Pro-Ana and pro-Self-Injury websites abound on the web as do more constructive sites that aim to detail personal narratives or empower those suffering from a wide range of psychological distress...so can we study these sites, using posts and comments as data for qualitative analysis? What are ethics of using this as data? Do we need consent? Is the info 'public' or private?
There are toolkits for analysis...here
Lots of studies here
Lots of papers on method
HERRING, S.C., Kouper, I., Paolillo, J.C., Scheidt, L.A., Tyworth,
M., Welsch, P., Wright, E., Ning Yu (2005) ‘Conversations in the
Blogosphere: An Analysis "From the Bottom Up”’, Proceedings of the 38th
Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-38), Los
Alamitos: IEEE Press
HODKINSON, P (2007) ‘Interactive online journals and individualization’, New
Media and Society, 9(4) 625-650.
HOOKWAY, N. (2008) ‘”Entering the blogosphere:” some strategies for using
blogs in social research’ Qualitative Research 8(1) 91-113.
HUFFAKER, D.A., and Calvert, S. L. (2005). ‘Gender, identity , and language
use in teenage blogs’, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication,
10(2), article1. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol10/issue2/huffaker
THELWALL, M. (2007). ‘Blog searching: The first general-purpose source of
retrospective public opinion in the social sciences?’ Online Information
Review, 31(3), 277-289
THELWALL, M. & Prabowo, R. (2007). Identifying and characterising public
science-related fears from RSS feeds. Journal of the American Society for
Information Science and Technology, 58(3), 379-390.
Here is a good thread about it on MethodSpace