|dc.description.abstract||The aim of this work is to investigate, from a methodological point of view, the netnographic
approach, highlighting opportunities and limits of its use for social research.
After explaining the reasons why social researchers need to develop an innovative and specific
approach in order to study communications and interactions that occur through the Internet, the
work provides a definition of netnography identifying its distinctive features and its main areas of
Subsequently, the work describes the origins of netnography, highlighting similarities and
differences with traditional ethnography.
The central chapters of the thesis are aimed at presenting the different steps for conducting a
netnographic research, from the definition of the research aim and questions to the editing of the
final research report. Within these chapters, the main methodological issues related to netnography
are presented, underlining the importance of redefining some fundamental concepts of ethnographic
research (such as travel, field, data collection and observation).
The work is focused, in particular, on the issues of researcher's presentation, examining the
possibility of conducting a fully covered research (lurking) and highlighting advantages and
limitations of this option. Moreover, the concept of participation is analysed in depth, illustrating
the different degrees and forms that it can assume during a netnographic investigation.
An entire chapter of the thesis is focused on the criteria for assessing the trustworthiness of research
(conformity, congruence) and on the issue of generalizing results.
In the final part of the work, two empirical research based on netnography are shown. These two
case studies provide concrete examples of application of the methodological issues outlined in the
previous chapters. [edited by author]||it_IT