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Wiki Surveys: Open and Quantifiable Social Data Collection

Author(s): Salganik, Matthew J; Levy, Karen EC

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Abstract: In the social sciences, there is a longstanding tension between data collection methods that facilitate quantification and those that are open to unanticipated information. Advances in technology now enable new, hybrid methods that combine some of the benefits of both approaches. Drawing inspiration from online information aggregation systems like Wikipedia and from traditional survey research, we propose a new class of research instruments called wiki surveys. Just as Wikipedia evolves over time based on contributions from participants, we envision an evolving survey driven by contributions from respondents. We develop three general principles that underlie wiki surveys: they should be greedy, collaborative, and adaptive. Building on these principles, we develop methods for data collection and data analysis for one type of wiki survey, a pairwise wiki survey. Using two proof-of-concept case studies involving our free and open-source website, we show that pairwise wiki surveys can yield insights that would be difficult to obtain with other methods.
Publication Date: 20-May-2015
Electronic Publication Date: 20-May-2015
Citation: Salganik, Matthew J, Levy, Karen EC. "Wiki Surveys: Open and Quantifiable Social Data Collection" PLOS ONE, (5), 10, e0123483 - e0123483, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123483
DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123483
EISSN: 1932-6203
Pages: e0123483 - e0123483
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: PLOS ONE
Version: This is the publisher’s version of the article (version of record). All rights reserved to the publisher. Please refer to the publisher's site for terms of use.

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