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Social media research is a broad term that covers research using social media platforms. Social media platforms serve as a source of data on people's opinions or behaviors, among other things.
Social media research can be quite valuable; it provides researches across many disciplines with access to peoples' opinions or behaviors that would be difficult or impossible to gather via other means.
Keep in mind: all social media platforms are controlled by the corporations that own them. This has major implications for how one interacts with a platform - many platforms have some sort of restrictions on the automated gathering of posts, for example. Pay attention to Terms of Service for each platform.
(--adapted from American University Social Media Research LibGuide)