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Dynamics of online interactions and behavior

This research project is intended to uncover the dynamics of interactions and behavior in online social spaces through the application of new interactive survey methods to a large and diverse pool of internet users. We recruit participants to fill out a survey on LimeSurvey, an open source survey tool, which combines decision making involving money with substantive questions about attitudes and practices. Experience with prior efforts at field-based behavioral studies suggests that there is much to be learned from careful observation of behavior in controlled settings in the field, in this case, online, relative to the standard approach of behavioral observation of mostly student populations in universities.

The ultimate objective of the study is to contribute to the development of a field of human interactions systems design aimed to improve the design and organization of online social spaces. We will combine the behavioral outputs of the study with the rich data publicly available from the web on social interactions. We will then interpret this aggregate data in light of the work on social software design and the rich qualitative work that anthropologists and sociologists have done to study the dynamics of online interactions.

It should take no more than 25 minutes for participants to complete the study. Participating is easy and intuitive. While helping to advance research, participants can earn a significant amount of money (up to $50). If they do not want to keep the money, participants can choose to donate it to the International Committee of the Red Cross. All participants are paid online via a PayPal account. It is not necessary to have a PayPal account prior to one’s participation to participate in the study.

In the spirit of letting the public benefit widely from our findings, we will release all research outputs of this work under an open access license, and make the data as freely available as will be consistent with preserving the privacy of participants.


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