OII research focuses on individual, collective and institutional behaviour on the internet. Now that digital connections are embedded in almost every aspect of everyday life, such research is crucial to understand the social, economic and political world.
We are a social science department of the University of Oxford with a multi-disciplinary faculty from political science, sociology, law, geography, economics, communications, computer science, anthropology, physics, informatics, history and development. OII researchers use a diverse methodological toolkit, and develop cutting edge methods to understand digital life, such as experiments, social network analysis and big data approaches.
Our work stimulates and informs debate on internet-related issues. It is used by policy-makers around the world to shape policy and practice around the reinvention and use of the internet.
'Big Data' Research at the Oxford Internet Institute
Vast amounts of transactional data - our digital traces - are collected about us as we go about our lives online. Access to this 'Big Data' (for example from platforms like Twitter and Wikipedia) is now allowing social and political scientists to tackle longstanding problems that have hitherto been impossible to address, such as how political movements like the 'Arab Spring' and Occupy originate and spread. We can also use it to uncover wider social and geographical patterns: for example, who influences online representations of contested spaces in the Middle East. However, while big data can provide new and surprising insights into human behaviour and social structure, we need to know more about its potentials (and challenges) for social research and public policy. The data newly opened up may demand a re-examination of political science knowledge and theory; huge and complex datasets will also require the development of new methods, for example to extract reliable public opinion indicators (such as approval ratings) from the sentiments encoded in online communications. In short, Big Data presents powerful and often unanticipated opportunities for researchers: we can generate new, precise, and rapid insights into economic, social and political practices and processes. However, it also presents clear methodological, technical, theoretical, and ethical challenges and concerns. It is these challenges and opportunities that the OII is addressing.
Apply now! OII Summer Doctoral Programme 2014
The application process is now open for the 2014 Summer Doctoral Programme (Oxford: 7-18 July 2014), an intensive fortnight of study with OII faculty and colleagues. Deadline: 24 Feb 2014.
Read the Latest OII News
Read our November newsletter for the latest research and policy work from the OII, including new research positions, student open days, policy news, and the latest publications, press coverage and webcasts ... Subscribe now!
Recruiting: Researcher (Qual)
We are looking for researcher to work on a project focusing on changing connectivity, microwork, and virtual labour in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Deadline: midday on 13 December 2013.
Recruiting: Researcher (Quant)
We are looking for a researcher to work on a project which aims to map and measure how new economic practices and processes are taking root in Sub-Saharan Africa as a result of changing connectivities. Deadline: midday on 9 January 2014.
Web Science Call for Papers
The ACM Web Science 2014 Conference is calling for papers. It takes place from 23-26 June 2014 (Indiana University, Bloomington). Deadline for papers: 23 February 2014. #WebSci14
Academics on Wikipedia
Wikipedia coverage of academics is skewed (the wrong way). A.Samoilenko and T.Yasseri: The distorted mirror of Wikipedia: a quantitative analysis of Wikipedia coverage of academics. Read more in The Atlantic (7 Nov).
Last updated on: 21 May 2013