2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
For those serious about using online and social media for research,
This review is from: Handbook of Online and Social (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Handbook of Online and Social Media Research is a serious book for serious people who want to make the most of Web 2.0 for market or social research, and who care about the quality of the data it produces. Covering the soft aspects of managing online communities and projects, hard data techniques, and the ethics of blog mining, scraping and other such techniques, this book is long overdue, since it brings together in substantial detail the areas most often and least often covered in interactive media seminars and the wealth of primers now flooding the marketplace.
This book is aimed primarily at people with a background in quantitative and qualitative research and a good grounding in the vocabulary of internet techniques. It covers vast amounts of material, and expects you to have a basic grasp of the approaches beforehand in doing so. The ten pages of resources and references at the end of the book are an indication of the seriousness of its intent.
Online research is today in something of the same position as project management ten years ago. We now all have the tools freely available -- SurveyMonkey, TweetDeck and BBS enabled websites -- in much the same way that general managers discovered Microsoft Project in the 1990s. But, in a similar vein, our access to the tools does not make us online researchers, any more than Microsoft Project made us project managers. Without an underlying education in and theoretical understanding of the subject, we will be producing results which look like real research results, just as our Gantt charts and PERT diagrams looked like highly organised project plans, but the reality will be that they have little value.
This book goes a very substantial way to addressing this issue, and I welcome it and recommend it to anyone for whom online research is a professional necessity, rather than a hobby. It will doubtless be out of date in two years time, overtaken by the newest online media fad, but, for now at least, it is a really substantial contribution to a field most often characterised by poorly conducted studies based on invalid assumptions.