Using ‘Google Trends’ for Research? It’s Time To See What Social Media Can Do

Using ‘Google Trends’ for Research? It’s Time To See What Social Media Can Do

iPhone Trends

Google Trends[1] has become an accepted tool for academic research[2][3]. A researcher can enter a keyword, such as “iPhone”, and see the search volume for that keyword over time, normalized by the total search volume. Similar social media tools, like Topsy[4], report the number of tweets mentioning the keyword over time, without normalizing. These raw counts – or impressions – are great for advertisers and marketers. But how do raw counts (not normalized counts) fare for serious research?

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Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. http://www.google.com/trends/
  2. Preis, Tobias, Helen Susannah Moat, H. Eugene Stanley, and Steven R. Bishop. “Quantifying the advantage of looking forward.” Scientific reports 2 (2012).
  3. Preis, Tobias, Helen Susannah Moat, and H. Eugene Stanley. “Quantifying trading behavior in financial markets using Google Trends.” Scientific reports 3 (2013).
  4. http://topsy.com
When Funny Trumps the Facts: How U.S. Twitter Users are Learning about Ebola

When Funny Trumps the Facts: How U.S. Twitter Users are Learning about Ebola

Ebola Comes to the United States

On Sept. 30, 2014 the Center for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed the first case of Ebola in the United States. Thomas Eric Duncan, of Dallas, Texas, was confirmed to have the Ebola virus. He had been exposed to the virus while in Liberia, after taking a sick neighbour to the hospital. Mr. Duncan died on Oct. 8. Since the initial news of his infection, interest in Ebola has exploded throughout the United States. From Google search trends to Twitter conversations, Americans have become eager for any information about the spread of the disease and what to do to protect themselves from this deadly virus.

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How the Media Turned Ferguson Into the Race Issue It Isn’t

How the Media Turned Ferguson Into the Race Issue It Isn’t

Introduction

On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed man, was shot and killed by a police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Police initially called the shooting regrettable, but justified. Other accounts suggested that Michael Brown had his hands raised and was in the process of surrendering when he was shot. Protests were organized on August 10. Most of the protests were peaceful, but some crowd members became unruly, leading to civil disorder in Ferguson which lasted for several days.
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What Did the World Say About Putin After the MH17 Tragedy?

What Did the World Say About Putin After the MH17 Tragedy?

Introduction

The downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014 over the Crimean Peninsula was an international tragedy. It is believed that the plane was downed by a surface-to-air missile, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board. With the debris field within rebel occupied territory, it wasn’t until July 23, 2014 –nearly a week later–before the victims could be identified and returned to their families.

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