ASOA15072U Sociology in the age of big data
Course package (MSc 2015):
Welfare, inequality and mobility
Knowledge, organisation and politics
Culture, lifestyle and everyday life
Because of the digitization of society, sociologists increasingly gain access to new types of so-called “Big (Digital-Trace) Data”. Several prominent sociologists claim that these data will revolutionize sociology. Google Search, for instance, allows us to investigate secret desires that people would probably not even tell their partners and best friends about. Twitter and Reddit offer insights into prejudice and hate against minorities that were only voiced at secret Ku-Klux-Klan meetings in earlier times. Dating sites allow new insights into partnership preferences.
In this course we will revisit several classical sociological topics and learn how studies using Big (Digital-Trace) Data have provided new insights. We will learn which digital data sources offer great potential for sociological analyses (e.g., Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, digitalized parliamentary speeches), and discuss own ideas of how digital trace data could be analysed to answer pressing sociological questions. Yet, we will also discuss the ethnical and methodological challenges and pitfalls of these studies, and in how far they need to be complemented by research based on established qualitative and quantitative methods.
Among others, we will discuss the following topics:
- Discrimination (of women and ethnic minorities).
- Dating, Partner choice, and friendship formation.
- Cultural diffusion, globalization, and social change.
- Political mobilization and polarization.
- Knowledge and fact making.
- Which potentials offer Big Digital-Trace Data?
- Which sources of Big Digital-Trace Data are the most important for sociological research?
- What are the challenges and pitfalls of analyzing such data?
- What are they key insights generated in this new field, so far?
- Substantial and theoretical knowledge about the topics we
discuss (e.g., discrimination, cultural diffusion).
- Students will be able to envision how Big Digital-Trace Data could be used to investigate their own research questions.
- Students will be able to explain how Big Digital-Trace Data
could be used to gain insights beyond those that classical methods
- Students will increase their analytical, methodological, logical, and creative cognitive capacities, that is, their sociological imagination.
- Students will be able to assess (i.e., judge the theoretical
and methodological quality of) computational social science studies
(also beyond the specific topics of this class).
Readings are comprised primarily of peer-reviewed journal articles. The syllabus will consist of roughly 750 pages of reading.
I give structured feedback to student presentations, and the final paper. Moreover, we will systematically use student peer-feedback.
Registration deadline for courses is June 1st for
Autumn semester and December 1st for Spring semester.
Registration deadline for Summer school is June 1st.
The ordinary period for registration for Summer courses is from November 15th to December 1st.
If the course is full after this period, it will NOT be offered for registration again, in the extra period for registration from May 15th to June 1st.
When registered you will be signed up for exam.
International exchange students must sign up by filling in an application form: course registration.
Credit students: klik her
- 7,5 ECTS
- Type of assessment
- Written assignmentIndividual/group.
A written take-home essay is defined as an assignment that addresses one or more questions. The exam is based on the course syllabus, i.e. the literature set by the teacher. The written take-home essay must be no longer than 10 pages. For group assignments, an extra 5 pages is added per additional student. Further details for this exam form can be found in the Curriculum and in the General Guide to Examinations at KUnet.
- Exam registration requirements
Students must be enrolled under either BSc Curricula 2016 or MSc Curricula 2015 to take this exam.
Credit students can be at either bachelor or master level.
- Marking scale
- 7-point grading scale
- Censorship form
- No external censorship
- Exam period
Find more information on your study page at KUnet.
Exchange students and Danish full degree guest students please see the homepage of Sociology; http://www.soc.ku.dk/english/education/exams/ and http://www.soc.ku.dk/uddannelser/meritstuderende/eksamen/
Written take-home essay with NEW questions
A written take-home essay is defined as an assignment that addresses one or more NEW questions. The exam is based on the course syllabus, i.e. the literature set by the teacher. The written take-home essay must be no longer than 10 pages. For group assignments, an extra 5 pages is added per additional student. Further details for this exam form can be found in the Curriculum and in the General Guide to Examinations at KUnet.
Criteria for exam assesment
Please see the learning outcome