Get ready for the webinar about online research!

Categories: Big Data, Data Collection, MethodSpace Live!, Online Research, Other, Research, Research Design, Research Ethics, Research Roles, Research Skills, Webinars

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I am excited to join Prof. Luke Sloan for a lively conversation about doing all kinds of research online. Want to prepare for this event? Register, then read our work and get your questions ready!

Here are some open access readings from Luke’s research on Twitter and surveys:


Al Baghal, T., Sloan, L., Jessop, C., Williams, M. & Burnap, P. (2019) Linking Twitter and Survey Data: The Impact of Survey Mode and Demographics on Consent Rates Across Three UK Studies, Social Science Computer Review, https://doi.org/10.1177/0894439319828011

Abstract. In light of issues such as increasing unit nonresponse in surveys, several studies argue that social media sources such as Twitter can be used as a viable alternative. However, there are also a number of shortcomings with Twitter data such as questions about its representativeness of the wider population and the inability to validate whose data you are collecting. A useful way forward could be to combine survey and Twitter data to supplement and improve both. To do so, consent within a survey is first needed. This study explores the consent decisions in three large representative surveys of the adult British population to link Twitter data to survey responses and the impact that demographics and survey mode have on these outcomes. Findings suggest that consent rates for data linkage are relatively low, and this is in part mediated by mode, where face-to-face surveys have higher consent rates than web versions. These findings are important to understand the potential for linking Twitter and survey data but also to the consent literature generally.

Sloan, L., Jessop, C., Al Baghal, T. & Williams, M (2020) Linking survey and Twitter data: informed consent, disclosure, security and archiving, Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics 15(1-2), pp. 63-76, 10.1177/1556264619853447

Abstract. Linked survey and Twitter data present an unprecedented opportunity for social scientific analysis, but the ethical implications for such work are complex—requiring a deeper understanding of the nature and composition of Twitter data to fully appreciate the risks of disclosure and harm to participants. In this article, we draw on our experience of three recent linked data studies, briefly discussing the background research on data linkage and the complications around ensuring informed consent. Particular attention is paid to the vast array of data available from Twitter and in what manner it might be disclosive. In light of this, the issues of maintaining security, minimizing risk, archiving, and reuse are applied to linked Twitter and survey data. In conclusion, we reflect on how our ability to collect and work with Twitter data has outpaced our technical understandings of how the data are constituted and observe that understanding one’s data is an essential prerequisite for ensuring best ethical practice.

The SAGE Handbook of Social Media Research Methods

Prof. Luke Sloan co-edited The SAGE Handbook of Social Media Research Methods (2016) is a treasure trove of chapters on designing and conducting quantitative or qualitative research, analyzing and using data from social media. You might even read my chapter: Chapter 12 | Using Social Media in Data Collection: Designing Studies with the Qualitative E-Research Framework.

You can access the entire book, and download chapters as PDF files, on SAGE Research Methods. See the Social Media Research Reading List  If you would like to access these SAGE e-books, articles, case studies, videos, and datasets, explore SAGE Research Methods through your academic library, or with a free trial.


You can find two of my books about qualitative online research on SAGE Research Methods.

Cases in Online Interview Research and Doing Qualitative Research Online are available in full on SRM.

Cases in Online Interview Research
Doing Qualitative Research Online

Cases in Online Interview Research includes contributed examples that use a wide range of technologies, from blogs to videoconferencing to virtual worlds, with analysis of decisions and methods.

Doing Qualitative Research Online goes a step further, with inclusion of methods that use extant, creative and performative ways to use technology in data collection. A new edition of Doing Qualitative Research Online will be available in 2021.

Gather Your Data Online

The new Little Quick Fix book, Gather Your Data Online is not on SRM. This short book offers an overview of key concepts and practical tips. This book is the basis for a new interactive course on SAGE Campus.


Register and join the conversation!

  • Register here
  • May 25, 2021 at 11 am NY, 4 PM London and your time zone here.

The webinar is offered in conjunction with the MethodSpace May and June focus on collecting data online, so follow the tag for this upcoming series of original posts, video interviews, and open access resources.

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