‘Digital Methods as Mainstream Methodology’: Building capacity in the research community to address the challenges and opportunities presented by digitally inspired methods

Roberts, Steven. and Hine, Christine. and Morey, Yvette. and Snee, Helene and Watson, Hayley (2013) ‘Digital Methods as Mainstream Methodology’: Building capacity in the research community to address the challenges and opportunities presented by digitally inspired methods. Discussion Paper. NCRM. (Unpublished)

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Digital methods (i.e., use of online and digital technologies to collect and analyse research data), have been utilised by a variety of disciplines. In an era in which social life is increasingly played out online, such methods offer different ways of asking new questions and generating new data. However, digital methods raise some concerns for researchers, such as maintaining ethical research practices, avoiding unrecognised biases, and keeping up with the pace of contemporary technological developments. Despite over a decade of innovation and some notable achievements, digital methods have yet to be fully accepted into the mainstream.
This network for methodological innovation, funded by the NCRM in 2012-13, aimed to build capacity in the research community to address the opportunities and challenges that digitally inspired methods present for social research. Through a series of three seminars, the network brought together researchers from a range of disciplines and career stages to map out, engage with and advance current debates in digital methods. The network showcased a cross-disciplinary range of contemporary social science research projects that effectively and innovatively utilise digital methods; and, finally, identified future roles for such methods within the mainstream of social research.
Through three one-day events, which included a range of keynote speakers, ECR/PhD student talks and seminar discussion and activities for all attendees, the objectives included:
● To inspire social researchers to deploy relevant, effective, innovative, digital methods;
● To identify future training needs so that the wider social science community can make use of digital methods;
● To foster networks for sharing of expertise between social scientists from a variety of disciplines and career stages, and computer and information scientists;
● To provide networking and dissemination opportunities and provide a space to share expertise for researchers at all career stages;

This report provides an overview of the key debates that stimulated the initial interest leading to the emergence of the network and outlines the critical issues that were discussed and developed during the course of the project funding period from spring 2012 to spring 2013. Details and further information, including downloadable content, presentations and other outputs stemming from the seminars, can be found on the project website (http://digitalmethodsnmi.com/).

Item Type: Working Paper (Discussion Paper)
Subjects: 2. Data Collection > 2.11 Online Data Collection
2. Data Collection > 2.12 Data Collection (other)
8. Research Management and Impact > 8.3 Research Ethics
Depositing User: NCRM users
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2013 15:22
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2021 13:58
URI: https://eprints.ncrm.ac.uk/id/eprint/3156

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