First, we used Google Trends to see how the online searches for the word “vegan” have grown in the last ten years (DEFINITION Google Trends, 2013). This data analyzing method creates a clear graph that shows how often a particular search-term is entered. We confirmed that “vegan” was a trend, particularly in 2015. Google Trends also gives the possibility to compare two search terms. We compared “vegan” and “vegetarian” and obteined interesting results.
Finally, Google Trends creates a map that told how popular are search terms in different countries. Vegan was more popular in The United States, Canada and Australia.
Before officially stablishing veganism as our research topic, we searched for hashtags such as, #vegan, #healthyvegan and #animalcruelty on social networks like Twitter and Instagram. We also find some vegan related pages on facebook.That helps us confirm that Veganism was a very popular topic on social media at that moment.
For our research we used a methodology called Netnography. With this method, we analyse data collected from certain online communities. Netnography is a good choice for our research topic, as vegan and vegetarians are very active online. Hundreds of vegan blogs can be found (Top 50 Vegan Blogs, 2014).
In order to collect data about the topic and answer our research question, we chose two communities; The vegan Subreddit on the social network Reddit, a very active community which counts with the participation of people all over the world; and the forum VeggieBoards, a community about veganism and vegetarianism, which will provide us with opinions from vegetarian individuals, which could also be useful for our research.
Inside these two communities, we analyzed recent threats and discussions, as well as comments and answers, looking for remarks that suggested why those participants decided to go vegan or vegetarian. We searched for specific keywords among the communities as, healthy, health, animal, animal cruelty, environment, society, animal rights, etc.