Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter April 7, 2015

New media, NGOs and civic engagement: Qualitative research in the borderland between the “offline” and “online” worlds

Magda Petrjánošová and Barbara Lášticová
From the journal Human Affairs


The paper addresses the question of how to explore Slovak NGO use of new media to foster civic engagement. We argue that it is not possible to focus solely on the NGOs’ online communication; that would make sense only in the context of the overall communication. Hence, this paper deals with the borderlands between online and offline communication. It focuses on five main theoretical and methodological challenges: the fact that the existing body of research focuses on peak periods of public unrest, the predominance of an etic perspective, the predominance of quantitative studies, the blending of activities done on- and offline, and the complex, changing nature of the object of research. We sketch out several analytical strategies, focusing on qualitative approach and emic perspective


Ahmed, A. (2012). Using digital marketing to boost NGOs/ Non-profits’ visibility - A test case. [7/3/2015], New Delhi: WWF India.Search in Google Scholar

Auger, G.A. (2013). Fostering democracy through social media: Evaluating diametrically opposed nonprofit advocacy organizations’ use of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Public Relations Review, 39, 369-376.10.1016/j.pubrev.2013.07.013Search in Google Scholar

Avci, N. (2014). Social media use for politics: An in depth analysis of young people’s experiences. Paper presented at the ISPP Annual Scientific Meeting Ideologies and Ideological Conflict: The Political Psychology of Belief Systems. Rome, 4-7 July 2014.Search in Google Scholar

Barefoot, D. (2012). How NGOs win with facebook better engagement in five easy lessons. [4/12/ 2014] Search in Google Scholar

Bee, C., & Chrona, S. (2014). Enhancing new forms of active citizenship via social media platforms: The case of Gezi Park movement in Turkey. Paper presented at the ISPP Annual Scientific Meeting Ideologies and Ideological Conflict: The Political Psychology of Belief Systems. Rome, 4-7 July 2014.Search in Google Scholar

Billig, M. (1995). Banal nationalism. London: Sage.Search in Google Scholar

Horst, H. A., & Miller, D. (2012). Digital anthropology. London - New York: Berg.Search in Google Scholar

Kozinets, R. (2010). Netnography. Doing ethnographic research online. New York: Sage.Search in Google Scholar

Lášticová, B. (2014). New media, social capital and transnational migration: Slovaks in the UK. Human Affairs: Postdisciplinary Humanities and Social Sciences Quarterly, 24, 406-422.10.2478/s13374-014-0237-6Search in Google Scholar

Lovejoy, K., Waters, R. D., & Saxton, G.D. (2012). Engaging stakeholders through Twitter: How nonprofit organizations are getting more out of 140 characters or less. Public Relations Review, 38, 313-318.10.1016/j.pubrev.2012.01.005Search in Google Scholar

McGarty, C., Thomas, E. F., Lala, G., Smith, L. G. E., & Bliuc, A. M. (2014). New technologies, new identities, and the growth of mass opposition in the Arab spring. Political Psychology, 35, 725-740.10.1111/pops.12060Search in Google Scholar

Obar, J., Zube, P., &Lampe, C. (2012). Advocacy 2.0: An analysis of how advocacy groups in the United States perceive and use social media as tools for facilitating civic engagement and collective action. Journal of Information Policy, 2, 1-25.10.5325/jinfopoli.2.2012.1Search in Google Scholar

Passini, S. (2012). The Facebook and Twitter revolutions: Active participation in the 21st century. Human Affairs: Postdisciplinary Humanities and Social Sciences Quarterly, 22, 301-312.10.2478/s13374-012-0025-0Search in Google Scholar

Petrjánošová, M., & Lášticová, B. (2014). Nové médiá a lokálne komunity alebo čo ponúka Facebook a web pre občiansku participáciu na lokálnej úrovni [New media and local communities or what does Facebook offer to civic participation on local level]. In J. Sadovská Halamová (Ed.), Komunitná psychológia na Slovensku: zborník z 1. ročníka vedeckej konferencie Komunitná psychológia na Slovensku [Community Psychology in Slovakia: Proceedings from 1st scientific conference on community psychology in Slovakia] (pp. 72-80). Bratislava: Univerzita Komenského - Ústav aplikovanej psychológie FSEV.Search in Google Scholar

Reicher, S., & Stott, C. (2011). Mad Mobs and Englishmen? Myths and realities of the 2011 riots. London: Constable and Robinson.Search in Google Scholar

Rheingold, H. (1993). The virtual community. Homesteading at the electronic frontier. Reading MA: Addison-Wesley.Search in Google Scholar

Schultz, D. (2008). A DigiActive introduction to facebook activism. Retrieved from (13/03I2015) Search in Google Scholar

Silverman, D. (2009). Doing qualitative research. A practical handbook. London: Sage.Search in Google Scholar

Sommerfeldt, E., Kent, M. L., & Taylor, M. (2012). Activist practitioner perspectives of website public relations: Why aren’t activist websites fulfilling the dialogic promise? Public Relations Review, 38, 303-312.10.1016/j.pubrev.2012.01.001Search in Google Scholar

Waters, R.D., & Jamal, J.Y. (2011). Tweet, tweet, tweet: A content analysis of nonprofit organizations’ Twitter updates. Public Relations Review, 37, 321-324. 10.1016/j.pubrev.2011.03.002Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2015-4-7
Published in Print: 2015-4-1

© Institute for Research in Social Communication, Slovak Academy of Sciences