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Original document was submitted as an honors thesis requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Harvesting the Twittersphere explores the current state of research, by comparing quantitative to qualitative and analyzing the current market. In a consumer driven market, it seems that most businesses are neglecting to perfomr qualitative research. It could be because of the falling cost and increasing convenience of quantitative research methods provided by cloud systems such as: Salesforce.com, IBM, SAP, and Mckinsey. Another reason may be that there is no efficient or inexpensive way to conduct qualitative research on a digital platform. While certain companies try to conduct qualitative studies online by using chat rooms, discussion boards or Facebook prompts, there is no method that is as widespread or respective as the traditional methods.

While focus groups and participant observation offer unique insights into consumers, both methods can be costly and difficult to set up. Harvesting the Twittershpere proposes a new methodology of using Twitter to conduct a qualitative study . By searching a specific term, a researcher can search through a constantly generated tweets to see what people are saying about the term. The tweets should be captured, sorted and analyzed in order to proivde a unique insight from the consumer. By nature, Twitter offers feelings of users since what they tweet is usually their individual perspective on the subject. This is the perfect field in order to conduct a qualitative study since it is about sharing emotions, sentiments and feelings, rather than numbers, facts or statistics.

The paper also presents an example of this methodology by conducting research on Spotify, a music streaming application. The case presents how collection, sorting, analysis and the report were conducted and prepared in order to gtive readers a deeper understanding of the type of insights that can be gained from this method.