In the space of a few years data sourced from the “social web” (platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google) has come to occupy an important place in social science research. The astonishing uptake of social platforms around the world, and the relatively open, structured nature of the data they produce, offers the tantalizing possibility of studying a wide variety of different social research questions in a way that previously would have been impossible. Already a number of fascinating studies have used data from such platforms to shed new light on diverse concepts such as information diffusion, political behaviour and mobilization in social movements. However, the appearance of such data sources creates a challenge for the social sciences. If researchers are to be able to access and manipulate it, they will need to add elementary computer programming skills to their methodological toolkit, which are often overlooked in traditional undergraduate and master’s courses. This methods option course for the OII MSc in “Social Science of the Internet” aims to address this need.

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