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Online environments and the future of social science research.

Fischer, Michael D. and Lyon, Stephen M. and Zeitlyn, David (2017) 'Online environments and the future of social science research.', in The SAGE handbook of online research methods. London: Sage, pp. 611-627.


This chapter considers the impact that the Internet and related communications technologies (IRCT) will have on the range of possibilities and prospects for new generations of social scientists. Contemporary and future developments will advance the scale of research activities that are feasible and the kinds of subjects that are ‘researchable’. The opportunities and challenges posed by the Internet and related communications technologies will be driven both by changes in societies and advances in our methods, increasing capacity to do some of the same things either better or on a larger scale, and to do new things in relation to data collection, analysis and dissemination. Amongst the issues the chapter considers are the likely implications for new kinds of research relationship, ways of dealing with increasingly vast amounts of potential data, responses to associated ethical issues, the potential for social science use of ‘smart’ technological assistants, and what further technological changes may be on the way, such as smart environments and the Internet of Things. The chapter considers new technologies, their relationship to present practice, and the kinds of skill that are likely to be required on the part of new generations of social science researchers.

Item Type:Book chapter
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo until 01 December 2018.
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
First Live Deposit - 17 February 2017
File format - PDF
Publisher Web site:
Record Created:17 Feb 2017 09:58
Last Modified:09 Mar 2017 13:37

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