This study explores how virtual desktops hosted within a cloud computing environment can be used as a data capture tool to undertake research exploring web-browsing and web-searching behaviour. It details the protocol used to observe the task-orientated web interactions of 105 university and school aged participants within the confines of a research experiment and considers the comparability between data collected remotely via virtual desktops and data collected in a controlled environment. Data collected remotely via virtual desktops is found to be comparable to data collected in the field across a number of key statistics, with remote data collection making recruitment and participation more convenient, whilst potentially reducing response bias. The protocol detailed has broad potential for adaption where there is a need to remotely capture participants’ web-use in a cost-effective and non-technical manner. Limitations with the protocol are identified and possibilities for future adaptations are discussed.
|Journal||International Journal of Social Research Methodology|
|Early online date||9 Nov 2016|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 9 Nov 2016|
Bibliographical notePublished online. No issue number available yet as is still in print.
- virtual desktops
- cloud computing
- social research
- human-computer interaction
- legal knowledge