Online research is something that everyone is involved in today because it is so convenient and there are various types of online research that one needs to be aware of. Various types of research are used for different types of projects and work. For example, when it comes to academic research this is done differently as opposed to researching for, say, a thesis. Online ethnography is one of the many types of online research methods available. This used by someone researching on different types of communities and cultures and it involves the usage of social interactions that are carried out via computer. This may be done via Facebook, Skype or other programs of the sort.
Another of the various types of online is focus groups. If you have ever studied in a group with your friends for an examination or test regarding a specific subject and topic, then, you would be familiar with these types of online research methodologies. You interact with other people who know something about the topic that you are researching on and that way you get an idea of the topic because it is addressed by different people and so you get to think about the topic from different angles.
Then you’ve got online questionnaires. If you have ever participated in surveys you would know of these types of online research methodologies- you would have to answer a questionnaire or send them to other people online so that you can get some insight into a topic. So, for example, a company that would want to see how successful a particular product is would send their customers questionnaires asking them what they think of their products or how it can be improved. When the customers answer these they are giving them feedback and the company is then able to fix certain things that need to be fixed or they can modify anything that needs modification.
Online interviews are those types of online research methods that involve interacting with people face-to-face, via a questionnaire or programs such as Skype or Facebook (video chat). These are carried out in a manner that is similar to focus groups and ethnography but the questions put to the examiner may be different and more formal. Also this type of research may be short and precise. Questions asked would be direct and short too. No sort of socialization is involved as such.
Qualitative online research is one of those types of online research that involves the use of focus groups, face-to-face interaction with people online and even going through various websites that may have been made by people who have conducted research on a topic that is similar or identical to your topic.
The purpose of all types of online research is to help get as much material about a topic as possible but how it is conducted may vary. The types of online research that are employed are also dependent upon the topic and the nature of the topic themselves as well.