Social media network plays important role in making necessary changes in the lifestyle of each and every users. For instance it can influence them to buy particular product. Each and every post of these networking sites has positive as well as negative comments (Social Media as a Measurement Tool, 2013). These comments influence others to update their own pages on these networks. Therefore, social media networks have strong relationship with emotional state of users. In the current research study will focus on analysing that whether social media affects emotional stages of users or not. Concerning this, author has chosen XYZ which is one of the leading social media networks at international level. Regarding this researcher will use a systematic process of investigation and that will include research philosophy, literature review, approach, techniques and design. Along with this, author has also use suitable methods for collecting and analysing appropriate data.
Facebook conducted a psychological experiment in 2014 to understand the emotional state of its users (Facebook Experiment, 2016). They used positive or negative newsfeeds news feeds to analyse the behaviour. The main aim of the company was to find whether they can alter the emotional state of the people. This experiment received negative feedbacks and the company had to come up with new set of guidelines for their further research (Facebook Emotion Experiment sparks criticism, 2016). In the current research XYZ Company aims to understand the emotional state of their users by using digital scent technology. It will allow the company to analyse the impact of different smells on the activity of their customers.
According to Schroeder, 2014, “Social media has become a new source of communication due to rapid changes in technology” (Schroeder, 2014). Large number of people are connected with different social media platforms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter etc. These websites can be used to conduct experiments and researches to understand the behaviour of people. It can be combined with the data collected from traditional sources to make the research more effective. As per Ju, Jeong and Chyi, 2014, “Facebook published a report on their massive scale experiment to analyse the emotional state of its users” (Ju, Jeong and Chyi, 2014). Similarly, XYZ Company is planning to conduct a research using their digital scent technology and its impacts on the users.
Cameron and Geidner, 2014, believes that “Web based experiments are very useful as it enables a researcher to target a larger audience” (Cameron and Geidner, 2014). They are able to collect diverse samples which saves both time and cost. A researcher can control all the variables is the test which is not possible with natural experiments. KRAMER ADI and Hancock, 2015, finds that “Facebook used their social media platform to develop correlations between positive or negative newsfeed and emotional state of their users” (KRAMER ADI and Hancock, 2015). They used emotional contagion theory and large set of data to study the pattern. Almost 700,000 people were selected randomly and they were assigned to different groups. The researcher removed one kind of emotion from each group and the effects on people were evaluated. As per Bontcheva and Rout, 2014, “Facebook was unaware about the internal validity problem in the research. There are many people on the internet and social media who mimic others or follow their opinion” (Bontcheva and Rout, 2014). Cause and effect research design has been used in the experiment of Facebook. Apart from this, Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) has been used for sentimental analysis. According to Shah, Cappella and Neuman, 2015, “The research design of Facebook's experiment had many complexities. There were ethical as well as methodological problems. The size of the data was too large and over extrapolate results were taken for the small samples” (Shah, Cappella and Neuman, 2015). Research design was improper for analysing big set of data. Furthermore, various biases have been ignored in the experiment by the researcher. Similarly, Twitter also conducted an experiment to examine social activity, emotions, language and depression index. They used 1583 people who gave them the permission to access their twitter account. Crowdsourcing methodology was used in the entire process. There were no controlled variables in this study and everything was examined by the behaviour and activities of the users. They used statistical tools to analyse the data. They had a simple research design which helped them in the evaluation. The experiment conducted by Twitter was similar but they made sure that they followed ethical behaviour. Batrinca and Treleaven, 2015, agrees that “It is essential to maintain privacy and no information should be contained from the users” (Batrinca and Treleaven, 2015). Studying the behaviour and activity of an individual is a sensitive matter which should be taken care while performing the research. Facebook faced many criticism and negative feedbacks because they did not use ethical behaviour. It is essential to understand the confidentiality of the data and samples should be taken accordingly.
According to St Denis, Palen and Anderson, 2014, “Health Information national Trends Study (HINTS) also conducted a research to monitor the impacts of social media and health communication” (St Denis, Palen and Anderson, 2014). They use regression analysis on limited sample size of data. They used only 5078 people in the experiment. Linear relationship and multivariate analysis were used in the study. As per Schifferes and et.al. 2014, “It allowed them to understand the communication patterns in US” (Schifferes and et.al. 2014). They have used both qualitative and quantitative aspects to evaluate the data. Social media survey and random telephonic interview were two modes of data collection. Apart from this, only active social media users were taken up for further study. This helped them to filter the data and it made the research more effective. Furthermore, the analysis was done by using different regression models and statistical tools.
Aim And Objectives
“To determine that whether a social media network (XYZ) can alter the emotional state of its users or not”
- To assess influence of positive and negative comments in new feeds on emotions of users of social media networks (XYZ).
- To identify the relationship between social media network (XYZ) and emotional state of its users.
- What is the major relationship between social media networks on emotional state of its users?
- How social media networks (XYZ) can influence the emotions of users?
Research methodology can be defined as a systematic and theoretical analysis of different methods that help in conducting study on different subject (Valenzuela, Arriagada and Scherman, 2014). It plays important role in developing an investigation plan for conducting study in a organized manner. Using appropriate methodology author can easily determine the impact on social media networking on emotional well-being of users. Major techniques which help in conducting research investigation are research philosophy, design, approach and technique. Including this, research methodology also comprises different methods of data collection and analysis. Therefore all these tools and techniques plays effective role in resolving research question in appropriate manner. An appropriate research methodology is beneficial in resolving research issues in appropriate way.
It is also known as a research phenomenon by which author can collect, analyse and use appropriate data about the XYZ social networking company and its impact on user’s emotional state. It focuses on objectivity and subjectivity of the research area. There are basically two types of the research philosophy such as positivism and intrepretivism (Kramer, Guillory and Hancock, 2014). In which author will use the positivism research philosophy because it shed lights on research objectives rather than subjectivity of the subject. For instance it will play important role in assessing relationship between positive and negative comments of XYZ and emotional well-being of users. On the other hand, intrepretivism focuses on the subjectivity of the research subject so author has not chosen this tool for conducting entire investigation.
It can be defined as a set of different methods and procedures that plays important role in collecting and analysing variables in specifying the research problem in effective manner (Schroeder, 2014). Therefore, using a specific research design author can determine the role of social media networks in changes of emotional state of users. There are three research designs descriptive, experimental and cause and effect. For the current research project author will use descriptive research design because it is based in qualitative or subjective concepts rather than numerical. Along with this it is one of the effective research design for analysing non quantified topics and issues. Descriptive design provides an opportunity to integrate qualitative and quantitative research strategy at the time of data collection. Therefore, researcher has chosen this research design which will play significant role in collecting suitable data about XYZ and emotional state of its users. But, on the other hand using descriptive research design study cannot analyse data using hypothesis test but it is useful for analysing information by thematic analysis. Overall, descriptive research design will be appropriate for resolving the current issue of the entire study.
Approach of the research
Research approach can be defined as a method that helps in conducting specific or general study. There are basically two types of research approaches inductive and deductive. In deductive approach researcher needs to study all theories because results of these theories will play important role in examining the current research issue. But on the other hand inductive research approach plays important role in developing new theory about the research subject. It has chosen by researcher because it helps in completing investigation from specific to general. So, in this research author will analyse the impact of XYZ on emotional state of users. Afterwards, researcher will use this result in developing new theory about the social media network. Therefore, inductive approach is one of the best approaches for completing investigation and resolving research problem.
There are two types of research techniques namely qualitative and quantitative research. Qualitative research takes into consideration the views, opinions, thoughts and ideas to develop the hypothesis of the study (Coviello and et.al. 2014). The size of the sample is usually small. On the other hand, quantitative research technique uses numerical data and statistical methods to quantify a problem.
In the current study qualitative research technique has been used. It will allow the researcher to evaluate the data in detail and in depth analysis can be done easily. Qualitative research is more effective when the study is entirely dependent on human experience (Nummenmaa and et.al. 2014). It provides better results than quantitative analysis. Furthermore, complexities can be dealt in a better way as compared to other techniques. It requires small sample and the cost of collecting the data is also low. It gives clear understanding about the subject matter. Facebook Company had many problems in their experiment because they used 700,000 people. It made the research very complex which affected its results. Apart from this, thematic analysis is used in the experiment as it will help in monitoring, examination and recording the patterns.
Random sampling method
Sample population: Users of XYZ
Sample size: 50
- Informed participant consent
- Voluntary participation and right of withdrawal without sanction
- Confidentiality of participants and records
- Secure storage of relevant data after completion of a research project
- Clear, coherent expression of research proposals
- Regular monitoring of research outcomes.
- Privacy and the internet
- Respect of intellectual property and content
Collecting data is one of the important tasks for conducting investigation on social media networks. There are number of methods for collecting facts and figures about XYZ and emotional state of users such as primary and secondary data collection. In which primary data collection plays important role in collecting new and fresh data about the research subject. But on the other hand secondary data collection method focuses on past information about the research subject which have disclosed by other research scholars in past. For the current investigation author will use both primary and secondary data collection methods.
Primary data collection
Primary data collection will allow XYZ Company to have complete control over different variables. Researcher can focus on target data rather than mass market. Usually primary data collection method involves high cost and it is considered time consuming (Kramera, Guilloryb and Hancockb, 2014). But in the current experiment, XYZ Company will be using social media platform to understand the behaviour and emotional state of their users. Therefore, the problem of time duration and high cost is eliminated from the research. It will make the study more effective and the researcher can focus on core issues of the research. Apart from this, the company is not required to rely on other researcher's data which may not suit the objective of the company. They will be able to gather recent trends and pattern which are more accurate. There are different methods of collecting primary data but XYZ Company should use questionnaire method in their research. It will not give rise to any unethical behaviour and confidentiality is also maintained. Questionnaire method has detailed questions which are designed to attain reliable results from the respondents (Ferrara and Yang, 2015). It can be designed according to the nature and scope of the study. XYZ Company can use social media for their digital scent technology. They can circulate questionnaire to understand the impacts of different smells on the respondents. This method is beneficial for the company because they can rely on small sample size to gather data. The confidentiality as well as reliability of the information is also ensured.
Secondary data collection
Secondary data collection method uses data which has been collected by other researchers (Sturm and et.al. 2013). It can affect the quality and reliability of the research. It is important for XYZ Company to use literature reviews as their secondary source of data. It will eliminate the problem of unethical behaviour which many social media sites have been facing. Furthermore, it will give them an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of other researchers. For example, Facebook used 700,000 people in their experiment. It was difficult for them to manage such big data. Furthermore, their experiment was criticized as they compromised with privacy of their users. They can also included many positive and innovate ways which were used by Facebook in their research. Literature reviews provides extensive information about a similar study. It will allow XYZ Company to learn and improve their techniques. It is for the same reason that the company has taken small sample size. They understood the importance of data collection and analysis. Interpretation and evaluation is a crucial part of the research as it provides the crux of the study.
The biggest advantage for XYZ Company is that they are using both primary and secondary data. They are not limited to only on set of data. It makes their research more reliable and they will be able to get meaningful results from it.
Qualitative data can be very useful as it helps in the development of research questions (Mønsted and et.al. 2017). It provides insights from the subject which can be useful for the researcher. Moreover, it also provides clues which need intervention. Thematic analysis should be used by XYZ Company. It focuses on examination, recording of patterns and pinpointing. Thematic analysis uses six important codes such as familiarizing, creating codes, searching themes, reviewing, defining themes and producing the report. XYZ Company has to conduct an experiment to determine whether the emotional state of the users can be altered or not. They will use digital scent technology in the process. Thematic analysis will help them to discover patterns and it will allow them to reach to a conclusion. Granular research and analysis is possible for XYZ Company. They can gain knowledge and deeper appreciation from the data. Furthermore, it is inductive in nature. Thematic analysis includes interpretive, phenomenology, positivism and grounded theory. Apart from this, the researcher can apply statistical methods on the data to increase its validity. So, it is beneficial for XYZ Company to use qualitative ad thematic analysis in their research. It increases reliability and flexibility in the analysis. Moreover, categorization of the data from the study is also possible.
Validity And Reliability
Limitation of the research
Small sample size cannot provide the generalized view for the entire population. Apart from this, many people tend to mimic or follow the opinions of others. They do not form their own opinion which is a limitation for the research. Researcher has to make sure that unethical behavior is avoided and confidentiality is maintained. To accomplish this, respondents should be given freedom to share their opinions, exit from the survey and maintain privacy. It can become a hurdle for the researcher as he has only limited number of respondents. Emotional state of a person differs from others. So, it will be difficult to study patterns and categorization cannot be done accordingly. Furthermore, designing a questionnaire to collect insights and in depth details about the emotional state of a person may not be possible. The researcher should also avoid any over extrapolate findings.
Social media has become an important source of data collection for many researchers. But it is essential for them to maintain confidentiality and ethical behavior while conducting their survey. Facebook had similar issues in the past and they were criticized for it. As a result, XYZ Company has made sure that they follow professional conduct in their research. The aim of the research is to examine the affects of different smells on the emotional state of the respondents. The company should use both primary and secondary data collection methods. Primary data collection involves questionnaire method while secondary data involves literature review. Qualitative research technique and inductive approach is used in the solving the research problem. Moreover, thematic data analysis will be used in the examination and evaluation of the data. It is important for XYZ Company to understand the experiment and surveys conducted in the past. It will provide them an opportunity to improve their study and make it more effective. It will reduce their cost, time and they will be able to maintain the confidentiality of the users. Apart from this, XYZ Company should avoid biased behavior and monitoring of the research outcomes should be ensured.
Books and journal
Batrinca, B. and Treleaven, P.C., 2015. Social media analytics: a survey of techniques, tools and platforms. AI & SOCIETY. 30(1). pp.89-116.
Bontcheva, K. and Rout, D., 2014. Making sense of social media streams through semantics: a survey. Semantic Web. 5(5). pp.373-403.
Cameron, J. and Geidner, N., 2014. Something old, something new, something borrowed from something blue: Experiments on dual viewing TV and Twitter. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. 58(3). pp.400-419.
Coviello, L. and et.al. 2014. Detecting emotional contagion in massive social networks. PloS one. 9(3). p.e90315.
Facebook Emotion Experiment sparks criticism. 2016. [Online]. Available through: <https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-28051930> [Accessed on 26th March 2017]
Facebook Experiment. 2016. [Online]. Available through: <https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/631633/Facebook-Experiment-Test-Loyalty-Trust> [Accessed on 26th March 2017]
Ferrara, E. and Yang, Z., 2015. Measuring emotional contagion in social media. PloS one. 10(11). p.e0142390.
Ju, A., Jeong, S.H. and Chyi, H.I., 2014. Will social media save newspapers? Examining the effectiveness of Facebook and Twitter as news platforms. Journalism Practice. 8(1). pp.1-17.
KRAMER ADI, G.J. and Hancock, J.T., 2015. Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks [J/OL].
Kramer, A.D., Guillory, J.E. and Hancock, J.T., 2014. Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 111(24). pp.8788-8790.
Kramera, A.D., Guilloryb, J.E. and Hancockb, J.T., 2014. Inder M. Verma. PNAS. 111(29). p.10779.
Mønsted, B. and et.al. 2017. Evidence of Complex Contagion of Information in Social Media: An Experiment Using Twitter Bots. arXiv preprint arXiv:1703.06027.
Nummenmaa, L. and et.al. 2014. Emotional speech synchronizes brains across listeners and engages large-scale dynamic brain networks. NeuroImage. 102. pp.498-509.
Schifferes, S. and et.al. 2014. Identifying and verifying news through social media: Developing a user-centred tool for professional journalists. Digital Journalism. 2(3). pp.406-418.
Schroeder, R., 2014. Big Data and the brave new world of social media research. Big Data & Society. 1(2). p.2053951714563194.
Shah, D.V., Cappella, J.N. and Neuman, W.R., 2015. Big data, digital media, and computational social science: Possibilities and perils. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 659(1). pp.6-13.
Social Media as a Measurement Tool. 2013. [Online]. Available through: <https://erichorvitz.com/depression_populations_websci_2013.pdf> [Accessed on 26th March 2017]
St Denis, L.A., Palen, L. and Anderson, K.M., 2014. Mastering social media: an analysis of Jefferson County’s communications during the 2013 Colorado Floods. In Proceedings of the Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management Conference (ISCRAM 20014).
Sturm, V.E. and et.al. 2013. Heightened emotional contagion in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease is associated with temporal lobe degeneration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 110(24). pp.9944-9949.
Valenzuela, S., Arriagada, A. and Scherman, A., 2014. Facebook, Twitter, and youth engagement: A quasi-experimental study of social media use and protest behavior using propensity score matching. International Journal of Communication. 8. p.25.