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Methodological challenges of experiments in social media

Bäck, Emma; Gustafsson, Nils LU and Bäck, Hanna LU (2015) NordMedia 2015
Abstract
Experiments in social media have rapidly become an important method in social science. However, there are a number of methodological problems connected to this method. One of these is the fact that social media are dominated by a small number of information oligopolists such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Since the service provider has control over the information and the algorithms that structure the information, manipulation in a controlled environment is impossible without cooperation. This presents the researcher with a choice: either you try to cooperate with the service providers or you try to emulate the services in a lab setting. Either choice presents the researcher with a number of challenges. This paper outlines a typology... (More)
Experiments in social media have rapidly become an important method in social science. However, there are a number of methodological problems connected to this method. One of these is the fact that social media are dominated by a small number of information oligopolists such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Since the service provider has control over the information and the algorithms that structure the information, manipulation in a controlled environment is impossible without cooperation. This presents the researcher with a choice: either you try to cooperate with the service providers or you try to emulate the services in a lab setting. Either choice presents the researcher with a number of challenges. This paper outlines a typology of the methodological problems associated with either choice. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
unpublished
subject
keywords
political communication, experiments, social media, methodology, methods
conference name
NordMedia 2015
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
84a276e6-4a4f-4c09-9733-c6f868b9ceea (old id 7762851)
date added to LUP
2015-08-18 11:07:25
date last changed
2016-04-16 10:45:27
@misc{84a276e6-4a4f-4c09-9733-c6f868b9ceea,
  abstract     = {Experiments in social media have rapidly become an important method in social science. However, there are a number of methodological problems connected to this method. One of these is the fact that social media are dominated by a small number of information oligopolists such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Since the service provider has control over the information and the algorithms that structure the information, manipulation in a controlled environment is impossible without cooperation. This presents the researcher with a choice: either you try to cooperate with the service providers or you try to emulate the services in a lab setting. Either choice presents the researcher with a number of challenges. This paper outlines a typology of the methodological problems associated with either choice.},
  author       = {Bäck, Emma and Gustafsson, Nils and Bäck, Hanna},
  keyword      = {political communication,experiments,social media,methodology,methods},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Methodological challenges of experiments in social media},
  year         = {2015},
}