Social Psychological Research Methods: Social Psychological

1453 WordsMar 21, 20176 Pages
Social Psychological Research Methods: Social Psychological Measurement Harvesting and Harnessing Social Media Data for Psychological Research Social media, also termed social networking sites, comprise websites, web-based services, platforms, and applications that allow individuals to “(1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system” (, Boyd & Ellison, 2007, p. 211), as well as (4) “create and share content or to participate in social networking” (Boyd & Ellison, 2007; Oxford University, 2017). Nowadays, social media use has become extremely…show more content…
Researchers can now collect a wide range of information about a population, including non-semantic and semantic features, on social media platforms. The analysis of social media data has allowed researchers to uncover numerous aspects about its users at the individual, community, and national levels. In fact, an emerging field of scholars has analyzed social media data to understand a wide range of behaviors and attitudes, including but not limited to consumer decisions, influenza infections, and political opinions. The procedures to use social media data for research include data harvesting and harnessing. In the following sections, we first provide a detailed overview of common platforms and different harvesting methods and then review the latest harnessing techniques, including the identification of non-semantic and semantic features and the corresponding analytical techniques. We also provide a discussion of important semantic features, including topics and the use for sentiment analysis and opinion spam detection. In the last section, we present an example to illustrate how social media data can be utilized for predictive and explanatory models. Finally, we end this chapter by describing ongoing challenges and future directions of measuring social media data in psychological research. 1. Social Media Platforms With about a dozen social media platforms and over 100 million active users worldwide (Statista, 2016; Mangukiya,
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