Survey: Capturing reactions to new and old social media as subjective metadata

Research Project Description

The following is a description of this research project.

(1) Research summary

People’s emotional reactions and opinions about information online is an important part of understanding that information. People’s reactions may also differ depending on new (e.g., social media like Twitter) and old (e.g., comments on New York Times articles) styles of media. In this online survey, participants will read short Tweets and article comments and answer questions about them. Results of the study will provide insight into how people feel and think about these forms of social media data. Results will also be used to design a new cognitive support system for everyday use.

Duration of research: From approval date in 2020 to October 31, 2021.

(2) Significance and goals of research

It is well known that social media plays a large role in shaping how we view the world and relate to each other. People are regularly contributing social media content on platforms like Twitter or in responses to articles posted on traditional news venues like the New York Times. We have collected a lot of datasets or “big data.” But we are missing the subjective human layer, such as emotional reactions and level of agreement. This research seeks to develop a methodology for capturing this layer as “data about data” (metadata). This will help us better understand the relationships between personal reactions and social media content from both new and old sources.

(3) Research methods

The research will be carried out as an online survey. The research will not pose any more strain on participants other than simple desk work. Participants will read a series of Tweets and comments from articles and answer questions about them. Afterwards, participants will answer questions about their general opinions and values, as well as demographics. No information that might identify the participants will be recorded.

(4) Storage of data and their use in other research

The survey data will be stored on SurveyMonkey with password protection. A copy will be downloaded to an external hard disc stored inside the lead researcher’s room (W9-522), which is locked. Only the researchers and assistants will have access to the data. The data will be summarized and analyzed using statistics software. In downloading the data from the online survey software, personally identifying data will not be stored. Data will only be reported in summarized form.

(5) Forecasting results (merits and demerits)

This research will have no negative impact on participants. The results will help us to better understand the relationships between subjective reactions to social media data in new and old information contexts. Participants may also better understand their own thoughts and feelings about certain kinds of social media data as a result of participation.

(6) Cooperation with the research is voluntary and retraction of consent is possible at any time

Participants have the complete freedom to participate or not participate in this research project. If a participant no longer wishes to participate even after having previously given consent, they can exit this survey by closing the browser window. However, if data has already been collected and non-traceably anonymized, this data cannot be destroyed. Retraction of consent after data collection is not possible.

(7) Protection of personal information

Because the name of the research subject participating in this study will not be recorded, personal information regarding the research subject cannot be leaked to the outside world.

(8) Publication of the research results

Research results will be publicized through academic journals.

(9) Expenses

The research subjects will bear absolutely no supplementary expenses for the tests and analysis that accompany the research. As remuneration for cooperating in the research, participants will be paid according to the conditions of each participant pool, roughly ¥500 per person.

(10) Compensation for adverse health effects

Since participation is no different from regular desk work, no specific insurance is necessary.

(11) For inquiries regarding this research:

General Affairs and Management Group, Research Planning Division, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Tel: 03-5734-3808 / 7223 (Weekdays, 8:30 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.)
Email: hitorinri [at] jim.titech.ac.jp

・Contact the principal investigator

Professor Katie Seaborn, Graduate School of Engineering, Department of Industrial Engineering and Economics, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Tel: (+81) 03-5734-3942
(Consultation after appointment)
Email: seaborn.k.aa {at} m.titech.ac.jp

・Contact for harassment issues

Harassment Office, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Tel: 03-5734-2045 (Weekdays, 8:30 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.)
Email: soudan [at] jim.titech.ac.jp (limited to harassment issues only)