New Social Media Research Methods Network!

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    Katie Metzler

    SAGE, NatCen Social Research and the Oxford Internet Institute are developing a new network for those using or seeking to use social media in social science research!


    Blurring the boundaries: New social media, new social science?

    Should social science researchers embrace social media and, if we do, what are the implications for our methods and practice? This project, led by NatCen Social Research, Sage and the Oxford Internet Institute will develop a network of those using or seeking to use social media in social science research to explore this question.

    We know that social media tools are increasingly being used to as part of social science studies. The nature of these tools means that it is a fast changing environment, with new practice emerging all the time. Despite this, there is limited interaction of practitioners or synthesis of these methods; there are also few opportunities to reflect on the implications of social media tools for our subjects of study, methods and ethics. This network of methodological innovation will bring together academics, researchers and research stakeholders from all sectors. The aim is to develop a community of practice with members drawn from the cutting-edge of academia, market research and applied social research.

    The community will be launched with a 1-day conference at the end of May 2012 with four further knowledge exchange e-events (in July, September, November 2012 and January 2013) and a closing conference in March 2013. Using collaborative online platforms we will generate think pieces, blogs and discussion forums and practitioner guides. The community will co-create the agenda for our knowledge exchange events and we are aiming for the community to be an active hub for dynamic discussions of social media and social research. The events will disseminate and synthesise the best of current practice and explore a wide range of methodological and ethical issues with contributions from network members. We envisage the events exploring topics such as:

    • Cutting edge qualitative methods such as netnography
    • Cutting edge quantitative methods such as webometrics
    • Ensuring quality and rigour of new methods
    • Technical requirements, skills and advances
    • The ethics of social media research tools
    • Integrating new social media tools with traditional methods
    • Researching the online world


    Membership is open to anyone with an interest in how social media are affecting what we research, how we research and who we involve with our research. If you would like to join the network, please email Kandy Woodfield with your contact details.


    For further information, please contact:
    Ms Kandy Woodfield
    NatCen Social Research


    Are you are interested in joining our NCRM New Social Media, New Social Science network? If so, we need you to complete a short online questionnaire. Please follow this link: to complete the survey. Please complete your questionnaire by 9th May if you would like to have the opportunity to join us at the launch event in London. We have some great speakers lined up who are going to help set the agenda for our discussions during the day.

    The launch is on May 29th at an all day conference in central London at: The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD from 9.15am to 4.30pm

    Attending the event is free but we only have 50 spaces available for delegates. We will allocate these spaces on a ‘first come first served’ basis. 

    Can’t attend? Don’t worry the event will be live streamed, we will have a Twitter back channel to follow and join in (#NSMNSS) and recordings of sessions will be available on the network platform shortly after the event. We will let you know if you have been allocated a place at the conference by email on Friday 11th May. 


    Thanks Kandy. I completed the survey. Great idea!

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