What the Papers Say

24 11 2012

It was time to review some scholarly research.  Published articles are researched using a systematic method, peer-reviewed and (usually) arrived at without bias, as the results must stand up for themselves and not be manipulated to support a hypothesis.

Firstly, I searched the term “disclosure online” via Google Scholar which returned these results.  Many of the articles were not appropriate (concerned with disclosing personal information online, such as age, income, etc.) but the first was highly relevant.  Unfortunately, the full text of the paper was not available (as were many of the results).  Therefore, I decided to search for it via the UHI library instead, and found it via EBSCO.

Broadly, there were similarities between this research and what I had done with www.mentalhealthforum.net.   However, whereas I had simply looked through the threads and ‘cherry picked’ the information that supported my theory, the writers of this paper had a systematic method :

gathering results from three discussion and three support forums

ensuring there were equal results from both genders

recording total number of words and first-voice words as dependent variables

using trained, expert judges to blindly rate each message



Encouragingly, their results were not dissimilar to what I had found!  Namely that, comparing support forums to discussion forums, self-disclosure was much higher, messages were more open personal, and reciprocity of self-disclosure was evident.

Interestingly, when I did a search for “disclosure online” via EBSCO, this paper was not returned in the results.  The advantage of using Google Scholar was that it listed alternative papers which this research had been cited in, which provided a useful source for further reading.



Barak, A., & Gluck-Ofri, O. (2007). Degree and Reciprocity of Self-Disclosure in Online Forums. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 10(3), 407-417. [19/11/2012]




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