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Studying Online Behavior: Comment on Anderson et al. 2014

Sociological Science. 2015;2(2):20-31 DOI 10.15195/v2.a2


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Sociological Science

ISSN: 2330-6696 (Online)

Publisher: Society for Sociological Science

LCC Subject Category: Social Sciences: Sociology (General)

Country of publisher: United States

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF



Kevin Lewis (University of California, San Diego)


Editorial review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 6 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

As social scientists increasingly employ data from online sources, it is important that we acknowledge both the advantages an limitations of this research. The latter have received comparatively little public attention. In this comment, I argue that a recent article by Anderson and colleagues: 1) inadequately describes the study sample; 2) inadequately describes how the website operates; and 3) inadequately develops the paper’s central measures — such that it is difficult to evaluate the generalizability, veracity, and importance of their claims and impossible to replicate their findings. These limitations are not unique to the Anderson et al. article; rather, they point to a set of concerns that all researchers in this growing and important line of study need to address if our work is to have enduring impact.