Auto-­netnography: First encounters as a netnographer in Minecraft

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Australia and New Zealand Communication Association

Place of Publication

New Zealand


School of Arts and Humanities




Donkin, A. (2017). Auto-­netnography: First encounters as a netnographer in Minecraft. In ANZCA Conference Proceedings. Auckland, NZ: ANZCA.


While entrepreneurship education is widespread, the extent of the benefits that it provides is not yet fully understood. With a wealth of research available, the results have been mixed and in some cases conflicting. This paper employs a comparative approach in examining the effects of entrepreneurship education over time on two cohorts (undergraduates in a university entrepreneurship course, and students in a professional entrepreneurship program). Participants in the professional entrepreneurship education program were found to utilize a range of skills to a higher degree than undergraduates. The findings indicated that short term effects of entrepreneurship education programs persist into the future. Research also indicated a strong correlation between skill use and entrepreneurial self-efficacy which in turn increases entrepreneurial intent. Keywords: entrepreneurship, entrepreneurialThis article utilises the method of auto-netnography to reflect on the challenges that the author, a netnographer, overcame in order to enter the research field of Minecraft. Netnography uses observation and participation techniques to investigate online social and cultural groups. When entering the field in the netnographic research process, auto-netnography is an important reflexive process that can add depth and perspective to the analysis of collected data and experiences. The author is currently researching the use of virtual worlds by Australian children aged from five to twelve years. In the early data-collection stage, the author used the method of netnography to better understand child participants’ online game activities. Researchers of children’s virtual game worlds do not always have the opportunity to conduct netnography with their participants, and do not experience these worlds for themselves. The author’s ability to fully immerse herself within virtual worlds was constrained by tight ethical requirements; however, many valuable insights were gained from conducting the netnography. The author discusses two experiences encountered in Minecraft and explains the insights that were gained from conducting the netnography. These personal experiences provide vital interpretive data that are analysed to gain a deeper understanding of the social and cultural practices that are central to these experiences. The challenges the author had to overcome to enter Minecraft and develop new game skills are also described. This article concludes that auto-netnography assists the critical analysis of a netnographer’s experiences, and the value learning, entrepreneurship research, entrepreneur.

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