Methodological Issues in Using Data from Social Networking Sites

Leng, Ho Keat
September 2013
CyberPsychology, Behavior & Social Networking;Sep2013, Vol. 16 Issue 9, p686
Academic Journal
Social networking sites (SNS) have become increasingly popular in recent years. With the amount of data available on SNS, the potential exists for researchers to use these data for their research. However, like any research method, there are limitations in using data from SNS. First, as members of SNS are not representative of the population, there is the limitation in generalizing the findings to the population. Second, in SNS with a low level of activity, there is also the issue of whether the data are sufficient for analysis. Third, the validity of the postings by members of SNS should be considered, as members of SNS may not be truthful in their responses. In addition, as the environment for SNS favors a quick emotive response as opposed to a cognitive response, the review suggests that the researcher will need to be aware of possibly different behavior when members of a SNS are faced with a high involvement decision. This article concludes that while there is potential in analyzing data from SNS, researchers should be aware of the limitations in using these data.


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