HUMN 7041 Social Research in the Digital World

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102194

Coordinator Jenna Condie Opens in new window

Description This subject provides a critical introduction to the opportunities and challenges of digital social research as well as the theoretical, methodological, and ethical implications of carrying out research in and on the digital. The social web provides researchers both with a tool and an environment to explore the intricacies of everyday life. In this subject, students will be immersed in online environments to further understand the theoretical, methodological and ethical issues of social research in the digital world. Through such activities, students participate as active digital researchers in online social science spaces to result in a professional online web presence and an in depth understanding of current and future research trends in digital social research.

School Social Sciences

Discipline Sociology

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Postgraduate Coursework Level 7 subject


Students must be enrolled in a postgraduate program.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Critically analyse the similarities and differences between emerging methods of digital research and traditional social research methods;
  2. Undertake in-depth evaluation of the possible challenges of digital technologies to established theoretical assumptions and paradigms in the social sciences and in interdisciplinary contexts;
  3. Articulate a critical understanding of different digital research methods and analyse their relative merits and limitations for different research contexts;
  4. Demonstrate their ability to participate in networked scholarly practices across the social web.

Subject Content

Overview of the field of digital research
Conceptualising digital research settings
Digital scholarly practices including networking, open access approaches, and developing a professional web presence
Digital research similarities and differences in comparison to more traditional research practices
Understanding of the place of digital research in the broader field of social research
Limitations and possibilities for digital research
Ethical concerns associated with digital data gathering, analysis and production
The political economy of digital data; power, control, and politics
Working with big data and data science techniques


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Online contributions 2000 (4 x 500) 40 N Individual
Report 2000 words 40 N Individual
Discussion 30 minutes 20 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • There is no set textbook for this subject. Relevant reading will be given throughout the subject and made available on vUWS.