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Web Social Science

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

© 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
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  
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  

Ackland's Web Social Science is unique in being specifically designed for social science researchers. 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
Emeritus Professor of Research Methods and Evaluation, Illinois State University

It´s a really interesting book, for Social Investigators as it is very updated and refers to new digital methodologies.
The book includes aspects related with creation and collection of data trough web, as well as aspects related with analysis, including cualitative and quantitative methodology, so it is a very complete and recomended book.
It includes a 2nd part with a lot of web social science examples, that are really useful for students and all level social investigators.

Dr Marian Ispizua
Sociology, Universidad del Pams Vasco
February 24, 2015

I am no longer in charge of the module but I alerted a colleague about the book as I think it is a very good introduction to the subject.

Dr Monika Metykova
School of Media, Sussex University
December 9, 2014

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

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

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ISBN: 9781849204828
ISBN: 9781849204811

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