Blurring the Boundaries? New Social Media, New Social Research: Developing a network to explore the issues faced by researchers negotiating the new research landscape of online social media platforms

This paper emerges from a programme of workshops and social media activities exploring the impact of social media on social science research funded by NCRM during 2012-13. The New Social Media, New Social Science? Network (NSMNSS) brought together an international network of interdisciplinary researchers to discuss the possibilities and challenges these new social media platforms and worlds pose for social science researchers.

The main questions we sought to address in our networked activities were:

  • Should social science researchers embrace social media and, if we do, what are the implications for our methods and practice? How does social media research change our perceptions of ethical practice?
  • Do new social media blur the boundaries between qualitative and quantitative research?

This paper focuses on: the issues and challenges posed for researchers working in the digital environment of social media; the ethical issues faced by researchers negotiating social media research method s; and, the lessons we learnt about establishing an international online community of practice.

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