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Web Social Science
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Web Social Science
Concepts, Data and Tools for Social Scientists in the Digital Age



July 2013 | 224 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
"Although written simply enough to be accessible to undergraduates, accomplished scholars are likely to appreciate it too. Reading it taught me quite a lot about a subject I thought I knew rather well."
- Paul Vogt, Illinois State University

"This book brings the art and science of building and applying innovative online research tools to students and faculty across the social sciences."
- William H. Dutton, University of Oxford

A comprehensive guide to the theory and practice of web Social Science. This book demonstrates how the web is being used to collect social research data, such as online surveys and interviews, as well as digital trace data from social media environments, such as Facebook and Twitter. It also illuminates how the advent of the web has led to traditional social science concepts and approaches being combined with those from other scientific disciplines, leading to new insights into social, political and economic behaviour.

Situating social sciences in the digital age, this book aids:

  • understanding of the fundamental changes to society, politics and the economy that have resulted from the advent of the web
  • choice of appropriate data, tools and research methods for conducting research using web data
  • learning how web data are providing new insights into long-standing social science research questions
  • appreciation of how social science can facilitate an understanding of life in the digital age

It is ideal for students and researchers across the social sciences, as well as those from information science, computer science and engineering who want to learn about how social scientists are thinking about and researching the web.


 
Chapter 1. Introduction
 
PART ONE: WEB SOCIAL SCIENCE METHODS
 
Chapter 2. Online Research Methods
Dimensions and Modes of Online Research

 
Online Surveys

 
Online Interviews and Focus Groups

 
Web Content Analysis

 
Social Media Network Analysis

 
Online Experiments

 
Online Field Research

 
Digital Trace Data: Ethics

 
 
Chapter 3. Social Media Networks
Social Networks: Concepts and Definitions

 
Social Network Analysis

 
Social Media Networks

 
Social Networks, Information Networks and Communication Networks

 
SNA Metrics for the Example School Friendship Network (advanced)

 
 
Chapter 4. Hyperlink Networks
Hyperlink Networks: Background

 
Three Disciplinary Perspectives on Hyperlink Networks

 
Tools for Hyperlink Network Research

 
 
PART TWO: WEB SOCIAL SCIENCE EXAMPLES
 
Chapter 5. Friendship Formation and Social Influence
Homophily in Friendship Formation

 
Social Influence

 
 
Chapter 6. Organisational Collective Behaviour
Collective Behaviour on the Web: Background

 
Collective Action and Public Goods

 
Networked Social Movements

 
 
Chapter 7. Politics and Participation
Visibility of Political Information

 
Social and Political Engagement

 
Political Homophily

 
An Introduction to Power Laws (advanced)

 
 
Chapter 8. Government and Public Policy
Delivery of Information to Citizens

 
Government Authority

 
Public Policy Modelling

 
 
Chapter 9. Production and Collaboration
Peer Production and Information Public Goods

 
Scholarly Activity and Communication

 
Network Structure and Achievement

 
 
Chapter 10. Commerce and Marketing
Distribution of Product Sales

 
Influence in Markets

 

This is well written text for novice researcher who maybe interest in exploring social networked approach in open distance education

Professor Micheal Van Wyk
Teacher Education, University of South Africa (UNISA)
October 13, 2014

This methodological primer provides an accessible and well illustrated account of key research methods for the study of online communication and social interaction. Students found it a useful source book for designing dissertation methodologies.

Dr Dan Mercea
Department of Sociology, City University
March 3, 2014

With an increasing amount of research being undertaken via the web utilising extensive on line data bases, this book gives students a significant insight into all considerations of research and the web

Mrs Fiona Porter
Dept of Social Sciences & Humanities, Bradford University
September 9, 2013
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Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1


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This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.