The chapter will review significant changes in information technology (IT) affecting research over the 30-year history of Communication, Information Technology, and Media Sociology. It compares broad overviews of computers and the social sciences published shortly after the beginning of the section (1989 and 1990) with a contemporary overview of online research methods from 2017. It also draws on my own experiences from 1981 to the present as both an academic and a software entrepreneur. The author will discuss how changes in the section parallel developments in social science computing over this period, identifying some of the significant ways IT has transformed both the methods of research and the substantive foci of research. Finally, the author extrapolates into the future to consider how continuing changes in the Internet, big data, artificial intelligence, and natural language understanding may change how sociological research is conducted in the foreseeable future.
Brent, E. (2018), "How Information Technology Transforms the Methods of Sociological Research: Past and Future", Wellman, B., Robinson, L., Brienza, C., Chen, W. and Cotten, S.R. (Ed.) Networks, Hacking, and Media – CITA MS@30: Now and Then and Tomorrow (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 17), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 41-60. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2050-206020180000017003Download as .RIS
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