Postgraduate Course: Social Shaping of Digital Research (PGSP11389)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
|Course type||Online Distance Learning
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Between data collection technologies and professional users of digital research data lies a massive assembly of computational and analytical resources that together constitute information infrastructure and promise to revolutionize analytical practice. This course provides an understanding of the possible outcomes of the adoption of digital research in business & policy-making, based on evidence gathered from other disciplines that have been early adopters of eScience as well as other fields whose practices have been modified by engagement with information infrastructure. In particular, the course will provide a theoretical framework for understanding the functioning of the human infrastructure (e.g. technicians and scientific users) that is required to sustain digital research tools and methods. By analyzing the building of information infrastructure as a process that involves the alignment and realignment of people, processes, and tools, the course will provide an understanding of information infrastructure as it appears from the perspective of those who are creating and using it.
Between data collection technologies and professional users of digital research data lies a massive assembly of computational and analytical resources that together constitute information infrastructure and promise to revolutionize analytical practice. This course provides an understanding of the possible outcomes of the adoption of digital research in business & policy-making, based on evidence gathered from other disciplines that have been early adopters of eScience as well as other fields whose practices have been modified by engagement with information infrastructure. In particular, the course will provide a theoretical framework for understanding the functioning of the 'human infrastructure' (e.g. technicians and scientific users) that is required to sustain digital research tools and methods. By analyzing the building of information infrastructure as a process that involves the alignment and realignment of people, processes, and tools, the course will provide an understanding of information infrastructure as it appears from the perspective of those who are creating and using it.
1. Social Shaping of Technology
The social shaping of technology (MacKenzie & Wajcman, 1985) has become a broad umbrella term to cover a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives in the social sciences. Scholars have sought to clarify and apply this concept to the study of any number of information and communication technologies (e.g., see Williams and Edge 1996). It has also informed a set of funded projects in the UK focused on a particular technical initiative around e-social science - digital social research. Based on recent work on the social shaping of digital research (Dutton, 2012), this first week we will clarify how the social sciences, generally, and the social shaping of technology, more specifically, can be applied to the study - and the doing - of digital research.
2. Third Wave of Social Media Research
Further to encourage being critical as to where data come from, the Social Shaping approach is also sensitive to the appropriation process and the way users manage to put 'Big Data' to their own ends. This week will discuss a third wave of literature on Big Data.
3. Tutorial: Introduction to e-Research Tools
Sharing research resources of different kinds, in new ways, and on an increasing scale, is a central element of the unfolding e-Research vision. Web 2.0 is seen as providing the technical platform to enable these new forms of scholarly communications. In this week we provide a first hands-on experience of social media tools to get further insight into the practices of e-research.
4. Digital Social Research Methods
This week consists of a guest lecture by Noortje Marres.
5. Student Presentations
During this week, course convenor will moderate students presentation. The presentation topic is the following: "Give an example of research designed using digital data".
This is a 10 credits course taught online using Moodle over five weeks through a series of weekly a-synchronous study sessions and synchronous virtual classrooms (delivered using Collaborate). When taken by on campus students, online teaching will be complemented by individual contact hours, face-to-face tutorials and (if applicable) reading group activities to make the teaching experience fully equivalent to on-campus teaching.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1)
|Course Start Date
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Assessment 1 30% Individual Presentation
Assessment 2 70% 2000 words Essay
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- critical understanding of the range of theories, principles and concepts available to assess evidence deriving from monitoring digitally derived internet data, recognizing its strengths and limitations in comparison to other ways of apprehending user needs
- understanding of the work-practices of information professionals in digital research
- critical awareness of current context and the future evolution of digital research
- apply critical evaluation to issues related to the appreciation of the practical benefits and limitations of digital data for organizational decision-making
- critically review methods to assess the relevance and value of projects at the forefront of digital research.
|boyd danah and Crawford K (2011) Six Provocations for Big Data. SSRNeLibrary, Available from: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1926431 |
Gillespie, T. (2008) The politics of platforms. New Media & Society May 2010 vol. 12 no. 3 347-364.
Hillis, Ken, Michael Petit, and Kyle Jarrett. 2013. Google and the Culture of Search. New York, Routledge. (Chapter 2: Google Rules)
Lupton, D. (2015) Digital Sociology, Routlegde.
MacKenzie, D. (2014) A Sociology of Algoritms: High-Frequency Trading and the Shaping of Markets. First Draft February 2014, Available from: http://www.sciencespo.fr/master-public-affairs/content/sociology-algorithms
Noortje Marres (2012), The redistribution of methods: on intervention in digital social research, broadly conceived, The Sociological Review, pp. 139- 165.
Orton-Johnson, K. and Prior, N. (eds) (2013) Digital Sociology: Critical Perspectives. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.
Procter, R., Williams, R., Stewart, J., Poschen, M., Snee, H., Voss, A. & Asgari-Targhi, M. (2010), Adoption and use of Web 2.0 in scholarly CommunicationsPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Series A vol. 368 no. 1926 pp. 4039-4056.
Evelyn Ruppert, John Law and Mike Savage (2013) Reassembling Social Science Methods: The Challenge of Digital Devices, Theory Culture Society, DOI: 10.1177/0263276413484941
James Stewart, Rob Procter, Robin Williams and Meik Poschen (2012) The role of academic publishers in shaping the development of Web 2.0 services for scholarly communication, New Media and Society, DOI: 10.1177/1461444812465141.
Workshop organised by the Oxford e-Social Science Project
Social Science and Digital Research: Interdisciplinary Insights:
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Prof Robin Williams
Tel: (0131 6)50 6387
|Course secretary||Ms Maria Brichs
Tel: (0131 6)51 3205