New forms of data/digital methods

New forms of data and the rise of digital present new possibilities for the social sciences as we move from static datasets mirroring the qualitative-quantitative divide to data mixtures requiring hybrid skills and creativity, a sound grasp of theory, methodology and method but also a capacity to think in new ways with and beyond existing research approaches.We access social, cultural and economic worlds distributed across time and space (virtual and physical) through new forms of data, and thus have to be fully conscious of the terms of that access.

This stream addresses the hands on and practical as well as the theoretical, methodological and analytical issues that arise from engaging with new forms of data broadly conceived, covering everything from emerging issues in data science and the sphere of digital research methods, interdisciplinary dialogues on critically framing but also harnessing the new, to the repurposing of hybrid data at the points of intersection between a range of intellectual and practical concerns.

Topics of interest to expand upon include (but are in no way limited to) the following:

  • working with internet data: derived from social media and other online interactions (including data gathered by connected people and technologies, e.g. mobile devices, wearables, the Internet of Things);
  • tracking data: monitoring the movement of people and objects (including GPS/geolocation data, traffic and other transport sensor data, CCTV images, etc.);
  • using satellite and aerial data: e.g. Google Earth, landsat, infrared, radar mapping, etc.;
  • working with ‘Big data’: massive repositories of texts, audio, visual and video materials that require machine-assisted navigation and analysis;
  • visualising data: new approaches to aesthetics and analytics of data visualisation (including 3D modelling and printing, virtual reality, geospatial displays); and
  • questioning the ‘new’: critically rethinking the constitution of data and datasets and fashioning new possibilities for working with them.

Academic lead for 2021/22: Dr Elena Musi: