Research Tools for Understanding Disinformation

5. Recommendations

Updated On
Apr 06, 2021
  • Develop research questions first, research designs second, and data collection methods and instruments third. To answer the questions that are most relevant for the context and program, research design and data collection methods should be selected to answer questions that are most important for the program measurement needs. Committing to a research method or data collection method before scoping your research question will limit what can be answered. 
  • In the implementation phase, consider a pilot-test-scale model for program activities. Using one or more of the outlined research approaches, workshop content on small groups of respondents, and use pilot data to refine more promising content before deploying activities to a larger set of beneficiaries. 
  • Protect personally identifiable information (PII). All of the data collection methods described in this section, from interviews, to surveys, to network data and social media analytics, can collect information on intimate and private personal characteristics, including demographic data, attitudes, beliefs, and willingness to engage in political action. Regardless of the selected methodology, researchers should make every attempt to secure informed consent to participate in research, and should take care to secure and de-identify personal data.
  • Consider partnerships with research organizations, university labs, or individual academic researchers, who may have a comparative advantage in designing and implementing complex research designs, and who may have an interest in studying the effects of counter-disinformation programs.