- Class Number 6361
- Term Code 3260
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- Dr Robert Ackland
- Dr Robert Ackland
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 25/07/2022
- Class End Date 28/10/2022
- Census Date 31/08/2022
- Last Date to Enrol 01/08/2022
The Internet is increasingly a source of data for social science research and this course provides students with training in online research methods for social research, with an emphasis on quantitative methods. The course focuses on unobtrusive/non-reactive methods involving socially-generated digital trace data (networks and text) from sources such as websites, social networking sites such as Facebook, microblogs such as Twitter and discussion environments such as Reddit. In this computer-lab based course, students will gain an introduction to coding and will undertake social network analysis and quantitative text analysis using the R statistical software. There is also an overview of obtrusive/reactive social research methods, including both quantitative methods (online surveys, online experiments) and qualitative methods (online focus groups and interviews, online field research).
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- compare online research methods to methods traditionally used by social scientists;
- undertake basic coding using the R statistical software;
- collect digital trace data and conduct basic social network and text analysis;
- locate available tools and data for online research; and
- understand the advantages and disadvantages of various online research methods, and their ethical implications.
In 2022 (for the first time since this course started), the computer lab classes will not be run using ANU Information Commons (IC) computers (either physical or virtual). We will use the computer lab space for the hybrid computer lab classes, but the instructor and students will be required to use their own laptops or PCs in order to undertake the lab class activity and any associated assessment. Prof Ackland will explain the reason for this in the first class. So, to participate in this course you need to have your own laptop (if you are attending the hybrid computer labs on campus) or PC otherwise, and install: R/RStudio, additional R packages, and Gephi for network visualisation. These are free and open source software. Instructions for installation will be provided on the wattle site.
Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
- written comments
- verbal comments
- feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc
ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.
|Week/Session||Summary of Activities||Assessment|
|1||Lecture: Introduction to course; Online research methods, digital trace data, and networks Lab: Introduction to R and RStudio, Introduction to SNA using VOSONDash|
|2||Lecture: Social network analysis - 1: What is a social network, types of networks Lab: Introduction to SNA using R/igraph, Collecting Twitter data using VOSONDash|
|3||Lecture: Social network analysis - 2: Basic SNA metrics; Microblogs Lab: Twitter network analysis; Collecting Reddit data|
|4||Lecture: Social network analysis – 3: Clustering and homophily in networks; Threaded conversation networks Lab: Reddit network analysis; Collecting YouTube data||A1 due 15 August|
|5||Lecture: Content analysis - 1: Discourse & word frequencies Lab: Analysing clustering and homophily; Network visualisation using Gephi|
|6||Lecture: Content analysis - 2: Discourse & frame analysis/topic modelling Lab: Word frequencies, word clouds, comparison clouds|
|7||Lecture: Content analysis - 3: Sentiment Lab: Frame analysis and topic modelling||A2 due 19 September|
|8||Lecture: Content analysis – 4: Analysing content using network analysis Lab: Sentiment analysis|
|9||Lecture: Platforms – 1: Platform architecture and affordance Lab: Co-occurrence analysis, Semantic network analysis|
|10||Lecture: Platforms – 2: Bots and inauthentic coordinated behaviour Lab: Collecting Twitter conversation network data|
|11||Lecture: Content analysis – 5: Memetics Lab: Identifying bots and inauthentic coordinated behaviour||A3 due 17 October|
|12||Lecture: Virtual Worlds, Web experiments; Online surveys Lab: Identifying and analysing memes; Collecting WWW hyperlink network data|
|13||Examination period||A4 due 7 November|
ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.
|Assessment task||Value||Due Date|
|Basic social network analysis||15 %||15/08/2022|
|Social media network collection and analysis||35 %||19/09/2022|
|Content analysis||15 %||17/10/2022|
|Combining methods||35 %||07/11/2022|
* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details
ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:
- Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure
- Special Assessment Consideration Policy and General Information
- Student Surveys and Evaluations
- Deferred Examinations
- Student Complaint Resolution Policy and Procedure
The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.
Moderation of Assessment
Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.
Assessment Task 1
Basic social network analysis
word limit: 900 words
Assessment Task 2
Social media network collection and analysis
word limit: 2100 words
Assessment Task 3
word limit: 900 words
Assessment Task 4
word limit: 2100 words
Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.
The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.
The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.
You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.
For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.
Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.
Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.
Via Wattle Turnitin submission.
Extensions and Penalties
Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.
Resubmission of Assignments
Students are not able to resubmit assignments once they have been marked, but Turnitin similarity checking will be available prior to final submission.
Distribution of grades policy
Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.
Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.
Support for students
The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
- ANU Health, safety & wellbeing for medical services, counselling, mental health and spiritual support
- ANU Diversity and inclusion for students with a disability or ongoing or chronic illness
- ANU Dean of Students for confidential, impartial advice and help to resolve problems between students and the academic or administrative areas of the University
- ANU Academic Skills and Learning Centre supports you make your own decisions about how you learn and manage your workload.
- ANU Counselling Centre promotes, supports and enhances mental health and wellbeing within the University student community.
- ANUSA supports and represents undergraduate and ANU College students
- PARSA supports and represents postgraduate and research students
Dr Robert Ackland
Dr Robert Ackland