Online research methods

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Online research methods (ORMs) are ways in which researchers can collect data via the internet. They are also referred to as Internet research,[1] Internet science[2] or iScience, or Web-based methods.[3] Many of these online research methods are related to existing research methodologies but re-invent and re-imagine them in the light of new technologies and conditions associated with the internet. The field is relatively new and evolving. With the growth of social medias a new level of complexity and opportunity has been created. Inclusion of social media research can provide unique insights into consumer and societal segments and gaining an "emotional" measure of a population on issues of interest.

Some specific types of method include:

Online clinical trials[edit]

Clinical trials are at the heart of current evidence based medical care. They are, however, traditionally expensive and difficult to undertake. Using internet resources can, in some cases, reduce the economic burden, and may have other benefits in Medicine.[4] Paul et al.,[5] in The Journal of Medical Internet Research, describe the background and methodologies of online clinical trials and list examples.

Research in and with social media[edit]

The advent of social media has recently led to new online research methods, for example data mining of large datasets from such media[6] or web-based experiments within social media that are entirely under the control of researchers, e.g. those created with the software Social Lab.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Reips, U.-D. (2012). Using the Internet to collect data. In H. Cooper, P. M. Camic, R. Gonzalez, D. L. Long, A. Panter, D. Rindskopf, & K. J. Sher (eds.), APA Handbook of Research Methods in Psychology, Vol 2: Research designs: Quantitative, qualitative, neuropsychological, and biological (pp. 291-310). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/13620-017
  2. ^ Reips, U.-D., & Bosnjak, M. (Eds.). (2001). Dimensions of Internet Science. Lengerich: Pabst.
  3. ^ Reips, U.-D. (2006). Web-based methods. In M. Eid & E. Diener (Eds.), Handbook of multimethod measurement in psychology (pp. 73-85). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/11383-006
  4. ^ Reips, U.-D. (2013). Internet-based studies. In Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner (eds.), Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine (Part 9, pp. 1097-1102). Berlin: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_28
  5. ^ The Internet and Clinical Trials: Background, Online Resources, Examples and Issues. James Paul; Rachael Seib; Todd Prescott. Journal of Medical Internet Research Vol 7 (1) 2005. (accessed 12 Feb 2009).
  6. ^ Reips, U.-D., & Garaizar, P. (2011). Mining Twitter: Microblogging as a source for psychological wisdom of the crowds.Some websites specialize in creation of online content such as Behavior Research Methods, 43, 635-642. doi:10.3758/s13428-011-0116-6
  7. ^ Garaizar, P. & Reips, U.-D. (2013). Build your own social network laboratory with Social Lab: a tool for research in social media. Behavior Research Methods. doi 10.3758/s13428-013-0385-3

Further reading[edit]

  • Hooley, Tristram John Marriott and Jane Wellens, What is Online Research? Using the Internet for Social Science Research (Bloomsbury Academic, 2012) ISBN 978-1-8496-6554-4 (open access online)

External links[edit]