Social Research 2.0: Virtual Snowball Sampling Method

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Internet Research Emerald Article: Social research 2.0: virtual snowball sampling method using Facebook Fabiola Baltar, Ignasi Brunet Article information: To cite this document: Fabiola Baltar, Ignasi Brunet, (2012),"Social research 2.0: virtual snowball sampling method using Facebook", Internet Research, Vol. 22 Iss: 1 pp. 57 - 74 Permanent link to this document: Downloaded on: 11-05-2012 References: This document contains references to 48 other documents To copy this document: This document has been downloaded 189 times. Access to this document was granted through an Emerald subscription provided by VIT UNIVERSITY For Authors: If you would like to write…show more content…
Nevertheless, the Internet opens new ways to investigate in social and behavioural sciences because there are many scientific questions about some target population that do not look for generalised results but representative ones. As many scholars recognise, the Internet provides new opportunities for non-random survey data (Couper, 2000; Fricker and Schonlau, 2002). In particular, these authors distinguish the advantages of the Internet to capture the “hard to reach”/“hard to involve” population. In fact, this paper proposes to analyze if social networking sites (SNSs), specifically the Facebook network site, can help researchers to contact hidden or hard to reach persons. Although in the last decade researchers became interested in the study of SNSs, they particularly focus on the characteristics of the users of SNSs (Back et al., 2010), on the analysis of the social capital and their influence in users behaviour (Ellison et al., 2007; Bigge, 2006) or on ethical issues concerning with the reward of private information on the Internet (Acquisti and Gross, 2006; Boyd and Ellison, 2008; Boyd, 2008; Boyd and Hargittai, 2010). But until now it has not been common to exploit SNSs as a research tool (Brickman-Bhutta, 2009). Boyd and Ellison (2008, p. 1) define SNSs as “web-based services that allow individuals to construct a public or semi-public

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