Advanced Methods for Conducting Online Behavioral Research
The Internet is revolutionizing the way psychologists conduct behavioral research. Studies conducted online are not only less error prone and labor intensive but also rapidly reach large numbers of diverse participants at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. In addition to improving the efficiency and accuracy of data collection, online studies provide automatic data storage and deliver immediate personalized feedback to research participants—a major incentive that can exponentially expand participant pools. Furthermore, behavioral researchers can also track data on online behavioral phenomena, including Instant Messaging (IM), social networking, and other social media.
This book goes beyond the basics to teach readers advanced methods for conducting behavioral research on the Internet. Short chapters offer practical advice by leading experts in key domains of Internet research. Readers are shown, step by step, how to conduct online experiments, surveys, and ability testing, use advanced graphic tools such as drag-and-drop objects, apply automatic text analysis tools, check the validity of protocols, automate the storage and analysis of data, record "field notes" on the behavior of online subjects and chatroom or blogging communities, and much more. Chapters also address critical issues such as data security, ethics, participant recruitment, and how to ensure the completion of tests or questionnaires. This volume also features a companion website with additional resources, links, scripts, and instructions to further assist readers with their online research.
This book is designed for researchers and advanced graduate students in the behavioral sciences seeking greater technical detail about emerging research methods. Readers will be well equipped to implement and integrate these exciting new methods into their own Internet-based behavioral research effectively, securely, and responsibly.