Throughout this book we have been drawing upon Internet sources; such is the ubiquitous nature of our current relationships with ‘the Web’. We can hardly remember, no doubt, what it was like to have to rely only on paper sources for all our information and for our methods of carrying out various forms of enquiry. Increasingly however, new(er) technology has been catching up with us and suggesting ever more complex ways of conducting those enquiries. As we noted in Chapter 1, increasing use of social media means that in some circumstances our data and communication in general is becoming much more about instant response, sometimes through short, decontextualised comments which are challenging to analyse (e.g. Twitter/tweets). This in turn can generate many methodological as well as ethical issues when trying to be ‘research minded’ in these shifting contexts. In this chapter, I will discuss and try to demonstrate ways in which online techniques can be useful for social work research, for example for survey work or other interviewing purposes; or for drawing upon visual or written materials such as e-mails or online forums.
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