Researcher-led development of e-research in the social sciences: the case of an e-social science pilot demonstrator project

Wessels, B. and Craglia, M. (2010) Researcher-led development of e-research in the social sciences: the case of an e-social science pilot demonstrator project. Sociological Research Online, 15(2), pp. 1-11. (doi:10.5153/sro.2095)

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The introduction and use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the process of research is extending beyond research management into research practice itself. This extension of the use of ICT in research is being termed as e-research. The characteristics of e-research are seen as the combination of three interrelated strands, which are: the increased computerization of the research process; research organized more predominantly in the form of distributed networks of researchers, and a strong emphasis on visualization. E-research has become established in the natural sciences but the development of e-research in relation to social sciences is variable and less pervasive. The richness of the social sciences and their variety of practices and engagement in diverse fields of study mean that e-research as utilized in the natural sciences cannot be easily migrated into the social sciences. This paper explores the development of e-research for the social sciences. The paper is based on an ESRC funded e-social science demonstrator project in which social scientists sought to shape the use of Grid ICT technologies in the research process. The project is called: ‘Collaborative Analysis of Offenders’ Personal and Area-based Social Exclusion’: it addresses social exclusion in relation to how individual and neighbourhood effects account for geographical variations of crime patterns and explores the opportunities and challenges offered by e-research to address the research problem. The paper suggests that if e-research is driven from the needs of social research then it can enhance the practice of social science.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This project was carried out at the University of Sheffield in 2003-04 with ESRC award RES-149-25-0027.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wessels, Professor Bridgette
Authors: Wessels, B., and Craglia, M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Sociological Research Online
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1360-7804

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