DATA INQUIRY: METHODOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS ON DATAFICATION IN SOCIAL RESEARCH
Keywords:datafication, methodology, methods assemblages, data inquiry, critical data studies
AbstractDatafication is widely acknowledged as a process “transforming all things under the sun into a data format” (van Dijck, 2017, p. 11). As data become both objects and instruments of social science, many scholars call for attention to the ways datafication reconfigures scholarly knowledge production, its methodological opportunities, and challenges (Lomborg et al., 2020). This contribution offers a reflection on the interdependence between methodological approaches taken to study datafication and concepts about it, that these approaches provide within the domains of critical data studies and media studies. Expanding on the concept of methods' performativity (Barad, 2007), I apply the notion of methods assemblages: “a continuing process of crafting and enacting necessary boundaries [and relations]" between researchers and all relevant matters (Law, 2004: 144). The key question in the presented study is what kinds of methods assemblages are being applied in current datafication research and what concepts of datafication they produce. 32 expert interviews were conducted with scholars who published empirical work on dataficaiton between 2015 and 2020. Three methods assemblages were developed. Central to distinguishing between methods assemblages are the ways of associating of the involved actors and things. In my analysis the questions of (1) what we are talking about when talking about datafication and (2) kinds of knowledges that researchers were interested in producing can be understood as such ways of associating. The methods assemblages contribute to critical data studies by producing accounts about datafication processes that are in concert with the methods assemblages applied to study these.
How to Cite
Zakharova, I. (2021). DATA INQUIRY: METHODOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS ON DATAFICATION IN SOCIAL RESEARCH. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12082