# Ups and downs about Internet Sources

Versión en español: http://wp.me/paT7tX-1h

• Have you been told that the information obtained through the web is not reliable?
• Do your teachers tell you what is more useful in the books?

Of course we are not going to say that a book is bad. Actually, it is good to continue consulting, but that does not mean that we discredit the information that comes out of the Internet.

It is a fact that step by step Internet is more present in our lives, related with this Simmons & Bobo published an article in 2015 in the journal Sociological Methodology: Can Non-full-probability Internet Surveys Yield Useful Data? A Comparison with Full-probability Face-to-face Surveys in the Domain of Race and Social Inequality Attitudes. They conducted a survey whose results allow us to know that 70.5% of the information of an interview is obtained by telephone, 21.7% face to face, 17.4 % by mail and 5.6% by the web.

As we can see, information or telephone interviews are still predominant, but the presence of the internet is getting more importance.

One of the great advantages that arise when information is generated with this technique, is that the participating users have greater confidence, because when you have the presence of any other person in whom you do not trust much, we may feel limited in the answers that we can give.

Why our behavior depends on those who are with us at the time of conducting an interview? Those who answer the questions may feel a little intimidated, or in a less-than-safe environment when it comes to a face-to-face interview. As in ethnography, for example, if people know they are being observed, they will act differently.

But … Did you know that not everything is good when obtaining information through the web?

One of the main disadvantages is that online sampling in this form of data extraction is strictly limited to people who have access to the Internet.

Of course, nowadays it is very easy for us to access the Internet without any problem, either on our computer and our own connection, or through a place where this can be done, like a cyber. But neither can we assume that everyone thinks in the same way, nor that everyone has access to the Internet.

And how good is the quality of this data?

The quality of the data can vary according to the person that is being used as the object of study, and how it feels identified and attracted by the topic that is being discussed.

There are many advantages to data extraction through the web, but what are your cons? In addition to the one we saw about the limitation of the sample, let’s think about how reliable the data that people provide through this online service are. How much can you trust them?

Another way in which we can take information from the Internet is through the use of our social networks.

The use of social networks in social research is analyzed in an article published in May 2019 in Sociological Methodology entitled No Longer Discrete: Modeling the Dynamics of Social Networks and Continuous Behavior written by Nynke , Snijders and van Dujin from Groningen Univeristy (Netherlands). This research focuses on the methodology of social networks.

They reveal that the behavior of each one of us is related to the social structures in which we live and, in order to study them, we need a model that represents our evolution and the evolution of social networks. These networks can change over time. The changes in the network happen thanks to the choices made by ourselves, because we are the ones who control the information we share.

Now that we have clear the idea that one of the disadvantages of obtaining information through the Web, is that not everyone has access to it, we can also see that other people greatly influence the results of information that we want to obtain.

But we also think that these same people nowadays have a lot of confidence in social networks, and they develop in a better way.

Many users of the networks come to comment that in that place they are “themselves”, so we can not dismiss this as a way to obtain research, because, more than harmful, it seems that it will enrich the results more.

Referencias

Niezink, N. M. D., Snijders, T. A. B., & van Duijn, M. A. J. (2019). No Longer Discrete: Modeling the Dynamics of Social Networks and Continuous Behavior. Sociological Methodology, 008117501984226. https://doi.org/10.1177/0081175019842263

Simmons, A. D., & Bobo, L. D. (2015). Can Non-full-probability Internet Surveys Yield Useful Data? A Comparison with Full-probability Face-to-face Surveys in the Domain of Race and Social Inequality Attitudes. Sociological Methodology, 45(1), 357–387. https://doi.org/10.1177/0081175015570096

Authors
Andrea Abonce, twitter: @andrea_abonce
Montserrat Gama, twitter: @vaiviadame2
Elda Tello, twitter: @eldatellov
Jazmin Blancas, twitter: @hadaJazmine
Patricia Marín, twitter: @mr_patricia
Alejandro Herrera, twitter: @HerreraAlejando