Development of a researcher codebook for use in evaluating social networking site profiles

J Adolesc Health. 2011 Jul;49(1):29-35. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.04.015.


Introduction: Social networking sites (SNSs) are immensely popular and allow for the display of personal information, including references to health behaviors. Evaluating displayed content on an SNS for research purposes requires a systematic approach and a precise data collection instrument. The purpose of this article is to describe one approach to the development of a research codebook so that others may develop and test their own codebooks for use in SNS research.

Methods: Our SNS research codebook began on the basis of health behavior theory and clinical criteria. Key elements in the codebook developmental process included an iterative team approach and an emphasis on confidentiality.

Results: Codebook successes include consistently high inter-rater reliability. Challenges include time investment in coder training and SNS server changes.

Conclusion: We hope that this article will provide detailed information about one systematic approach to codebook development so that other researchers may use this structure to develop and test their own codebooks for use in SNS research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Blogging / classification*
  • Data Collection / standards
  • Databases, Factual
  • Documentation / standards*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Research Personnel*
  • Social Support*