Vast amounts of digital data are now generated daily by people as they go about their lives, yet social researchers are struggling to exploit it. At the same time, the challenges faced by society in the 21st century are growing ever more complex, and demands research that is bigger in scale, more collaborative and multi-disciplinary than ever before. This cutting-edge volume provides an accessible introduction to innovative digital social research tools and methods that harness this ‘data deluge’ and successfully tackle key research challenges. Contributions from leading international researchers cover topics such as:  • Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research  • Data management  • Social media and social network analysis  • Modeling and simulation  • Survey methods  • Visualizing social data  • Ethics and e-research  • The future of social research in the digital age This vibrant introduction to innovative digital research methods is essential reading for anyone conducting social research today.

Digital Records and the Digital Replay System

Andy CrabtreePaul TennentPat BrundellDawn Knight

9.1 Introduction

Surfacing the usually hidden or opaque digital footprints recorded by computers as people go about their everyday lives can make a valuable contribution to the practice of empirical social science. This chapter describes the development of a software tool that makes the surfacing possible and enables a broad church of social researchers to exploit digital records. It focuses on the development of the Digital Replay System (DRS), a software system that enables researchers to combine the data contained in digital records with more traditional and established forms of social science data, such as audio-visual recordings and transcriptions. DRS also provides quantitative techniques for the analysis of the content of digital records. Digital ...

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