Appropriating web data for social research with Digital Methods - the value and potential of interactive data analysis for engaging students in social science - by Klára Benda
Date: 26 October 2016, Wednesday at 10.00-11.30
Venue: Sgraffito-House Jurisics square 07 (iASK Library)
In my talk I will present an approach to doing social research with data from the web which has shown potential as a new methodology and a teaching tool for the social sciences.
The Digital Methods approach originates in the academic contexts of New Media and Science and Technology Studies, and it has grown into a thriving academic community over the last years. Digital Methods is best understood as a theory-methods package, which uses digital tools and digital data in combination with a pragmatist, symbolic interactionist and interpretative outlook. It has been notably applied for producing case studies about issue networks, scientific controversies and actor-networks in technological innnovation. It is particularly well suited for mapping and making sense of currently unfolding cultural phenomena. I was exposed to the approach as a postdoc at the IT University of Copenhagen, where I also had the opportunity to study the practice of through interviews with students. I will draw on this study to discuss the characteristics of the Digital methods research process: iterations over data collection and visualization, exploration of interactive visualizations, relying on findings and the relational affordances of the web to bootstrap the ongoing investigation. I will also talk about the existing digital tools and infrastructures for supporting Digital methods research, and invite the audience to take part exploring their applicability in the local/Hungarian context.
Klara Benda obtained her PhD in Human-Centered Computing from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2014. She also holds an MA in Sociology from the Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary. Her research has looked at professional knowledge and communities in computing and software, and their connections with the forms of software on the web. She was a Fellow at ISES in the summer of 2015, and subsequently worked as a postdoc at the IT University of Copenhagen, exploring Digital Methods in the Ethos lab.