Research Data and Web Scraping (Automate Your Data!)

Mckenna Arthur
September 10, 2021
Community

With so much information out on the Internet, these days, cost-effective and lightning-fast methods of data collection can save time and energy for other, more thought-intensive processes. That’s why you should look into web scraping to collect web research data. Like web archiving, web scraping can be done using pre-programmed scraping “bots” or applications, which automatically crawl web pages to get the data you want.

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In contrast to web archiving, web scraping doesn’t preserve the feel and look of the original websites. Instead, it compiles information as textual data. This data can then be analyzed and used to strategize and make plans. You can use extracted data in your research to support your company’s goals.

Learn more about why web scraping is a good way to collect web research data, and how you can scrape data with an API. To help you get started, we’ve included step-by-step instructions on how to conduct web scraping with an API.

What is Web Research Data?

web research

Web or internet research is the process of using the Internet to locate research data. The Internet is home to a rich array of information. This can include almost anything, including scientific articles, blogs, and targeted discussion forums about particular subjects. With just a click of your mouse, you can use web research engines to locate information about anything from anywhere, using any device.

However, because there is so much information on the World Wide Web, you can end up wasting a lot of time locating and extracting the data you want to analyze. If you wanted to extract reviews from a restaurant review website manually, you would have to:

  1. Look through each review individually and
  2. Manually input the different parameters into your spreadsheet or analytics program. 
    1. These parameters include but are not limited to the date the restaurant was reviewed, how many stars the restaurant was given in that particular review, whether the review was posted using a mobile phone or a computer, etc. 

Why is Web Scraping Important for Researching Data?

how to do web research and why it is important

Since manually collecting and assessing data from your target website takes so much time and energy, web research tools such as web scraping bots have been developed to speed up and simplify your data scraping research.

By automating the repetitive aspects of web crawling and scraping research, web scraping bots—also known as research data scrapers—simplify the data extraction process. The web scraping process begins when your bot starts crawling through the web pages in their most basic form. The bot goes through the information to extract the parts you want. This data is then copied and pasted into your spreadsheet or analytics program for your convenience.

Web scraping is particularly popular in marketing and price research. It’s also used to:

  • Track weather information
  • Keep an eye on real estate prices
  • Perform research on social media platforms and review websites

 

Accordingly, you should look into getting a scraping tool if you are interested in :

  • Learning how to do web research efficiently and effectively
  • Data research
  • Data collection methods in research
  • Identifying, preserving, collecting, and analyzing information found online

If you’re new to web scraping and you want to try it for researching data, don’t fret. Getting started with web scraping is easier than it sounds. All you have to do is download scraping software that will collect data from target web pages in real-time.

How to Scrape Data for Data Research with an API

web crawling and scraping research

If you want to scrape effectively and efficiently, we recommend scraping research data with an Application Programming Interface (API).

An API is a software interface you can use to transfer data from one software to another. You can use an API to create a data funnel between your scraping software and your database or data analytics software to eliminate the need for manual input.

You can also use an API to isolate and extract categories of data. For instance, you can direct your API to only extract restaurant reviews from 2019, even when you’re not at your computer. Additionally, you can program your API to request data from web pages every 30 or 60 seconds so you don’t have to check these pages multiple times a day.

How to Scrape Data for Data Research with Scraping Robot API

data research

If you’re new to scraping, APIs can appear incredibly daunting, particularly if you’re not a coder. Fortunately, there are some APIs out there, such as Scraping Robot API, that don’t require you to know a lot of code.

Here’s how you can get started with Scraping Robot API:

  1. Go to the Scraping Robot API page. Unlike most other scraping software, Scraping Robot API is browser-based and doesn’t need to be downloaded.
  2. Open the web page you want to scrape in another tab.
  3. Copy the URL.
  4. Paste the URL into Scraping Robot API.
  5. After pressing “Run,” you will receive the full HTML output within seconds. 
    1. Scraping Robot API will give you all categories of HTML. This makes things a lot easier since most other web scraping tools use an extraction sequence for different HTML elements on a web page. Scrapers typically extract the text first, after which you can select other categories for extraction, such as full HTML, Captcha, href attribute, and JSON object.

After you receive the full output, you can export the data to your spreadsheet or analysis program, such as Graphpad, XLSTAT, or SPSS.

Conclusion

data collection methods in research

With so much information on the World Wide Web, there’s only so much time you can spend manually extracting information from different web pages. This is why you should get a web scraping tool to help you with web research. A web scraper not only automates the extraction process but also allows you to organize and pinpoint which categories of data you want to extract. That way, you can extract and analyze large amounts of data with minimal effort.

Although scraping websites sounds difficult and expensive, it’s actually quite easy if you use Scraping Robot API. Browser-based and user-friendly, Scraping Robot API doesn’t require an in-depth knowledge of coding or scraping. With a couple of clicks, you’ll be able to extract any and all categories of HTML data for your target sites. After that, you can export this information to populate your database for further analysis and organization.

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