ISSN A network on web-based data collection, methodological challenges, solutions and implementation Supported by S. Steinmetz et al. Do you collect data via the Internet in your research?
If you do, this European network is important for you. The network collects and combines experiences and research on the methodology of online data collection. It provides access to ex- pertise that may be important in your re- search.
Come and join! Contact details are available at the end of this document. What is it? COST is one of the longest-running European instruments supporting cooperation among scientists and researchers across Europe.
It con- tributes to reducing the fragmentation in European research investments and opening the Eu- ropean Research Area to cooperation worldwide. It is a unique means for European research- ers to jointly develop their ideas and new initiatives across all scientific disciplines through trans-European networking of nationally funded research activities.
While COST does not fund research in and of itself, it does provide platforms for European scientists to collaborate on specific projects which are called Actions. The need for collaboration Throughout the last two decades, web-based data collection has increasingly become an im- portant and indispensable instrument of current social research and the commercial survey industry. Results based on these data can influence political decision-making and public opin- 80 S. Therefore, it is vital that no erroneous, distorted, vague or misleading conclusions are drawn from such data.
Since web-based data collection can offer unprecedented opportunities as to making data rap- idly available with benefits in sample size, global country coverage, cost optimization, and access to rare groups, it is problematic that a coherent and systematic scientific methodology has not yet been developed.
This is particularly surprising as Europe is home to a wealth of experts in a variety of fields related to web-based data collection. It is anticipated that beyond , the interactions of this scientific community will continue in the context of integrated projects and other strategic research initiatives. This includes surveying, experiment- ing, testing, non-reactive data collection, and mobile internet research. Moreover, statistical offices, academics, policy- through its multidisciplinary framework it makers, the media, and to increase the offers a unique availability of expertise.
For each theme, one working the possibilities of conducting probability- group has been established. Each group based web surveys. It investigates factors can create task forces. A task force is a and develops strategies to preserve low small group of researchers who work to- non-coverage and non-response as well as wards a specific goal, such as a special low measurement errors related to proba- journal issue or a workshop.
The output of bility-based web and mixed mode surveys. In this context, the working group the Memorandum of Understanding. Working group 1: Quality issues Working group 2: Innovations in of web surveys web-based data collection The purpose of working group 1 is to sys- Working group 2 concentrates on the op- tematically investigate the principal weak- portunities and scientific challenges of nesses and methodological challenges of recent and possible future innovations in web-based data collection, in particular web-based data collection.
An example is those of web surveys as a tool for gather- paradata analysis observation and use of ing high-quality data. Once are still pending. Moreover, the MC will take encourages new ideas and gives me decisions about the organization of the support. General Conference for more information, What is the contribution of see the programme.
It will be continued after the current grant period. The Thank you for your time! It aims to bring Looking ahead — what does the together researchers and experts from future look like? The call the issues described above until June The Webdatametrics achieve. If it is a set of moralisms, then these are not warranted by a reality that is fixed and given, for method does not report on something that is already there.
Instead, in one way or another, it makes things more or less different. Law , I understand Law s statement in two ways. Methods create realities, even though this creation does not appear in vain but echoes, resonates, illustrates the possible realities. The social life of human beings is multi-layered, which means that sometimes seemingly contradictory knowledge claims can be true of their own kind.
It is more important, however, that different methodological approaches have different powers in uncovering different aspects of reality. They are differently competent in elucidating different possible realities. Secondly, methods and methodological traditions and new practices can be recreated, made anew. This is important especially in media and communication research that is tackling a world that is in the state of becoming reality. We do not know the future technological innovations in the field of communication.
We do not know all the possible social innovations that the users will create. What we know for sure is that communication is a multi-layered social and cultural, human phenomena with all its richness and creativeness. To do research in this field demands the same kind of creative attitude, the invention of new research methods, new research practices and understanding the existing knowledge.
There are several different methodological traditions with each using different practices to produce knowledge. They usually also prefer different purposes of the knowledge, thus setting their own criteria for the evaluation of the knowledge. Therefore, it is logical to claim that the knowledge produced by research is varied.
Scientific research does not produce one kind of knowledge but different types of knowledge. However, there is no well-established way to grasp the qualitative differences between the different forms of knowledge. The most common methodological discussion locates the main difference between objective and explanatory, and subjective and interpretative knowledge.
This distinction is often tied to positivism and hermeneutic approaches and to the two overall purposes of scientific inquiry, explanation and understanding. His idea about scientific reasoning works on the abstract level showing how in the history of science the different styles of reasoning have made certain things debatable and have excluded others, considering them as taken-for-granted facts or setting them outside the scientific realm.
Of importance is, however, his idea that styles of reasoning make speaking about objectivity possible by setting what it is to be objective, what is truth of a certain kind. Research Purposes and Different Forms of Knowledge 24 If, as I have suggested, using mixed methods research is best for conceptualizing the combining of different lines of action, what does this mean for the planning of research?
How can researchers make sense of whether some kind of mixed methods approach could be useful for their projects? In the section above, there is one important, innocent looking concept. This is the concept of research purpose. The idea of research purpose is implicitly part of the argumentation for the use of several research methods. If one research method or one research approach cannot fulfil all the objectives and goals that are set for the research, and especially for the knowledge the research is supposed to produce, there is a genuine need to use several tools, several methodological approaches.
This, according to Newman et al. Because purposes are complex, the research questions frequently require multiple methods that adequately reflect this complexity. There is a logical link among what are often complex research purposes, the questions that are necessary to reflect those purposes, and the potential need for mixed methods.
In new interdisciplinary fields that aim to produce knowledge that has practical, applied and scientific uses, the purposes of the research can be quite complex. The field of communication research with its extensions to service design and applicability is a prime example of this progress.
All research, despite disciplines, shares one common feature in order to plan the research and understand what kind of knowledge is needed in answering the research questions, the researcher should understand both the purpose and the epistemological task of the research.
They are not the same thing, even though it is logically obvious that they are interlinked. The purpose is the focus of the reasons why the researcher is undertaking the study. It is connected or it should be connected with the research question and the methods Newman et al. One can find the purposes of the research by, for instance, looking at the vocabulary of the research plans. In the research plan, the purposes are often expressed under the title aims of the research, objectives of the research or rationale of the research.
I use the notion of epistemological task to stress the fact that the different purposes of the research also demand different types of knowledge; hence, they often require different kinds of research material and sampling and the use of different methodological traditions. Thus, different procedures are necessary for different types of knowledge production. The purpose of the research implicitly encompasses the need for specific kinds of knowledge.
Research is a knowledge-producing endeavour, and the only way to satisfy the purpose is via knowledge. In mixed methods research there are often several purposes. Moreover, the fulfilment of the general objective of the research might demand different types of research questions to be answered. We are addressing a situation where the form of knowledge is not necessarily the same and the researcher should notice that.
Most of the texts on methodology are very silent in conceptualizing knowledge. This question is left to the philosophers. However, the philosophy of science has traditionally concentrated much more on the general problem of demarcation: What is the difference between scientific knowledge claims and knowledge claims of other kinds? Most of the writings within epistemology understood as a subfield of philosophy have been interested in the cognitive conditions for the possibility of knowing or the universal conditions when something can be said to be know, that is, what conditions must be satisfied and how they may be satisfied in order for a person to know something Lehrer , 4 8.
In Anglo-American philosophy, the standard view of knowledge has long been that knowledge is a justified, true belief see Code for an excellent analysis on this. In the following, I offer tentative descriptions of different forms of knowledge.
Moreover, I suggest how forms of knowing, and therefore methodological choices, are connected to research purposes. The application of mixed methods research thus becomes reasonable. The idea behind this kind of tentative endeavour is very practical. While considering the question and purpose iteratively in planning mixed methods research, one can eventually get to a design or set of designs that more clearly reflect the intent of the question or the purpose of the research Newman et al.
Otherwise we will end up in the world of incommensurable knowledge claims see, e. My aim is thus to give some words to recognize the differences between forms of knowledge to cultivate a sense of knowing. I think that sense of knowing is especially important for research that is exploring new trans-disciplinary research areas and trying to combine traditional scientific research aims with more applied ones.
Keith Lehrer describes his approach to epistemology as a critical approach. In his book Theory of Knowledge, he makes a distinction between three forms of knowledge: competence sense of know, acquaintance sense of know, and information sense of know. The knowledge as competence means knowing how to do something. This kind of knowledge can be attain by doing, practicing. The criteria for it whether it should be called knowledge comes from the practical experience: Does this knowing allow us to act?
When we say that we know somebody, we are referring to the acquaintance sense of knowing. This kind of knowledge can only be acquired in a relationship: To get to know people and their lives in one way or another or to become familiar with their different life-worlds and circumstances. The specificity of that kind of knowledge is that it is relational. The third, the information sense of knowing refers to knowledge that can be proved to be wrong or right.
Traditionally only this third type of knowledge is recognized as real, scientific knowledge since the answer can in principal be true or false. Lehrer , 3 6. This epistemological conceptualization is, however, too general to apply directly to the planning of research.
Therefore we need to go back to the concept of purpose. Newman and others claim that methodological texts are writing extensively on the what of research explaining what kind of research questions demand which kinds of research methods. The discussion on purposes and their meaning to knowledge production can also be found on the more general level in the field of the sociology of knowledge. According to Newman and others, the list of the research purposes Newman et al.
The research could aim to: 1. Predict 2. Measure change 4. Understand complex phenomena 5. Test new ideas 6. Generate new ideas 7. Inform constituencies 8. Examine the past 9. Deconstruct some previous assumptions Charles Ragin , 32 33 would agree with most of the suggested research purposes in his influential methodological textbook.
However, he reminds us that social sciences also aim to identify general patterns and relationships, elaborate ideas, interpret culturally and historically important phenomena and explore diversity. The goal of the research could additionally be formulating new theories or giving a voice to a certain group of people. It is clear that the list of the aims could be elaborated and some recurrent and important aims are missing.
I leave the list open for further elaboration trying only to put forward the basic idea: There is a logical link between the purpose of the research and the form of knowledge that the fulfilment of the purpose demands.
Research that aims to test or prove something, or to identify general patterns and relationships, needs knowledge that is factual. It needs to present evidence to support claims about states of affairs, and it needs to show that the evidence is not random or contextually bounded. Research that seeks to create practical solutions, affect certain practices, or create usable insights, needs competence a kind of knowledge.
This knowledge could be called practical knowledge, which is a more established expression.
The problems to be tackled in studying increasingly integrated media are intractable when approached using traditional methods; they almost always require an interdisciplinary approach. Research is a knowledge producing practice. During the last three from different countries the opportunity to years, among other events, collaborate in-depth. All research, despite disciplines, shares one common feature in order to plan the research and understand what kind of knowledge is needed in answering the research questions, the researcher should understand both the purpose and the epistemological task of the research.
Inform constituencies 8. In his book Theory of Knowledge, he makes a distinction between three forms of knowledge: competence sense of know, acquaintance sense of know, and information sense of know. In his contribution, Mr Hasnat discusses journalists views regarding the impact of social media on mainstream news journalism.
The choice of whether the different datasets are used to answer the same question, related questions or different questions forms the core for the structure of the research design. This is important especially in media and communication research that is tackling a world that is in the state of becoming reality. Most of the texts on methodology are very silent in conceptualizing knowledge.
Furthermore, I also among them—in particular Early Stage got access to rich survey and paradata Researchers. Ms Zha, for her part, takes an empirical look at the design of Finnish online journals from three perspectives: hierarchy, sequence and coherence. Ravi Vatrapu pablodepedraza usal. Still, what is knowledge? It draws up detailed and also senior researchers profit from plans, distributes tasks and defines meth- short visit stays in order to develop pro- ods for the execution of the Action, and it posal s etc.
The specificity of that kind of knowledge is that it is relational. It helps to produce realities. This social constituency means knowledge is practice that is linked to, or embedded in, some larger social practices. Research is a knowledge-producing endeavour, and the only way to satisfy the purpose is via knowledge. Ravi Vatrapu pablodepedraza usal.