World Social Science Forum 2013 – and my presentation on Twitter research

Today, I’ve given a presentation at the World Social Science Forum (WSSF 2013) in Montréal. It is my first actual social science conference – and some things are quite different from conferences I’ve been to previously (though I’m not sure if that is a disciplinary difference from, let’s say, computer science conferences).  There are, however, lots of interesting researchers from various disciplines presenting their work. As well as some people from other data archives or libraries. And some experts in bibliometrics and altmetrics. I’ts just a pity that it is quite difficult to meet those interesting people, as everyone seems to be spread across the 18 parallel sessions, and there are only short breaks of 15 minutes in between sessions. I would also have loved to see quite a couple more presentations on topics like data archiving, open access and scholarly practices – which often appeared to be scheduled for the same time.

This means, I will need to do some reading after the conference: Everyone was asked to provide an extended abstract for their presentation ahead of the conference. These extended abstracts are currently not publicly available via the conference website (you have to log in first), and it is up to the authors whether they will stay there.

So I’ve decided to upload my text here. It’s still work in progress – and I’m happy about comments, suggestions etc. My motivation for this work is that I hear quite a bit about challenges of studying Twitter and working with Twitter datai in personal communicaton – but that there is still little work discussing (shared) methodologies and best practices. I wanted to have a look at what “popular” papers from social sciences report about their methods, data and limitations. I started with a close look at some top 20 publications from Scopus and am planning to conduct a broader scientometric analysis with other sources.

The talk was originally called “What Do We Get From Twitter – And What Not? A Structured Overview on the State of the Art in Twitter Research“. I’ve already changed the title a little for the extended abstract.

Here’s the text: WSSF2013_Weller_What do we get from Twitter, and here are my presentation slides.

Looking forward to working more on the topic of twitter research methods, chances and challenges. Both through bibliometric analysis as well as through expert interviews (about which I should writer another day). In terms of bibliometrics I will have to work through this paper from Shirley Williams, Melissa Terras and Claire Warwick once more: Williams, S and Terras, M and Warwick, C (2013) “What people study when they study Twitter: Classifying Twitter related academic papers”. Journal of Documentation , 69 (3). (See also Melissa’s blog about it.)


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About kwelle

Information scientist working at GESIS in Cologne (Germany). Research interests in: social media, social semantic web, Twitter analysis, scholarly communication, informetrics/altmetrics, information literacy. VfL Bochum fan. Contact: | Twitter: @kwelle.

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