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BUS603 Applied Research in Business : Social Networking Site

A different social network (XYZ) would also like to know if they could alter the emotional state of their users. Unlike Facebook, who wanted to know if more positive or negative comments in their New Feeds would impact how the user updated their own page, XYZ would like to know if different types of smells could impact how the user updated their own page. (Digital scent technology is in its infancy now but XYZ believes that as it develops there will be more interest in online scent marketing).
You have been asked to do the research for them but they do not want to be accused of being unethical. They have asked you to do a Research Design so they can examine it before you begin your research. They do not want you to start the research until they approve the Research Design. 


Letter of Transmittal

10th September, 2017

Respected Sir,

I would like to take the pleasure of presenting the following report based on the Facebook experiment of judging the moods of the people based on their emotional behavior. The purpose of the report is to help XYZ which is another social media company to get an idea about the moods of the users on the use of the smell technology.

The report has been prepared after a formal discussion with the manager of the organization.

I will be looking forward to meet the challenges of the report and achieve the desired aims and objectives of the report.

Thanking You,

Research Design

The following research is based on the study of the impact of the users on positive and negative comments on the news feed of the social networking site. The infamous experiment of Facebook to study the impact of negative feedbacks has invited widespread criticism from the people and the company has been accused of hampering the social life of the individuals (Carberry 2014). The following report offers a detailed analysis of XYZ experiment to help the researchers interpret the findings of the research to determine the issues of validity in the use of the large scale social media information in the particular case (Kramer et al. 2014). The researcher identified a number of participants for the following research and conducted an interview based on some questions prepared by them. The questions are;

  1. What can be the impact of the research on individuals?
  2. What are the reactions of the people towards such a research?
  3. Can the research achieve its aims?

The responses to the following question hold the key to the implementation and success of the experiment.

Literature Review

XYZ network is a social media company that operates a social media website similar to facebook. The following company has been planning to conduct a similar experiment process like the one conducted by Facebook a few years back. The company wants to identify the emotional state of the service users that would be helpful for the company to identify the types of news feed that the customers prefer. Facebo

ok is the leading social networking site that has more than 1.2 million global users. A global survey on use of social networking sites has revealed that more than 40% of the users of the new technology. Majority of the social media users are aged around 30 although the number of older aged people is on a steady rise (Coviello et al. 2014). The aim of this report is to get an idea on whether reading a depressing post in Facebook affects the minds of the people. Facebook attracted huge critic once they decided to remove all the positive posts and fill them instead with more negative ones. The opposite occurred when negative posts were removed from the pages.

Emotional contagion refers to the idea that believes that emotional states can spread among the people without their awareness (Segelken and Shackford 2014). Real world social network is responsible to transfer the moods of the people to good or worse depending upon the situation (Martin et al. 2015). XYZ social media will try to evaluate the individual’s reaction while manipulating the data in the website. The mentioned company is trying to implement the digital scent technology to study the behavior of the different users who use the webpage. Digital scent technology is the engineering discipline that deals with the olfactory representation. It is the particular technology to transmit sense and receive scent-embedded digital media (Hennig-Thurau et al. 2015).

Statement of the Research Question and Objectives of the Research 

The Researcher used qualitative methods for formulating the research. After selecting the sample group he constructed some questions to be answered by them in the interview process;

  1. Do you think the Facebook was ethical in manipulating the information of users? If yes why and if no then what should have been done?
  2. How much impact will unethical approaches in social media have an influence on the minds of the users?
  3. How can scent technology be useful to gain knowledge about the moods of the people?

The researcher has tried to find out ethical ways to help XYZ find some ethical ways to launch the smell technology in the market (Hennig-Thurau et al. 2015). The stress on the use of ethical ways is given to avoid any complication that rocked Facebook when they tried a similar research by manipulating the information used by the users to assess the moods of the people in changing conditions.

Research Methodology

The following case is based on the application of unethical methods by Facebook to manipulate the contents of the data (Deng and Hu 2016). The researcher has conducted the research based on qualitative methods. He has used the help of questionnaires to conduct the whole research. Some common methods that were used in the conduction of the research were group discussions, interviews and observations of the participants. The responses of the participants formed a key element to the designing of the report (Deng and Hu 2016).

The researcher has used the cognitive-affective—behavioral model; habit predicts dependence through maladaptive cognition and through a distorted effect. The following model of behavioral framework also predicts that a deficiency in self regulation and makes the social media dependence of people more high (Booth 2014).

  1. Maladaptive cognition- The habit literature ensures the situational cues automatically controls the well learned sequence of actions leading to the behavior of the different individuals (Carberry 2014).  The distorted belief system is found out to work automatically when there is a presence of stimulus related to addiction behavior (Hunter and Evans 2016). It is believed that the personal behavior of the people is also controlled by the social media participation. Maladaptive cognition is positively linked to the habitual experience in positive learning. Though the maladaptive cognition is believed to be the most critical element in the Integration and the innovation of the PIU in the behavioral model but still no such specific concepts about the condition is established totally (Shaw 2016). Social media use can influence or change a number of different beliefs like thoughts of the self and other global thoughts. Social media also uses a  rational approach which is a change from the transitional form (Guadagno et al. 2013). The extended TAM was earlier used in some previous researches to explain the different kinds of technology addiction in relation to online auctions, online video games and other uses of the internet.
  2. Deficient Self Regulation-Self regulation uses, personal self regulation overall can be referred to the control the desires of some people, behaviors and emotions through self monitoring and judgmental process. The following self regulation can operate in integrated and strategic processes (Coviello et al. 2014). The deficiency in regulation odf self behavior results in the creation of emotionality, fear and passion.

Sentiment Analysis

The researcher has used the sentiment analysis in the following research. The analysis of the emotional valance of the content can be determined to produce reliable forecasts in a variety of different situations (Elfenbein 2014). A number of sentiment analysis algorithms is present that are capable to get hold of the negative and positive sentiments some of them specifically designed for short and informal texts. In the following work the researcher has used the Senti strength to annote the different posts in XYZ pages. The following method is selected by the researcher as it provides a lot of different advantages in comparison to the other methods present in the market (Visser et al. 2013). The following method is used to make sure that all the short texts along with the different types of slam messages or symbols are analyzed which helps them to analyze the reactions of the individuals easily. Selfi Strength assigns to each tweet S+t as a positive sign while S-T is assigned as a negative symbol. The polarity score S has a range in between -4 to +4 which are extremely negative and extremely positive respectively (Carberry 2014).

Sample Unit and Sampling Methodology

The researcher identified sample strength of 1000 people among the different users of XYZ social media group. The identification was done on the basis of the active community of people who uses the site a number of times in a day and is believed to be super active users of the following social media page. The researcher used the random method of sampling to complete his research. The following method is used to provide an universal outlook to a project.  It has been also put to use as it is believed to be the most transparent method of sampling. Application of simple random methods of sampling in the research had the following set of steps;

  1. Lottery method-The lottery method has been used to make sure that each member of the population with a consequent manner and writing the numbers in separate pieces of paper. The papers were folded and left in a box and then they were randomly taken out from the box to identify the participants.
  2. Using Random numbers-The other method to determine the number of participants was to number the population from 1 to N. The sample size was thus determined randomly.

The collection of authentic information is one of the main factors that determine the success of the research. In the following research the information has been collected from various sources to make the project compact in nature.

Survey Questions

Some of the survey questions that were used during the research were;

  1. Do you think the scent technology to be an effective tool to determine the moods of the people?
  2. Can olfactory technology be the most suitable technology for the future?
  3. Do you think such an innovative technology can change the perceptions of the world?
  4. Do you think Scent technology to be helpful for the development of telecommunication?
  5. Can digital scent technology be helpful for the conduction of different researches?
  6. Can digital scent technology help in improving cancer research?

Discussion of Data 

The research conducted by the social media site Facebook to manipulate the emotions of the users was one of the most criticized experiments. The news feed of the mentioned Social networking site where people updates their status, messages, and photos is believed to be not a perfect mirror for the world. In this particular report the researcher have conducted a special experiment to help XYZ to the researcher has made a note on the use of the digital scent technology. The technology is one of the engineering disciplines that deal with the olfactory representation (Del Vicario et al. 2016). It is the technology which helps the users to gain smell based digital media like sense; transmitting and enabling scent related digital media. The technology uses some specially designed machines like olfactometers and electronic noses that help to sense on how the critical operations are performed. Though XYZ is desperate to introduce the new technology it has to extra cautious on not repeating the same fault committed by Facebook (Gerbaudo 2016). The new social networking site cannot afford to lose out the users to other users in the market. The management of the company has provided the researcher with the task of assessing the importance of the smell technology and on implementing the scent technology for getting an idea on the moods of the people.

Validity and Reliability of the Research Plan

Validity is the concept that is concerned with the extent to which the research plan is measured. The researcher has considered different factors while constructing his research. Some of the considered factors include the contents, creation, predictive validity, discriminant and many more as such. Reliability on the other hand refers to the estimation of the consistency of a particular element (Salganik 2014).

In original terms the term validity is an indication on how the research has been conducted or the indication on how sound and effective the research is. Elaborating the term validity applies to both the design and methods of the research (Rodebaugh and Leary 2014). The researcher has conducted a qualitative research to determine the outcomes of the research. He has used a number of questionnaires to make the research an effective one. To determine the validity and reliability of the response of the participants the researcher has conducted the SPSS analysis. He has conducted the SPSS based on some specific questions prepared by him. The questions were multiple choice questions and had some specific set of options namely; agree, disagree, strongly agree, strongly disagree and last but not the least is neutral. The participants are free to choose any of the given set of answers.

Reliability and validity can be mentioned as the two sides of the same coin having almost all similar characteristics (Hennig-Thurau et al. 2015). Reliability and validity are closely related. A research can be termed as a reliable one as because the participants will be answering the same question and will thus be receiving the same scores irrespective of the place of the exam (Grohol 2014). The researcher has taken some measured steps to validate the questionnaire. The steps are;

  1. Establishment of the validity of face
  2. Pilot test
  3. Clean Dataset
  4. Revise

Limitations of the Research Methods 

In a research proposal, limitations are prescribed the situation and circumstances by which the analysis data can be affected or restricted. Certain influences are present in the research proposal that cannot be avoided by the researchers (Guazzini et al. 2016). During the commencement of the research, shortcoming or influences can be raised up that become uncontrollable in nature and create implications on the certain provisions of the methodology. Following are the points that are related to the research limitation:

  • It is required to broaden the aims and objective of the research to level the standard of study;
  • Certain additional methods regarding the choice of data collection should have been adopted to increase the scope of the research analysis.
  • It is important to implement certain data collection methods that depict the nature of the implementation process.
  • In the area of research limitation, it is required to discuss the scope of the research proposal.

There are certain potential impacts that limited the findings or the abilities to answer the questions effectively. Certain moves are there under the research topic that should be identified. The moves are the announcing moves that have the potential impacts and the reflective moves.

The qualitative research is known as socio-anthropological research (Coviello et al. 2014). In this research program, certain scientific approaches are being observed, though the research cannot be conducted by way of mathematical way.  The main potential of the qualitative research is that these are time consuming in nature. Other limitations of the qualitative research are that the scope of interpretation of the researchers is limited. Further, the research is open-ended and therefore, the researchers are unable to verify the objectives of the project.    

Under this research method, the researchers face difficulties to find out the casualties regarding the research phenomenon. It is quite difficult to differentiate the quality and quantity of the information (Ferrara and Yang 2015). It is important to point out all the possible limitations to maintain the accuracy regarding the research program. It is required to conduct a thoughtful planning to obtain the ultimate purpose of the research. The qualitative data cannot be explained mathematically. The limitations are needed to be avoided to replicate the difficulties regarding the qualitative research (Chambers 2014).  

The main objective of the qualitative research is to describe a matter in detailed version. If there is any ambiguity cropped up regarding the discussion or the subject matter of the case, the corpus of the research matter should have to be done. One of the most common limitations of the qualitative research is that the scope of it cannot be widened and they are different from the quantitative research analysis (Lin and Utz 2015). Therefore, it can be stated that the limitations that are pointed out in this case should be resolved for the betterment of the research method.  


The researcher is not interested in the sample rather they are interested in the understanding of the population and how the methods can be applied to the whole population. Conduction of a survey has a greater scope than the conduction of a census. This is because census is limited to the data of a small geographical area and a small group of people whereas the sample survey is based on a larger population and involves a huge diversity. The researcher must keep in mind some features while constructing a sample; they are;

  1. Consistency-One of the most important tasks for the researcher to have a clear viewpoint of the population on which the sampling is being done. The change in the information during the surveys is a critical phase and the researcher has to be careful about such a change which has a direct impact on the research.
  2. Transparency-The researcher has to undergo different hurdles while undergoing the survey process. The researcher must have the courage to disclose all the facts and information related to the research and should not hide anything. This can help the researchers to have a clear understanding of the research and will help to see the research in the right perspective.
  3. Diversity-Diversity is one of the key elements while collecting the sample responses and choosing the sample size. The diversity of the population on which the research is based helps in the formulation of a clear and flawless research.


Booth, R., 2014. Facebook reveals news feed experiment to control emotions. The Guardian, 30, p.2014.

Carberry, J., 2014. Media statement on Cornell University’s role in Facebook ‘emotional contagion’research. Cornell University Media Relations Office.

Chambers, C., 2014. Facebook fiasco: was Cornell’s study of ‘emotional contagion’an ethics breach. The Guardian, 1.

Coviello, L., Fowler, J.H. and Franceschetti, M., 2014. Words on the web: Noninvasive detection of emotional contagion in online social networks. Proceedings of the IEEE, 102(12), pp.1911-1921.

Coviello, L., Sohn, Y., Kramer, A.D., Marlow, C., Franceschetti, M., Christakis, N.A. and Fowler, J.H., 2014. Detecting emotional contagion in massive social networks. PloS one, 9(3), p.e90315.

Del Vicario, M., Vivaldo, G., Bessi, A., Zollo, F., Scala, A., Caldarelli, G. and Quattrociocchi, W., 2016. Echo chambers: Emotional contagion and group polarization on facebook. Scientific reports, 6.

Deng, H. and Hu, P., 2016. The relationship between emotional mimicry and emotional contagion: the role of epistemic motivation. International Journal of Psychology, 51, p.532.

Elfenbein, H.A., 2014. The many faces of emotional contagion: An affective process theory of affective linkage. Organizational Psychology Review, 4(4), pp.326-362.

Ferrara, E. and Yang, Z., 2015. Measuring emotional contagion in social media. PloS one, 10(11), p.e0142390.

Gerbaudo, P., 2016. Constructing Public Space| Rousing the Facebook Crowd: Digital Enthusiasm and Emotional Contagion in the 2011 Protests in Egypt and Spain. International Journal of Communication, 10, p.20.

Grohol, J.M., 2014. Emotional contagion on Facebook? More like bad research methods. World of Psychology.

Guadagno, R.E., Rempala, D.M., Murphy, S. and Okdie, B.M., 2013. What makes a video go viral? An analysis of emotional contagion and Internet memes. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(6), pp.2312-2319.

Guazzini, A., Guidi, E., Cecchini, C., Milani, M., Vilone, D. and Meringolo, P., 2016. Self-presentation and emotional contagion on Facebook: new experimental measures of profiles' emotional coherence. arXiv preprint arXiv:1607.07243.

Hennig-Thurau, T., Groth, M., Paul, M. and Gremler, D.D., 2015. Not all smiles are created equal: How employee-customer emotional contagion impacts service relationships. In Marketing, Technology and Customer Commitment in the New Economy (pp. 254-254). Springer, Cham.

Hennig-Thurau, T., Groth, M., Paul, M. and Gremler, D.D., 2015. Not all smiles are created equal: How employee-customer emotional contagion impacts service relationships. In Marketing, Technology and Customer Commitment in the New Economy (pp. 254-254). Springer, Cham.

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Lin, R. and Utz, S., 2015. The emotional responses of browsing Facebook: Happiness, envy, and the role of tie strength. Computers in human behavior, 52, pp.29-38.

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Salganik, M., 2014. After the Facebook emotional contagion experiment: A proposal for a positive path forward. Freedom to Tinker.

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