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Fabiola Baltar, PHD Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata Mar del Plata- Argentina Ignasi Brunet Icart, PHD Universitat Rovira i Virgili.

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Presentation on theme: "Fabiola Baltar, PHD Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata Mar del Plata- Argentina Ignasi Brunet Icart, PHD Universitat Rovira i Virgili."— Presentation transcript:

1 Fabiola Baltar, PHD Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata Mar del Plata- Argentina Ignasi Brunet Icart, PHD Universitat Rovira i Virgili Tarragona- Spain

2 WHAT ABOUT RESEARCH...? Many activities take place daily in an “online” reality, where individuals act and express thoughts, intentions and opinions about events related with their “real” world (e-commerce; e-banking; e-learning, etc). However, the question about whether Internet can be a viable scientific research tool is still under discussion.

3 We consider that Internet opens new ways to investigate in social and behavioural sciences because there are many scientific questions that do not look for generalized results but representative ones. For example: “HARD TO REACH” POPULATION SAMPLING

4 @ We propose to apply Social Networking Sites (Facebook) and online questionnaires to contact Argentinean entrepreneurs living in The characteristic of this target population is that 60 % live in Spain as European citizens. This group is not administratively visible in Spanish Statistics as Argentinean population, so it is impossible to build a sample frame to obtain a probabilistic The novelty of the study is the incorporation of Facebook and online questionnaires to improve the efficacy of the snowball sampling and data collection.

5 @ Flexibility (e.g. language) and time-efficiency (collect/process Questionnaires are more attractive and easier to Respondents can answer at a convenient time for Researcher instantaneously has all the data stored in a data Surveys can include all kinds of questions (dichotomous, scales, Lower It is easier to follow-up non Respondents answer in the order intended by the study Respondents answer only questions that are specifically design to them. ADVANTAGES OF USING ONLINE METHODOLOGIES

6 @ The perception that it is a “spam” affects non response Selection bias related with internet population (gender, age, The sample selection methods are “volunteer” Respondent lack of online Unclear answering instructions because they are Impersonal, there is usually no human contact in online Privacy related with how data will be used. DISADVANTAGES OF USING ONLINE METHODOLOGIES

7 @ We explored 52 virtual We contacted their members sending them private We extended the sample size, asking each member if they knew anyone else (online or offline We obtained 1103 responses (53.2%), of which 343 were entrepreneurs An online questionnaire was sent to these entrepreneurs, of whom 214 answered (62.3%). THE CASE: Virtual Snowball applied to the study of immigrants entrepreneurs in Spain (recruiting sample)

8 The response rate and representativeness of the sample

9 Online survey and the quality of information INSTANT 24 HOURS FILTER INSTANT CONTACT IN CASE OF ABANDON OR WRONG OBTEIN THE RESULTS WHILE THE DATA ARE COLLECTED CONTROL

10 We conclude that using Facebook to explore hard to reach population (Argentinean entrepreneurs in Spain) can save time and costs, extent the size of the sample and the geographical scope of the It is important to consider that virtual research needs to apply the same methodological steps to guarantee the scientific rigor and Virtual networks are dynamic (e.g. people enter and exit the net; information is temporally online). It necessary to define time boundaries for the data collection, build the sample frame with information of the units of observation and save the documentation that supports the research results.

11 CONCLUSION We believe that online research can be as serious as online transactions, political campaigns or learning courses are. Scientific social research understands reality and its changes. Nowadays it is impossible to understand human behaviour and its context without taking account of this virtual reality. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION

12 BIBLIOGRAPHY Acquisti, A., & Gross, R. (2006), Imagined communities: Awareness, information sharing, and privacy on the Facebook. In P. Golle & G. Danezis (Eds.), Proceedings of 6th Workshop on Privacy Enhancing Technologies, Cambridge, UK: Robinson College. Atkinson, R. & Flint, J, (2001), “Accessing Hidden and Hard-to-Reach Populations: Snowball Research Strategies”, Social Research Update, University of Surrey, 33: 1-5. Boyd, D. (2008), “Facebook's Privacy Trainwreck: Exposure, Invasion, and Social Convergence”, Convergence, 14(1): Boyd, D. & Ellison, N. (2008), “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship”, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 13: 210–230 Brickman-Bhutta, C. (2009), “Not by the Book: Facebook as Sampling Frame”, [online]: Coomber, R. (1997), “Using the Internet for Survey Research”, Sociological Research Online, 2(2), [online]: Couper, M. P. (2000), "Web Surveys, a Review of Issues and Approaches" Public Opinion Quarterly, 64 (4): Evans,J. & Mathur, A. (2005), “The Value of Online Surveys”, Internet Research, 15(2): Fricker, R. & Schonlau, M. (2002), “Advantages and disadvantages of internet research surveys: evidence from the literature”, Field Methods, 14 (4): Joinson, A. & Reips, U. (2007), “Personalized Salutation, Power of Sender and Response Rates to Web-Based Surveys”, Computers in Human Behavior, 23: Shannon, D. & Bradshaw, C. (2002), "A Comparison of Response Rate, Response Time and Costs of Mail and Electronic Surveys," The Journal of Experimental Education, 70 (2): Stanton, J. M. (1998), "An Empirical Assessment of Data Collection Using the Internet", Personnel Psychology, 51(3): Van Meter, K. (1990), “Methodological and Design Issues: Techniques for Assessing the Representatives of Snowball Samples”, NIDA Research Monograph,


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