Research 2.0: Improving participation in online research communities


Web 2.0 thinking and technologies create a number of new opportunities to conduct research broadly labeled as Research 2.0. Research 2.0 is a growing area of academic and commercial interest, which includes research undertaken in online research communities. This research in progress paper explores the practice of online research communities using a case study example operated by the commercial market research company Virtual Surveys Limited (VSL) in the UK on behalf of their client United Biscuits UK Ltd. The preliminary findings are based on VSL and academics working together to improve the online research community participants’ response rate and the quality of contributions. Data collected for this study is based on meetings, participant observation, and a pilot survey of United Biscuits online research community ( members. Using the responses of 112 community members, a preliminary typology of motivational factors is proposed. This can be used to refine the recruitment and development of activities in an online research community. Also, a model for supporting online research communities to ensure longitudinal engagement based on an adaptation of Salmon’s (2004) 5 Stage Model for e-moderation is proposed, extending the 5 stages to 7 – adding the stages of selection and disengagement

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