In order to look for and choose two online communities for our research, we used these search words and keywords: Vegan, veganism, receipts, healthy, lifestyle, vegan chat, vegan trend, vegan cooking, healthy vegan, no animal products, vegan lifestyle, vegan communities, activism, vegan kids, why vegan, vegan reasons, animal cruelty, strict vegetarianism. Additionally, we worked with some search queries such as vegan activism, how to be a vegan, vegan animal cruelty, vegan forums, vegan online communities, vegan healthy lifestyle, advice for vegans, advice for vegans, easy cooking for vegans, how to be vegan and vegans around the world.
We were searching for communities such as, blogs, forums, and facebook pages. While we found blogs and facebook pages quite inactive regarding comments and participation, forums and sites like Reddit were more active and full of new threads and comments. We came across with two online communities that could provide us with the needed data to answer our research question “Why do people decide to go vegan, environmental issues, political/ethical views (animal rights) or health?”.
One of these communities was the Vegan subreddit. It’s a community about veganism, so every threat is related to the topic. Moreover, we can find categories such as “environment”, “health” and “activism” that are directly related with our research question.
It’s a very active website with a lot of participants; new threats are created almost every hour. For example, the 28th of Frebruary 2016 90 threads were created and 62 the 26th. Most of the posts get 5-25 comments, and usually there is at least one post per day that receives more than 100 replies.
As it’s a general subreddit, people of all over the world contribute to the community, providing a great range of opinions and statements. Some countries have their own vegan subreddit (Australia, UK, Canada, The Netherlands), but they are not as active as the general one.
Veggieboards is the other useful community that we found . It’s a forum for vegetarian and vegan people. There are separate subforums for vegans and vegetarians, as well as an “activism” and “environment” subforums. It’s not as active as the vegan sureddit, but still new threads are created every day. The community also has a not very active facebook page in which they share receipts and inspiring quotes. Although our research topic is “vegans”, analyzing opinions among vegetarians could also be useful for answering our research question, as reasons to go vegetarian may be similar to reasons to go vegan.
– veggieboard screncaps that prove that is a useful community for aur research –
Our role as nethnographers was active observer. Our purpose was to research vegan communities and understand their behavior, practices and beliefs while we actively participate creating posts and interacting with other participants. We did this in order to understand why people, particularly those who participate in these two communities, decided to become vegans.
In order to carry out our research, we needed to be accepted in the vegan community by indentifying ourselves and informing about the research. We created a post on Veggiboards so we could get real experiences and more specific data for our research.
– Screencaps from our post –
Besides, we immersed ourselves into this vegan communities to get better understanding about their decision of becoming vegans. The main reasons are environmental issues, political or ethical views (animal rights) and health. By exploring different communities, we could achieve a stronger understanding of vegans and access a larger range of opinions. We observed and analyzed recent threads, comments and posts to find statements, words, and expressions that suggested why did they become vegan. We read every post from the 17th of february to