Building Apps for Social Science Research

Chris Bail, Duke University
SICSS, Day 2

Salganik's list of the weaknesses of digital trace data:

 

Incomplete
Inaccessible
Non-Representative
Drifting
Algorithmic Confounding
Dirty
Sensitive

But what are the alternatives?

 

But what are the alternatives?

 

-Survey response rates continue to drop

But what are the alternatives?

 

-Survey response rates continue to drop

-Many of the most important questions require longitudinal/relational/qualitative data

But what are the alternatives?

 

-Survey response rates continue to drop

-Many of the most important questions require longitudinal/relational/qualitative data

-Digital trace data have a number of major advantages that conventional sources do not (big, always on, non-reactive)

Can we have our cake and eat it too?

Apps can Help Us Address Many of the limitations of digital trace data

 

Incomplete
Inaccessible
Non-Representative
Drifting
Algorithmic Confounding
Dirty
Sensitive

Social Media Survey Apps (SMSAs)

 

Social Media Survey Apps (SMSAs)

 

A Social Media Survey App is a web or mobile-based tool built by a researcher in order to:

Social Media Survey Apps (SMSAs)

 

A Social Media Survey App is a web or mobile-based tool built by a researcher in order to:

a) collect public and/or private data produced by social media users from an API;

Social Media Survey Apps (SMSAs)

 

A Social Media Survey App is a web or mobile-based tool built by a researcher in order to:

a) collect public and/or private data produced by social media users from an API;

b) collect supplemental information from such users (e.g. demographics) using more conventional survey methods;

Social Media Survey Apps (SMSAs)

 

A Social Media Survey App is a web or mobile-based tool built by a researcher in order to:

a) collect public and/or private data produced by social media users from an API;

b) collect supplemental information from such users (e.g. demographics) using more conventional survey methods;

c) offer something back to the user as an incentive to share their data (e.g. analysis or financial incentives)

Workflow of a Social Media Survey App

Example: The Viralgorithm

Actual Workflow of the Viralgorithm

Data Collection Process