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Realising the potential of social media for self-harm research

Jacob, Nina Katherine 2015. Realising the potential of social media for self-harm research. Presented at: 28th World Congress of the International Association for Suicide Prevention, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 16-20 June 2015.

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The opportunities that social media offer to research have unquestionably afforded new methodological directions to be taken as well as opening up potential solutions to some old dilemmas of research. In the first instance, this discussion will consider the role that social media can play in terms of recruitment to research studies. At the most straightforward level, social media potentially enables the targeting of some hard to reach groups, in our case young people who self-harm who are not in contact with professional services. In particular the global social media platform Facebook was used to target and recruit participants geographically dispersed across the study region to take part in semi-structured interviews about their online activities for self-harm purposes. A targeted advertisement was developed which was aimed at young people aged between 16 and 25 living in Wales in the U.K. Specific activities were screened for, such as interest in a number of Welsh-based services for young people, as well as local pages dedicated to improving emotional well-being and mental health. The success of the campaign was striking with over 100 young people wanting to take part. Young people’s use of the social media site Tumblr for self-harm purposes is widely reported in British press, and is something that was confirmed through the qualitative interviews. Accordingly a content analysis of self-harm related visual data uploaded to Tumblr was developed. Specifically the Tumblr application programming interface (API) was used by a computer programmer to collect all uploads to Tumblr with the tag #self-harm over three 24 hour periods. The method as well as the analyses of these data will be discussed.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 08:13

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