Book Chapter: Internet Research & Digital Methods

Nicholas Hookway and I have a new chapter in the fourth edition of Maggie Walter’s long-running Social Research Methods book. Our chapter is on internet research and digital methods in social science research. It’s especially cool to have a chapter in this book because since teaching from the third edition at UTAS, I refer to it all the time, and encourage my own research students to use it too.

Our chapter looks at a few different approaches to internet research (drawing on Salmons’ model of extant, elicited, and enacted methods), from using the internet in traditional methods (like surveys and interviews) through to studying digital cultures in context on platforms and apps through observation, content analysis, data scraping, and creating content with participants. We consider the role of the social sciences in an era of ‘Big Data’ market research and accessible analytics, and examine a series of case studies covering research on blogs, YouTube, Facebook, and dating apps.