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Research Design in Social Data Science

Research Design in Social Data Science

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April 2026 | 304 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Using big data and computational methods comes with unique challenges, and this book shows you how to overcome these in a core element of research: design.

It equips you with the information you need to ask good research questions and shape your research interests into an ethical, well-developed research proposal. At an approachable pace, it:

  • Demonstrates how design touches every aspect of research, from finding literature to determining data analysis techniques.
  • Offers step-by-step advice on how to produce a high quality research proposal, whether as an end-goal or part of a wider study.
  • Helps you map the research field, covering qualitative, quantitative and mixed methodologies and concepts.

Grounded in examples of computational social science research, this book helps you develop your research design skills and confidently plan your research project.

Relevant case studies and journal articles will allow you to see the concepts you're learning put into practice, and will help you to explore related literature in your discipline. 

For students across courses relating to social data science and computational social science, this book is a step-by-step guide to help anyone producing a research proposal and project. 

Chapter 1: What is social data science?
Chapter 2: How to determine the design elements in social data science
Chapter 3: How to find the literature and data sources
Chapter 4: What can be learnt from your research?
Chapter 5: What is ethical social data science?
Chapter 6: How to determine your social data science methodology
Chapter 7: What quantitative methods can you use in social data science?
Chapter 8: What qualitative methods can you use in social data science?
Chapter 9: What mixed methods can you use in social data science?
Chapter 10: How to determine your data management and analysis tools
Chapter 11: How to communicate your design and your results

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