Why Should We Use Online Research Methods? Four Doctoral Health Student Perspectives

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The growth of the Internet has led to an increase in researchers utilizing online methods. Online communities such as forums, blogs, and video platforms are particularly useful for research involving populations that are Internet savvy, seldom heard or discussing sensitive or illicit behavior. Drawing upon the experiences of four doctoral health students who are using online methods, this article discusses the value and benefits of conducting online research as well as the limitations and difficulties encountered. Consideration is given to the methodological and ethical implications of online research. Our own research leads us to reflect on participants’ perceptions of what is public, preserving anonymity and protecting participants from harm.

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