Social Science Computer Review. August 2008, 26(3)

Pirch presents bloggers as a party within a party, as they get their way in removing powerful incumbent, Senator Lieberman, from Connecticut's Democratic ticket (he still won though). The outraged netroots fulfilled many typical party roles - providing logistical and financial support and uniting and coordinating the like-minded. The claim that the internet could render the value of incumbency moot.. well we'll see...

Gueorguieva is also covering the 2006 US election cycle, this time focusing on Myspace and Youtube. We have some demographic user breakdowns, and some summaries of youtube and mysapce's role in various races. That youtube would mean politicos would have less chance to relax and to retool and control their messages was identified - the degree to which it would exacerbate a trivial 'gotcha' politics was missed. And I guess nobody could have predicted quite how cringe inducing those debates were going to be.

Fielding is talking grids for qualitative research. He offers up the experiences of current and intending users - archiving, text and content analysis, and access grids for collaboration and 'fieldwork' stand out. Better standards and means of linking up data are needed (are there any open and truly scalable qualitative sociology data-sets out there?). Good automated content analysis, cool simulations and visualizations, and reliable automated transcription (please god) would be killer-apps. Ethics issues loom large (yawn). And finally, the way data and papers are published is closed, slow, costly and ridiculous (but then how will we know who should get paid what?). This is worth a read, if only to spark some worthwhile googling.

Wolfe & Co. show that a fear of viruses might stop you torrenting Illustrator, or season three of The Wire. But probably not. Guilt might work too. There's a regression analysis and tables of the students' 'self generated' responses if you're interested.

Has sitting at the computer made workers more money? Peacock looks at sections of Germany through the 80s and 90s. If you got in early, then yes. If you're male, then probably. The mid-80s was the income-premium peak. Female workers haven't seen equal computer-knowledge bonuses since 1979.

Sin looks at collaboration around NUD*ist. They tested it out in an evaluation of a British street wardens programme. There were silly expectations, followed by an acceptance that it at least had the right ins and outs to sit in the project. Practical concerns weigh in, and there is some healthy honesty here about the compromises made in coding and managing data. Worth a read if you're looking at using this sort of program.

Denscombe compares 16 year-olds' responses to open ended questionnaire items both online and on paper. The online responses were longer, but insignificantly.

winMax (.pdf) (not WinMax) is a piece of text analysis software (the current branch is MAXQDA). The author claimed to have based it on Weber and Schutz, and now Colins & Co. are here to call him out. This would be great for someone diving into the program for the first time.

Derks & Co. took 105 highschool kids and got them to interpret emoticon laden communiques. Takeaway: smileys work ;D