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New Book Offers Insight into Significant Role of Social Media in Survey Research

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. - Researchers have long used surveys as a means for collecting data on a wide range of issues, from health and sociology to politics and economics, but unless methodologies change to adapt to the new social networking landscape, antiquated approaches and tools may hamper the work of many scientists, according to a new book by researchers at RTI International.

The book, Social Media, Sociality, and Survey Research, examines the challenges facing the survey research discipline today and makes recommendations on how best to address those challenges.

Organized around the central idea of a "sociality hierarchy" in social media interactions, the book’s authors look at three central areas: broadcast, conversational, and community-based interaction and provide a conceptual framework for the opportunities social media platforms provide in survey research.

The book presents examples of how social media can be applied successfully to survey research, and how survey researchers should think about applying these tools in the future as a complement to traditional survey research.

Demonstrating varying perspectives and approaches to working with social media, the book features:

  • New ways to approach data collection using platforms such as Facebook and Twitter;
  • Alternate methods for reaching out to interview subjects;
  • Design features that encourage participation with engaging, interactive surveys.

Additionally, the book traces the origins and rise of social media, from its beginnings as an online novelty to its present place as a widely accepted vehicle for information dissemination and offers insight for researchers looking to enhance their research studies through social media applications.

Craig Hill, Ph.D., senior vice president for the Survey, Computing, and Statistical Sciences at RTI, and Elizabeth Dean and Joe Murphy, both senior survey methodologists at RTI co-edited the book, and wrote individual chapters, along with several other researchers at RTI.

Social Media, Sociality, and Survey Research is published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and is available through most online booksellers, Barnes and Noble and the Wiley online library.