Saint-Petersburg State University opened Resource Center "Center for Sociological and Internet Research" in March 2013.


The mission of the Center is:

  • sociological research of social interactions and processes on the Internet;
  • sociological research focused on the study of public opinion on a wide range of issues;
  • methodological and technical support of the software and hardware application in sociological research.

Methods of data collection

  • Personal structured (semi-structured) interviewing with respondents (experts).
  • An online survey based on self-administered web-questionnaire allowing to check for mutually exclusive responses at the time of filling in and to control sample of respondents according to specified attributes.
  • A telephone interview with automatic dials and the use of an online self-administered questionnaire to provide faster data collection, elimination of possible mistakes by interviewers and control sample of respondents.
  • Automated collection of network data and content from public Internet-services including online social network sites (VK, Odnoklassniki, etc.).
  • Focus-group interviewing with respondents (experts) in mode of a video-conference.

Methods of data analysis:

  • Statistical data analysis using SPSS and R software.
  • Social network analysis with Gephi, NodeXL, R, etc. software.
  • "Big Data" analysis applying Tableau multi-functional complex.


Hardware and software:

  • ABBYY FlexiCapture — equipment and software for in-line (sequence flow) scanning and text recognition and further automated data input in a database.
  • CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) — computer system for telephone interviewing.
  • CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interviewing) — technology allowing to conduct interviews on the Internet.
  • A focus-group studio equipped with stationary redundant audio- and video hardware, a TV screen, one-way Gesell mirror that separates the meeting room from the observation room.
  • Tableau — analytical software for "big data" analysis allowing to create interactive dashboards, interactive maps, interactive analytical reports, to analyze media (online social networks, blogosphere, news feeds, etc.), to connect to a number of data sources (Excel, Access, Text File, Google Analylics, Google BigQuery, Hortonworks Hadoop Hive, HP Vertica, etc.), to perform a comprehensive comparative analysis. Built-in security system guarantees that only authorized personnel gain access to sensitive data. The flexible features of Tableau configure the system for simultaneous operations of a research team and provide easy access to results. Tableau provides an opportunity to work with the data remotely.

The Center main services:

  • development of a machine-readable form of a questionnaire from a customer’s questionnaire for an automatic data input;
  • research and methodological consulting;
  • methodological support of research and tools development;
  • software development for interactive data visualization;
  • data collection and analysis of online social network services (VK, Odnoklassniki);
  • structured and semi-structured expert interviewing;
  • online survey;
  • telephone interviewing;
  • focus-group interviewing;
  • in-depth expert interviewing;
  • software development for specific research goals;
  • development of a personal Internet accounts for topical online questionnaires and other web-services;
  • converting databases from an Excel to SPSS format;
  • statistical analysis of sociological data;
  • input of the survey data with the help of automatic sequences-flow scanner.

Resource Center "Center for Sociological and Internet Research" fairly provides opportunity for St. Petersburg State University personnel and prospective partners to use expensive analytical software in order to foster academic research, educational process, and to facilitate the commercialization of research activities.