SI 755: Unorthodox Research Methods
Any traditional research method was once unorthodox. While many are prone to see methods as boring tools (or even as a necessary but unpleasant step on the road to results), any common method was once daring and controversial. This seminar will cover very recent developments in both qualitative and quantitative social scientific research methods and attempt to address the question of how new research methods are invented, applied, transferred between problems and disciplines, and formalized. The overall focus of the course will be research design, rather than learning and procedures of a single method. In addition, we will spend some time trying to think creatively about possible new methods and designs. Readings in the course will be split between classics and readings concerning very recent innovations in methods. In discussion of recent methodological trends, particular attention will be paid to internet / new media research, new digital sources of data (sometimes called "big data" or "e-social science"), spatial / geographic methods, visualization as a research method, and unobtrusive methods. A goal of the seminar is to encourage researchers to conceptualize methodology - whether using new or old methods - as a creative art.