In 1998, I was a junior member of the marketing faculty at the Kellogg School of Management. I was fortunate to have had a chance to meet Russ Winer, who was then the editor of the Journal of Marketing Research, during a visit he made to the school. He made an interesting presentation, and we had a chance to sit down and talk about research. I told Russ the work I was doing on netnography, which at that time was merely three conference presentations and three papers in the ACR Proceedings. I was ambitious to do more with the work.
Russ suggested that I get it ready and submit it to JMR. I was happy to do so. It took me a while to get it ready.
This series of blog entries will take you from that initial submission, through each of the rounds of review, to the final printed article. This was a key article in my career, and in the development of the method of Internet ethnography that is called “netnography.”
I will offer my comments, observations, and some recollections about the process as I present this material. I want it all to be available. It is rare that students and other scholars get a detailed, uncensored look inside the review process. I think this example is a very illustrative one, because I was trying, as a young, new faculty member interested in events that are happening right now, in the present, to forge my own way and do something that I thought was innovative and pretty ground-breaking. I was taking risks. I was also very junior, with no accepted articles at that point. No reputation, no track record.
The response that the paper got is instructive.
Here is the first round.
This is the abstract for the paper I submitted to JMR in late 1999, a paper titled “The Field Behind the Screen: Using the Method of Netnography To Research Market-Oriented Virtual Communities.”
Computer-mediated communication (CMC) has fostered cybercultures and virtual communities, many of which are market-oriented in their focus. This article develops netnography as an online ethnographic technique for market research. Netnographic techniques are adapted to the social technomediation, open participation in social groups and accessibility of social information that characterize CMC. Netnography presents flexible guidelines for conducting online fieldwork that adaptively address central ethnographic concerns of cultural entrée, fieldnotes, trust and rapport, interviews, ethics, member checks and cultural exit as well as the representation of research.
You can find a full, complete copy of that initial submission here: Field_Behind_Initial_Submission.
In the next posting, I will share the reviews and editor’s letter with you.