Readers of on-line news are increasingly posting comments in response to news articles and the comments of other readers. These comments are a rich source of qualitative data that reflect public opinions and provide insight into how decisions are made and beliefs formed. Analyzing this unique data source requires a well thought out methodological approach to meet the goals of the study. This article explores opportunities and challenges associated with using on-line comments in qualitative studies, and encourages a debate among researchers about these issues toward finessing approaches for using these unique data most effectively.
Key words: On-line news, posted comments, methodology, inclusion criterion, public deliberation, participatory journalism.
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