The Potential of Online Sampling for Studying Political Activists Around the World and Across Time

Political Analysis, Vol. 25, No. 3, July 2017, pp. 329-343

46 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2017

See all articles by Kai Jäger

Kai Jäger

King’s College London - Department of Political Economy

Date Written: September 6, 2017

Abstract

Parties and social movements play an important role in many theories of political science. Yet, the study of intra-party politics remains underdeveloped as random samples are difficult to conduct among political activists. This paper proposes a novel procedure to sample different parties over time and space by utilizing the advertising option of the social media webpage Facebook. As this method allows for quotas and the collection of large samples at relatively low cost, it becomes possible to improve the representativeness through post-stratification and subsample robustness checks. Three examples illustrate these advantages of Facebook sampling: First, a Facebook sample approximated intra-party decisions and the outcome of a leadership contest of the Alternative for Germany. Second, a weighted Facebook sample achieved similar estimates as a representative local leader survey of the Social Democratic Party of Germany. Third, by evaluating subgroups of key demographics for parties with unknown population parameters, two Facebook samples show that the color-coded conflict in Thailand was driven by different concepts of regime type, but not by a left-right divide on economic policy-making. Facebook sampling appears to be the best and cheapest method to conduct time-series cross-sectional studies for political activists.

Keywords: Party Politics, Social Movements, Sampling Method, representativeness, Internet Data, Facebook, Alternative for Germany (AfD), Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Pheu Thai Party (PTP), Democrat Party of Thailand, People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD)

Suggested Citation

Jäger, Kai, The Potential of Online Sampling for Studying Political Activists Around the World and Across Time (September 6, 2017). Political Analysis, Vol. 25, No. 3, July 2017, pp. 329-343, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3033260

Kai Jäger (Contact Author)

King’s College London - Department of Political Economy ( email )

Strand Building
London
United Kingdom

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
72
Abstract Views
745
Rank
610,062
PlumX Metrics