Web Log Analysis: Diversity of Research Methodologies

Web Log Analysis: Diversity of Research Methodologies

Isak Taksa (Baruch College, City University of New York, USA), Amanda Spink (Queensland University of Technology, Australia) and Bernard J. Jansen (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-974-8.ch025
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Abstract

Web log analysis is an innovative and unique field constantly formed and changed by the convergence of various emerging Web technologies. Due to its interdisciplinary character, the diversity of issues it addresses, and the variety and number of Web applications, it is the subject of many distinctive and diverse research methodologies. This chapter examines research methodologies used by contributing authors in preparing the individual chapters for this handbook, summarizes research results, and proposes new directions for future research in this area.
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Research Methodologies

What are the research methodologies frequently applied in Web-based research? Some researchers focus on collection and preparation of information for data analysis (Jansen, 2006), while others concentrate on elicitation; reduction and visualization for user-profiling (Romano et al., 2003). Researchers also benefit from a new, aggressively growing source of personal communication – blogs (Jing, 2006; Rossler, 2002).

In a different direction, there are a number of studies that focus on analysis of research methodologies. Powel (1999) uses a comprehensive classification developed by Kim (1996) to review, define and discuss quantitatively and qualitatively-driven methodologies. Another publication (Palvia et al., 2007) provides a slightly different but equally comprehensive classification of research methodologies. Using these three sources, we identified the following methodologies used by this handbook’s authors:

  • Conceptual Framework / Inquiry: Concepts are introduced and defined, and subsequently used to construct conceptual frameworks that provide study directions.

  • Phenomenology / Ethnomethodology: An interpretive methodology that examines users’ behavior. Ethnomethodology, an extension of phenomenology, examines individual and group interactions within a social structure.

  • Content Analysis: A methodical and replicable methodology used to determine, quantify, and analyze the presence of research objects within a large data set.

  • Ethnography: A qualitative study in which the researcher observes members of a chosen group in a natural environment over a long period of time.

  • Historical Method: Collects and examines facts about events, people and the environment of the past.

  • Discourse Analysis: A scientific argument evaluation method.

  • Case Study: A comprehensive study of a single subject, influenced by a proper selection of unit of analysis.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Content Analysis: Methodical and replicable methodology to determine, quantify and analyze presence of research objects within large data sets.

Historical Method: Collects and examines, and interprets facts about events, people and environment of the past.

Ethnography: A qualitative study in which the researcher observes members of a chosen group in a natural environment over a long period of time.

Research Methods: Specific approaches employed in research that are typically derived from the research questions or aims.

Conceptual Framework/Inquiry: Methodology to build and use conceptual framework as a plan and direction for research.

Discourse Analysis: Scientific argument evaluation method.

Phenomenology: An interpretive methodology that examines users’ behavior.

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