Social psychological research and the Internet: the promise and peril of a new methodological frontier


The Internet has expanded people's ability to connect with others. People can connect to those with whom they have existing social ties, as well as make new connections with others who may share similar interests and ideologies. These connections can be achieved through a variety of means and with varying levels of social involvement, such as viewing or creating personal web pages, posting to online discussion forums, and communicating via e-mail or instant messaging. These unprecedented advances in communication and the proliferation of Internet-based technologies have led many social psychologists to take advantage of the power of the Internet in their research. In a similar vein, access to large numbers of potential research participants as well as increased access to special populations have lured many to explore the potential of collecting data to test social psychological hypotheses using web-based samples. The Internet allows for generalization beyond the college student subject pool, with the benefits of experimental manipulation, audio and visual presentation of stimuli, live and spontaneous interaction between participants, and higher degrees of complexity than is possible with other methods of data collection typically used outside of the traditional social psychological laboratory. There are many reasons to be excited about the methodological possibilities of using the Internet as a medium for social psychological research. The range of possibilities for conducting research is expanding at approximately the same rate as information technology is expanding. Just as there are increasingly more ways to obtain information and data in general, there is also a growing number of ways to obtain social psychological data. The goal of this chapter is to provide a review of how social psychologists are currently using the web and to present some specific examples of translational,

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Skitka2005SocialPR, title={Social psychological research and the Internet: the promise and peril of a new methodological frontier}, author={Linda J. Skitka and Edward G Sargis}, year={2005} }