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RCPS Methods Workshop: Digital Methodologies/Approaches

RCPS Methods Workshop: Digital Methodologies/Approaches

Date and time: Monday, April 17, 2023. Time: 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Virtual Event via Zoom (Zoom link will be sent out April 13). 

This is a registered event. See below for link.


Professor Zhifan Luo, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Concordia University

Professor Muyang Li, Department of Sociology, York University

Analyzing Digital Text

The advent of ChatGPT has sparked heated discussions about large-scale language models. For the next generation of scholars, proper methodological tools are indispensable if they want to harvest the opportunities enabled by advances in computational strategies while facing up to the challenges of the digital age. In this workshop, participants will be introduced to a computational approach to analyzing digital text. They will be introduced to how language models can be applied to extract different sorts of information from text data to answer social science questions. Participants will also learn about limitations of this approach, which render the role of the researcher central and indispensable in scientific inquiry.

Zhifan Luo is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at Concordia University. Her research and teaching integrate computer-assisted content analysis with traditional qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate the dynamics of power and resistance in the authoritarian and democratic contexts. In an ongoing project, she theorizes legitimation of censorship as a social process. Her work has appeared in New Media & Society, Information, Communication & Society, The SAGE Handbook of Social Media Research Methods (2nd edition), China: An International Journal, and others.

Mixed-Methods Computational Approach

Computer-assisted text analysis is a powerful research method that allows researchers to efficiently analyze large amounts of textual data. It involves using software programs to help identify patterns, themes, and other meaningful insights in text-based data. This workshop will introduce participants to the potential of combining computational analysis with other research methods, such as critical discourse analysis, experiment, and regression analysis. By using multiple methods in conjunction with each other, researchers can gain a more comprehensive understanding of their data and draw more robust conclusions.

Muyang Li is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at York University. Her research is organized around a key question: how does media interact with democracy and social life? Her research involves digital technology, authoritarianism, public sphere, and gender issues. With an interdisciplinary background in sociology, computational social science, and communication, she uses mixed methods that combine qualitative, computational, and statistical methods in her research. Her research has been published in New Media & Society, Information, Communication & Society, The SAGE Handbook of Social Media Research Methods, and other outlets. She is a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University and a Faculty Associate at York Centre for Asian Research.

Please register by 3 p.m. Thursday, April 13.

 Zoom link will be sent out later that day.