I am Paul Girard the technical manager of the médialab Sciences Po. Sciences Pois a Social sciences university in Paris I am here to present you the medialab which is you ‘ll see very different from the MIT one I’ll present Sciences Po built a médialab who we are ? What we want to do ? What we are doing ?
Since their foundation, social sciences has to deal with the dilemma of handling rich data on large populations . In other words, social scientist had to pull their short blanket either by restricting the population or by reducing the detail of data .
This brought a methodological opposition between qualitative and quantitative methods It’s an optical illusion like a strasbismus caused by the available instruments which couldn’t focus on both micro -interactions and macro -structures
But In the last decade the situation has changed because of the digital revolution . the increasing use of electronic media makes the social interaction easily traceable. it is now possible to retrieve detailed information on vast populations with a reasonable effort .
This new paradigm gives us a great opportunity to fill the observation gap between qualitative and quantative methods. But this potential needs new specific tools and practices to follow digital traces beyond the micro/macro divide . Medialab has been created to contribute to the digital revolution in social sciences
Our team gathers the scientific coordination of Dominique Boullier and Bruno Latour and a team of social scintist, engineers and deisgners. which is the necessary combination of skills to build digital tool and methods dedicated to social sciences
our médialab it’s a place where social scientist can find digital ressoruces as : multimedia equipment, specialized softwares CAQDAS or lecicometry dedicated servers for data analysis or crawling poster printing facilities and a beautiful space odyssey style workshop room !
We have four main missions . First we try to increase social scientisit awareness about digital opportunities by organising workshops and conferences , support initiative using digital data with advices and support to any of social sciences fields : political sciences, economy, history, geography and so on and so forth.
Secondly the medialab serves as a scientific tool at the disposal of the Sciences Po research community, We collaborate with any social scientist who whish to innovate research and teaching through digital technologies. the médialab has to address specific issues brought by the use of digital technology in a research context
we will also participate in the effort of developing, testing and validating new digital tools. we want to bring methodological requirements into the tools’ development process to validate their use
Finally, the médialab will serve as a hub of partnerships connecting Sciences Po community with - Research and business networks Large and small innovating companies which are web specialist French and international universities - Research laboratories at the edge of the digital revolution
Our research axes are more methodologic than scientific. we will search on all the step of digital management which social sciences resarch need 1. Datascapes Identification of data sources of digital in public and private archives, relational databases, scientific literature, news, websites, search engines, hypertexts, social networks, collaborative editing projects, online debates and spontaneous expressions 2. Data Harvesting Extraction of data from online and offline repositories through crawling, querying, parsing and scraping activities. 3. Corpora Constitution Preliminary treatment of data to identify and manage errors, anomalies, gaps, inconsistencies and loss of data integrity. 4. Database Indexing Organization of data in a set of ordered table in one or more relational databases. 5. Data Mashing Integration of dataset coming from different sources to facilitate comparison and combination. 6. Analysis Advanced processing of data through techniques issued from EDA, statistics, network analysis, linguistics, semiotics and other disciplines. 7. Modeling Simplified description of social phenomena through artificial or natural language. 8. Infoviz Graphical representation of data an their analysis in a visual and synthetic form. 9. Database Navigation Development of interfaces to explore and reconfigure large collections of data 10. Augmented Publication Dissemination of research results through innovative and multimedia channels. 11. Archive & Reuse Storage of research resources and results to facilitate their reuse in further investigation.
Every project we are working on whatever the social science it’s from will need some of the different aspect of digital data management. Our ambition is to gain in experience with everyone of them in order to ba able to support the most diverse needs from social sciences. And we will need a lot of partners to colaborate with to help in our mission
Let’s focus now on the Trust projet. Yann Algan is an economist who is investigating the bi-directional causal links between social attitudes and economics , especially trust and the culture of cooperation. We calloborate to help him taking advantages from digital worlds to pursue his research This means use internet as a survey medium, studying collaborative online communities and use web mining technics
- Develop a platform for conducting online surveys and experimental games (e.g. the prisoner's dilemma) to estimate the mutual influence between economic policies and social attitudes. - Test the platform both in online communities and offline corporations, in order to understand how organizational structure can influence cooperative attitudes.
to Track socio-economic attitudes in the cyberspace by using web mining methods and tools. Our partner linkfluene is providing a great datascape indexing and archiving all RSS fields of most influencing blogs on any topics