Let’s finish 2020 on a positive note (or ten)

by Eszter Hargittai on December 22, 2020

For the last ten days of this insanity of a year, I am going to blog about various positive things and ask you to share your related experiences. They’ll concern new books you’ve read and liked, new recipes you’ve tried and recommend, etc.

I’m starting with an entirely self-serving category, which concerns the sharing of something you created (minus images, which will be a separate post). I was fortunate to get to do a lot this year and perhaps most exciting was putting the finishing touches on a new edited volume about digital media research.

My book Research Exposed: How Empirical Social Science Gets Done in the Digital Age just came out from Columbia University Press. It includes a dozen chapters of social scientists discussing the behind-the-scenes realities of doing empirical research using digital methods and/or studying the social aspects of digital media. The pieces cover a wide range of methods from analyzing millions of tweets to careful sampling for qualitative work, from recruiting hard-to-access populations for surveys and focus groups to using mixed methods for studying various groups. The authors are unusually candid about all the ups and downs they faced during their studies. It’s a very informative and engaging read.

The book is third in a line of related books I have published. There was Research Confidential: Solutions to Problems Most Social Scientists Pretend They Never Have (University of Michigan Press) whose title was inspired by a CT reader and whose cover design I crowdsourced here and elsewhere. Then came Digital Research Confidential: The Secrets of Studying Behavior Online from The MIT Press, which I co-edited with Christian Sandvig. And now we have Research Exposed, whose title was recommended by an anonymous reviewer so I don’t even know whom to thank for it.

In the strictest sense, the book is targeted at social scientists – across fields from communication to sociology, from political science to journalism studies – who want to understand better what methodological approaches from earlier are still very relevant and what new challenges and opportunities digital media bring to the table. It is certainly great for students – from upper-level undergraduate to graduate – but also for scholars at all levels wanting to understand doing research better. I would hope it would also be of interest to non-scholars who would like to have a sense for how high-quality social science gets done these days.

And now it’s your turn. What did you create this year that you are especially excited to share? This can be a published book, journal article, oped, blog post, tweet, podcast, video, etc. (I will have a separate post for sharing images such as photographs and drawings, paintings, etc. so perhaps hold off on those for now.)