Methods Bites

Blog of the MZES Social Science Data Lab

Using Web Logs and Smartphone Records for Social Research

2020-04-14 13 min read instructionals [Ruben Bach]

How can social scientists collect and analyze web logs – records of individuals’ browsing behavior – for their own research? In this Methods Bites Instructional Blog Post, Ruben Bach summarizes some key insights of his talk in the MZES Social Sciences Data Lab in December 2019. The blog post discusses how to obtain and extract information from web logs and related data, shows how they can be used for social research, and concludes with a short discussion of how to handle “big data” extracted from web logs. Continue reading

Studying Politics on and with Wikipedia

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia, together with its sibling, the collaboratively edited knowledge base Wikidata, provides incredibly rich yet largely untapped sources for political research. In this Methods Bites Tutorial, Denis Cohen and Nick Baumann offer a hands-on recap of Simon Munzert’s (Hertie School of Governance) workshop materials to show how these platforms can inform research on public attention dynamics, policies, political and other events, political elites, and parties, among other things. Continue reading

Quantitative Analysis of Political Text

How can we infer actors’ positions, substantive topics, or sentiments from (political) texts? This Methods Bites Tutorial by Julian Bernauer summarizes Denise Traber’s workshop in the MZES Social Science Data Lab in Spring 2018. Using exemplary sets of political documents (election manifestos and coalition agreements), it showcases tools of QTA for a variety of analytical objectives and demonstrates how to create, process, and analyse a text corpus through a series of hands-on applications. Continue reading

Collecting and Analyzing Twitter Data Using R

2019-07-15 15 min read tutorials [Denis Cohen Simon Kühne]

How do you access Twitter’s API, collect a stream of tweets, and analyze the retrieved data? Which potentials, challenges, and limitations for social scientific research come along with using Twitter data? This Methods Bites Tutorial by Denis Cohen, based on a workshop by Simon Kühne (Bielefeld University) in the MZES Social Science Data Lab in Spring 2019, aims to tackle these questions. Continue reading