"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.
Assoc. Prof. Robert Ackland has a joint appointment in the School of Sociology and the Australian Centre for Applied Social Research Methods (AusCen) at the Australian National University (ANU). He was awarded his PhD in economics from the ANU in 2001, and he has been researching online social and organisational networks since 2002. He leads the Virtual Observatory for the Study of Online Networks Lab (http://voson.anu.edu.au) which was established in 2005 and is advancing the social science of the Internet by conducting research, developing research tools, and providing research training. Robert established the Social Science of the Internet specialisation in the ANU's Master of Social Research in 2008, and his book Web Social Science: Concepts, Data and Tools for Social Scientists in the Digital Age (SAGE) was published in July 2013. He created the VOSON software for hyperlink network construction and analysis, which has been publicly available since 2006 and is used by researchers worldwide.
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