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Accepted Paper:

Netnography as a Research Tool During the Pandemic: Evidence from a Study on Women’s Social Media Activism in Bangladesh  
Arunima Kishore Das (Western Sydney University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper not only explores the use of netnography to study Bangladeshi women’s social media activism in a pre-COVID context but analysing the challenges and ethical dilemmas in the research; it also offers ways to mitigate them and states the importance of netnographic research during the pandemic

Paper long abstract:

This paper sheds light on the utilisation of a netnography approach in a PhD research fieldwork in 2018 that aimed to examine Bangladeshi women commuters’ Facebook-based interventions to reduce sexual harassment on public transport in Dhaka city. ‘Netnography’ is a form of digital ethnography that uses ethnographic methods to study online communities and enables the researcher to redefine traditional ethnographic concepts such as field site, participant observation and field notes and adapt them differently for the online space (James & Busher 2009; Kozinets 2010; Bridges 2016; Stewart 2017). This paper explains how the study in discussion although initially aimed to use netnographic Facebook Messenger conversation as a primary research tool to gather data failed in its objective due to firstly, the participants’ lack of access to adequate internet facilities and secondly, their reluctance to participate in fear of their anonymity being compromised on Facebook. Hence, a netnography approach was used in this research as an entry point in which a netnographic observation technique was used to shortlist two Facebook initiatives and select research participants, and a netnographic Facebook Messenger conversation approach was employed to build the primary rapport with participants to invite them to face-to-face interviews. Finally, while reflecting on the ways in which the above-mentioned research process mitigates the ethical dilemmas associated with participant selection, informed consent, and data access in the pre-COVID context, this paper also depicts the possibilities of netnography as a key data collection tool to be used in research during the COVID-19

Panel P07b
How can remote research methods contribute to field research in the developing world? Producing development knowledge from a distance II
  Session 1 Thursday 1 July, 2021, -