At the end of each year we like to reflect on methodological developments and trends that dominated the particular year. In 2017 these included methods related to big data, new forms of data such as data collected from mobile phones, sensors and other electronic devices and the ethical issues related to dealing with such data.
Other developments revolved around methods that combine two or more disciplines, such as the biosocial research or methods combining computer and social sciences. We have also seen increase in the use and understanding of creative methods. Alongside such work, academics in the social science methods community have been testing and advancing established methods and also seeking to understand the ways we teach methods to build research capability.
This MethodsNews Newsletter cannot cover all the topical issues but we try to present an example of some of the above-mentioned developments. We feature three articles that tackle the ‘new data’ problem. One on ethics in social media research, one on the use of mobile devices to collect information about spending and one on anonymisation of data.
Our final two articles focus on the field of advancing methods that are well-established. The first article looks at probing ‘don’t know’ responses in surveys and asks whether this is a good idea. We end with an article that discusses the possibility of conducting ethnography by proxy.
We hope you enjoy these articles and we are looking forward to seeing what methodological surprises and advances year 2018 brings!
Submitted by Eva Nedbalova and Melanie Nind, NCRM, University of Southampton on Thursday, 7th December 2017