The mind over the Web: The quest for the definition of a method for Internet research

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Psychology is increasingly interested in understanding the characteristics of the Internet and its effects on people, groups and organizations. However, studying the Internet is not a simple task. First, the Internet is a medium that can be experienced in many different ways. Though a computer and keyboard are usually the mediator of our Internet experience, there are different ways in which users can explore the Internet, present themselves, and communicate using it. Second, the Internet is a social and cognitive space. The handling of information is linked to the activation of psychosocial relationships in which cognitions are elaborated. This happens inside a rather special kind of container - Cyberspace - which tends to rarefy the structural and process features of communication. Third, the Internet experience is always situated in a specific context, even when we are chatting alone in a room. In this sense it can only be fully understood through detailed analysis of the social context in which it happens. Starting from a general three-level model of interpersonal interaction in the Web, this paper tries to define a model of data analysis (Complementary Explorative Multilevel Data Analysis - CEMDA) suited to the constraints of Internet research. The main characteristics of the model are: the focus on different frames and objects for each considered unit of research; the mixed use of quantitative and qualitative tools; and the final integration of results in a general framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-16
Number of pages10
JournalCyberpsychology and Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology


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