In this session I will outline some of the different opportunities and methods for gathering primary research data online. The session will cover a range of approaches, including web-based surveys, the use of social media services, and ‘big data’ approaches. Both the practicalities and ethics of internet research methods will be considered. Practical issues include the validity and reliability of online data collection approaches. Ethics issues include consent, privacy, and protecting research participants’ personal data. The session will conclude with a brief discussion of how researchers might be able to adapt research that was planned to use offline methods (face to face interviews, for example) to use alternative online methods. This is topical in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic situation. Participants attending this session should expect to leave with knowledge of the key opportunities available for gathering research data online, including how this may facilitate their own research. They should also gain insights into how it may be possible to adapt planned offline research methods in order to allow data to be collected online.
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