SODAS Lecture Series: Mixed Methods in The Digital Age

It has been noted by many that digital data affords new ways of combining data sources and methods, especially across the qualitative and quantitative divide. Many forms of digital data allow the researcher to reconstruct a detailed account of both the context and content of social interaction, while at the same time allowing for inquiry into aggregated patterns at the level of populations. This allows close integration of qualitative and quantitative modes of inquiry -something which has led to excitementaround the social sciences and related disciplines. Social scientists have combined qualitative in-depth text analysis with automated machine learning to make interpretatively valid and large scale inference about the dynamics of culture. Others have combined sensory data from mobile phones together with participant observation to investigate technology use, party sociality and more. These promising new ways of combining methods have jet to be formulated into paradigmatic methodologies and many of the problems and potentials are yet to be unpacked. In this SODAS spring lecture series we have invited a series of speakers to address various aspects of mixing methods in the digital age, through either methodological arguments or exemplar mixed methods studies.

Tommaso Venturini will present his work. He is a researcher at the CNRS Centre for Internet and Society. His research focuses on Digital Methods, STS and Visual Network Analysis.

On biting off more than you can chew. A question, an example and the beginning of an answer

Digital methods have been advertised by several scholars (including myself) for their potential to get over the divide between qualitative and quantitative methods. This crossing, however, has never been easy and quali-quantitative researchers has developed different strategies to tackle this difficulty. Some decided to “go native” and skillfully attuned their research questions to the methodological affordances of the available digital records. Other have preferred to “go meta” and investigate the limits and bias of digital research. These strategies are indubitably judicious, yet they give up (perhaps rightfully, perhaps a bit too quickly) a more ambitious goal of digital social sciences: exploring the deep cultural consequences of large sociotechnical systems. This requires crossing the quali-quantitative gap at its widest, stretching computational approaches over thick anthropological questions. Is this ambitious or just crazy? In my in talk I will address this questions by presenting an ongoing research on digital folklore, attention cycles and platforms infrastructure.

The SODAS Data Discussion will take place at SODAS in Zoom from 11.00 am to 12.30 pm.

If you want to attend the event or just want to know more, please write Sophie Smitt Sindrup Grønning at