About This Course
The “data revolution” has transformed the way we understand and interact with the world around us. The availability of large datasets, progress in computer hardware and software, and use of the web to share data and acquire it from numerous sources (including social network services, libraries, museums, city governments, non-profits, etc.) has created many new possibilities in many fields including computer science, social science, humanities, business, economics, and medicine. These developments have also led to the emergence of a number of new research fields in the end of 2000s: social computing, computational social science, digital humanities, cultural analytics, and culturomics. This course introduces students to fundamental concepts and practical techniques and skills needed to work with data. We’ll combine a critical view of data with examples that illustrate the logic of analysis.
We’ll begin with a broader examination of data and society. How do data practices in contemporary institutions shape communities and society? Then we’ll take a look at some of the tools used by data analysts and data scientists to produce knowledge in various settings, including survey data, demographic data, and other forms of open data relevant to public policy, and social media.