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Digital humanities: humanities research in the digital age
Digital humanities: humanities research in the digital age

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Session 4 Data analysis: making your data speak and shine

This session was written by Hugo Leal from The University of Cambridge.

It is not just historical documents, such as the Darwin letters, that are being digitised, but our own lives that are subject to a process of datafication (Van Dijck, 2014). The growing ‘digital footprint’ of our digital traces has expanded and, as a result, we are now data producers and data products. Data mining is arguably the most important extractive industry of our time (Zuboff, 2020). Part of this success is predicated on both knowledge (of how to collect and analyse data) and unawareness (that this data is being extracted and used, e.g. for commercial or political purposes).

A skills gap prevents most people from making sense of the digital footprint and, more broadly, digital data. This session is a contribution to closing the skills gap by introducing the essentials of data analysis.

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By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • have a critical understanding about the existing digital divide(s)
  • distinguish the different methods to analyse data
  • identify the fundamental elements and techniques of quantitative and qualitative analyses
  • recognise the importance of mixed methods to overcome the methodological divide.