Towards a computational social science

  • PD Dr. habil. Stephanie Geise
    University of Münster, Department of Communication (IfK)
  • Jun.-Prof. Dr. Annie Waldherr
    University of Münster, Department of Communication (IfK)
  • Prof. Dr. Uwe Engel
    University of Bremen, Methodenzentrum
Towards a computational social science: theory, methodology and research ethics

» Main Research Topics  | » Guests

Computer-based methods such as network analysis, text and data mining, and computer simulation are becoming increasingly relevant against the background of technological change. They allow the systematic analysis of large quantities of digital behavioural traces. But they also bring challenges in terms of methodology, data analysis and research ethics. This impinges directly on the question of how far CSS needs a specific methodology (including specific quality criteria and ethical guidelines) that does justice to its datasets and analytical methods. Since CSS is still often accused of lacking a theoretical basis, challenges also impinge on the relationship of CSS to theories in the social sciences. Under the motto “Towards a computational social science”, the working group will evaluate and discuss with relevant experts at CAIS questions about the interplay between the sometimes specific theoretical perspectives of CSS, their possible interfaces with established theories in the social sciences, and a methodology developed from these theories. The aim is to reflect on the consequences that the increasing use of computer-based survey and analysis methods has for the further development of the empirical social sciences.

CAIS sees itself as a site of innovative interdisciplinary research and as a driving force for a critical science that faces up to the opportunities and risks of digitalization. We will use the funding provided by CAIS to organize a series of workshops with national and international experts, as well as a one-week closed conference. Together with these experts, we will focus in deliberately small groups on challenges in the field of research in terms of content, theory, methodology, and research ethics.

As part of knowledge transfer, we plan to draw together the discussion that unfolded in the colloquium, to develop it further, and then to create a format by which the academic community can also gain access to our findings. In concrete terms, we are currently working on an initial journal article, with participants in the theory workshop contributing to this.

Main Research Topics
  • Internet research
  • Big Data
  • Computational social science methods
  • Network analysis
  • Automated content analysis
  • Web Tracking
  • Theories of the digitalized public sphere
  • Jun.-Prof. Dr. Emese Domahidi, TU Ilmenau
  • Jun.-Prof. Dr. Andreas Jungherr, University of Konstanz
  • Prof. Dr. Christian Katzenbach, HIIG, Berlin
  • Jun.-Prof. Dr. Ulrike Klinger, FU Berlin
  • Dr. Seraphine F. Maerz, Bard College Berlin
  • Dr. Merja Mahrt, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
  • Prof. Dr. Christoph Neuberger, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
  • Dr. Christian Nürnbergk, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
  • Dr. Cornelius Puschmann, Hans-Bredow-Institute Hamburg
  • Dr. Gregor Wiedemann, University of Leipzig