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WRDTC Advanced Training Series 2015 – Big Data 2: Big Data, Social Media Research Methods and Analytics for Social Science Research

Date - Friday, 5th June 2015 (All Day)

Course leader & contact details
Farida Vis, Information School, University of Sheffield, 0114 2222654

Date of session
5 June 2015

10.00 – 16.00

Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS), University of Sheffield, Conference Room

Description of course
The course will cover four topics:

  1. Introductory material will explain the growing significance of big data related to the capture of (real-time) social media data; importance of research methods; sampling; differences between APIs and platforms; data reliability, ethical challenges of data capture and use; the representativeness of data; reproducibility and data sharing practices (covering platform’s terms of service); wider policy debates.
  2. The current status and key developments in the social media research landscape will be reviewed, both internationally and within the UK (ESRC investments) to discuss the emergence of specific methods, approaches and techniques. This will offer an opportunity for wider discussion.
  3. The course will include an overview of current tools on offer, both free off the shelf and commercial ones for different aspects of social media analytics (covering both quantitative and qualitative perspectives). This will offer participants a more hands-on session, to explore potential relevance and interest for individual research projects.
  4. The course will use a series of practical case studies that will be used to illustrate and discuss methodological approaches and challenges. Participants will be given access to a number of training datasets during the course that will further aid with highlighting and informing discussion of challenges.

Target audience & any previous experience required
The target audience of this course is social science PhD students whose current or future work includes a significant interest in social media research methods and analytics. This can be as part of their research project, or because their main research focus is on social media.

The training will introduce new concepts in big data and will highlight the challenges in relation to a specific area: social media data, including how to appreciate and think through the challenges of real-time analytics, a growing area of interest. Although a prior knowledge of one or more of these areas is not essential, a broad knowledge of social science research methods (both quantitative and qualitative) as well as issues surrounding the use of data in social science research will be assumed.

We will use datasets used as part of the Reading the Riots project (to examine specific actors), those used as part of the Researching Social Media PGT module (University of Sheffield), and explore datasets generated by the Visual Social Media Lab (http://visualsocialmedialab.blogspot.co.uk/).

No of places available

Information about teaching staff

Enquiry contact details
Emily Rahtz, Emily.Rahtz@sheffield.ac.uk

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

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