Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Current Issues in Tourism


Taylor & Francis


School of Business and Law




This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in CURRENT ISSUES IN TOURISM on 19/09/2022, available online:

MacCarthy, M. (2022). Nethnography, complementing netnography: A defensible praxis for the online researcher. Current Issues in Tourism. Advance online publication.


This article issues a challenge for interpretive tourism researchers to consider the trove of online data currently disavowed by aficionados of Netnography. Non-dyadic social media data is used by researchers but has been devalued as lacking legitimacy. However, by combining ‘lifeless’ non-dyadic social media with lesser-engaged ethnographic methods a lived proxy can be achieved. Nethnography is a two-part qualitative praxis of spending enough time with the phenomenon to discern meanings with confidence, which is then used to interpret non-dyadic textual discourse. Lesser-engaged ethnographic methods include participants as observers, observers as participants and complete observers. A fourth legitimizer of online interpretation are researchers or the cooperation of consultants who have previously immersed themselves in the phenomenon but were not researchers at the time. Sustainable advantages of Nethnography include (1) legitimizing [marginalized] non-dyadic secondary data. (2) Transferring researcher bias downstream. (3) Enhanced insight and subsequent truthfulness when analysing Big Data and, (4) Nethnography is less time-consuming than Netnography. It is not proposed that Nethnography competes with [traditional] Netnography, but instead intended to complement it as an alternate online qualitative research method of equivalent veracity.



Available for download on Tuesday, March 19, 2024