Interpreting social science link analysis research: A theoretical framework

Interpreting social science link analysis research: A theoretical framework Link analysis in various forms is now an established technique in many different subjects, reflecting the perceived importance of links and of the Web. A critical but very difficult issue is how to interpret the results of social science link analyses. It is argued that the dynamic nature of the Web, its lack of quality control, and the online proliferation of copying and imitation mean that methodologies operating within a highly positivist, quantitative framework are ineffective. Conversely, the sheer variety of the Web makes application of qualitative methodologies and pure reason very problematic to large‐scale studies. Methodology triangulation is consequently advocated, in combination with a warning that the Web is incapable of giving definitive answers to large‐scale link analysis research questions concerning social factors underlying link creation. Finally, it is claimed that although theoretical frameworks are appropriate for guiding research, a Theory of Link Analysis is not possible. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology Wiley

Interpreting social science link analysis research: A theoretical framework

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
2330-1635
eISSN
2330-1643
DOI
10.1002/asi.20253
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Link analysis in various forms is now an established technique in many different subjects, reflecting the perceived importance of links and of the Web. A critical but very difficult issue is how to interpret the results of social science link analyses. It is argued that the dynamic nature of the Web, its lack of quality control, and the online proliferation of copying and imitation mean that methodologies operating within a highly positivist, quantitative framework are ineffective. Conversely, the sheer variety of the Web makes application of qualitative methodologies and pure reason very problematic to large‐scale studies. Methodology triangulation is consequently advocated, in combination with a warning that the Web is incapable of giving definitive answers to large‐scale link analysis research questions concerning social factors underlying link creation. Finally, it is claimed that although theoretical frameworks are appropriate for guiding research, a Theory of Link Analysis is not possible.

Journal

Journal of the Association for Information Science and TechnologyWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2006

References

  • Bibliometrics and beyond: Some thoughts on Web‐based citation analysis
    Cronin, B.
  • The archaeology of knowledge
    Foucault, M.
  • Can examination of WWW usage statistics and other indirect quality indicators distinguish the relative quality of medical Web sites?
    Hernández‐Borges, A.A.; Macías‐Cervi, P.; Gaspar‐Guardado, M.A.; Torres‐Álvarez de Arcaya, M.L.; Ruiz‐Rabaza, A.; Jiménez‐Sosa, A.
  • A longitudinal study of Web pages continued: A report after six years
    Koehler, W.
  • Mapping university–industry–government relations on the Internet: The construction of indicators for a knowledge‐based economy
    Leydesdorff, L.; Curran, M.

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