This project was supported, in part, by a Career Development Award to ART from the Veterans Health Administration Health Service Research and Development (CDA 14-428) and the HSR&D Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care. This project was also supported by awards received by ART from the Collins Medical Trust Research Grant and the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon New Investigator Grant (1603).
Journal of Medical Internet Research
Facebook -- Research analysis
As Facebook continues to grow its number of active users, the potential to harness data generated by Facebook users also grows. As much of Facebook users’ activity consists of creating (and commenting on) written posts, the potential use of text data for research is enormous. However, conducting a content analysis of text from Facebook users requires adaptation of research methods used for more traditional sources of qualitative data. Furthermore, best practice guidelines to assist researchers interested in conducting qualitative studies using data derived from Facebook are lacking. The purpose of this primer was to identify opportunities, as well as potential pitfalls, of conducting qualitative research with Facebook users and their activity on Facebook and provide potential options to address each of these issues. We begin with an overview of information obtained from a literature review of 23 studies published between 2011 and 2018 and our own research experience to summarize current approaches to conducting qualitative health research using data obtained from Facebook users. We then identify potential strategies to address limitations related to current approaches and propose 5 key considerations for the collection, organization, and analysis of text data from Facebook. Finally, we consider ethical issues around the use and protection of Facebook data obtained from research participants. In this primer, we have identified several key considerations that should aid health researchers in the planning and execution of qualitative studies involving content analysis of text data from Facebook users.
© Daschel Franz, Heather Elizabeth Marsh, Jason I Chen, Alan R Teo. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org)
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on http://www.jmir.org/, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.
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Franz, D., Marsh, H. E., Chen, J. I., & Teo, A. R. (2019). Using Facebook for Qualitative Research: A Brief Primer. Journal of medical Internet research, 21(8), e13544.