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Netnography in a military context: Ethical considerations
chapterposted on 10.05.2021, 05:19 by Donna L Schuman, Donald L Schuman, Natalie Pope, Amy JohnsonAmy Johnson
As military communities have proven challenging to access and recruit for research, the study of online military networks has been steadily increasing in popularity. In contrast to the belief that online military communities are easily accessible, the study of online military populations is impacted by the unique culture of the military and the sensitivity of the population relating to the effects of service and cybersecurity concerns. This chapter suggests military netnography provides a useful framework for studying the digital interactions of military-connected communities due to a focus on culture, immersive engagement, and emphasis on ethical considerations. Despite the increasing array of online studies incorporating the military, a literature review reveals only six studies have used a netnographic approach, and few of these address ethical considerations. This chapter discusses ethical considerations in the context of the military and makes recommendations to support researchers in the field. The chapter demonstrates how researchers can meet the delicate balance of conducting important research on the online behaviors of this community while also showing appreciation for the heightened risks associated with it. In doing so, this chapter aims to encourage more researchers to adopt a military netnography method.