Cowls, Josh and Schroeder, Ralph (2015) Causation, Correlation, and Big Data in Social Science Research. Policy & Internet 7 (4), 447-472. The emergence of big data offers not only a potential boon for social scientific inquiry, but also raises distinct epistemological issues for this new area of research. Drawing on interviews conducted with researchers at the forefront… Continue reading Causation, Correlation, and Big Data in Social Science Research
This paper was submitted as my final project for the Media Arts and Sciences class, Unpacking Impact, in December 2015. Introduction In this position paper I explore the possibilities and challenges surrounding the design of platforms for civic debate. I draw on lessons from theory and practice to offer a taxonomy of characteristics, which may… Continue reading Designing for Debate: Towards a Design Taxonomy for Online Deliberation Platforms
Published in MIT's The Tech. ★★★✩✩ Trumbo It seems more than a little fitting that Jay Roach’s new biopic, Trumbo, is classified as a ‘Drama’ for the forthcoming Golden Globes in spite of its studio’s preference for it to be considered in the less competitive Comedy category. This is fitting not only since Trumbo is a… Continue reading Review: Trumbo offers a shallow take on Hollywood’s writer’s bloc
Published in MIT's The Tech “From Firing Line to The O’Reilly Factor” - Heather Hendershot, CMS/W Colloquium Series, October 22, 2015 Lamenting the state of American political discourse is a popular refrain at present, and it’s not hard to see why. At a time when offensive statements from the likes of Donald Trump and Ben Carson serve not… Continue reading Fired Up, Dumbed Down? William F. Buckley and the Decline of Political Discourse
Politics is a capricious business. There's a parallel universe somewhere in which the main political story of the day is prime minister David Miliband's first 100 days, focussed on his surprisingly deft and humane handling of the migrant crisis. "Miliband is acting", grumbles the Daily Mail, "like he's head of the International Rescue Committee". David Cameron… Continue reading The Strange Death of Centrist England?
After three years, last month marked my final days at the Oxford Internet Institute. Originally I came just for a 10 month masters degree, but subsequent appointment as a Research Assistant allowed for an even deeper exposure to and engagement with a wide range of Internet-related research. The work I did at Oxford is more formally listed… Continue reading Ex Oxon
This blog post, in an abridged form, has been republished at the LSE's Politics and Policy blog here. #JezWeCan? It's a laughable comparison, of course: the engrossing election of 2008 which brought the United States its first African-American president, at the expense of its first female one, propelled by the power of hope, change, and… Continue reading Welcome to Britain’s First Ever Prime Ministerial Primary
In a talk I gave at the Data Power conference in Sheffield a couple of weeks ago, I posed the following thought experiment: what if Mark Zuckerberg woke up feeling like Rupert Murdoch? For decades it's been accepted - if seldom celebrated - that Murdoch's red-tops command serious influence over the British electorate. Not for nothing,… Continue reading What’s at the end of Facebook’s rainbow?
The following is a slightly edited version of a talk I gave at the Data Power conference in Sheffield this week, presenting work by myself and Ralph Schroeder. The question of what drives news coverage far pre-dates the Internet and the rise of social media, and over the decades – or indeed the centuries –… Continue reading Big Data – What’s New(s)?
Grant Shapps is in the headlines after being accused of self-serving edits made to his own entry on Wikipedia, as well as unflattering changes made to rivals' pages. But he may not be the only politician giving himself a virtual facelift. Analysis of the Twitter account @parliamentedits, which tracks edits to Wikipedia made from inside… Continue reading The MPs whose Wikipedia pages have been edited from inside Parliament