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Some issues

to consider when choosing technologies for your research:

The technical aspects of the context(s) in which your research is taking place. For example, at the time of writing, in the UK, many schools and local authorities have firewalls that prevent access to lots of websites and social media.

The ethics of the organisations behind the technologies, and how these fit with your own values. For example, with software, are you happy to use commercial products or would you prefer to support open source platforms?

  • The functionality and quality of the product. Online review sites can be helpful. Some of these are listed below.
  • Cost. Consider the pros and cons of free versus paid for services and software. Free services often have limitations such as restricted quantities of storage space, advertising or limited features. These may or may not be a problem, depending on your needs.

Provisions for privacy. What level of privacy do you require, and what technologies will help you to achieve that? e.g. secure servers, password protection, moderation.

Provisions for copyright and licensing. Do you or your participants want to retain the copyright on your work, or to distribute it using Creative Commons licenses ? If so, you'll need to choose platforms that support these things.

Compatibility between different technologies. For example, many mobile devices do not support Adobe Flash. So if you want people to be able to access your research using mobiles, it's best to avoid using online platforms that depend on Flash.

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“Problem solving is an intrinsic part of working with digital media. It’s just in the nature of it that things tend to break down and need a bit of fixing.”
Michael Gallagher, University of Glasgow