In an infamous article from 2008 the editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine argued that ‘big data’ made the scientific method obsolete. While hype about the data deluge has become more nuanced since then, it is undeniable that digital data has led to profound transformations in social scientific methodology. Disciplines and fields such as Data Science, Computational Social Science, Critical Data Studies and Web Science have transformed the landscape of the social sciences. What do these changes mean for educational research and educational practice?
The field of Educational Data Science has grown rapidly in recent years but there are still large pockets of educational research in which qualitative, ethnographic and theoretical approaches predominate. What role can computational methods play within traditions of inquiry which have tended to forego quantification? What are the strengths and limitations of computational approaches? How do they differ from traditional quantitative methods? What should the methodological toolkit of the educational researcher look like in an era of abundant digital data?
In the first DTCE Digital Dialogue we’re pleased to welcome three leading experts in the field for a debate about computational methods and the future of educational research. Michele Martini (University of Lugano), Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra (University of California San Diego) and Genevieve Smith-Nunes (University of Cambridge) will reflect on these questions in conversation with DTCE’s Dr Mark Carrigan, with plenty of opportunity for audience participation.