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  • 00:05

    [Do I need to do online research?]

  • 00:10

    ZINA O'LEARY: So do you need to do online research? [Dr.Zina O'Leary] I don't see how you can't.You absolutely need to engage with online research,because online is everything and everywhere.There's no way to avoid it.But it means very, very different things.When we say "online research," wecould be talking about several categories of research.

  • 00:33

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: So I'm going to break it down for you in three ways,and you'll see why I say you can't avoid it.One, the internet is the world's biggest,most connected library.Internet as a library is the number one wayyou're going to do online research.Every search you do now is on the internet, right?

  • 00:55

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: I mean, you go into your university library,it's all internet-based searching.Google Scholar is a fantastic resourcefor finding online information.All your journal articles are now online.So everything is online.The internet is extraordinary as a libraryof what used to go into that building

  • 01:17

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: called a library, which I'm not even sure if my kids have everbeen to one outside their own school.But it used to be-- god, this is is long time ago,but we used to go to the county library to do our research,and we used to open up file folderswhere there might be a few things,or get some old films out to look at a newspaper article.And now everything is there.

  • 01:37

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: So you can't avoid the internet.It's a library, and it's the most convenient thingin the world in terms of doing research.So yes, internet is a library.Internet, though, is also a generator of knowledge.What do I mean by that?The internet is some place where work happens,

  • 02:00

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: where interactions happen, where there is-- because it exists,there is data.God, if you're a marketer, you know this very well.You have to know how many hits, how many click-throughs.It generates knowledge for you around usageof different websites, but you can also use it around blogs.

  • 02:23

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: When I was working in Washington DC,a few of the research questions that I was supervisingwere about what types of informationare important to various senators and Congressmen.And what are they blogging about was reallya method for determining that.You might also look at responses from-- to various blogs

  • 02:44

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: to know what constituents think.So that's that whole area of blogs that you can look at.You can also look at internet as a generator of knowledgein relation to social media.So what are people tweeting?And what does this mean?What does it mean to tweet?What does it mean to hashtag things?How has that changed communication?

  • 03:04

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: What about Facebook status updates?What can they tell us?There was a study that was done by Facebook, usingFacebook data, that looked at the status reports of peopleprior to suicide.So that's a whole generation of data.What about the photos that people post?Imagine the studies that can be done on self-esteem and selfies

  • 03:26

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: and the connection between the two.Think about internet bullying.There's so much that's going on with the internet as a mediumto produce knowledge itself.So think about whether your internet researchis just internet as a library, or internet as a generatorof data in its own right.

  • 03:47

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: And there is so much data there-- datathere from marketing, data there for social experiments, datathere for-- around demographics and usage and knowledge.So much is out there, and I thinkwe're just starting to get our heads around askingthe types of questions that the internet can use.So-- and one of these things is certainly

  • 04:08

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: that concept of "big data," which I'm sure you've heard of.Big data, huge data sets generatedby the internet, that academic researchers and students arereally struggling with in terms of a method,and how to really capitalize on that.And that may be something where wehave a look at what the big thinktanks are doing with big data, and using that

  • 04:30

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: as a triangulation approach for our own research.But it's good to kind of know all of the ways the internet isgenerating knowledge.All right, so I said there was three.What's the third?The other way to use online researchis when you use the internet as a means for data collection.So this is not generator of knowledgeand it's not a library.

  • 04:50

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: It's using the internet to collect your data.So let's say you were going to do interviews.Back in the day, doing interviewsmeant doing them locally or flying around to godo your interviews.They were only face to face.You might be able to do them on the telephone,but then you miss the whole interactionthat allows you to see someone.

  • 05:12

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: You miss body language.You miss eye contact.You miss the whole context of the interviewwhen you're just on the phone.So we used to do it sometimes, but face to face was preferred.The technology with the bandwidth that's availablenow means we can often do online interviews, whichis the goal, to make it as natural as possible,without all the stutters and stops and bad connections.

  • 05:35

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: So if you can find a good software program thatallows you to have that rapport that used to be only faceto face, and you can do that online,I think that's a real bonus in terms of makingthe world a much smaller place.You will no longer be limited geographically.Someone in the US can interview someone in New Zealand,

  • 05:57

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: and someone in Australia can talk to someone in Finland.It's become a really small world.In fact, I have a Skype conversation weeklywith someone in California, and I'm in Sydney.And we have that at a set time every week,and you just don't even realize the time difference, as long

  • 06:17

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: as it's not in the middle of your night.So it really has made the possibilities of interviewresearch so much broader.The other thing that's common is online surveys.Now, a lot of you are probably thinking about this,I'll use a program or an internet sitelike SurveyMonkey.I'll create my survey, and I'll just put it out there online.

  • 06:37

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: Fabulous in terms of cost.Surveys are not cheap.If you do the old snail mail approach,and you think about how much it coststo print, get the envelopes, pay postage, pay return postage,and you think about the really lousy responserates you may get, you can actuallyspend thousands of dollars to have a sample that may not end

  • 06:59

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: up being representative anyway.So a lot of us are moving to online surveys.Now, fantastic, huge reach.However, that reach is going to be limitedto people with email addresses.Now, that's-- you may think that's most people,but that's probably most people like you.Right?

  • 07:19

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: When we say "most people," we're talkingabout people with a certain income level, certain educationlevel.If you want to do research with people who are very young,people who are very poor, people who don't have computersand don't have internet, well, then you'rereally limiting-- your sample may not match your population.So you really have to make sure with online surveys

  • 07:41

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: that the population that you have in mind to answeryour survey matches the population of the abilityto do an online survey.So that's really important when thinkingabout using that technology.The other thing to think about with online surveysis, are people going to answer it?

  • 08:03

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: I would get online surveys every day, three or four a day,and I just do not have the time or the interest to answer them.And sometimes you'll get a little bit of coercementfrom your boss, and can you please do this?It'll only take 10 minutes.And it's a real challenge.So if you-- if people are inundated and flooded

  • 08:24

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: with these online surveys, how do youensure that yours is going to be opened and gonethrough thoroughly and thoughtfully?Not just click, click, click, but answering those questionsto the best of their ability.So the answer to that?There is no clear answer.It's just a matter of consideration.It's knowing who your sample is, knowing what motivates them,

  • 08:48

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: trying to work with that knowledgeso that you can motivate those people to answer.Making sure you are very clear about length,making sure you have the right inducements, making sure itcomes from the right people, maybe someone higher up.Make sure you're incentivizing themby telling them what the purpose is

  • 09:08

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: and how it's going to be used, making sure that youdo a personalized email with a name rather than a bulk email.One of the things that I quite likewhen I'm answering an online surveyis to have a bar at the top that shows mehow far along I've gone.That way I don't feel duped into doing the "10-minute"survey that ends up taking 40 minutes.

  • 09:30

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: So I can say, OK, I'm two thirds of the way through.It makes me want to get to the end.So lots of different tricks.So online surveys, online interviews,have really helped with cost and reach.Internet is a generator of knowledge.We're just beginning to explore the possibilities.And internet as a library, absolutely unavoidable.

  • 09:52

    ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: So should you be doing online research?I don't think you can avoid it.

Video Info

Series Name: Doing Your Research Project

Episode: 7

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd

Publication Year: 2017

Video Type:Tutorial

Methods: Data collection, Online interviews, Online surveys

Keywords: blogs; convenience; cost control; google; incentives; knowledge creation; libraries; practices, strategies, and tools; progress reports; rapport ... Show More

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Dr. Zina O'Leary highlights the pros and cons of online research. The internet is a huge library and a knowledge generator, but it can also be a means for data collection. Unfortunately, collecting data online can mean limiting the sample to people from certain demographic groups.

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Do I Need To Do Online Research?

Dr. Zina O'Leary highlights the pros and cons of online research. The internet is a huge library and a knowledge generator, but it can also be a means for data collection. Unfortunately, collecting data online can mean limiting the sample to people from certain demographic groups.