Abstract

This study is a netnography of an online gluten-free community through the scope of the Facebook group "Gluten Free." The objective of this qualitative inquiry is to investigate the key characteristics of this online gluten-free community and gain a deeper understanding of member purposes for participation. Employing the method of netnography allows for an unobtrusive exploration of the community by discreetly utilizing anthropological techniques in an online setting. Despite growing awareness, no academic research has yet been conducted on the social aspects of the online gluten-free community. The thematic findings that emerged from this study were two-fold. First, this investigation revealed three key characteristic themes in the content of community posts: suspiciousness and distrust, defensiveness and frustration, and passion and determination. Second, this analysis discovered three purposive themes for member participation: validation, friendship, and education. The findings of this study render a thick description of the unique culture of the online gluten-free community, sharpen the academic understanding of online communities, and strengthen the valuable method of netnography.

Degree

MA

College and Department

Fine Arts and Communications; Communications

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2014-06-05

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd6977

Keywords

gluten-free, netnography, online communities

Included in

Communication Commons

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