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'Scraping' Reddit posts for academic research? Addressing some blurred lines of consent in growing internet-based research trend during the time of COVID-19.

Adams, Nicholas Norman

Authors



Abstract

The global scale of COVID-19 has constrained academics from conducting much person-facing research. Reactively, trend is increasing for digital-based methodologies capturing already existing online data. Scholars often "scrape" user-postings from internet forums using coding algorithms and text capture tools, before analysing data, drawing conclusions and publishing findings. The online social news aggregation and discussion website Reddit is a particularly rich source of data for researchers. The public nature of Reddit materials may suggest rationale for user-data to be replicated, analysed and archived; indefinitely and in multiple locations, for scholarly research. However, this position overlooks several key ethical considerations. This paper presents an overview and explanation of Reddit, followed by an exploration of studies that use Reddit-acquired data. Arising ethical issues are discussed, and solutions to salient dilemmas presented. This is to enhance awareness of potential problems and improve protections for those whose data is unknowingly used for research.

Citation

ADAMS, N.N. 2024. 'Scraping' Reddit posts for academic research? Addressing some blurred lines of consent in growing internet-based research trend during the time of COVID-19. International journal of social research methodology [online], 27(1), pages 47-62. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1080/13645579.2022.2111816

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 6, 2022
Online Publication Date Aug 18, 2022
Publication Date Feb 29, 2024
Deposit Date Sep 1, 2022
Publicly Available Date Sep 1, 2022
Journal International journal of social research methodology
Print ISSN 1364-5579
Electronic ISSN 1464-5300
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 1
Pages 47-62
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/13645579.2022.2111816
Keywords Reddit; Text and data mining; Research ethics; Research participants
Public URL https://rgu-repository.worktribe.com/output/1739808

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