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D4.1 Report-Methodological Issues

D4.1 Report-Methodological Issues

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Published by: Pedro Miguel Ventura on May 31, 2010
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10/26/2011

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To lay the groundwork for future research in this field, of which there is likely to be a fast-
growing amount, our purpose is to draw on the present analysis of principles, arguments,
experiences regarding research methodology (the present report) in order to construct a ‘best

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practice’ research guide (the next report, due Autumn 2008). There is already much informal
discussion and critique of the sampling, tools and analytic strategies adopted by different
projects internationally, as well as various practices of informal sharing of survey
questionnaires, discussions at international conferences and via email networks of colleagues
regarding research problems and potential solutions, and so forth. However, such discussions
tend to occur within networks of like-minded colleagues, and they do not cross language
barriers well. Thus many are excluded from such discussions, however, mainly for reasons of
language, geography or discipline.

The Best Practice Guide will thus attempt to systematise the lessons learned through
research practice, as well as drawing on insights from the diverse articles and reports
published on matters of methodology in this field. Given the growing number of countries and
institutions looking to conduct empirical research, often for the first time, on questions of
children and internet safety, there is considerable merit in collecting together, as a public
resource, the best practice insights (as well as the mistakes or difficulties) faced by current
researchers in the field. It will offer a guide to the conduct of future research on this topic,
including the provision of sample themes and questions, matching surveys of children and
parent, considerations of research ethics, designing age-sensitive questionnaires and
interview protocols, the measurement of difficult topics (e.g. reliable assessment of time use,
the complications of internet access, asking about private or risky issues), sampling
considerations, the availability of standardised scales, and so forth.

Since research has been and continues to be conducted rather more in some countries than
in others, and since different research cultures sustain different experiences or specialisation,
this seems a valuable moment in time at which to generate a ‘best-practice’ research guide
for application, and modification where appropriate, in future European research.
Furthermore, since it is also likely that research will increasingly be comparative or even pan-
European, a focused discussion and sharing of methodological knowledge by a multi-national
European team seems apposite.

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