Category: Featured

Weibo – How is China’s second largest social media platform being used for social research?

Social media research in the global north is primarily focused on western social media platforms, notably Twitter and Facebook. In this post Shulin Hu describes how researchers have used data from Weibo, China’s second most popular social media platform, to undertake a variety of research projects and provides resources for researchers looking to use Weibo … Continued

From the armchair to the field – Mapping the impact of academic philosophy

The abstract nature of philosophy, and sometimes philosophers themselves, has often contributed to the perception that the discipline has difficulty engaging with wider social issues and hence impact. Using evidence from REF2014 impact case studies, Diana Hicks and J. Britt Holbrook chart five ways in which philosophers have achieved impact and applied philosophical thinking to … Continued

Editorial: Social science in a time of social distancing

The spread of the Covid-19 virus has presented an unparalleled challenge for society, academia and the social sciences. As universities across the UK and the world have halted teaching activities, closed campuses and moved to online forms of working, major changes have been asked of individuals and society as a whole. As of last week, … Continued

Book Review: The Quirks of Digital Culture by David Beer

In The Quirks of Digital Culture, David Beer provides a patchwork of quirky vignettes that together create a representative picture of the cultural environment in which we now live, showing how digital culture offers a means of access, insight and possibility while also bringing the payoff of surveillance, manipulation and a sense of inescapability. Ignas Kalpokas highly … Continued

Don’t Just Debunk Covid-19 Myths. Learn From Them

The spread of Covid-19 across the globe has gone hand in hand with the spread of rumours and myth about the virus. In this repost, Anita Makri, discusses how social science research has played a vital role in responding to previous epidemics and argues that rather seeing Covid-19 myths as a problem of information deficit, they … Continued

Book Review: Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events by Robert J. Shiller

In Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events, Robert J. Shiller argues for the significance of narrative when it comes to understanding the drivers of economic events, arguing that contagious narratives not only play a causal role in their unfolding but also that such events transform our narratives. The book raises important issues, writes … Continued

The COVID-19 Online Pivot: The Student Perspective

In his previous post, Martin Weller reflected on the challenges facing university staff facing an indefinite period of distance learning. In this post, he suggests that consideration should be given to students as well as academic staff, who will be deprived of much of the infrastructure and support that face to face teaching supplies, often without … Continued

The COVID-19 online pivot: Adapting university teaching to social distancing

As universities respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by closing campuses and shifting to online forms of distance learning, many institutions and educators are scrambling to develop online engagement plans. In this repost, Martin Weller (Professor of Education Technology at the Open University) brings together a number of useful for resources for anyone looking to develop online learning … Continued

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is an exceptional public health emergency, but we can still learn from the experience of previous epidemics

The spread of COVID-19 poses unique challenges not only to medical researchers, but also to public health authorities and media outlets across the globe. However, the ways in which epidemics interact with human society suggest that much can be learned from previous epidemics. Drawing on the historical response to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, … Continued

To ensure the quality of peer reviewed research introduce randomness

Journals play an important role in signalling the quality of academic research. This quality is often linked to measures such as the journal impact factor. However, these measures often obscure the overall quality of research papers in a journal. In this post, Margit Osterloh and Bruno Frey argue that the overall quality and originality of … Continued