The emergence of digital methods has presented various ways of studying and understanding digital phenomena in general as well as online and internet-related research in particular. This includes studies of online archived objects, online spatial analysis, social media and social networking, online network mapping, and various online social, political, economic and cultural references. Internet and online environment researchers have lately focused on addressing the following issues: How digital methods provide tools to respond to the challenge of Big Data on the one hand and how digital methods provide a base for what scholars call “online groundedness” in order to examine various socio-political change and cultural conditions shaped by online dynamics and constellations on the other? These digital methods widen the scope of researchers and change research practices and subjects fundamentally. However, this also raises “classical” questions of empirical social research: How are sampling strategies, data collection and methodological procedures changing? Do conventional quality criteria need to be adapted or supplemented? This session provides a unique platform to reflect on practical use of digital methods in various research fields and map out frameworks for exploring new possibilities for online social science research as well as encourage critical discussions on recent trends in the field of digital methods.
We invite papers that address ways of doing and using digital methods, including but not limited to: Internet research and methodological innovation: Digital methods of social media research. Digital methods in studies of online political discourses and participation. Ethics and questions of digital research. Practical use and challenges of doing digital research and methods. Mixing methods in researching digital landscape. Insights from dealing with Big Data. Techniques and challenges of online data collection. Interdisciplinary cooperation between technical and social sciences on digital methods. Enhancement of “established” research designs by digital methods. Online participatory action research.