Edited by William B. Gartner and Bruce T. Teague
Chapter 10: Collecting digital research data through social media platforms: can “scientific social media” disrupt entrepreneurship research methods?
This chapter investigates how social media platforms tailored for research can help entrepreneurship researchers in their data collection and analysis efforts. The widespread use in society of social media platforms, accessed through people’s smartphones, tablets and computers, represents a new opportunity for social scientists to collect both big and thick digital data. Most social media platforms are however designed for commercial purposes, restricting the research questions that can be meaningfully explored to a minimum. The aim of this chapter is therefore to explore a novel approach labeled “scientific social media” (SSM). A case study method is applied where an SSM platform called LoopMe is described in-depth and compared to similar phenomena. Generalizations from this case then lead up to an attempt to answer the question: Can SSM platforms offer disruptive benefits to entrepreneurship researchers, such as radically increased efficiency or new-to-the-world features? Some identified benefits of SSM include ability to combine key strengths of established research methods and ontologies, ability to triangulate in new ways and ability to conduct very cost-efficient longitudinal studies.
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