6: How Do We Account for Lurking? Implications for Social Science Researchers

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Ignoring lurkers can invalidate critical social science research in education, health, and psychology, which often use social media participation as part of their data collection methods. If data collection does not account for lurkers, researchers reach only 10 per cent of social media users within the confines of their study. This could compromise the validity of the results and findings, thus having a detrimental effect on health and learning outcomes for people whose care and education rely on practitioners accessing accurate data. This chapter offers concrete strategies for ways to expand datasets to include the literacy practices of lurkers. It also explores the limits of platform sponsored tools like CrowdTangle for data collection and offers suggestions for how to ethically engage with lurkers.

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