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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Social Sciences Methodology, Statistics and Informatics

Periods
Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.03.00  Social sciences  Sociology   

Code Science Field
S210  Social sciences  Sociology 

Code Science Field
5.04  Social Sciences  Sociology 
Keywords
social science statistics, methodology, social informatics, social network analysis, large networks, program Pajek, Big Data, blockmodeling, mathematical models in social sciences, information communication technologies, on-line communities, measurement, integration of methods, information society
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (19)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  36383  PhD Sara Atanasova  Sociology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  77 
2.  37184  PhD Marjan Cugmas  Sociology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  144 
3.  29585  PhD Rok Erman  Mathematics  Researcher  2015  14 
4.  02465  PhD Anuška Ferligoj  Sociology  Retired researcher  2015 - 2021  796 
5.  16367  PhD Tina Kogovšek  Sociology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  352 
6.  29896  MSc Anja Kolak  Political science  Technical associate  2015 - 2021  25 
7.  37996  PhD Bojan Korenini  Sociology  Researcher  2015 - 2020  16 
8.  28074  PhD Luka Kronegger  Sociology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  141 
9.  23827  PhD Bojana Lobe  Political science  Researcher  2015 - 2021  191 
10.  53134  PhD David Modic  Interdisciplinary research  Researcher  2021  31 
11.  13767  PhD Andrej Mrvar  Sociology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  285 
12.  38051  Bojana Novak-Fajfar    Technical associate  2017 - 2020 
13.  50571  PhD Špela Orehek  Sociology  Junior researcher  2017 - 2021  32 
14.  19074  PhD Gregor Petrič  Sociology  Head  2015 - 2021  262 
15.  55874  Kristina Rakinić  Sociology  Junior researcher  2021  34 
16.  19505  PhD Damjan Škulj  Sociology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  157 
17.  30918  PhD Lovro Šubelj  Computer science and informatics  Researcher  2018 - 2021  119 
18.  31861  PhD Eva Vrtačič  Humanities  Researcher  2018 - 2021  84 
19.  27576  PhD Aleš Žiberna  Sociology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  176 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0582  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences  Ljubljana  1626957  40,190 
Abstract
Research programme will address research topics that are, by international scientific community, acknowledged as currently the most relevant challenges in social science methodology, social science statistics and social informatics. In these research areas members of the programme group already achieved the most excellent scientific and socio-economic outcomes. The research activities of the research programme group will be held in five thematic work packages: 1) Social Network Analysis, which will cover the issues of network measurement, development of methods for social network analysis, further development of Pajek software, and application of social network analysis methods in different research areas. 2) Integration of Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches through the study of combinations and integrations of on-line and traditional data collection methods. 3) Measuring and Explaining Phenomena of the Information Society will put an emphasis on methodological issues and issues of researching social aspects on information society. Methodological issues will tackle the development of research designs, methods and measurement instruments for studying information society phenomena, with a special focus on on-line communities (on-line social networks, social media, and web forums). Social aspects on information society will focus on the power relations and empowerment in computer mediated contexts, management of on-line communities and social impacts of technologies on interpersonal communication. 4) Development of Mathematical Models in Social Sciences will focus on the development of the models of discrete time Markov chains with their extension to the modelling of processes in continuous time. One of the aims is the application of such models to social sciences. 5) Knowledge Transfer in Social Methodology, Social Statistics and Social Informatics. Members of the research programme group are intensively involved in organisation and implementation of large number of study programmes in Slovenia, international summer schools, and workshops on international conferences. In addition, group members provide methodological, statistical and informatics support to fellow researchers working in other areas of social sciences. Members of the group received several international and domestic awards for their scientific excellence. Further, they are members of the editorial boards of international journals with high impact factors (e.g., Social Networks with impact factor 3.381), authors of monographs published by the most prominent international academic publishers (e.g., Cambridge University Press, Wiley), the monographs were translated to Japanese and Chinese as well. Monographs are best-sellers: all copies of the Chinese translation of the book on Pajek were sold in less than a year. Programme members are also the authors of widely used program for analysis of large networks – Pajek, for which Google Scholar service at the moment gives about 4500 and Web of Science 1600 citations.
Significance for science
The proposed programme addresses highly relevant and contemporary research questions and issues of social science methodology, social science statistics and social informatics. This way it will contribute extensively to the further development of these disciplines and in the case of social informatics, which is a very young but immensely important and relevant discipline, also the contribution to its institutionalization and its wider acknowledgement will be made. Research activities will more specifically produce new findings in the following thematic categories: 1. Social network analysis Social network analysis is now widely used in several scientific disciplines (including political science, sociology, economy, psychology, communication science etc.) and studying and developing measurement instruments in such widely used approach is by itself very important. Several social network analysis methods developed by the research group are recognized by the scientific community, e.g., blockmodeling, understanding development of temporal and spatial networks, analysis of signed networks. Another product of the programme group is program package blockmodeling has been developed as additional package for R statistical environment. The package contains ‘standard’ blockmodeling procedures and procedures for blockmodeling of weighted networks, multi-relational networks, and multilevel networks. In the last 18 years program Pajek has become the leading software for analysis and visualization of large networks. It is now used by several universities, research institutions and companies. Its future development is fundamental for several scientific areas (including natural sciences). The special version of Pajek (PajekXXL) has been developed recently which is used for analysis of huge sparse networks having up to 1.000.000.000 vertices. Such networks can already be treated as Big Data, which is one of the most challenging streams in science now. New methods will be applied to analysis of ICT networks and co-authorship networks of Slovenian researchers over time.   2. Integration of qualitative and quantitative approaches The field is growing and gaining a considerable amount of attention in academic circles which is demonstrated by its inclusion in various academic conferences, workshops, summer schools etc. In spite of intensive work on the field, many methodological issues remain open, such as validity problem. Also, using new technologies for qualitative and quantitative data collection brings a more flexible and dynamic approach to the existing mixed methods designs by providing a platform to move beyond the static nature of sequential designs. Therefore, new research and findings are needed for further development of the field and to enable more effective use of integrative approach.    3. Measuring and explaining information society phenomena With trans-disciplinary approach, linking social sciences, informatics and statistics the research programme group paves a road to high-impact scientific findings, which are relevant both for understanding and researching social impacts of new ICTs and also for their design. Currently, the research activities, dealing with social aspects of new ICTs are quite fragmented and dispersed among various disciplines and fields, while the research programme will help solve these problems by developing holistic theoretical models and high-quality methodological approaches, which will further contribute to the development of the social informatics field. More specifically, theorizing management of online communities will provide high scientific impact, as currently this issue is mostly covered in professional tutorials, while scientific approach is almost absent. Further on, by considering issues of power relations in online communities an important new insight will be offered for better understanding the social impacts of ICTs. This issue only recently entered the scientific arena, also
Significance for the country
1) Direct effects on users, economy and society      High quality measurement instruments: Development and optimization of measurement instruments in the field of social networks and information society contribute to improved quality of research in numerous fields, not only in scientific research but also in public administration, marketing, evaluations, different organizational and institutional settings. Making well-informed, reliable decisions: Large increase of various data that organizations and companies have to efficiently analyse in order to react fast, and prevent business and organizational risks is typical of contemporary society. Methods of data collection and analysis can be directly used in research, business and other contexts with the aim of risk minimisation in decision making process. Broad potential use of social network analysis: Powerful tools for analysis of large networks increase analytical potential of many users for analysis of relations among companies, owners, ICT users, authors of articles, web pages, blogs, forum users etc. Use of social network analysis in connection with different social science fields (e.g., sociology of science): Development of new methods for analysis of social network dynamics enables researchers to obtain insight into system dynamics and following effects of possible interventions into the system. We can offer to science policy decision makers information on effects of scientific collaboration, transfer of ideas and innovations or interventions into the system of financing of science on scientific excellence of various scientific fields. Better understanding of information society phenomena: Development of integrative and innovative methodological approaches as well as theoretical-conceptual apparatus with high explanatory power will enable comprehensive understanding of information society phenomena. They can be used as baseline for making governmental measures, different initiatives, and monitoring of the field. A more effective development and use of new ICTs: Social, economic and political actors and decision makers can build on our research findings and easily foresee a spectrum of consequences and formulate adequate software and strategic guidelines. This is especially important for conceptualization, regulation and development of on-line communities and sociable applications. Results will also be important for stimulating positive uses of new ICTs, for effective integrations of ICTs into people's everyday lives, for stimulating trust and social capital of citizens and for inclusion of citizens into decision making processes on local and national levels. A pool of ideas for new companies: Findings regarding social aspects of social networking sites online communities and social consequences of ICT use in general may form an important pool of ideas for making new computer/mobile applications and technologies. Implications for owners, managers and other stakeholders of online communities: Findings stemming from the theory of management of web communities will be directly useful for actors who want to develop an online community with a wide and sustainable base of users with the goal of providing the best possible services for them. Results will be especially important for managers of online health communities.  2) Indirect effects for society   Promotion of Slovenian knowledge: the group with its success and global recognition promotes Slovenian knowledge and thereby contributes toward recognition of identity of the Republic of Slovenia. It is especially important to stress the development of leading tool for analysing large networks (Pajek) which is used in many countries. Integration into the international division of labour: Slovenia as a small country is able to realize complex experiments (e.g., in the field of online communities) with relative ease and speed. Together with being a typical EU member state on many indicators results of such experiments
Most important scientific results Annual report 2015, interim report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2015, interim report
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