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DReSS II. From Digital Record to Population Observatory

  • Start date: 01 October 2008
  • End date: 30 September 2011

DReSS II is a three-year continuation of the ESRC National Centre for e-Social Science Research Node 'Understanding New Forms of Digital Record for e-Social Science'. DReSS II focuses on the continued development of a software package called the Digital Replay System (DRS) that supports qualitative research in the digital age. DRS enables researchers to combine heterogeneous data including audio, video, photographs, fieldnotes and interviews with data recorded within digital environments – ie 'system logs' which capture screen recordings, SMS messages, GPS, sensor data, indeed any data generated within a computational environment. DRS provides a suite of tools that enables system logs to be 1) visualized, 2) synchronized with other data, 3) replayed alongside other data much as video may be replayed, and 4) represented and re-represented to support different kinds of analysis. Representational tools support naturalistic and structured forms of analysis through the provision of sophisticated coding mechanisms and the transformation of coded results into quantitative representations. DRS is the ongoing product of co-design between social scientists and computer scientists. It supports established research practices and combines them with the development of new methods to enable qualitative researchers to understand and unpack interaction in the emerging digital society.