Skip to Content

Resources :: Guide :: Data collection :: Data collection tools :: Internet :: Observing behavior

Observing Behavior Using the Internet

When using the Internet as a means for observing behavior, you must consider the expectation of privacy that the user has.  For example, if a user posts a profile on a password protected site, typically the user expects that whoever is viewing the post is doing so within the expectations of the site’s purpose. However, if the post is on a public site that is accessible without password or special privilege, the researcher may consider this a public observation. Regarding chat rooms, researchers have posted notices on the sites indicating that they will be observing the chat room, or they will make their presence known to the group.  Some researchers will send notices to participants inviting them to participate in a chat room discussion, thus indicating consent through willingness to participate. You should check with the site host to determine if they allow researchers to access information from their site.  Some sites prohibit researchers from mining their posts for information.

Previous :: Internet
Next :: Studying internet use