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Psychologists have been using the internet to facilitate research in a variety of ways. Ed Sargis and I have been tracking some of the ways the internet has been used in both social psychological research, as well as psychological research more generally, over recent years. We have also recently reviewed best methods in internet research.

Sargis, E. G., Skitka, L. J., & McKeever, W. (in press). The Internet as psychological laboratory revisited: Best practices, challenges, and solutions. In Y. Amichai-Hamburger (Ed.) The social net: The social psychology of the Internet. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

[review of best practices]

Skitka, L. J., & Sargis, E. G. (2006). The Internet as psychological laboratory.
Annual Review of Psychology, 57, 529 - 555.

This chapter reviews studies published in American Psychological Association (APA) journals from 2003–2004 and additional studies (received in response to listserv requests) that used the Internet to collect data (N = 121 total studies). Specific examples of three kinds of Web-based research are reviewed: (a) translational (established methods and research questions are adapted to the Web), (b) phenomenological (behavior on the Web is the focus of study), and (c) novel (methodologically innovations unique to Web-based research). Among other findings, our review indicated that 21% of APA journals published at least one article that reported on Web-based research, most Web-based psychological research uses experimental methods, a surprising number use college student samples, and deception in Web-based research is not uncommon. Strengths and weaknesses of Web-based psychological research in general, and our sample of studies in particular, are reviewed with special attention to possible concerns about sampling and the use of deception.

Skitka, L. J., & Sargis, E. G. (2005). Social psychological research and the Internet: The promise and the peril of a new methodological frontier. In Y. Amichai-Hamburger (Ed.)
The social net: The social psychology of the Internet (pp. 1 – 26). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

[review of how social psychologists use the web; similar to Skitka & Sargis (2006) but rather than reviewing psych writ large, it covers social psych in particular]