Deep Data: Digging into Social Media with Qualitative Methods | Qualitative data analysis |

By Janet Salmon, Ph.D. The ever-growing use of social media -- and the resultant Big Data-- excites quantitative researchers. The potential to use social media to collect rich data that can generate new insights excites qualitative researchers. Quantitative methods allow researchers to reveal and follow patterns of posts and responses by users of social media sites. But at some point we need to ask “why?” in order to discern users’ motivation, understand the significance of behaviours and learn how the experience is significant to their personal or professional lives. Qualitative researchers have the ability to do so. Qualitative research approaches allow us to dig below the surface to explore how, why or what, and to explore relationships and connections not readily evident in Big Data—which is why I’ve taken to describing it as Deep Data.