Event roundup: Future or fad? VR in social science research

At the end of February we ran a most enthralling event experience. Three panelists, two hosts and about 20 attendees all put their headsets on from their labs, offices and homes to join a virtual classroom decorated with trees, a castle, a slightly scary tiger and a hippo, to talk about the future of VR in social science research.

International Women's Day 2019 - Discussing the key challenges facing women in academia

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter. Considering the current fractured state of political and social discourse across many areas of the globe, it’s more imperative than ever that we strive for a more gender-balanced and inclusive society—none more so than in the world of academia.

How do we nurture an academic landscape that is more accessible to women? Let’s start by getting rid of the in-person interview

In the lead up to International Women’s Day on Friday March 8th, we posed a series of questions to leading academics. Here Laura K. Nelson, explores how we nurture an academic landscape that is more accessible to women.

Fake news sharing is rare but older people over 65 are more likely to share these articles, study finds

These two studies examined fake news on separate social media platforms; Facebook and Twitter, with both concluding that sharing this content was a rare occurrence but when users did share fake news articles they tended to be older Americans over 65.

Virtual reality headsets for testing and research

This blog post outlines what headsets you can use for our next event.

There are currently 3 types of hardware to access visually and audio-immersive experiences: headsets that connect to your PC, headgear that works with your mobile phone, and standalone devices. Besides varying in price, they also differ in their capabilities and hence are intended for different use cases.

Roundup: #text2data - new ways of reading

‘From text to data - new ways of reading’ was a 2-day event organised by the National Library of Sweden, the National Archives and Swe-Clarin. The conference brought together librarians, digital collection curators, and scholars in digital humanities and computational social science to talk about the tools and challenges involved in large scale text collection and analysis.

Social Science Foo Camp 2019

The second annual Social Science Foo Camp took place at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park at the start of this month, convening an eclectic mix of more than 200 social scientists, technologists, funders, policy makers, businesspeople and writers.

Making a feminist Alexa

A few days ago I made a skill for Amazon Alexa. I wrote a performative, conversational script in which a disobedient Alexa is raising questions on gender and makes a feminist critique of conversational technologies.

Final results in NYU’s rich context competition to be webcast Feb 15

We are excited to announce that the finalists for the NYU Coleridge Initiative’s Rich Context Competition have been selected. The competition challenged computer scientists to find ways of automating the discovery of research datasets, fields and methods behind social science research publications.  20 teams from 8 countries submitted letters of intent and four finalists have been chosen. We will be live webcasting the finalists’ presentations as well as the announcement of the winner on February 15.

Virtual reality: the future of experimental social research?

Virtual Reality technology is opening previously locked doors to researchers in the social sciences. But how viable is it really as a research tool? We take a look back over the history of experimental research in human perception and response to consider the future of VR in experimental design.

Starting out in computational social science

It’s an exciting time to be in social science. Social media, digital identities and the world of big data has opened up new ways for social scientists to study and examine social phenomenon.

Some examples include using online search patterns to predict the spread of disease, tracking near real-time Twitter data to understand political movements or using location data to understand interpersonal interactions.

The move to a digital world has created a innovative new area of social science called computational social science (CSS).

Training social scientists for the future

Calling all social scientists. How were you trained? How are you keeping up (or not) with new developments in this rapidly changing digital world? How are you training your students?

This was the subject of an event sponsored by SAGE Ocean as part of the ESRC’s 2018 Festival of Social Science. In case you are not aware, Sage, who have been at the forefront of publishing qualitative work, have now launched SAGE Ocean – an initiative “to help social scientists to navigate vast datasets and work with new technologies”.

Roundup: European Symposium on Societal Challenges in Computational Social Science

Last week, a mix of PhD students, early career and tenured researchers met in Cologne to discuss their latest projects around bias and discrimination on social media, and the algorithms underpinning many of the most pervasive services we use today.