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Using e-Surveys to Access the Views of Football Fans within Online Communities

This essay aims to discuss the key benefits and problems involved in using online surveys (e-surveys) for the purpose of accessing the views of football fans that interact with one another via online discussion forums/message boards. Methodological strategies that were adopted and critical issues that arose regarding the dissemination of an e-survey within a specific online community for football fans are reflected upon. Suggestions for researchers adopting similar methodologies to access the views of football fans are provided, and it is argued that an ethnographic approach needs to be adopted by researchers who aim to maximize the quality and quantity of e-survey responses. In particular, the importance of planning the researchers’ entrée into the community under study – involving the establishment and maintenance of rapport with key gatekeepers – is considered essential for the success of future studies.