Cyber Stalking: A Comparison of Two Articles
Long before the advent of popular media, researchers and sociologists would carry out studies and publish their findings in scholarly journals. These journals could be accessed to from public libraries or school libraries. The same applies to scholarly works such as theses and dissertations. However, with the birth of the internet and the worldwide web, scholarly content has been easily and widely accessible. The worldwide web came with it information search engines and content could be easily accessed by searching keywords using sites such as “Google Search”. This has been amplified by the rise of internet articles and blogging. This essay compares and contrasts two articles – a scholarly article and a web publication – to draw the similarities and differences between the two. While the two may be different, web publications draw largely from published scholarly empirical works.
Comparing and Contrasting
In the article Perceptions of Cyberstalking Among College Students, Smoyak et al., (2005) investigate the issue of cyberstalking by gathering data from a sizeable number of university students. On the other hand, Muller’s (2015) article published on Psychology Today Cyberstalking yet to be Taken as seriously as it Should outline several ills of cyberstalking such as fear and social withdrawal by drawing experiences captured in a report. Smoyak’s article gathers empirical data from a sample (756 students from different universities) on their use and experiences with social networking sites and the internet at large. From the data gathered, the authors analyze and compare the students who reported cyberstalking and those that did not. The study finds that female students were less likely to be cyberstalked compared to their male counterparts.
Muller’s article explains the many forms of cyberstalking such as threatening messages and blackmail. Noting that cyberstalking has an emotional effect on the victims, Muller (2015) draws from an interview in The Trauma & Mental Health Report whereby a student identified as Anna is constantly cyberstalked. The conclusions of the article are drawn from Anna’s advice. There are striking differences between the two articles. Smoyak’s article is empirical and draws its conclusions from a detailed analysis of the research data gathered from research participants. This means that there is a theoretical framework, identification of a study sample, and the collection and analysis of data.
However, Muller’s article is more of pop psychology. The study is based on previous research conducted by another person. It is based on an interview conducted in the compiling of a previous study report. The article also draws on other research works in drawing its conclusions and, therefore, is widely similar to a literature review of an empirical study. Both articles in the end offer informed solutions. For example, Muller (2015) observes that victims should not allow fear to control them, and the authorities should step in pass legislations that deter cyberstalking. Syomak et al., (2005) suggest that victims should be able to report such incidences to the authorities.
Pop psychology draws largely from personal experiences, knowledge, and empirical research. As such, an author of a web publication will write about his personal experiences and try to corroborate them with existing research. However, empirical research involves an objective inquiry into a subject and, therefore, is more likely to yield accurate information. Therefore, pop psychology draws a lot of information from empirical research, and in the process simplifies the scientific research for public consumption.
Muller, R.T. (2015, Sept 03) Cyberstalking Yet to be Taken as Seriously as it Should. Psychology Today, 2015.
Smoyak, S.A., Baker, T., Burgess, A.W. & Alexy, E.M. (2005) Perceptions of Cyberstalking Among College Students. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention, 2005:5(3);279-289.