RSSS Data Sprint 2020 at ANU: tools, methods, data and ideas

Professor Robert Ackland (ANU) and PD Dr Florian Muhle (Bielefeld University), together with Australian colleagues held a data sprint event on ‘Incivility on Social Media’ at the Australian National University in February 2020, with the goal of developing a theoretically informed approach for the detection and analysis of uncivil behaviour on social media.

The four-day event consisted of two days of masterclasses and two days of data sprint. Professor Robert Ackland opening masterclass involved an introduction to data collection and network visualisation using the VOSON Lab open source tools: vosonSML and VOSON Dashboard as well as the Statnet package for statistical network analysis (ERGM); Professor Ken Benoit presented an introduction to text analysis and the quanteda package; Dr Ignacio Ojea introduced to the agent modelling software: NetLogo, software developed by the Northwestern’s Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling. Masterclasses closed with an introduction to machine learning and natural language processing using Python.

During the data sprint, the group intensively explored incivility in two Reddit groups, including data collection, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, and data visualisation. The session wrapped up with preliminary findings, which are the steppingstones for a research paper.

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