Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Social research 2.0: virtual snowball sampling method using Facebook

Contents:

Author Info

  • Baltar, Fabiola
  • Brunet Icart, Ignasi
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Purpose - The aim of this paper is to present a sampling method using virtual networks to study "hard-to-reach" populations. In the ambit of social research, the use of new technologies is still questioned because the selection bias is an obstacle to carry on scientific research on the Internet. In this regard, the authors' hypothesis is that the use of social networking sites (Web 2.0) can be effective for the study of "hard-to-reach" populations. The main advantages of this technique are that it can expand the geographical scope and facilitates the identification of individuals with barriers to access. Therefore, the use of virtual networks in non-probabilistic samples can increase the sample size and its representativeness. Design/methodology/approach - To test this hypothesis, a virtual method was designed using Facebook to identify Argentinean immigrant entrepreneurs in Spain (214 cases). A characteristic of this population is that some individuals are administratively invisible in national statistics because they have double nationality (non-EU and EU). The use of virtual sampling was combined with an online questionnaire as a complementary tool for Web 2.0 research in behavioural sciences. Findings - The number of cases detected by Facebook and the virtual response rate is higher than traditional snowball technique. The explanation is that people increase their level of confidence because the researcher shows his personal information (Facebook's profile) and also participates in their groups of interest (Facebook's groups). Moreover, the online questionnaires administration allows the quality of the information to be controlled and avoids duplication of cases. Originality/value - The present article is the first that uses Facebook as an instrument to study immigrants. Therefore its adoption represents a great challenge in the social research field because there are many barriers of access and search. It also proposes a novel mix of traditional methodologies updated with the use of new virtual possibilities of studying hard to reach populations, especially in areas of social research where the contributions of these methods are less developed.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://nulan.mdp.edu.ar/1875/
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Centro de Documentación, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Sociales, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata in its series Nülan. Deposited Documents with number 1875.

    as in new window
    Length:
    Date of creation: 2012
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: Published in Internet Research, 22(1), 2012, pp. 57-74
    Handle: RePEc:nmp:nuland:1875

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Funes 3250 - (7600) Mar del Plata
    Phone: +54 (223) 474-9696
    Email:
    Web page: http://eco.mdp.edu.ar
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords: Redes Sociales; Encuestas por Muestreo; Métodos de Investigación Social; Inmigrantes; Emprendedores;

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nmp:nuland:1875. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Cristian Merlino S.).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.