A new book E-Research: Transformation in Scholarly Practice edited by Nicholas W. Jankowski on the ways social science research is being changed by the rise of social media has just been released by Routledge. My colleagues and I contributed a chapter on the ways that information visualization of social media is a useful technique to identify research questions and discover answers about the nature of human association when mediated by computation. The volume contains work from an all-star line-up of researchers who address the opportunities and challenges of performing research with computer-mediated data about social life.
The blurb about the book describes it as:
“No less than a revolutionary transformation of the research enterprise is underway. This transformation extends beyond the natural sciences, where ‘e-research’ has become the modus operandi, and is penetrating the social sciences and humanities, sometimes with differences in accent and label. Many suggest that the very essence of scholarship in these areas is changing. The everyday procedures and practices of traditional forms of scholarship are affected by these and other features of e-research. This volume, which features renowned scholars from across the globe who are active in the social sciences and humanities, provides critical reflection on the overall emergence of e-research, particularly on its adoption and adaptation by the social sciences and humanities.”
Our chapter is “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Questions: Visualization Techniques for Social Science Discovery in Computational Spaces”, co-authored by Howard T. Welser, Thomas Lento, Marc Smith, Eric Gleave and Itai Himelboim. In it, we describe the ways that using information visualizations of social media data sets is a useful way of discovering insights, patterns, and clusters. We illustrate the paper with several examples of social media information visualizations that display the range of behavior among contributors to social media spaces.
Here is the table of contents for the volume: