The internet - A possible research tool?

Carl Senior and Michael Smith look at how the development of the internet opens up new possibilities for psychological research.
THE internet is now in such widespread use that it is time to assess its potential and limitations as a psychological research tool. We argue that the internet is a useful tool for all areas of psychological research, and that it is possible to investigate issues that take advantage of the internet’s unique aspects. Psychologists are beginning to explore the possibility of online research, and a considerable body of literature already exists (see e.g. Allie, 1995; Buchanan & Smith, 1999; Gackenbach, 1998). The internet can be used in parallel with traditional research methods, as well as by exploiting features that are unique to it (e.g. the potentially massive participant population). This article reviews the current internet research literature, outlines some new internet features and discusses their potential as research tools. Broadly, internet research falls into three categories: 1) resource locators, 2) demographic surveys, and 3) empirical investigations.

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