Using open source tools to measure online selective exposure in naturalistic settings. Communication Methods and Measures.
Leiner, D., Scherr, S., & Bartsch, A. (2016). Using open source tools to measure online selective exposure in naturalistic settings. Communication Methods and Measures, 10(4), 199–216 doi: 10.1080/19312458.2016.1224825
Measuring audiences’ selective exposure to media content in naturalistic settings constitutes a methodological challenge that has only partly been resolved. We present a new methodological approach that is based on the open-source web analytics software Piwik. This method allows for the tracking of selective exposure and facilitates the integration of selective exposure data with online survey data. To ease data handling, we created a plug-in turning Piwik into a scientific research tool. After discussing the theoretical and methodological background of collecting data on user selections, we provide step-by-step instructions on the integration of Piwik with online content, survey software, and the merging of tracking and survey data. Finally, we discuss research applications, advantages, and limitations of the new research tool.