Bridging Disciplinary Boundaries (January 11 - 14, 2007)

Sunday, January 14, 2007: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Pacific C (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
You've Got Subjects: The Promise of the Internet in Researching Hard to Reach Populations
Speakers/Presenters:Kristina Hash, PhD, West Virginia University
S. Melinda Spencer, MS, ABD, West Virginia University
Abstract Text:
The use of the Internet and related technology may be particularly beneficial in conducting social research with hard to reach populations. This workshop will explore opportunities and challenges in using technology in research with hard to reach and other populations, specifically as related to using the Internet for sampling, data collection, data processing and dissemination of results.

The workshop will include a discussion of the potential to reach hidden populations, current methods of online research, and ethical and other issues of concern. The experiences of the workshop leaders and participants will be shared and best practices will be deliberated. Lessons learned from both qualitative and quantitative research projects with LGBTs will be presented. Specific research tools will be addressed including: email, listservs, newsgroups, webpages, chat rooms, weblogs, webcams, portable document files (pdfs), and electronic journals. The methods of online surveys and online interviewing and focus groups will be examined. Ethical and other issues will also be discussed including: use of incentives, privacy and security, informed consent, confidentiality and anonymity, bias in sampling, data quality, aptitude of researchers and participants, "netiquette", and perceived credibility of online research. In addition, leaders and participants will reflect upon future directions in the use of technology and ways social researchers can explore and build aptitude in this new methodological frontier.

This workshop will utilize Powerpoint slides and examples to stimulate interactive dialogue. An online survey will be demonstrated and related webpages and tools examined. Proficiency in or experience with web-based research methods is not required for workshop participation.

**This could also be presented as a roundtable.

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