SeNSS is offering the opportunity to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar.
As one of the first scholars, you can learn new skills in data mining, data analytics, digital ethnography and AI, through a series of specialist practical workshops in computational digital social science research methods. Full details of each session can be seen below.
All 15 places available on each workshop have now been filled
If you are still interested in attending the workshops, please complete an Online Application Form and we will place you on the reserve list and contact you if places become available.
WORKSHOP 1: Web Scraping for Social Scientists - A practical introduction
WHEN: 18 June 2019 (Fully Booked)
WHERE: University of Essex
The internet offers a vast array of potential data that could open up valuable opportunities for social science research. However many of these spaces do not offer easily accessible versions of their data, making the manual extraction of the information a slow and laborious task. Using web-scraping, researchers can build their own custom tools to automate these processes, transforming unstructured online phenomena into well-structured analysable datasets. This lab-based session will introduce students to the Python programming language and provide step by step instruction on building a custom web scraper. Students will learn about the underlying HTML structure of websites, how to retrieve HTML code, and how to extract specific components for storage in a structured data frame that can be exported for further analysis. Students will also learn how to automate all of these processes in an ethical and respectful manner, dramatically increasing both the variety and scale of data available for social science research.
By attending this session Scholars will be able to:
- Initiate a Python programming environment
- Utilise Python at a beginner's level for a range of basic activities.
- Retrieve and extract data from the web
- Automate the extraction process
- Export a structured version of the data for further analysis.
SESSION DELIVERED BY:
Dr. James Allen-Robertson is a Digital Sociologist at the University of Essex. His research focuses on utilizing data science techniques for innovative social science research, and in studying the relationship between digital technologies and society. Methodologically he focuses on using data extraction techniques such as web scraping and social media APIs to develop new kinds of social science data, utilizing natural language processing for large scale analysis of text, and using machine learning for the exploration of media discourses. He is currently using these skills for projects on mapping the dark web, social media discourses on environmental activism and exploring the discourses of workers under algorithmic management.
WORKSHOP 2: Telling a story through maps – a practical introduction to Geographical Information Systems
WHEN: 23 July 2019 (Fully Booked)
WHERE: University of Essex
The use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in the social sciences is increasing. A GIS allows us to visualise, question, analyse and interpret data to understand relationships, patterns and trends with both qualitative and quantitative data. This lab-based session will introduce students to ArcGIS online, a software tool widely used by research and commercial communities. Students will use a number of datasets to explore social science issues including crime, deprivation and community cohesion. As well as mapping secondary data, students will also learn how to add their own data to a map and how to collect georeferenced data in the field and how to present their data as an interactive storymap - an emerging technique in digital ethnography.
By attending this session Scholars will be able to:
- navigate the ArcGIS Online website
- map administrative data
- add their own data
- create a data capture app and
- use a storymap to present their maps
SESSION DELIVERED BY:
Ruth Weir is a Research Fellow in the department of Government at the University of Essex. After graduating in Geography from University College London (UCL) in 2001 Ruth worked as a researcher in the Community Safety Unit at Suffolk County Council. It was whilst working here that she developed an interest in crime mapping, which resulted in her returning to UCL to complete an MSc in Geographical Information Science. Ruth has since worked as a GIS specialist in the Research, Development and Statistics Directorate at the Home Office before returning to local government to work in research and intelligence roles. Ruth has presented at many national and international conferences on GIS and published a Home Office Research paper on the use of GIS by crime analysts. Her PhD research used advanced GIS techniques to identify potential predictors of unreported domestic abuse and to conduct a community asset mapping exercise.
WORKSHOP 3: Using mobile devices as data collection tools for social scientists.
WHEN: 12 September 2019 (Fully Booked)
SESSION DETAILS: Smart phones, tablets and smart watches are becoming increasingly popular and hold great potential for data collection outside the laboratory, and over extended periods of times. In this session we will introduce some of the methodologies, chances and challenges that underlie experience sampling and continuous self-report measures.
By attending this session Scholars will be able to:
- understand the current state of the art of data collection from mobile devices, including smart watches and mobile phones
- identify chances and challenges for experimental design and data analysis
- identify and apply suitable statistical procedures for the analysis of continuous self-report and experience sampling data, including agreement analyses and granger causality.
SESSION DELIVERED BY:
I studied Psychology and Performing Dance in Germany, and hold a PhD in cognitive neuroscience. My research deals with how people form preferences and how pleasure and liking can be measured in people’s brains and bodies. I apply experimental methods to understand how branding and advertising work (Neuromarketing), but also study people’sexperience of the live performing arts, including dance, theatre and music. I am a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London and direct the MSc in Psychology of the Arts, Neuroaesthetics and Creativity, the first postgraduate programme in the world for the scientific study of how people appreciate and make art .
WORKSHOP 4: Predictive analytics, topic modeling and text analytics using machine learning in social science – a practical introduction
WHEN: 11 October 2019 (Fully Booked)
WHERE: University of Reading
There is huge potential for social science researchers to leverage big data to answer research questions with more insights from different sources and formats.Compared with traditional statistical methods, machine learning methods, one of the streams of AI, offer more robust ways to discover patterns to make accurate predictions. This session will introduce basic machine learning methods including classification and topic modelling with case studies of using healthcare open data and financial disclosures data. The student will learn about feature selection, dimension reduction, model training and evaluation under python and metlab environment. The student will leave the session with an understanding of key machine learning models (support vector machine, naïve bayes, random forest and artificial neural network), latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA) and text analytics methods. The students will also learn about case studies of machine learning based prediction model in a real healthcare scenario and understand core issues and opportunities about machine learning in practice.
By attending this session Scholars will be able to:
- Understand machine learning based classification models
- Understand text analytics and topic modelling methods
- Uitlise python-based library for data preprocessing and build prediction model
- Utilise metlab based library to build topic modelling model
- Understand the use cases of machine learning in practice.
SESSION DELIVERED BY:
Dr. Weizi Li, Associate Professor of Informatics and Digital Health, Deputy Director in Informatics Research Centre, Henley Business School. Her research focuses on digital health, integrated system for clinical pathways, artificial intelligence and machine learning applications in healthcare. She is a Fellow of Charted Institute of IT (FBCS). She worked as the system and policy analyst in Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, for the development of integrated research governance system in the largest NHS organization in North Wales. Her research output of integrated health data integration platform and intelligent artificial agent system have been successfully implemented in more than 400 major hospitals in China and received O2RB (University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes, University of Reading and Open University) Excellence in Impact Award supported by ESRC (April 2018). She is now working with NHS and companies on using machine learning in healthcare resource management and population engagement supported by ESRC Artificial Intelligence PhD studentship funding.
Keiichi Nakata is Professor of Social Informatics at the Informatics Research Centre, Henley Business School at the University of Reading, UK. His main research interests lie at the interface between technology and people, in the areas of computer-supported collaborative work, cognitive systems engineering, and information systems. Recently he has been engaged in research into acceptance of pervasive systems, social media, and participatory systems. Prior to the current appointment, he was Dean of School of Information Technology at International University in Germany. His past appointments include Associate Professor at the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of Tokyo, and Research Scientist at German National Research Centre for Information Technology. He obtained his Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh, UK, and M.Eng. and B.Eng. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Tokyo.
Anupam Nanda is currently Professor of Urban Economics and Real Estate, Research Division Lead/Director of Research (for Real Estate and Planning), Academic Director of the Centre for intelligent Places and Director of the MSc Real Estate Finance programme at the Henley Business School, University of Reading, UK.efore becoming a full professor, Anupam held positions of Associate Professor in Real Estate Economics (Oct. 2013-Jul. 2017) and Lecturer (Jan. 2010-Sep. 2013) at the University of Reading. Before joining Henley Business School, he worked with the Market Intelligence group of Deloitte & Touche in Mumbai (Apr. 2008-Nov. 2009), where his focus areas covered real estate and private equity sectors. He was at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in Washington DC (Apr. 2006-Apr. 2008), as Senior Research Economist, where his responsibilities included developing and implementing housing market research studies and was a member of the team forecasting state and metro area housing markets in US. Anupam has also taught undergraduate Economics and Public Finance at the University of Connecticut.
WORKHOP 5: An introduction for social scientists to Bayesian data analysis and digital tools to help.
WHEN: 06 November 2019 (Fully Booked)
SESSION DETAILS: A feature of the “reproducibility crisis” in science and social science has been dissatisfaction with traditional null hypothesis significance testing (NHST), arguing this contributes to poor reproducibility. Bayesian methods are presented as an alternative framework which can help researchers achieve greater reproducibility, although their uptake across difference social science disciplines is patchy.
This workshop will introduce these methods to social scientists and will expose participants to digital tools (i.e., dedicated software) that allows such analyses to be carried out in a relatively straightforward manner.
- Understand the principles of Bayesian approaches to data analysis and in what ways these analyses may (and may not) offer an improvement over traditional NHST methods
- Use the free software JASP (which can read in data in SPSS format) to carry out a range of Bayesian counterparts to familiar statistical tests (t-tests, ANOVAs, regressions etc)
- Utilise a Matlab based toolbox for carrying out Bayesian model comparisons on a variety of datasets
SESSION DELIVERED BY:
Alan Pickering is a Professor of Psychology and Dean of the Graduate School at Goldsmiths. He is also Deputy Director of the SeNSS ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership. After studying Natural Sciences at Cambridge as an undergraduate, Alan did his PhD in the cognitive neuropsychology of memory at the University of Manchester. During a subsequent post-doc at Kings in London, Alan switched to research on human personality and psychopathology, but always with an emphasis on neural, formal and statistical models of behaviour. After 11 years as lecturer and senior lecturer in psychology at St George’s Medical School, Alan joined Goldsmiths in 2001. His current research is primarily focused on understanding learning in rewarding contexts and the role that dopaminergic neurotransmission may play in reinforcing such learning. He also works on investigating the reinforcement sensitivity theory of personality, in which between-individuals variations in the functioning of the brain's reward and punishment pathways are thought to contribute to variations in extraversion and anxiety respectively.
WHEN: 09 December 2019
CONFERENCE DETAILS: More information to follow
SeNSS Digital Scholars
Alex Anikina (Media, Communications and Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London)
PhD Research Topic: Procedural Film: Algorithm, Screensaver, Game Engine
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: The agenda of SeNSS Digital Social Research Workshop aligns with my current research framework. While my practice-led PhD project specifically concentrates on procedural film as a form of critical media art within attention economy, the overall framework for it is represented by the long-term project Algorithmic Superstructures, which is aimed at situating the ideas of algorithmic governance in relation to cultural production, and at surveying its effects on the highly visualised economy of today. The concept emerged as a response to the model of the Stack suggested by Benjamin Bratton (2016), and to the ideas of technological decisionism and automation of the cultural processes introduced by Luciana Parisi (2017). Algorithmic Superstructures aims to situate the aesthetic and epistemic effects of the platforms, focusing on the mixed image ecology such as presented by the online communities and gamespaces. Algorithmic Superstructures also serves as a methodological framework for a collaborative research of artists and theorists launching in early 2020 (funded by European Union National Institutes for Culture). Attending the workshop would truly bring immense benefits to my research projects, current practice and future career options. As it offers a real practical experience of the models and instruments of understanding data within the digital social science approach, I would be able to bring it into my media and cultural studies framework. In particular, I’m looking to be able to create my own instruments and datasets, since the available ones are often not reflective of the minority subjects and groups. I will aim to share and develop these instruments further in the collaborative research framework mentioned above.
Arif Ahmed Zufi (Education, University of East Anglia)
PhD Research Topic: Learner Autonomy at Secondary Level EFL Classes in Bangladesh
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: I would like to attend the SeNSS Digital Social Research Workshops for some reasons. As a PhD researcher, I do not possess sound knowledge in data collection and analysis specially in managing quantitative data due to my lack of research orientation in my home country Bangladesh. Moreover, the topics of the workshops are very technical and specialised in nature. Without mentor's help I cannot hope to obtain expertise in these areas. In my own PhD research I will have to handle a large amount of qualitative and quantitative data sets. Again, I wish to pursue my career as an Education researcher after my Doctoral study. So, I firmly believe the participation in these workshops will be very much helpful for me.
Ben Davies (Management, University of Kent)
PhD Research Topic: Transgressive Leadership
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: The digital world is increasingly dominating social research. This is especially apparent in my own research on transgressive leadership. It is frequently the case that transgressive leadership occurs or is propagated through digital channels like Facebook and Twitter. For example Elon Musk incurred significant fines for Tesla following Twitter outbursts that indicated he was taking the company private, and Donald Trump continues to project a host of transgressive behaviours on digital platforms. The presence of transgressive behaviours within online domains also means that people debate such behaviours on this digital stage. Clearly transgressive leadership is moving into the digital sphere, and online platforms contain a wealth of data on how people respond to transgressive leadership. Becoming a digital scholar therefore presents a unique opportunity to not only develop my research on transgressive leaders, but to also develop myself as an interdisciplinary scholar. I have a background in Psychology and have ample experience in conducting experimental and survey based research. However, having adopted an interdisciplinary approach for my PhD in Management, a broader set of skills is required to fulfil this interdisciplinary focus. This is particularly the case for publishing in Organisational and Management journals, which require research to be firmly rooted in real world data. Digital platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, contain such real world data and attending the Digital Scholar workshops would provide me with the skills necessary to access, manage, and analyse this data. I am particularly interested in attending workshop one on web scraping and workshop four on predictive analytics. Together these workshops will teach me how to access real world data and use it to train and develop predictive machine learning models. Importantly, these workshops will enable me to broaden my research skills and assist me in becoming both a digital and interdisciplinary scholar.
Bolaji Owoseni (Art History, University of East Anglia)
PhD Research Topic: Archaeology of Okesuna Area, Ilorin, Kwara state, North Central, Nigeria
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: My interest in being a SeNSS digital scholar is because as an archaeologist or a social anthropologist, my research is geared towards an understanding of the distributions and pattern of past human social activities on the cultural landscape. Recent researches in archaeology have embraced the use of digital tools such as GIS as a result of how such tools have advanced the understanding of man’s activities on his environment through space and time. Bearing this in mind, I know that participating in this training and being a SeNSS digital scholar will contribute to the advancement of my research work and findings. Knowledge and access to the digital tools such as GIS and the manipulation of mobile devices software tools for data collection as well as support networks of digital scholars will enhance my career in archaeology research now and in the future.
Caitlin Shaughnessy (Education, University of Roehampton)
PhD Research Topic: Music and Autism
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: The growth of digital research methodologies has provided my research area of music education with an entirely new domain through which assess and analyse musical behaviour and development. In particular, the growth of digital ethnography enables researchers to get closer to achievable ecological research; investigating how music is used consistently and effectively in everyday life. The effects of this are two-fold, impacting both methodological and analysis, and are both highly relevant to my current study investigating use of music in families with autism. Firstly, the ability to understand immediate, momentary behavioural practices through prompting responses on mobile devices, means that researchers are less reliant on retrospective, self-report data, and can consequently design interventions more effectively based on sound ecological evidence. Remote digital methods can capture data more naturalistically and encourages participants to engage in multimedia techniques such as video and voice notes, in my case to explore how parents use music in day-to-day life. In fields such as music, which are heavily practice-based and interwoven into daily life, these methods enable far greater insights on the day-to-day experiences of the participants. Secondly, digital techniques for remote analysis such as web-scraping means that assessing interventions, such as how often or which online resources are used, can be analysed in less obtrusive ways. This is particularly key in music education and psychology, where research environments are frequently in time-limited spaces, such as classrooms, family homes or care-homes. For my own development as a researcher in the field of music education and psychology, attending the digital research workshops will enable further insight into how to utilise digital methods for music education research; how it can be designed effectively, disseminated more widely and analysed remotely. In particular, enabling opportunities for wider access to demographics that are commonly excluded from traditional methodological approaches.
Claire Wicks (Health Studies, University of Essex)
PhD Research Topic: Green exercise and mental health
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: I am interested in applying for the digital research programme as new technologies offer new and innovative ways to conduct research, expanding both our knowledge and depth of understanding. Within my area of research (green exercise and mental health), geographical information systems are already being used to understand how access to nature impacts on mental health. Through the use of this technology, it is possible to gain a new understanding of how, when and where people access green space for green exercise and how this behaviour benefits mental health. Further, this knowledge can be used to create health care interventions tailored to individuals' behaviour and area of residence to help improve accessibility, adherence and mental health outcomes. The use of mobile technologies in research enables everyday devices to be used for data collection, providing novel and exciting ways to engage participants with research and to take new approaches to exploring research questions. For my research, this will allow exploration of individuals' engagement with and experience of green exercise in real time and in real world settings. This will help move research out of laboratories and artificial settings, enhancing the ecological validity of findings. By incorporating data collection methods into everyday devices, participant burden can be reduced while also enabling more rich and detailed data to be collected. By utilising a combination of geographical information systems and mobile technologies, new approaches and opportunities for the exploration of green exercise and mental health will be possible.
Daim Syukriyah (Economics, Royal Holloway University of London)
PhD Research Topic: Health Economics
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: I am interested in attending digital social research workshops because I will benefit a lot from some topics that are offered especially in GIS as I will be using some maps to understand and analyze the disparity gaps across districts in terms of health equity in Indonesia. Secondly, in relation to the high use of big data, there might be a potential use in my near future to leverage the quality of my research apart from using the traditional household surveys and utilize any other big data. As I also had an experience working as a researcher at the World Bank, this type of course in machine learning and big data are two things that will be used more in the future for our research and studies. Therefore, I am very keen to attend those two courses and I really hope I can receive a fee waiver to attend those. I would like to attend two particular workshops offered by SeNSS because I believe I will benefit a lot from them. First, one course related to generate a map for analysis using GIS. As my research focuses on analyzing disparity gaps of health services across districts, I will use maps in addition to modelling and regression results to inform my research's findings. Second, I would like to learn more how to use machine learning and utilize big data to leverage my research in health services inequality apart from using the traditional household surveys. Having worked in a couple of international organizations prior to my study, we used a lot big data to provide recommendations to our government counterparts about policy options that they can do to solve some public policy challenges. Therefore, I am very keen to learn it from the beginning so I can use them a lot in my research.
Daniel Marciniak (Sociology, University of Essex)
PhD Research Topic: Predictive Policing
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: My name is Daniel Marciniak and I am a third year PhD student in sociology at the University of Essex. My research focuses on how predictive policing changes police work. In my research I use both qualitative and quantitative methods. I complement interviews with statistical analysis of predictive policing's effectiveness. I am interested in taking part in the workshop on Bayesian statistics for two reasons: First, I have always been unsatisfied with classical statistical approaches being unable to quantify the un/certainty of a result. Second, I hope to employ Bayesian statistics in assessing the effect of police visibility in future research. I have experience in diverse methods from classical statistics, to social network analysis, to topic modelling. I see the workshop as a chance to further expand my methodological toolkit and develop a strong footing for an academic career.
David Jones (Economics, University of East Anglia)
PhD Research Topic: Finance and Structural Change
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: The future of social science is likely to look significantly different from the past. Improvements in analytical techniques, new and more sophisticated uses of statistics, and a radical increase in the availability of computing power are all reshaping the way social scientists are able to work. The most exciting research in the coming decades is bound to incorporate many of these changes, so it is important that early career researchers furnish themselves with the knowledge and tools to keep pace. I am a PhD student in economics at the University of East Anglia. My research focuses on the link between the financial sector, growth and structural change (the process of reshaping the economy from agriculture- to manufacturing- to services-based). The macroeconomy is a fantastically complicated and deeply interconnected system, and traditional regression-based statistical analysis, while very powerful, typically requires the researcher to impose a functional form on the relationships under study. This can be difficult. Machine learning techniques would allow these data to be studied in a more general, unstructured manner. In the absence of clean natural experiments, Bayesian methods are likely to provide a better scientific framework than the accept/reject dichotomy inherent in frequentist hypothesis testing. And web scraping can grant the researcher access to data that could not be gathered otherwise. With a background in mathematics, I have strong analytical skills. However, I have never studied machine learning or Bayesian statistics. I believe that these techniques will become indispensable to economists in the relatively near future and will open up whole new fields of inquiry. I plan to pursue a career in academic economics; becoming a SeNSS Digital Scholar would be an excellent first step in equipping myself to undertake groundbreaking research now and in the future.
Dorothy Szinay (School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia)
PhD Research Topic: Development and evaluation of web-based interventions to increase uptake and use of health and wellbeing smartphone apps.
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: Digital social science research methods are vital for my PhD project (developing and evaluating web-based interventions to promote the uptake and use of health apps). The ultimate aim of the project is to inform the optimisation of Public Health England’s digital tools and the NHS Apps Library. I understand that frequentist statistical significance testing is often not an optimal method of investigating relationships as it provides a flawed and unrealistic binary view on associations. Therefore, novel approaches to data analysis can provide increased value in the social sciences. The Bayesian approach is one such approach. The intervention development focus within my project is on digital platforms, where knowledge regarding digital and mobile data collection and analysis are crucial. The plan is to conduct a 2 x 2 x 2 factorial randomised experiment, that will allow the evaluation of more than one intervention simultaneously, and it will likely focus on different aspects of the process of selecting and using an app. However, during my training needs analysis, I have identified a gap in my research skills that could be successfully fulfilled by attending two workshops offered as part of this training: one is to successfully overcome the challenges of the experimental design and data analysis of digital tools, and the other is related to Bayesian data analysis. Attending this course would greatly increase my competence in conducting my PhD research and would have a substantial impact on my career prospects as I am committed to this field. Furthermore, the findings of my project could have a huge impact at many levels by informing the activities of other nations’ governments, including EU nations, who are planning digital intervention endorsement models. Nationwide, this research also aligns with the NHS long term plan, ‘Digital First’, which has a primary focus on digitally-enabled care.
Emeeghe Ijeoma Jane (Real Estate and Planning, University of Reading)
PhD Research Topic: Housing Quality, Agency and Mental Well-being: An Examination of the Social Value of Investing in Quality Housing in the United Kingdom
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: As a Real Estate and Planning professional, a digital social research workshop is very beneficial in this practice, especially with Geographic Information System (GIS) training. To be digitally informed with hands-on application and practices bestows on a professional an edge through smarter intellectual practices, which currently culminates performance rankings and drives creativity and innovation. From actual Urban and Regional planning prerequisites, processes, transportation technology to the evaluation or appraisal of buildings, GIS knowledge and application is deemed extremely essential to accuracy in determining coordinates to best delivery practices. I would love to partake in this training session in order to be competitively knowledgeable both in research and professional engagements and delivery. The GIS knowledge is also very beneficial to my current research as I can apply this knowledge to establishing the geo-coordinates of my research cases as well as enhance research-based knowledge with reliable and valid findings that will inform policy circle decisions in the efficient appropriation of resources. Topic modeling and text analytics are very essential aspects of social science research as there is constant engagement with human experience and behavioral attributes. Hence, for my academic and career growth, I seek to understand how to better engage professionally through understanding deep-seated content in order to understand structure and trend and the ability to co-create through in-depth text analytics and conceptual modeling.
Eworitse Ezra Arenyeka (Business Management, University of East Anglia)
PhD Research Topic: Social Media as a Dynamic Capability has an effect on Firm Performance
Fabio Lamperti (International Business, Economics, Henley Business School, University of Reading)
PhD Research Topic: Industry 4.0 and Restructuring of Global Value Chains
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: As a PhD Student in International Business & Strategy at the Henley Business School, University of Reading (UK), I believe attending the SeNSS Digital Social Research Workshops would be of great value for my future academic career. My research focuses on the ever-increasing diffusion of new digital technologies like Artificial Intelligences, Industrial Robots, Big Data Analytics and Internet of Things, and their economic implications on the internationalisation of firms’ activities, labour and growth dynamics. This stream of research is increasingly becoming of great interest to many researchers, but it is still at its infancy, and the availability of both primary and secondary reliable data sources is one of the most relevant barrier to overcome. New digitally enabled research techniques might help shedding new light on how these technologies themselves are changing the economic and business world. Machine learning techniques used to conduct topic modelling and text analytics might be of great value to extract information from companies’ reports so to inspect how firms’ usage of these technologies is changing their international choices and, hence, performances. Furthermore, given the difficulties to implement fruitfully traditional econometric techniques using available data, the possibility to acquire knowledge and skills on recent data analysis techniques such as Bayesian methods represents a great opportunity to advance research in this field. Further developing my theoretical knowledge over such topics and techniques and augmenting them with practical skills would not be solely beneficial to my PhD studies, but it would also be an opportunity to further contribute adding value to my Department and my Academic Institution.
Hang YANG (Social Science, Roehampton University)
PhD Research Topic: investigate how information technology help SMEs that are facing trade financing challenges in the area of supply chains
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: My name is YANG Hang, one of the first-year research student at Roehampton University. Currently, I am researching on how information technologies (such as big data, blockchain, Internet of things and smart contracts) applying in supply chain finance could help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to solve their financial issues in China. There have three reasons that I want to attend this workshop. Firstly, my research refers to using information technologies to explore how it could develop supply chain performance especially the firm’s cash flow. I want to bring my idea to this workshop to share these potential research interests with other scholars. For example, how to use big data to predict the firm’s default risk and optimise their funding channel. Whether could use the Internet of things and blockchain to integrate cashflow, material flow and information flow; Whether data from website and mobile could help to choose the best solutions or scheme for each business case by prescriptive analytics. Secondly, some workshops are relative to my research topic and interests. For example, Machine learning and data collection tools would help me understand how I could use these methods to enhance data collection and data analysis. It would be an excellent chance for me to learn new skills and knowledge that enrich my research method. Also, these workshops would bring the brainstorming for thinking my research topic. I can discuss with other scholars or teachers to obtain new idea and pathway in researching supply chain finance. I am very like information technologies and interested in these digital research method (such as predictive analysis using machine learning and web scraping). These digital methods could open my mind to consider whether there could have other opportunities to explore my study. It will extend my research interests and bring me more opportunities in further research career plans.
Harishchandra Jyawali (Management, Goldsmiths University of London)
PhD Research Topic: Job crafting
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: I realise that engaging with social media allows an enormous opportunity to collect data. In addition, in the digital world, I am sure the skills will open a new avenue for any early researcher like me. In the coming days, I am hoping to engage with web-based information more.
Hateef Alshewaier (Research student, University of East Anglia)
PhD Research Topic: Ensemble Construction Methodology for Multimedia Data
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: I am a research student who wants to discover more about data. My research area is constructing a methodology for Multimedia data and building ensemble. I really want to know more about the data how to process and analysis different types of data. Also, what are the techniques and strategies for this task? After, processing the data I am attending to build an accurate ensemble structure. I don't have an excellent background about data analysis and process so this is the main reason why I apply for this workshops. Hopefully you accept me and I become a member of this great society.
Israel Gottschalk (Economics, University of East Anglia)
PhD Research Topic: Market Regulation in Education Markets
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: What are the limits of the tech giants? How much market power is too much? These are among the questions that challenge regulators and competition authorities as tech firms test the limits of the internet bending the existing rules of the offline world. As an answer to this, the UK government recently published the Online Harms White Paper, setting out the plans for a “world-leading package of measures to keep users safe online”. The central idea of this plan is to force online platforms to self-regulate themselves, imposing a statutory duty of care of their users, and to create a new regulator with enforcing powers to oversee the sector. The scope of activity of this new government watchdog will include publishing guidelines for firms, oversee complaints and apply sanctions. As a former UNESCO consultant specialized in regulation and a PhD student member of the Centre for Competition Policy (CCP) at the University of East Anglia, I believe the creation of this new regulation body presents an invaluable opportunity for me and for CCP to contribute to the debate and help shape the regulatory framework. In order to do so, it is of paramount importance that I acquire the skills necessary to investigate and research in the web environment. My main goal is to help establish CCP as a reference for research in online competition and regulation by disseminating the skills I acquire as a SeNSS Digital Scholar at the Centre. To this end, I have already taken up basic training in web scraping using R on my own, so I think I am in a very good position to profit greatly from the training in Bayesian data analysis and predictive analytics.
Jack Warner (Sociology, University of Kent)
PhD Research Topic: The Gig Economy
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: I would like to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar as my research into the gig economy is a major component of the new Digital Economy. For this reason, it is important that I am familiar with the debates and technologies that characterise the digital era. As digital platforms, algorithms, and artificial intelligence are integral to my research I think I am in a good position to fit the role of a Digital Scholar. My main choices for the workshops are Webscraping and Telling a Story through maps. These workshops will be the most beneficial to my research. Webscraping will be an invaluable tool for extracting data from gig forums online. As the description of the workshop notes, this is a really laborious task, and this type of data is not currently a component of my research design for this reason. There will be some really insightful data within these forums which might offer the opportunity to develop themes that could not emerge otherwise. Some of these forums have already been used well by other gig economy researchers to document the experience of gig work in a peer to peer network environment. This is a clever idea considering gig workers often do not have a set place to mix with other gig workers offline. Web scraping training allows me to access this data too. Telling a Story through maps would be very useful too. As part of my research design, I will be taking an ethnographic approach with visual methods into the gig economy. I am set to become a Deliveroo driver to attempt to understand what gig work means, the impact it has on the worker, and our understanding of work. GIS seems an excellent way to visualise my findings, especially when I include rhythmnanalysis.
Jin Huang (Management studies, University of Essex)
PhD Research Topic: Essays on Chinese Peer-to-Peer Lending
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: Now, I am working on my second chapter. This chapter needs first data collection from the website and analyze using text analysis technique.So this workshop will be highly relevant and beneficial to my research.
Jing Ning (Accounting, henley business school-University of Reading)
PhD Research Topic: Text mining in accounting narrative
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: My current research is doing sentiment analysis on accounting narrative (annual report and conference call) so I really strongly need any technology support on natural language process since I am employing python to realize Naϊve Bayesian classification. The next step will be combining text mining (sentiment analysis & topic modelling) with accounting narrative. I am located in Henley business School, university of Reading which will be convenient for attending workshops hold in Reading.
João Oswaldo Leiva Filho (Institute of Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship (ICCE), Goldsmiths University)
PhD Research Topic: Impact of Cultural Policies
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: My work is related to cultural habits and the social and economic impact of cultural policies. In the last 15 years, my company (JLeiva Cultura & Esporte, www.jleiva.co) has carried out different studies in the area, from mapping specific activities (like live music venues in the city of São Paulo) to large cultural habits surveys, similar to the ones made in UK by the DCMS (Taking Part). Our last study included 10.000 interviews in 12 Brazilian capitals (www.culturanascapitais.com.br). We work with both quantitative and qualitative methods. I believe the digital tools are central to the development of new studies in the area. Activities like music and cinema were directly impacted by the new digital media and today it is impossible to understand how people interact with them without a good knowledge of how people behave online and in social media. And even the activities that are more dependent of live performances, like theatre, dance and circus, must engage with their audiences through digital strategies. The workshop will improve my research skills and I will have the possibility to work with new tools that could help us understand how people interact with cultural activities, how arts and culture take part in their lives. And as I’ve just finished the modules on Qualitative Methods and Quantitative Methods, it would be a perfect time to learn to work with new tools.
Josie Coburn (Science and Technology Policy, SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex)
PhD Research Topic: Funding research for diseases of the rich and diseases of the poor: what role for serendipity?
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: I am applying to be a SeNSS Digital Scholar because I believe it could help me to learn crucial skills for my PhD. In my PhD research, I would like to take a selection of diseases and map the associated grant funding, publications, and impacts and see whether there is evidence of serendipity, which might have been important if, for example, the topic of the grant does not match the topic of the publications and the topic of the publication does not match the topic of the patent. Assuming these sorts of mismatches can be found, I would like to interview researchers and research funders to find out what happened in more depth. I hope that building a better understanding of the role of serendipity in disease-related research could help to encourage serendipitous discoveries where they could have a considerable impact on the global burden of disease, particularly in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). It could also contribute to our understanding of why and how we should fund research, in particular where there is a need to tackle complex societal challenges such as poverty-related and neglected diseases (PRNDs).
Katie Tyrrell (Applied Social Science, University of Suffolk/University of East Anglia)
PhD Research Topic: Investigating intimate online relationship formation and maintenance among students in higher education
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: Attendance at the Digital Social Research Workshops would be highly beneficial not only for my current PhD area of study, but also in informing wider social science projects I work on during my daily capacity as a Research Associate. I am interested in how individuals and communities use online spaces and how this influences behaviour and social interaction, thus attendance would be highly useful in aiding me to develop such skills in studying group cultures across digital platforms and inform my growing interest in digital ethnography. As well as my PhD, I am also working on projects which involve the mapping of youth provision, therefore an introduction to Geographical Information Systems at their use in social science research would be highly beneficial in enhancing my scholarly outputs and generating more impactful, robust research. I believe any opportunity to improve your skills and explore different methodological approaches to research are increasingly beneficial for PhD students and early career researchers, attendance at these workshops would enable me to acquire such skills and open avenues for the use of innovative research methods throughout my career in academia.
Kelly Coulter (Economic Sociology, university of essex)
PhD Research Topic: Cryptocurrencies and Social Change
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: I would like the opportunity to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar as I am particularly interested in becoming a digital economic sociologist as a future career path. My current research involves studying emerging online digital technologies such as cryptocurrencies and exploring and analysing the real social and cyber space within which they operate. I therefore wish to take this opportunity to become a digital scholar early on during my PhD journey, so that I can build upon my digital knowledge and research skills to complement my traditional ones. This is in order to access online participants and analyse data from many of the online communities and media that utilise Bitcoin and other similar online decentralised digital currencies. This will have a positive effect in furthering my research and improves its methodology in terms of its design and implementation, by providing me with the social science digital skills and tools for a richer data set from my online fieldwork. I am particularly eager to learn web scraping methods, predictive analytics, topic modelling and/or text analytics using machine learning for this purpose. I also endeavour that I will take these skills with me beyond my PhD which will prove useful for future post-doctoral research and will benefit future research that I am involved with.
Khaled Ahmed (Marketing, Henley Business School, University of Reading)
PhD Research Topic: Customer Experience with Augmented Reality Technology in Retailing
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: I'm currently in my 2nd year of my PhD and in my topic I'm exploring how customer experience can be enhanced using augmented reality (AR) technology, and the overall effect of such an experience. To address this research problem, I'm using a mixed method approach which consists of online diary study and a web analytics of customer reviews of IKEA's AR. My main two sessions are mobile device data and text analytics. Joining SeNSS digital social research workshops will add value in my current research, and also, in my future research agenda after my PhD. In my research, I’m designing a semi-structured diary for participants to fill in from their mobile device every time they use IKEA’s AR app. Then, I will analyse the data using quantitative and qualitative techniques. Therefore, mobile devices research workshop will provide hands on training to implement this method. After that, I’m using web analytics to analyse IKEA’s online customer reviews on the app store. To do so, I need to equip myself with analytics skills using text analytics and machine learning. Therefore, text analytics workshop will provide me with the analytical skills needed to conduct this method by learning how to use programming software like Python and Matlab. In my future career, I’m planning to continue research in digital marketing and improve my research techniques in data analytics. Therefore, attending SeNSS workshops will not only support my current research, but also, will support my future career by enhancing my research skills, and being able to produce and publish high quality research. In addition, in order to compete in the future, it is not enough to only know about data, but also, how to be able to use it and make sense of it.
Konrad Maliszewski (Information Systems, Small Business Management, University of East Anglia)
PhD Research Topic: What drives technology use amongst micro businesses? A field experiment in convenience retailing
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: The topics discussed during SeNSS Digital Social Research Workshops are of great interest to me. Over the last two years I have been educating myself in web scraping, text analysis and machine learning, using available online resources. However, my education would be greatly enhanced by personally attending workshops as it would allow greater interaction with the instructors and the ability to exchange ideas with peers interested in similar topics. What is more, in my PhD research, concerned with how micro businesses make use of the new digital technologies, we are using a web-based app used on mobile devices to design and deploy field experiments. Learning on how to best use mobile devices as data collection tools would be invaluable to the success of my research. Finally, in addition to my main PhD research I spend a considerable amount of time collaborating with my supervisor on industry engagement projects. They often require collating datasets which can be of benefit to SMEs with whom we work (see e.g https://www.uea.ac.uk/whobuysmyfood/databases). Skills in web scraping and text analyses are essential. I have developed some skills in R but would love an opportunity to enhance them with training in Python provided by experienced scholars. I believe attendance of SeNSS Digital Research Workshops would not only put me in a better position to carry out my PhD research but also equip me with relevant skills essential for developing an academic career in the 21st century.
Luke Coughlan (Politics, Royal Holloway, University of London)
PhD Research Topic: Partisan polarisation on British social media
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: My PhD focuses on the study of partisan polarisation on British social media. I’m specifically interested in how the semantic structures of political arguments contribute to online division. I aim to demonstrate how polarisation spreads discursively on social media platforms. My hypothesis argues firstly that different news sources across the ideological spectrum conceptualise political issues in linguistically distinct ways, particularly when framing accountability. Secondly, it argues that strong affective responses expressed by social media users in comments serve to amplify arguments that blame political opponents or societal outgroups for social problems. The workshop on topic modelling would be invaluable to the realisation of this project. To achieve my research objectives, I will be required to create an original algorithm for the categorisation of news articles and social media comments, in order to measure discursive polarisation. Receiving an introduction in machine learning, especially in using the Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) method, from the experts at the University of Reading’s Informatics school would be an incredible opportunity. Attending the workshop on web scraping would also be extremely beneficial. I currently use Python to extract social media data from Twitter, using pre-written code. Although I have been successful in achieving my research objectives through this method, I am seeking to expand my knowledge of Python’s programming language. Several of the specific areas that I aim to improve are covered in this workshop, including constructing a bespoke web scraper from scratch and the creation of data frames for analysis. In addition to my PhD research, my long-term goal is to conduct in-depth ethnographic studies of political communities on message boards such as Reddit, which can serve as incubators for political extremism. The ability to tailor data collection for specific needs (e.g. to capture dialogic interaction between users on message boards) would be vital.
Mandis Khayati Gargari (Management, royal holloway University London)
PhD Research Topic: Modelling and evaluating customer experience via deep learning
Martyna Joanna Surma (Real Estate & Planning, University of Reading)
PhD Research Topic: Growing business enterprise through sustainable urban planning for workplace engagement
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: I would like to attend the SeNSS Digital Social Research Workshops, because I have found it very relevant for my PhD research. Digital methods are an increasingly important element. I have already planned to use some of them for my PhD research (artificial intelligence, Geographical Information Systems, mobile devices). The workshops have already been reccommended to me by my Supervisor.
Mingchen Sun (Finance, Essex Business School, University of Essex)
PhD Research Topic: Small and medium-sized enterprises financing
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: As a reaction to the bank lending shortage in the wake of financial crisis and a potential need for disintermediation in capital markets, several new players in small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) financing emerge in the recent few years. One of the most attractive funding alternative for both investors and SMEs is the equity crowdfunding (ECF) relying on the ‘wisdom of the crowd’, which is expected to fill in the equity gap in UK. As this area is quite new, more understanding on the underlying mechanism is needed. I'm very interested in this topic and I believe a better understanding can benefit start ups, investors and platforms. Before constructing econometric models, we have to collect the data for both ECF campaigns and firms seeking financing. For the campaigns, we can collect the information from the website on the platform, where we can know the campaign characteristics and how does the firm describe their businesses/project to attract investors. For the firms raising money, which are generally start ups and SMEs, we can collect the information from the website of UK Companies House service, where we can know both firm characteristics and directors' characteristics. We may also collect information on the social capital from the website Linkedin to perform a network analysis. Therefore, collecting data from websites and analysing the texts on the website are very crucial in my current and future research. That's the reason why I would like to attend the workshops, especially the workshop on web scraping and text analytics.
Mohammadhadi Sarajchi (Interdisciplinary between "Information Science" & "Computer Science", Royal Holloway, University of London)
PhD Research Topic: Developing a new Human Drone Interface (HDI) Based on the Design Science: User-Centred Design
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: Having scrutinized different workshops, I found workshop 3 exactly in my field of research and an unrepeatable chance for me due to the following reasons. First, my project is AI and I use UAV so-called drone as mobile device for aerial imaginary to collect data from environment which is exactly in parallel with the goals of workshop 3. I intend to develop a modern human drone interface (HDI) using gesture-based Natural User Interface (NUI) and smartphone as the alternative and basic method not only for drone piloting but also for data analysing. In fact, I should develop an application for smartphone to facilitate the drone piloting and help the user to analyse the collected data efficiently and quickly. To this end, I conducted a solid literature review on this topic and design science to figure out the new idea and concept in this regard. I followed the related issue in this topic until 2019 and I am seriously looking to participate in relevant workshops to derive the fresh mind. Furthermore, I am going to participate in the International Workshop on Human Drone Interaction (iHDI) on May 5th in Glasgow and this shows how much I am enthusiastic about workshop 3. iHDI can help me to upgrade my mind about the use of smart devices for data collection and I can present highly thought-provoking and mind-challenging opinions in workshop 3. The last but not least, last year, I won the SeNSS bourse for its conference at Kent University and this can help me to find myself as a member of SeNSS and I am highly motivated to continue my cooperation and collaboration with this great knowledge-oriented society not only for now but also for the future. “I need to this workshop as much as I need to breathe.”
Nicholas Heck (Survey Research Methods, City, University of London)
PhD Research Topic: Optimizing Fieldwork Efficiency of a Large Scale Face-To-Face Survey
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: "Data Scientist" has been declared the "most sexiest Job of the 21st Century" back in 2012 by the Harvard Business Review. Ever since I lay my focus on quantitative analysis in my Sociology programme, I wanted to be a data scientist. In my PhD Thesis I am comparing different machine learning algorithms on their suitability to predict first call contact in the European Social Survey. While I already have a proficient background in applying machine learning in R I am still a beginner in doing so in Python. Although I took several introductory courses in my freetime, I would still consider myself as a beginner, since I am not working with Python on a day-to-day basis. Being able to learn from experts as a SeNSS Digital Scholar would give me the great opportunity to develop more skills in a software that is curcial for the field I so badly want to work in. I already found a company as well as a vacant position for my time after I graduated but I know from insiders that they mainly use Python instead of R for most of their tasks. I am sure that having completed the courses as a SeNSS Digital Scholar would provide me with enough knowledge to be able to compete in the application process.
Nicolae Craciunescu (Criminology, University of Essex)
PhD Research Topic: Darknet marketplaces and their users: a cultural perspective
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: My research interests being around the digital research of the darknet marketplaces, these workshops would be extremely beneficial to my current research and future career. I have always been fascinated by radical online spaces, and my interest grew significantly when I discovered online marketplaces where people were selling controlled substances to avoid the law and to provide an anti-establishment message (initially). Much of the research in this area has been done through web scraping and then the analysis of the data collected. Such an example is the political discourse of the initial marketplaces which since then has changed and has become more economically dominated. In my research I’m focusing mainly on the cultural side to the online drug economy drawing from literature on drug cultures of the offline markets. Thus far, during my undergraduate and masters research projects I have been using qualitative methods to study this area of the digital world. Being able to learn web scraping and topic modelling especially, would provide me the tools to explore these spaces and be able to provide generalizable findings that would help not only the field of cryptomarket research, but also drug policy research.
Paul Fenton Villar (Development Studies; Development Economics, University of East Anglia)
PhD Research Topic: Natural Resource Management
Paul Jackson (Sociology, University of Sussex)
PhD Research Topic: Structures and Interaction: A micro-sociological analysis of online harassment
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: Being a SeNSS Digital Scholar would be of substantive benefit to my development as a Digital Sociologist, particularly as the scope and content of the workshops are directly relevant to the research design of my PhD study. My project investigates the relationship between patterns of digital sociality and the micro-sociological and socio-technological structure of the setting of online interaction. It does so by conducting an in-depth case study of a single computer mediated communications website, focusing upon the orchestration and evaluation of campaigns of harassment, which are frequently cited as originating within this particular online setting. My ongoing research interests relate to applying extant micro-sociological theory to Internet-enabled spaces of social interaction through digital methods. My current PhD study consists of the collection and analysis of born-digital textual data and the application of methods of web scraping and text analytics. While the entire programme of sessions would be of interest to me as a Digital Sociologist, Workshop 1 on web scraping using Python and Workshop 4 on machine learning for the social sciences are directly relevant to my current research design. As such, access to discussion and practical instruction relating to these methods will be of significant benefit to my current work. Additionally, attendance at the SeNSS Digital Social Research Workshops and Closing Conference will provide great opportunity to establish links with members of the SeNSS cohort, including those who are applying these digital methods in their current work, like myself, and those who are interested in learning more about these methods for future research projects. In either case, forging a community of SeNSS Digital Scholars will enable the group to establish avenues of practical support and opportunities for future collaboration, which I am very keen to help facilitate and engage in.
Pedro Douglass-Kirk (Psychology, Goldsmiths University of London)
PhD Research Topic: Upper Limb Stroke Rehabilitation Using Auditory Feedback
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: I am currently in the second year of my PhD and am looking for opportunities to keep learning up to date skills. The workshops offered by the SeNSS across the three universities will help me in two key ways: First, with my current PhD, I need to design and build systems (both web and standalone) that collect large amounts of data. Second, when thinking ahead post PhD to my future career prospects the skills within this set of workshops would be a valuable asset. My current research involves building a machine learning platform to track real-time movements and give continuous feedback. I need to gain more skill in using machine learning concepts so the workshop on predictive analytics would be useful. Python, in particular, is very appealing to me and I have started a few MOOCs with the aim to implement Python scripts into my data analysis and to help organise data as it is collected. Learning how to deal with large data sets and knowledge of good techniques to collect, store and analyse that data has never been more needed for researchers. I am familiar with a number of techniques but the workshops would be valuable to consolidate and work on new up to date approaches. Using apps to collect data is highly relevant for me so again learning good practice and appropriate libraries with this would be very helpful. Finally, I am also interested in how Bayesian analysis could be applied to my research and want to think about how this approach may be better than the current analysis I have planned. The replication crisis is serious and I definitely want to gain more insight into how knowledge of both Bayesian and NHST approaches can make for better research analyses and study designs.
Rebecca Smees (Psychology, University of Sussex)
PhD Research Topic: Links between Empathy and well-being and creativity in children
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: I am trying to develop some of my existing quantitative skills further,. I am well trained in many aspects of advanced research methods such as multilevel modelling, SEM, but am aware I am wholly lacking in developments in areas such as Bayesian and machine learning that could be useful in my work. I work with complex data from children and I would like to start analysing it in a more sophisticated way looking for particular patterns in the data, such as picking up random responses or certain clusters of responding. I think Machine learning may help me with this, but don't have any expertise yet to know it's full potential. I have a specific analysis looking at children's choices in a colour picker task that I think would be perfect for this kind of methodology. Bayesian analysis is another area that would massively compliment the hypothesis testing I am doing, and aid the interpretation of my results.I also think it would be useful as a critical eye on the vast amount of research I am reading at the moment.
Ricardo Rodrigo Ontillera Sanchez (Anthropology (Life Sciences), University of Roehampton)
PhD Research Topic: Human Animal Studies
Sahar (MCL, University of Roehampton)
PhD Research Topic: Using Visualization in teaching an Online Arabic Course to Enhance Learners' Motivation
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: First of all, this is an area of interest to me since almost five years ago. I felt in love with digital technologies for teaching, digital programming and digital marketing in general. I created my own blog and used to spend hours to edit its HTML templates only to get few things that I wanted such as headings, good shape of the main menu, parent and children headings, playing with the fonts, colours and everything inside- not only sticking to the ready-created templates. My blog is: mamahadia.blogspot.com . At that time, I created social media accounts for it: Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, google+, twitter and flicker. I started to know more about digital marketing and how to advertise your own content. I am still eager to learn whatever is related to programming languages, and I am more keen to know how this can be useful in research. Now, as I am researching the role of visualization and imagination in teaching foreign languages, I am looking into new innovative ways to collect and analyse data. The third workshop in this program, in particular, I think it will give me more insight and more creative ways to collect data particularly in my study context, online environment.
Sanjaya Aryal (Sociology, University of Essex)
PhD Research Topic: Beyond Empowerment and Exploitation: Care Chain of Transnational Migratory Nepali Women
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: I had participated in a training on MTurk and I found it quite fascinating to have data collection through online. I had also come across the Python programming. Hence, through this workshop, I want to learn more about the use of Python and internet based data collection techniques.
Shaaba Lotun (Psychology, University of Essex)
PhD Research Topic: Social Media for Social Good
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: My research explores social media platforms, the relationship needs they fill, and their influence on the behaviour, mental health, and wellbeing of users. This research is primarily psychological, looking into the existing relationships that people have, and how much our connections with the people we watch and interact with online, influence our overall social networks. The research methods involved in this project involve computer science and AI, and for this reason, being a SeNSS Digital Scholar could enhance my skill set and strengthen this project’s analysis and impact potential. We intend to use computational digital methods, specifically natural language processing, web scraping, and text analytics, to conduct this research and increase its impact. Social media is a hugely vast source of public data. Not only is the data vast in quantity, it is also regularly evolving as public opinions, current affairs, and trends, change over time.What is happening in the world right now? Who are people listening to? How is information being received and acted upon? Being able to scrape this information to formulate cohesive data-sets for this research will help us explore which platforms are most efficient for engaging users in a meaningful way, what people are interested in interacting with online, and how this can be harnessed to create a pro-social behavioural influence among society. Being able to develop my computational research skills through these workshops will allow me to not only conduct this project more efficiently, but also strengthen my profile for future research. I intend to work with industry partners through knowledge transfer partnerships and collaborative projects, maximising the real-world impact of my research findings. These workshops will help me develop my analytical skills, and eventually create intuitive tools that accurately detect relevant social media content in real-time, helping the marketing industry increase meaningful pro-social engagement.
Sree Beg (Business and Digital Marketing, University of Roehampton)
PhD Research Topic: International online loyalty of e-tailers
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: I have over ten years’ experience teaching in the higher education sector with substantial industry experience in the technology sector and am now developing my research skills having undertaken a PhD mid-career. My extensive experience of teaching digital marketing aligns well with the role of SeNSS digital scholar and provides a strong foundation to develop and enhance current digital modules. Attending the workshops will further allow me to develop research-led teaching strategies based on current digital issues. In particular workshop 4, would provide a valuable introduction into practical applications of 'big data' in the context of AI and workshop 3 the use of mobile devices for research practices provides additional avenues for data collection. My PhD thesis “A comparative multi-country, multi-sector study of online loyalty in e-tailing”, examines the reciprocal effect of online retailer investments towards online loyalty across; China, India, UK and the US demonstrating a strong international focus within an online context. Drawing on a substantial quantitative dataset using structural equation modelling I further explore this contention across different countries and sectors providing additional practitioner insight into e-commerce strategies. Attending workshop 5 would extend my research skills and introduce additional techniques of Bayesian data analysis which I plan to include in future research projects. I have a very strong research pipeline and am in a fortunate position of having a large dataset from which to publish further articles alongside my main PhD thesis. My future research agenda includes examining the role of social media and word-of-mouth effects on cosmopolitan consumers, the role of consumer attitudes to mobile commerce and social commerce further enhancing my research focus on digital marketing. Attending the workshops would allow me to access the most up-to-date and latest digital research techniques that would enhance both my teaching and research practice.
Sumayya Jad (Business Informatics and System science, Henley Business School - University of Reading)
PhD Research Topic: Data Analytics Maturity Model in Local Government
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: Bridging the gap between Academia and Industry is a major goal I am pursuing through my academic research and market experience. Through my Doctoral Research, I intend to proof in numbers how Data Analytics significantly contributes to value creation. Therefore, Through the SENSS program, I will be able to validate methodologies I intend to use in my research, as well as skills and concepts I will definitely need to pursue the goal of identifying value creation through Data Analytics in different industries.
Thomas Ebbs (Socio-Legal, University of Sussex)
PhD Research Topic: Feminism, Civil Society Organisations, Transactional Sex
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: My research investigates the changing role that civil society organisations have had in relationship to feminist activism. I argue that 'civil society organisations' are not a static technology of government but have a changing role in contouring feminist activist discourse over the past three decades. Using Digital Social Research tools, I am keen to gain empirical evidence as to how current behaviour and thinking regarding law differs today than in the past. My current methodology uses WGET to gather raw website data and Nvivo to analyse corpus. I am using Twitter API credentials and Gephi to review social media sites and will review making use of Python hydration to review particular events. As identified in my Training Needs Analysis, I am keen to gain further methodological research training this year on relevant Digital Social Research Tools. In particular, attending "web scraping for social scientists" would be hugely useful for ensure I am using best practice and the most efficient means of gathering information from relevant CSO websites. Further, I would be extremely interested in the "Predictive analytics, topic modelling and text analytics using machine learning in social science “a practical introduction" to find out more about how such approaches could be incorporated into my current research to strengthen my assertions. I am keen to make use of these tools as a feature of my future research efforts, as I believe they can be useful in provoking new findings in socio-legal studies.
Veridiana de Andrade Nogueira (Economics, University of Essex)
PhD Research Topic: Skills differences and productivity in the world
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: I work with cross-country data. The main focus of my research is to compare and contrast the availability of resources, technology differences and economic performance across the world, looking for recurrent patterns that could explain the asymmetries. I have been interested in attending a training on Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for a while, since it would be a very effective tool in presenting my analysis, especially to the general public. Additionally, I am hoping I could meet with other researchers working in similar fields to potentially engage in future collaborations.
Viveka P Santharam (Marketing, Roehampton Business School)
PhD Research Topic: A cross-sectoral investigation into the antecedents of multi-channel retail brand experience and its effects on brand loyalty.
Why did I want to become a SeNSS Digital Scholar?: In today’s era, almost every sector is keen about the ‘digital revolution’ and the impact it is having on their work .Digital literacy is a key factor which will help an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society. Being a researcher, I feel academia is no different. We need to enhance our digital literacy, understand and explore the set of academic and professional practices supported by diverse and changing technologies. I believe, that the future of academia is blending knowledge, technology and engagement and I feel digital technologies play a key role in it. As a researcher I feel it has a huge potential in social science researches where we can go beyond the IT skills and describe a richer set of digital behaviours, practices and identities. Researchers are using digital technologies widely to enhance their research activities regardless of the discipline. It provide researchers, new possibilities in terms of communication, collaboration, data capture, analysis and visualisation, and open publishing. I enjoy the process of questioning assumptions and utilising my analytical skills to articulate and reflect on my ideas which made me choose research. I enjoy my PhD learning journey where I am continuously exploring new approaches and gaining knowledge. I feel, it is important to constantly update myself through the training and resources available to me as digital techniques and tools keep changing over time and across contexts. The particular training's I am looking forward to attend are ‘ Web Scraping for Social Scientists - A practical introduction’ and ‘Using mobile devices as data collection tools for social scientists’. In my thesis I will be using quantitative survey for data collection through a market research agency. I want to learn about other data collection methods which may be useful to develop my thesis further and may come handy in future. I wish to enhance my knowledge in my domain and utilize my analytical and technical skills and eventually, build a career in Big Data research in digital humanities.