Digital Social Research: Methods Core is one of the six elements that make up Digital Social Research, It provides students with the opportunity to engage with the basic methodological underpinnings of quantitative and qualitative social science research practices in the context of Internet studies. This includes material on research designs and the development of research questions and empirical approaches across multiple methods. Students explore traditional social research methods that can be applied to the study of the Internet and related ICTs, but with an emphasis on emerging social research tools that can be applied to social research in digital spaces. They are introduced to all steps of research in ways that they can understand the inter-relationships across all phases of the research process.
Themes developed throughout this course include:
- The relationships between theoretical expectations, research questions, and empirical observations.
- The strengths and weaknesses of different methodological approaches.
- Theories and methods of sampling along with approaches to the study of whole populations.
- Data collection and management.
- Introductions to qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods of analysis.
- Theoretical and empirical concepts in quantitative and qualitative research.
- Ethical principles and norms across disciplines and in digital social research.
- Challenges to the reliability and validity of data and methods.
- Introduce a range of methods and tools that can be applied to a wide array of social science research issues.
- Instil a balanced view of opportunities, problems and prospects in social science research methods on the Internet and related technologies.
- Appreciate the ethical, legal and social issues related to digital social research and more generally, the use of social research methods to study ICTs and their social implications.
- Bring experts into the class to introduce particular methods, while using core instructors and discussion to ensure an integration of material across the course offerings.