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As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science, this one-day conference on Researching Social Media is aimed at policy makers, the business community, third sector and academic researchers and pays specific attention to methods and analytical approaches.  

The conference will be held on Monday 4 November 2013 at The Workstation in Sheffield opposite the Sheffield train station. The address: 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 2BX. The conference is free to attend, but will be capped at 60 participants. Registration will open on 22 October 2013 (using Eventbrite) and tickets will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. Please check back to register. 

The conference includes a keynote panel of leading social science, policy and industry researchers:

  • Francesco D’Orazio (Face Research)
  • Jennifer Jones (University of the West of Scotland, freelance creative practitioner)
  • Gareth Morrell (NatCen, lead on New Social Media, New Social Science? (NSMNSS) Network)
  • Katrin Weller (Information Scientist, GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences)

The conference will also include three skills labs in two consecutive sessions so that participants have the option to go to two out of three. These will cover:

  1. A comprehensive review of different tools available for social media research (led by Farida Vis, University of Sheffield);
  2. Overview of quantitative approaches (led by Mike Thelwall, University of Wolverhampton);
  3. An overview of qualitative approaches (led by Gareth Morrell and Eve Stirling, University of Sheffield).

The conference offers a timely and important overview of different critical methodological and analytical approaches for dealing with social media data in social scientific, reliable ways.

To compliment the discussions raised by the plenary panel and the practical advice and insight offered as part of the skills labs, we invite abstracts for a limited number of papers to fill one additional open session. We specifically invite work that can add to discussions about how social media research can lead to informed policy making. What are the obstacles? How can traditional social science methods be productively combined with innovative emerging methods for researching social media? How can we ensure that these new methods are reliable? What are the training needs in these areas? How can we address these?

We invite work that centrally engages with these issues and can further inform the discussions on the day. This may be work in progress as well as more formal papers. We are also open to shorter presentations that specifically address the different issues this kind of research may raise for policy making, including issues around ethics and (data) privacy concerns. The key dates are listed below:

+++++ Key dates +++++

Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent to: rsmconf@gmail.com

  • 18 October Abstract deadline
  • 21 October Confirmation successful papers
  • 22 October Registration opens

 Please note that we also offer a number of travel bursaries, more information here.


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