Computational social science

As humans increase their use of technology for both business and pleasure, so does the size of the digital footprint they leave behind. This data is a rich source for study as it provides a unique perspective on social and human behaviour.

Broadly known as computational social science, it includes aspects of anthropology, ethnography, business, journalism and other humanities.

Arts, humanities and social sciences

It is envisaged that many future discoveries in the arts, humanities and social sciences will have a data-driven component. To exploit opportunities for data-driven innovation in computational social science, we will utilise the facilities and expertise of the Social Science Park (SPARK), interacting with key researchers and research centres. Using SPARK our researchers will work closely and collaboratively with staff from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences focussing on their unstructured data driven problems.

Big social data

Additional research in computational social science will focus on social media analytics due to the recent availability of "big social data" from platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare. The aim will be to build on our novel and distinctive research in this field.

There have been a number of funded projects over the last three years including:

These projects emphaise the importance of putting social scientists in close collaboration with computer scientists to ensure that the outcomes of the work are relevant to both communities.

Work undertaken in this area also identifies the necessity to bring in empirical studies of offline analysis into online behaviours to undertake comparative analysis. Research here will lead to new algorithm development that can be used for the analysis of emerging online data.