With the rise of big data, we’ve seen a growing emphasis on interdisciplinary working as key to the future of academic research. By adding digital methods to their repertoire, social science researchers will be equipped to translate these massive data sets for positive societal impact.
The University of Essex has recently unveiled plans for a new cross-disciplinary BSc in Sociology with Data Science—one of the first undergraduate degrees of its kind. The last few years have also seen the expansion of social data institutes across the globe (Berkeley’s D-Lab, Dublin’s Insight Centre for Data Analytics and Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, to name but a few). It’s clear that digital research methods are fast becoming the norm across diverse disciplinary fields.
It’s with that in mind that SAGE Research Methods launched its extensive new video collection: Data Science, Big Data Analytics and Digital Methods. With contributions from some of the world’s leading researchers and practitioners in the field of data analytics, the collection provides invaluable learning material for researchers with a range of backgrounds and experience.
The collection includes video interviews, documentaries, lectures and tutorials highlighting a range of innovative techniques and projects across data science methods, issues and challenges surrounding big data research, and applications of computational social science research.
There’s plenty to get stuck into if you’re just getting started with digital methods. Dr Julia Lane of New York University kicks off her video series on best practices for social data science by addressing the question, why should social scientists embrace data science? Across the video collection, you’ll gain insights into just what these new methods and data sources can tell us about human behavior.
The Data Science collection provides a wealth of tutorials which encourage researchers to start putting big data analysis into practice—from basic programming to advanced techniques in deep learning. For example, Dr Chirag Shah of Rutgers University and Visiting Research Scientist at Spotify runs a video course on how to analyze social media data using Python, leading viewers step by step through the entire process.
Check out the video trailers:
If social media data is your thing, interviews with Dr Luke Sloan examine how to make the best use of Twitter data. In the series, Luke delves deeper into the challenges and opportunities of analyzing social media data for social science research, examining the implications of demographic bias, data security and collaboration between researchers.
The ‘In-practice’ videos shine the spotlight on how big data research is already impacting society, and how researchers can apply their skills in academia and beyond. Dr Angie Ma, co-founder of ASI Data Science, gives tips to data scientists on navigating the move from academia to industry, and Rob McInerney discusses how AI is being used to brew collaborative beer. Watch a teaser video that explains how algorithms that collect personal data are trained by master brewers, who in turn are guided by the algorithms.
Big data is a big deal. Just this week, Paul Twite at the MRS Impact conference observed that recruiters are increasingly looking to hire those who can not only work with data science, but who are able to interpret the data from a social, cultural perspective. Social scientists with a basic grasp of digital methods, and who are ready and willing to nurture interdisciplinary working relationships, are set to be the key players in the future of academia and industry.