- Axel Bruns (2007) Methodologies for mapping the political blogosphere: An exploration using the IssueCrawler research tool, First Monday, 12(5). URL
This paper studies patterns of interaction in blogosphere using network mapping tool IssueCrawler. Many other similar methodologies and internet research tools are available (and usually for free). Social researchers employ them broadly and provide valuable information about virtual communities and social networks (e.g., see First Monday for other ideas).
What do we know about educational virtual communities and networks? Not many of them probably thrive, nevertheless they do exist. Research issues and tools are available. Answers are missing.
PS: Methodological debate in educational research still concentrates mainly on classical qualitative vs. quantitative research approaches. New research methodologies, such as social network analysis, methods for process and change research, data mining, are out of focus in this debate and educational HRD training programs.