Psychology Article Review Paper on Social Media as a Tool for Research

Social Media as a Tool for Research


Research is a scientific technique or methodology of studying, collecting, analyzing, and storing data. It entails gathering information (data) and facts to advance in knowledge in a particular discipline. Various methods are used in different exercises of data collection works, and they vary from data source to the use of the data being collected. The most common procedure in conducting a research is asking a question, collecting viable data, and answering the question. When carrying out a research on behavior in the social sciences, collecting behavioral information is usually considered to be the best methodological method. Nonetheless, research might not assist in accessing records of such kind. This article review paper displays the value of social media in research work by introducing it as a new-fangled tool for data collection to be used by I-0 researchers. Various social media networks include Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Linkedin, and YouTube among others. This paper will outline the use of LinkedIn among other social media in adding turnover data to the already available database (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2014).

Social Media and Research

            The technological advancements in the recent past, and the high use of social media provide researchers with a source of infinite data. Organizational researchers acknowledge that social media is a vital resource, hence encouraging research work in the future to include social media as a data collecting tool. It has been investigated how social media potentially changes the organizational functions, the pros and cons in relation to sourcing and choosing talents from social media. More research shows the crucial link between social media data and the employee’s output in an organization. Linkedin as a social media is among the most famous networks, receiving more attention in the recent past, hence the need for this paper (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2014).

            Linkedin as a professional site is used by over 200 million working professionals, according to the 2013 statistics from this site. The standard personal profile on this site shows a wealth of individual employment data, which researchers may utilize in their work. In this paper, we analyze an article in a journal in which Linkedin data coding effort is used by the researcher to track an employee’s turnover working for a certain firm. This is one of the ways in which social media can be applied in research. A variety of other variables can be coded by use of data collected from a Linkedin profile. Such variables include the number of position changes- to indicate career ambition, number of years- to indicate work experience in the workforce, number of connections- to indicate the level of networking, number of recommendations an individual has received-this will indicate the performance level, and number of firms an individual has worked for-indicating mobility, education level, age, skills and experience (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2014).

The Methodology: Collecting data from Linkedin.

            The turnover data obtained from Linkedin provides the extra data to the already existing database on the behavior of a particular employee in a firm. A research uses the existing dataset containing two parts of the data to assist in coding the employee’s turnover data. The two pieces could include the employee’s name and the organization’s name during the time of research.

            The process begins with the researcher using the advanced search option on the site to simultaneously search for the full name of the employee, and their organization’s name at the time of research. When the employee’s data is correctly matched with the database on the Linkedin profile, the researcher can use the employment data obtained from each profile to know whether the employee has left their firm (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2014).

What to Consider in this Methodology.

            As seen above, social media is a resource that can be utilized to carry out turnover research effectively. Nonetheless, the following considerations should be recognized in this method. Though Linkedin is a popularly used professionals’ site, only a subset of the population has an existing profile. Researchers should therefore acknowledge that only a portion of the sample has a profile on this site. This method is recommended for researchers with existing databases that are large enough to maintain the statistical power with every decrease in the sample size used.

            Turnover researchers should discern between voluntary turnover (employee initiated the turnover or employee opt to depart) and involuntary turnover (company initiated the turnover). Normally, this research restricts any analysis of those who voluntarily left the firm as the involuntary leavers are typically disregarded due to the assumption that attitudes would provide little insight to their involuntary departure. Thus, as researchers use this technique, they should establish a clear coding orientation and consistently apply it across the employees (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2014).


            We have an empirical proof to show that employee’s involvement and their turnover intentions are very well related to Linkedin coded turnover information. However, this method is not meant to outdo other methods of conducting research, but to challenge the I-O members in exploring new ways to leverage this unconventional data source. It is therefore recommended that this research method is appropriate, and there is a call to a continued utilization of social media in scientific research.


Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. (2014). “2014 Conference Wrap Up”. The Industrial Organizational Psychologist.