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Journal cover: Internet Research

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Online from: 1991

Subject Area: Information and Knowledge Management

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A holistic approach to the analysis of online profiles

Document Information:
Title:A holistic approach to the analysis of online profiles
Author(s):Helena Bukvova, (Chair of Information Management, Dresden University of Technology, Dresden, Germany)
Citation:Helena Bukvova, (2012) "A holistic approach to the analysis of online profiles", Internet Research, Vol. 22 Iss: 3, pp.340 - 360
Keywords:Academic staff, Curriculum vitae, Information exchange, Internet profiles, Qualitative comparative analysis, Science communication, Self-presentation, Web pages, Web sites
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/10662241211235680 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The author thanks Hendrik Kalb and Enrico Lovasz for the intensive idea exchange, their help with piloting the analysis, and advice with the writing of this article. The author also thanks Peter Geißler, Christian Kummer, and Paul Kruse for their suggestions and help. Furthermore, the author is very grateful to the editors and reviewers of Internet Research for their honest and constructive criticism that has helped to improve the paper as well as the author's research.

Purpose – The article aims to present a holistic approach to analysis of patterns on complex online profiles, demonstrated on profiles of European scientists.

Design/methodology/approach – An existing analytical framework was developed to incorporate a holistic understanding of online profiles. The framework was applied to a sample of 188 online profiles belonging to 48 European scientists. The profile data were studied on three levels (content-unit level, profile-instance level, and profile-network level), using methods of the qualitative comparative analysis to derive profiling patterns.

Findings – The approach developed in this work generated profiling patterns for European scientists. The patterns exist on all three levels, forming a hierarchy. This pattern structure shows the variety of ways in which scientists can use the internet for self-presentation.

Originality/value – The study was based on a holistic understanding of online self-presentation, acknowledging that personal presentation can be spread across different platforms. The study presented shows how this understanding can be used when analysing online profiling behaviour. The profiling patterns of European scientists identified in this study supplement existing typologies. The study serves as a foundation to structure further research as well as to inform practitioners.

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