Editors’ Choice: Defining Digital Social Sciences

In this post, Lisa Spiro (Rice University) provides an overview of the different facets of digital social sciences, observing points of connection with digital humanities.

As a member of a research team investigating the skills and competencies important to digital scholarship, I’ve become interested in what “digital scholarship” means in different disciplines, particularly the social sciences and humanities. Perhaps not surprisingly, I’m finding some significant points of intersection between digital humanities and digital social sciences. For example, the Digging into Data Challenge promotes innovative research using computational methods across the humanities and social sciences, funding projects in literature, political science, law, and other domains. CLIR’s 2012 report on the results of the first round of Digging into Data, One Culture: Computationally Intensive Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences, recommends embracing interdisciplinarity and developing more inclusive models for collaboration. Reflecting this call for interdisciplinary collaboration, several digitally-oriented research centers explicitly encompass both the humanities and social sciences, including Northeastern’s NULab, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (I-CHASS), and Michigan State’s Matrix. What are we to make of the connections between humanities and social science research? And what does digital research in social sciences entail, anyway?

This content was selected for Digital Humanities Now by Editor-in-Chief Amanda Regan based on nominations by Editors-at-Large: Leigh Bonds, Maria Ortiz, Estee Beck, Angela Zhou, Adriana Bastarrachea, Elizabeth Kelly, Fiona Stewart-Taylor, Maria Jose Afanador, Laura McGrath, Maria Ortiz, Rhae Lynn Barnes, Abigail Scheg, Henriette Roued-Cunliffe, Linda Towne, and Cinzia Pusceddu-Gangarosa