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"API-based research" or how can digital sociology and journalism studies learn from the Cambridge Analytica affair

Authors
  • Venturini, Tommaso
  • Rogers, Richard
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
Source
HAL-UPMC
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown
External links

Abstract

API-based research is an approach to computational social sciences and digital sociology based on the extraction of records from the datasets made available by online platforms through their application programming interfaces (or APIs). This type of research has allowed the collection of detailed information on large populations, thereby effectively challenging the distinction between qualitative and quantitative methods. Lately, access to this source of data has been significantly reduced after a series of scandals connected to the use of personal information collected through online platforms. The closure of APIs, however, can have positive effects, if it encourages researchers to reduce their dependence on mainstream platforms and explore new sources and ways to collect records on online interactions that are closer to the digital fieldwork.

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