HBC201: Research Methods for the Social and Behavioral Sciences



Social media have been playing an important role in modern life in recent years. As such, there has been increasing interest in investigating the possible influence of social media usage on people’s emotional well-being in social and behavioral science research.

In a recent study, Jiang and Ngien (2020) examined how individuals’ Instagram use might influence social anxiety via a survey study in Singapore. The researchers were particularly interested in how the effect of Instagram use on social anxiety might be mediated by social comparison and self-esteem. Read the following article for more information about the study (you can access the article via the SUSS library).

Jiang, S., & Ngien, A. (2020). The effects of Instagram use, social comparison, and self-esteem on social anxiety: A survey study in Singapore. Social Media + Society, 6(2), 1- 10.


Analyze and critique the given study. Apply relevant concepts and information from course materials, the given article, and additional research to answer the following questions.

a) One of your friends said, “I know that social media usage can make people anxious based on my experiences. Conducting research on this topic is unnecessary.” Explain to your friend the importance of conducting research to understand the possible influence of individuals’ social media usage on their emotional well-being in Singapore.

b) Recognise and appreciate ethical issues with respect to the guidelines in the Belmont Report in the context of this study. Specifically, explain each ethical principle in the Belmont Report. For each ethical principle, discuss at least one action that the researchers should take accordingly to protect the research participants in this study.

c) Examine at least TWO possible reasons why the researchers chose to use quantitative methods in this study. Suppose the researchers would like to conduct a follow-up study. Examine at least TWO advantages of using qualitative methods in this follow-up study in Singapore to investigate how individuals’ Instagram use may influence their emotional well-being.

d) Explain internal validity in the context of this study and propose one change that can be made in research design to strengthen the internal validity of this study. Also, explain external validity in the context of this study and propose one change that can be made in research design to strengthen the external validity of this study