Business.

Rossella Gambetti, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy)
Rossella Gambetti is Associate professor of Business Communication at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan (Italy), where she is member of the scientific committee of the Research Lab on Business Communication (LABCOM). She is an interpretive scholar, whose main research area is focused on the interplays between consumer culture and technology and how these are shaping consumption, sociality, communication and branding. Dr. Gambetti is Research Fellow of the Jayne and Hans Hufschmid Chair of Strategic Public Relations and Business Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism (University of Southern California, Los Angeles) and she is Business Development Director at Netnografica LLC. Dr. Gambetti has been visiting scholar at the University of Southern California (Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism); at the Northwestern University, Chicago (Medill School of Journalism); at the Michigan State University, East Lansing (MI) (Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Retailing); and at the Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo (Department of Marketing). After graduating, Dr. Gambetti received a Ph.D. in “Marketing and corporate communication” and a postgraduate master in “Qualitative research methods applied to social sciences and marketing”.