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5.3 Research Methodology
5.3.1 Sample Selection Journals Analyzed
This study is focused on analyzing journal publications, in the view that they con-
stitute a resource that is often used by academics as a source of new knowledge and
as a medium for its disclosure (Nord & Nord, 1995) and at the same time as an
indicator of scientific productivity (Legge & Devore, 1987). Symposia, summa-
ries of communications, letters to the editor, articles of a professional nature, and
topic reviews were excluded from this analysis because, in our opinion, they ofer a
limited view of the subject. However, we did take into account articles included in
special issues of journals, considering that these reflect a greater interest in the study
of a particular issue and in the need to examine it further (Rodríguez, Alcaide, &
López, 2010).
Institute for Scientific Information-listed journals in the areas of Communication,
Information Science and Library Science, and Public Administration for the year
2012 were selected for analysis. In selecting the journals to be analyzed, we used
objective indicators (Forrester & Watson, 1994), seeking references that provided
useful and reasonably valid statements in terms of research consumption (Garfield,
1972). For this reason, and taking into account the findings of previous studies
(Plümber & Radaelli, 2004), we excluded listed journals of marginal importance,
that is, those with an impact factor of less than 0.25 or with fewer than 50 total
citations for the year 2012.
For the analysis of these journals, we could have used the descriptions offered
by the journals in their aims and scopes as indicators to determine whether
they publish articles about social media. However, to avoid the possible exclu-
sion of articles published in multidisciplinary journals with general descrip-
tions, we analyzed all journals and articles that met the exclusion/inclusion
criteria. In consequence, our sample was composed of 27 journals listed in the
area of Communication, 45 journals listed in the area of Public Administration,
and 69 journals listed in the area of Information Science and Library Science,
indexed in the Institute for Scientific Information Web of Knowledge for the
year 2012. However, not all of these journals have published articles on social
media. Therefore, Table 5.2 lists only the journals that, within the sample, have
published articles on social media. Articles Selected
In determining the articles to be included in the sample, we analyzed all the articles
published in journals that met the above-described criteria for inclusion. To do this,
we first examined the title and the keywords of each one (Lan & Anders, 2000;
Plümber & Radaelli, 2004). These descriptors provided an initial idea of the topic
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