Uwe Flick - Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
Kenneth J. Gergen - Swarthmore College, USA
Ivana Markova - University of Stirling, UK
Fathali M. Moghaddam - Georgetown University, USA
Kieran O'Doherty - University of Guelph, Canada
Social media has put mass communication in the hands of normal people on an unprecedented scale, and has also given social scientists the tools necessary to listen to the voices of everyday people around the world. This book gives social scientists the skills necessary to leverage that opportunity, and transform social media's vast stream of information into social science data. The book combines the big data techniques of computer science with social science methodology. Intended as a text for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers in the social sciences, this book provides a methodological pathway for scholars who want to make use of this new and evolving source of data. It provides a framework for building one's own data collection and analysis infrastructure, a toolkit of content analysis, geographic analysis, and network analysis, and meditations on the ethical implications of social media data.
'This is an excellent new methods book on collecting and analyzing data from social media. This is the new frontier of social science data, and this book gives scholars and students the toolkit for its study.' Staffan I. 2022, Professor and Director of the V-Dem Institute, University of Gothenburg
'Steven Wilson offers a practical guide to what is arguably the most exciting new species of social science evidence brought by the twenty-first century: the Twitterverse. In addition to being useful, this book is fun! Highly recommended.' John Gerring, Professor of Government, University of Texas at Austin,
'Social Media as Social Science Data should be the go-to resource for anyone motivated to produce knowledge using Twitter data. It is clearly written, covers the three main types of analysis available with tweets, and provides useful code samples.' Zachary Steinert-Threlkeld, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, University of California – Los Angeles
Period of funding: April 2016 - April 2018
With the increased accessibility and volume of electronically available data, the ability to interpret, summarise and even analyse data has become a desired core skill for graduates in all disciplines. Within the social sciences there has been a push to increase and Boost the levels of quantitative skills and the teaching of quantitative methods (QM) at all levels of university education. Initiatives like Q-Step for undergraduates, the advanced quantitative methods (AQM) pathway in the ESRC doctoral training schools and the British Academy’s quantitative skills programme highlight three of several schemes that have been put in place. Today quantitative skills are very much welded to the use of computer software to work with data. Although there is much merit in performing calculations or drawing graphs by hand to better understand the principles involved, in practice people will invariably use the computer to do the computations for them. It is therefore very important to also consider how best to incorporate statistical software in the instruction of quantitative methods.
At the Centre for Multilevel Modelling in Bristol we have a long history of computer software development. Our flagship package over the past 20 years has been the multilevel modelling software package, MLwiN (Rasbash et al., 2009). As statistical researchers our primary aim has been the development of software packages to allow the applied researcher access to cutting-edge statistical tools using appropriate methodology for the complex data structures that exist in real social science data. In accurate years we have developed a second major software package, Stat-JR (Charlton et al. 2013) and here the emphasis of our work has changed slightly. In the time that we have been working on statistical software several things have happened. Firstly there are now more software packages out there offering the ability to fit complex models and second such software is used by not just the expert quantitative methods researchers but more generally by researchers in many disciplines and of varying levels of expertise. Stat-JR therefore, while still offering access to cutting-edge techniques and developments, also offers interoperability with the many software packages that exist (e.g., SPSS, R, SAS, Stata). It also offers an additional electronic book interface which allows the embedding of statistical operations (including those performed in other software) into an electronic text book environment. Stat-JR has been developed through work packages in 3 ESRC grants (2 NCRM nodes and 1 node in the Digital Social Research programme).
There is however a very important area which was not previously covered by our funding and that is the use of statistical software generally (and the use of Stat-JR eBooks specifically) for teaching introductory level statistics and software skills. As our funding has been primarily from the ESRC, our emphasis has generally been on pushing the envelope on what complex statistical models we can estimate and make available to the research community. We have of course a history, through for example our LEMMA training materials, of creating teaching resources for multilevel modelling (accessed by well over 15,000 registered users, but almost exclusively by researchers). We now see an opportunity with the increase in emphasis in quantitative methods at undergraduate level of producing interactive eBook based materials and indeed a system to aid with production of bespoke quantitative methods teacher-specific material using the currently most popular statistics software package for this community, SPSS.
In this project we have improved on the interoperability between Stat-JR with SPSS. We have also extended and improved the ease-of-use of the eBook writing functionality contained within the TREE Stat-JR module. Using this new functionality we were then able to produce a series of Stat-JR templates that generate outputs suitable for use in teaching practicals.
Over the course of the project the following twelve subjects were identified. For each of these a generic eBook, which the user can use with their own data, and an example using the PISA data was created. Outputs from the PISA PDFs are linked below:
Example data for use with the above PDFs: England, Korea.
For details on how to create your own versions of these see the resources on the Stat-JR downloads page.
Amazon is removing from its online marketplace “autism cure” books that unscientifically claim children can be cured of autism with pseudoscientific methods such as ingesting and bathing in a potentially toxic form of bleach and taking medication meant to treat arsenic and lead poisoning.
Amazon confirmed Tuesday that the books “Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism” and “Fight Autism and Win” are no longer available, but declined to answer specific questions about why it had removed them or whether they were part of a larger cleanup effort, citing a policy of not commenting on individual accounts.
The move by Amazon comes on the heels of a report in Wired published Monday that criticized the retail giant for offering medically dubious books and dangerous methods for reversing autism spectrum disorder. For years, news organizations have pointed out Amazon’s practice of hosting books that promote vaccine and other health-related misinformation, but the pressure has intensified in accurate weeks.
Online platforms have been reacting to increased scrutiny from lawmakers and public health advocates over the health misinformation hosted on their websites. Last week, Facebook announced it would “downrank” vaccine misinformation shared on its platform and reject advertising that spread “vaccine hoaxes.” Pinterest has opted to block all vaccine-related search results, and YouTube disabled advertising on anti-vaccination videos last month. In February, Amazon pulled anti-vaccination documentaries from its Prime Video service.
Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in young children and for which there is no cure. Children with autism spectrum disorder display a broad range of characteristics, from difficulty interacting with peers or forming relationships to complete inability to function in school or work environments.
As of Monday, “Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism” sold for $28 and had 631 customer reviews and an average rating of 3.5 stars. The book extolled the healing power of chlorine dioxide, a form of bleach that adherents call the “Miracle Mineral Solution.” The book’s author Kerri Rivera, who lives in Mexico, claims 191 children have been cured of autism with a treatment of the chemical that the Food and Drug Administration warned can cause “severe nausea, vomiting and life-threatening low blood pressure from dehydration.”
The other removed title, “Fight Autism and Win” advises parents on chelation — an unproven treatment for autism that involves medicating a child with an antidote for mercury poisoning. The cure springs from the debunked theory that autism is caused by mercury exposure in childhood vaccines. Chelation therapy can cause serious side effects, including potentially deadly kidney damage, according to the Mayo Clinic. At the time of its removal, “Fight Autism and Win” sold for $25 and had a 4.8 star rating and 54 customer reviews.
The books’ removal was first shared Tuesday by anti-vaccine activist Larry Cook in a newsletter to followers. Cook’s Facebook advertisements — targeting pregnant women in states with measles outbreaks — were recently banned by as part of the platform’s crackdown on misinformation.
Cook attached an image that he says was sent by Amazon, explaining why the company had removed the title from his storefront.
“During our review process, we found that the subject matter of your book is in violation of our content guidelines,” the screenshot posted by Cook stated. “As a result we cannot offer this book for sale.”
Cook also profits from his Amazon storefront from which he promotes anti-vaccination content and earns commission from books bought on his recommendation.
“This title by Kerri Rivera has been on Amazon for SIX YEARS, and TODAY Amazon pulled it,” Cook continued in his newsletter. “Friends, seriously, stock up on books and DVDs right now, while you can!”
Jailson de Andrade, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil
Lane Baker, Indiana University, USA
Craig Banks, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
Emanuel Carrilho, São Carlos, Brazil
Yi Chen, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
Christopher J. Easley, Auburn University, USA
Anthony Gachanja, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya
Amanda Hummon, Ohio State University, USA
Lauro Kubota, Instituto de Química, Brazil
Ally Lewis, University of York, UK
Juewen Liu, University of Waterloo, Canada
Susan Lunte, University of Kansas, USA
Jim Luong, Dow Chemical Canada ULC, Canada
Susheel Mittal, Thapar University, India
Antonio Molina-Díaz, University of Jaén, Spain
Koji Otsuka, Kyoto University, Japan
Brett Paull, University of Tasmania, Australia
Zachary Schultz, University of Notre Dame, USA
Sabeth Verpoorte, University of Groningen, Netherlands
Guobao Xu, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, China
Northland author Liz Van der Laarse's new book <i>Cuz</i>.
A story of survival and grief is the latest offering from Northland author Liz Van der Laarse, her first to be published in 15 years.
Cuz is about two 14-year-old cousins forced to fend for themselves in the West Coast wilderness.
The cousins, Huia and River, rely on traditional methods of tikanga Māori methods of survival Huia has learnt from her whānau. Van der Laarse decided to write stories with Māori characters after discovering just how few were available.
Cuz not only features main characters who are Māori, but also "quite a bit" of te reo and also tikanga Māori.
"I'd like to see more te reo just in everyday use, and also to make people more aware of tikanga Māori. Those two things are important to me."
Van der Laarse, who has lived in the Far North for more than 40 years, has already written two junior fiction books - Trouble Patch and Not Even.
Both books, like Cuz, feature main characters who are Māori.
Not Even was placed on the Storylines Notable Book List in 2003 in the Junior Fiction category.
Van der Laarse has taught throughout the district, starting as a first-year teacher in Kāeo.
All her books were initially written with intermediate-age kids in mind - the age group she taught - although the characters are slightly older and her books have been read by children aged 10 to 15.
All three of her books are written to keep kids' attention.
"I wanted to write books that were fast-paced, with lots of action. All three books are like that."
Van der Laarse was bitten by the writing bug early - she remembers a writing exercise given to her class in Form One that she enjoyed much more than her classmates.
"I had a teacher who gave us an exercise book and told us to write a novel."
The idea for her latest novel came about largely because of Van der Laarse's hobby - tramping.
"I've had over 20 years tramping experience. My husband and I go to the South Island every year, really."
When Van der Laarse's husband pointed out an edible plant on one of their tramping trips, it sparked the idea for a survival story.
Fellow Northlander Karen Hinge has also just published a children's book (her first), Of Course You Can, a bilingual picture book about a boy who uses a wheelchair starting school.
Far-right former Fox News host Tucker Carlson denies being racist – but says if he was, he would “just say so”.
“Being racist is not a crime,” Carlson says in a new biography, Tucker, by Chadwick Moore. “Maybe [it is] a moral crime, but not a statutory crime – so if I was racist, I would just say so.”
Carlson has long been accused of pushing racist invective and conspiracy theories during six years as the dominant Fox News primetime host. He has stirred up numerous controversies including pushing the racist “great replacement theory”, saying immigrants had made America “poorer and dirtier” and once suggested a Black Democrat politician spoke like a “sharecropper”.
In an investigation published last year, the New York Times said Carlson “constructed what may be the most racist show in the history of cable news – and also, by some measures, the most successful”.
Carlson’s new comments on the subject come in a biography that will be published in the US next week. The Guardian obtained a copy.
Carlson was interviewed extensively for the book, which will hit stores as he continues to broadcast from Twitter, amid a standoff with Fox, which took him off the air in April.
Carlson’s discussion of racism and whether he is racist comes during a section of Moore’s book about how Carlson believes Fox sought to tilt the media narrative against him, “releas[ing] a slew of behind-the-scenes emails, blogposts, and off-the-record transcripts featuring Carlson at his most free-spoken”.
In May, Fox News demanded that Media Matters stop publishing such material. The progressive watchdog refused.
On the page, Moore details the “most notable” such story, reported by the New York Times and about a text message containing allegedly racist language.
Describing watching footage of three Trump supporters attacking one leftwing protester, Carlson was revealed to have written: “It’s not how white men fight.”
The Times said Fox leaders were “alarmed”.
Carlson now tells Moore: “Fox told the New York Times they pulled me off because I was racist. But I’m not racist, actually. I’m not insecure about that. If I was racist, I’d just say so. But I’m not.
“Being racist is not a crime – maybe a moral crime, but not a statutory crime – so if I was racist, I would just say so.
“What I said is that’s not how white men fight, which as far as I’m concerned is true. I am a white man. I’m the son of a white man. I’m the grandson of a white man. So, if anyone’s qualified to speak on the subject, it would be me.”
Carlson continued: “And that’s not how white men fight is what I was raised to believe. In the culture I grew up in, you’re not allowed to fight that way. I believe that, and I’m not embarrassed of that at all. But that was somehow translated to, I’m evil or I’m a racist or something.”
The former host of a primetime show which aimed harsh invective at Democrats, progressives and other critics of conservatism also claims to have made his now infamous comment while “counseling one of my producers to not let politics define other people.
“Because it’s unhealthy. It’s un-Christian. It’s wrong.”