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Methodological issues in using data from social networking sites
Social network site
Social media
Research method
Data validity
Issue Date: 
Leng, H. K. (2013). Methodological issues in using data from social networking sites. Cyberpsychology Behavior and Social Networking, 16(9), 686-689.
Social network sites have become increasingly popular in recent years. With the amount of data available on social network sites, the potential exists for researchers to use this data for their research. However, like any research method, there are limitations in using data from social network sites. Firstly, as members of social network sites are not representative of the population, there is the limitation in generalizing the findings to the population. Secondly, in social network sites with a low level of activity, there is also the issue of whether the data is sufficient for analysis. Thirdly, the validity of the postings by members of social network sites should be considered as members of social network sites may not be truthful in their responses. In addition, as the environment for social network site favors a quick emotive response as opposed to a cognitive response, the review suggests that the researcher will need to be aware of possibly different behavior when members of a social network site are faced with a high involvement decision. This paper concludes that while there is potential in analyzing data from social network sites, researchers should be aware of the limitations in using this data.
This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in Cyberpsychology Behavior and Social Networking. The published version is available online at
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