The SAGE handbook of social media research methods

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This introductory chapter provides an over-view of the most pressing methodological issues and challenges social media scholars need to address. Social media is pervasive in people’s daily lives and provides new plat-forms for socialization, public debate, and information exchange which in turn gener-ates data that is potentially of great interest to social scientists. This has created a growing need for the development of methodologi-cally sound, transparent and replicable tech-niques to capture, collate and analyze these new forms of data. This chapter starts with an introduction to The SAGE Handbook of Social Media Research Methods by present-ing its goals, key features and merits. It then provides a succinct definition of social media and presents an overview of key characteris-tics of social media data frequently discussed in the literature. These characteristics present new challenges to scholars, as they necessi-tate novel approaches to data collection, analysis and interpretation. We highlight the issues that derive from the data (using the 6 Vs) and direct readers to the chapters in this edition which provide solutions. The chapter concludes that the academic community has risen to the challenge of developing method-ologically innovative approaches, techniques and tools that are specifically tailored to address the uniqueness of social media research – the challenge now is to dissemi-nate this information to the wider social sci-ence community. It is our sincere hope that this edition contributes to this ambitious goal.

Sloan, L., & Quan-Haase, A. (Eds.). (2017). The SAGE handbook of social media research methods. Sage.

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