Using the Internet to conduct research
University of Central Florida, USA.Nurse researcher 02/2005; 13(2):55-70. DOI: 10.7748/nr2005.10.13.2.55.c5968
The internet has become an everyday communication tool for countless people throughout the world. It has a variety of potential uses in education, practice and research, but only in the last decade have nurse researchers begun to take advantage of the multiple uses the internet has to offer. The author reviews the uses of the internet to conduct research and addresses challenges and issues that currently influence web-based research.
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- "Traditional means of collecting qualitative data from general populations and from vulnerable populations has tended to be via audio recorded face to face interviews and focus groups, or written responses to predetermined questions. In recent times there has been an increase in the use of the internet to undertake research with vulnerable populations (Ahern, 2005). However, despite the technological advances related to undertaking online qualitative research with vulnerable populations many researchers persist in collecting data through traditional means (Liamputtong, 2007). "
ABSTRACT: Background Undertaking qualitative research with vulnerable populations is a complex and challenging process for researchers. Traditional and common modes of collecting qualitative data with these groups have been via face-to-face recorded interviews. Method This article reports on three internet-based data collection methods; email and synchronous online interviews, as well as online qualitative survey. Results The key characteristics of using email, sychronous online interviews and an online qualitative survey including the strengths and limitations of each are presented. Reflections and insights on the use of these internet-based data collection methods are provided to encourage researchers to embrace technology and move away from using traditional face-to-face interviews when researching with vulnerable populations. Conclusion Using the internet to collect qualitative data offers additional ways to gather qualitative data over traditional data collection methods. The use of alternative interview methods may encourage participation of vulnerable participants.
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- "For example, as Walker (2013) suggests, using a third party to manage the research links on behalf of the researchers. Methodological concerns with online data collection that have come under scrutiny in the literature include issues around sample bias, particularly in relation to requirements for computer use and associated computer literacy for participants (Ahern, 2005; Hunter, 2012; Walker, 2013), and internal validity (Ahern, 2005). ''Technophobia'', described as a fear of technology, has been suggested as a factor influencing participation in online surveys (Hunter, 2012). "
ABSTRACT: The increasing pervasiveness of the internet and social networking globally presents new opportunities and challenges for empirical social science researchers including those in nursing. Developments in computer-mediated communication are not static and there is potential for further advances and innovation in research methods embracing this technology. The aim of this paper is to present a reflexive account and critique of the use of social media as a means of data collection in a study that sought to explore the aesthetics of clinical leadership in contemporary nursing. In doing so, comparisons are drawn from using Twitter, Facebook and e-learning announcements as methods of recruitment and subsequent data collection via an online survey. The pragmatics of the internet and online social networks as vehicles for data collection are discussed. While questions remain about best practice to safeguard the scientific integrity of these approaches and the researchers and research participants who choose to participate, the potential exists for researchers to enhance and expand research methods without compromising rigour and validity. In the interests of sharpening thinking about this means of data collection dialogue and debate are needed on a range of research aspects including but not limited to pragmatics, new requirements in research training and development, legal and ethical guidelines and strengths and limitations encountered.
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- "Consent was inferred by panel members' agreement to participate in the study and submission of the completed surveys. Research conducted over the web poses additional threats to privacy and confidentiality in that the data exist as virtual records and although owned solely by the researcher, are potentially accessible by others (Ahern, 2005; Duffy, 2002). This potential threat is less of a concern when the nature of the research is not sensitive, however, respect for and paying due regard to the rights of human participants to privacy and confidentiality is a paramount principle of research ethics (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2007). "
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The Internet is increasingly being used as a data collection medium to access research participants. This paper reports on the experience and value of using web-survey software to conduct an eDelphi study to develop Australian critical care course graduate practice standards. METHODS: The eDelphi technique used involved the iterative process of administering three rounds of surveys to a national expert panel. The survey was developed online using SurveyMonkey. Panel members responded to statements using one rating scale for round one and two scales for rounds two and three. Text boxes for panel comments were provided. COLLECTING DATA AND PROVIDING FEEDBACK: For each round, the SurveyMonkey's email tool was used to distribute an individualized email invitation containing the survey web link. The distribution of panel responses, individual responses and a summary of comments were emailed to panel members. Stacked bar charts representing the distribution of responses were generated using the SurveyMonkey software. Panel response rates remained greater than 85% over all rounds. DISCUSSION: An online survey provided numerous advantages over traditional survey approaches including high quality data collection, ease and speed of survey administration, direct communication with the panel and rapid collation of feedback allowing data collection to be undertaken in 12weeks. Only minor challenges were experienced using the technology. Ethical issues, specific to using the Internet to conduct research and external hosting of web-based software, lacked formal guidance. CONCLUSIONS: High response rates and an increased level of data quality were achieved in this study using web-survey software and the process was efficient and user-friendly. However, when considering online survey software, it is important to match the research design with the computer capabilities of participants and recognize that ethical review guidelines and processes have not yet kept pace with online research practices.
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