There is now a broad consensus that new forms of social data emerging from people’s day-to-day activities on the web have the potential to transform the social sciences. However, there is also agreement that current analytical techniques fall short of the methodological standards required for academic research and policymaking and that conclusions drawn from social media data have much greater utility when combined with results drawn from other datasets (including various public sector resources made available through open data initiatives).

Aspects of this study will involve analysis of social media data in a number of contexts, including:

  • transport disruption around the 2014 Commonwealth Games (Glasgow)
  • news stories about Scottish independence and UK-EU relations
  • island communities in the Western Isles.

Guided by insights from these case studies the study will:

  • develop a suite of software tools to support various aspects of data analysis and curation
  • provide guidance on ethical considerations surrounding analysis of social media data
  • deliver training workshops for social science researchers
  • engage with the public on this important topic through a series of festivals (food, music, science).