The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Black and white photo of Hanna Bäck. Photo.

Hanna Bäck


Black and white photo of Hanna Bäck. Photo.

Methodological challenges of experiments in social media


  • Emma Bäck
  • Nils Gustafsson
  • Hanna Bäck

Summary, in English

Experiments in social media have rapidly become an important method in social science. However, there are a number of methodological problems connected to this method. One of these is the fact that social media are dominated by a small number of information oligopolists such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Since the service provider has control over the information and the algorithms that structure the information, manipulation in a controlled environment is impossible without cooperation. This presents the researcher with a choice: either you try to cooperate with the service providers or you try to emulate the services in a lab setting. Either choice presents the researcher with a number of challenges. This paper outlines a typology of the methodological problems associated with either choice.


  • Department of Strategic Communication
  • Department of Political Science

Publishing year




Document type

Conference paper


  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
  • Psychology
  • Communication Studies


  • political communication
  • experiments
  • social media
  • methodology
  • methods

Conference name

NordMedia 2015

Conference date

2015-08-13 - 2015-08-15

Conference place




Research group

  • Politisk kommunikation