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Exploring online research methods - Incorporating TRI-ORM


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Open/close headingAsynchronous online interviews

Online interviews which take place in non-real time, for example using email. An asynchronous interview will usually involve the interviewer posting to a discussion list or emailing interview questions to respondents to answer at their own convenience. Neither party needs to be online at the same time.


Open/close headingBulletin board

Another term for a discussion board.


Open/close headingChat

A facility allowing real-time text-based communication between two or more users in virtual spaces known as 'chat rooms'. This usually makes use of IRC (Internet Relay Chat) technology.

Open/close headingComputer-mediated Communication (CMC)

The use of computers and networks to enable communication.

Open/close headingCross posting

A message or posting sent to more than one mailing list or newsgroup.


Open/close headingDiscussion board (or group or forum)

Web application which allows asynchronous communication to take place. Users post messages which are displayed to all those with access to the board. People can then reply or add to the messages, continuing the discussion in a 'thread' of related postings. Also known as bulletin boards, discussion groups or web / internet forums.


Open/close headingEmoticons

Icons used to express feelings in an email message or in online discussion. For example ;-) can be used to represent a wink. Also referred to as 'smileys'.


Open/close headingFailed flame

A type of flame as described by O'Sullivan and Flanigan (2003) where the sender intended the message to be aggressive or rude, but it was not received as such.

Open/close headingFlaming

General term for aggressive or insulting messages or posts.

Open/close headingFlame war

Used to describe a situation in which an online discussion becomes a series of aggressive exchanges or personal attacks.



Open/close headingListserv

The name of a type of mailing list which is owned by a specific software company and is a registered trade mark.

Open/close headingLurker

Person who reads other people's postings on a discussion board, but does not contribute.


Open/close headingMailing list (maillist)

A system in which people subscribe to receive periodic e-mail distributions on a particular topic by adding their email address to a list. Any messages sent to the list will be copied to all of the other subscribers. Mailing lists can be moderated where a list owner reviews all emails prior to distribution, or un-moderated whereby emails are sent immediately without review.

Open/close headingMissed flame

A type of flame as described by O'Sullivan and Flanigan (2003) where only the intended recipient does not see the message as a flame. The sender intended the message to be aggressive or rude, and onlookers see it as such.

Open/close headingModerator

Person who owns or runs a discussion board or mailing list. Usually has the administrative permissions to move or delete postings.

Open/close headingMOO

A type of MUD (See below). The acronym stands for 'MUD Object Oriented' and refers to the technology used which differs from that used in MUDs.

Open/close headingMUD

Multi-User Domain, Dimension, or Dungeon: A technology allowing interaction to take place between participants on geographically-dispersed computers. Originally used for interactive gaming environments, they are now used for many other interactions including in education and research.


Open/close headingNetiquette

Term used to describe the code of conduct between those communicating on the internet. It is concerned with internet courtesy and protocols and is directed at preventing aggressive and insulting behaviour. It is frequently flexible and includes often unspoken rules about what is considered appropriate and polite and respectful behaviour online.

Open/close headingNewbie flame

A type of flame as described by O'Sullivan and Flanigan (2003) where both recipient and onlooker see the message as inappropriate, but the sender does not.

Open/close headingNewsgroup

Similar to mailing lists, newsgroups are message areas defined by a particular subject matter.



Open/close headingParalinguistic features

Non-verbal elements of communication which provide meaning beyond the words uttered. In face-to-face communication, this includes features such as intonation, posture, expression and gesture. In online communication, this refers to the use of features such as emoticons, abbreviations, capitalisation, font and colour.

Open/close headingPosting

A single message added to a discussion board or mailing list.



Open/close headingSmiley

Icons used to express feelings in an email message or in discussion. For example ;-) can be used to represent a wink. Also referred to as 'emoticons'.

Open/close headingSpamming

Sending the same unsolicited message to a large group of people via email or by posting to a discussion list.

Open/close headingSynchronous online interviews

Online interviews which most closely resemble a traditional research interview in that they take place in 'real time' in an environment such as an internet chat room. All participants must be online simultaneously and questions and answers are posted in a way which mimics a traditional interview.


Open/close headingThread

A collection of discussion board postings which have been added as responses to a message which began the thread. Moderators will frequently aim to ensure that only postings of direct relevance to the message will be added to the same thread, and encourage users to begin a new thread if their posting is on a different subject. This allows users to more easily reference the contents of a discussion.

Open/close headingTroll

Individual who deliberately posts provocative messages to a discussion board intending to incite a reaction from the readers of the message.

Open/close headingTrue flame

A type of flame as described by O'Sullivan and Flanigan (2003) where all parties regard the message as a deliberate attempt to be aggressive or rude.



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