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How Does Knowledge Emerge from Data?

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Emily Yeaton

on 9 November 2014

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Transcript of How Does Knowledge Emerge from Data?

"Scholars are exhilarated by the prospect of tapping into the vast troves of personal data collected by Facebook, Google, Amazon and a host of start-ups, which they say could transform social science research."
"As Data Overflows Online, Researchers Grapple With Ethics"
How Data Becomes Knowledge
How does this relate to our topic?
Works Cited
Similar studies:
Background Information
How Does Knowledge Emerge from Data?

Emily Yeaton
LIS 500 E | Module 7 | November 9-15

Potential problems:
Ethics Panel
In Relation to This Week's Other Articles...
Takeaways:
In your own use of social media, how would you feel about studies like this being done with your data?
Who should be responsible for the ethics of turning this kind of data into knowledge? Is the system we have working? Would a new system be better, if research is changing so much?
Is open-access social research a good idea? What would the implications be?
Discussion Questions
Summary:
Facebook conducted a study on "emotional contagion" without informing its users
This study involved manipulating users' news feeds with the intent to manipulate their emotions
Everyone was angry.
The article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/13/technology/the-boon-of-online-data-puts-social-science-in-a-quandary.html
Good example:
Bad example:
Data is being created with every click
The companies and websites with access to this data want to use it
In order to use it, they have to study it
When it's studied, problems come up
OKCupid has been doing similar studies
Facebook has been studied for its effect on voting
Jeffrey T. Hancock has studied other aspects of Facebook
The Facebook Study:
Premise: "Emotional contagion"
Sample size
Methods
OKCupid info: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/29/technology/okcupid-publishes-findings-of-user-experiments.html
Facebook's effect on voting: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/us/politics/social-networks-affect-voter-turnout-study-finds.html
Hancock's other study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2958.2010.01393.x/full
Facebook study: http://www.pnas.org/content/111/24/8788.full
Privacy
Lack of consent
Manipulation
...but the consensus seems to be that we can't not do the studies.
Who is responsible for these concerns?
If it gets past an IRB, who has the right to object?
How much do we allow the sample size to affect the ethics?
What are the responsibilities of these corporations?
http://socialmediacollective.org/2014/08/19/msr-faculty-summit-2014-ethics-panel-recap/
Social media access serving as a world 3 access point
The potential for research that would have been impossible before: Wilbanks' methods of open-access medical research applied to social research too
The likelihood that this research will be not only accessible, but interesting to a large audience
Full transcript