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An increasing number of academics and researchers are seeking to exploit the rich data available on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. One organisation leading the way is the think-tank Demos, whose Centre for the Analysis of Social Media is working to produce political, social and policy insight and understanding through social media research. Its Director Jamie Bartlett was one of the presenters at the ESRC Research Methods Festival 2014 session on the challenges and opportunities of using social media for social science research.
- Listen to the podcast “Using Social Media in Research.”
- What types of study designs are described by Jamie Bartlett using social media?
- Why do you think these types of study designs are used for the research questions that are being answered?
- How would you change one of the studies described to become a different type of nonexperimental research design?
2. Imagine you are interested in learning about the different ways children interact with their peers. Go online and search for five places you could conduct naturalistic observations of children’s interactions near your university.
- Why did you select these particular places?
- Describe how you could operationalize children’s interactions.
- Describe how you could quantify your observations.
3. Go to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (ADD Health) dataset: http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/addhealth.
- Read about this longitudinal study.
- If you were to use data from the ADD Health dataset, what type of existing data design would the ADD Health dataset be?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of this conducting research with this and other existing data sets?
- Review the variables that are available for public use in this dataset.
- What variables would you be interested in examining?
- What does it mean that some variables are “restricted-use”?