Digital Ethnography in Third Sector Research

Ayelet Oreg, Deby Babis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Ethnographies involve the exploration of social phenomena in the field, typically for an extended period of time. Traditionally, ethnographers listen to, observe, and directly communicate with the subjects of their research. At its essence, ethnography is about storytelling, and the data are collected through human interaction. With the development of new technologies, and with the plethora of social media platforms, the manner in which many stories are told has become significantly more varied. Accordingly, digital ethnography has emerged as a new approach to conducting ethnographies. In the present study, we focus specifically on the use of digital ethnographies in third sector studies. Building on our own experience using digital ethnography, collecting data from Facebook pages and groups, blogs, and websites of nonprofit organizations and individual volunteers and donors, we describe two different ways of conducting digital ethnography: One, at the micro-level, explores human milk donations to nonprofit milk banks. The second, at the meso-level, explores a community of migrant workers. We aim to outline the potential, limitations, and ethical considerations of this methodology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-19
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, International Society for Third-Sector Research.


  • Digital ethnography
  • Human milk
  • Migrant workers
  • Social media
  • Third sector


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