Digital Ethnography in Cybercrime Research: Some Notes from the Virtual Field

Nicholas Gibbs, Alexandra Hall*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


Ethnographers must now confront the multi-sited, digital and mobile nature of social, cultural and economic life. As a result, the use of digital ethnography, traditional ethnographic methods modified to interact with online communities and environments, has steadily increased in anthropology and the social sciences. Criminologists are beginning to make use of the approach in response to the increasing need to account for the complex digital features of contemporary forms of criminality, victimization, policing and punishment. In this chapter, we outline some selected details of our experiences as ethnographers conducting criminological research in virtual worlds. We cover key issues that range from practical challenges and ethical quandaries through analytical capabilities to epistemological issues in the hope our reflections go some way in helping budding digital ethnographers in criminology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearching Cybercrimes
Subtitle of host publicationMethodologies, Ethics, and Critical Approaches
EditorsAnita Lavorgna, Thomas J. Holt
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783030748371
ISBN (Print)9783030748364
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2021


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