Онлайн-исследования в России: тенденции и перспективы
The key trends and publications in social sciences are reviewed in the article in order to reveal and present in a systematic way the changes in dominant research topics and methods of Internet research taking place since early 2000s as well as concomitant modifications in types of available data and in our understanding of the nature of Internet communications. Particular attention is paid to leading methodological innovations and to possibilities and challenges which arise as a leading function of online research shifts from an auxiliary “mirror” of conventional lab experiments, surveys and participant observations in a prevalent mode of research of global effects of micro-interactions and source of new “social phenomenology” for many research fields, including large scale experiments on the topics of social influence and cultural diffusion, political mobilization, etc.
The article discusses the prospects of qualitative sociological research online, with the main focus on the survey, observation and analysis of documents. Online conditions require not only the use of innovative technological developments for contact in the field, but has earned the recognition and adaptation of offline methods in the interaction between researchers and respondents.The author believes that there is no single solution for or against online qualitative methods. Rather, it is a methodologically diversified access, which combines Internet-based approaches, depending on the current task with the help of proven methods in online research.
The possibility to use respondent-driven sampling to conduct online surveys was introduced to the scientific community seven years ago. Since that time, foreign and domestic researchers conducted a series of experiments with WebRDS. However, their results have been ambiguous. On the one hand, some authors see WebRDS as a convenient and promising research technology. On the other hand, some researchers bring attention to the difficulty of applying respondent-driven sampling and unsuccessful attempts to obtain unbiased estimates of the target population parameters. The contradiction is further escalated by broader discussion of the possibility to follow basic RDS assumptions. Therefore, this paper analyzes implementation of respondent-driven sampling in online research and summarizes results of recent methodological discussion on the development of RDS. In conclusion, the paper provides recommendations on conducting methodological studies of WebRDS