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5AAVC200 Digital Methods II: Working with Data

Module convenor: Dr Jonathan Gray
Credits: 15
Pre-requisites: only available to BA Digital Culture students
Teaching pattern: Ten one-hour lectures and ten one-hour seminars

Module description:

This module is the second in a theme on the adoption of cultural and social research methods in the digital world. The second module applies digital research methods using existing tools. It will teach students detailed knowledge on how to work with data and develop stories from this data but also how to critically assess the development of data-driven methods in study of cultural and social objects. Some understanding of basic principles of computational data analysis will be introduced and students will learn how to experiment with these. The module will focus on web data from social media sites, Wikipedia, etc.

The  first part of the module will target an understanding of the handling and theoretical dimensions of digital data. Students will be able to explore digital data to identify limitations and relationships and will learn how to work effectively in a team and argue with these new concepts but also learn about their limitations.

Module aims

The module aims to:

  • Introduce students to the ideas behind computational methods for the analysis of digital culture and society;
  • Present the limitations of standard approaches for the study of culture and society;
  • Offer insights into real-life use cases of digital methods;
  • Provide students with basic analytics skills.
Learning outcomes
  • Gain an appreciation of the complexity of digital research methods and their corresponding digital objects. There will be an emphasis on understanding the difference between traditional methods and digital methods;
  • Have knowledge and understanding of a variety of data analysis methods, including the communities they came from, their overall rationale, how they are structured and the context in which they might be applied;
  • Have practical experience of generating insights using a variety of digital research methods tools, and an appreciation of the problems associated with generating these.
Core reading
  • Rieder, B., & Röhle, T. (2012). Digital Methods: Five Challenges. In D. M. Berry (Ed.), Understanding Digital Humanities (pp. 67–84). Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Aiden, E. L. (2011). Quantitative analysis of culture using millions of digitized books. Science, 331(6014), 176–82.
  • Rogers, Richard. Digital methods. MIT press, 2013.

The module is assessed through two evaluations (an intermediary and a final one). Each evaluation counts for 50% of the final grade and consists of a project and 1,000-word essay.


The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.


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