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Going Digital: Challenges and Opportunities for Social Research Methodology

Going Digital: Challenges and Opportunities for Social Research Methodology
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Author(s): Felice Addeo (University of Salerno, Italy) and Valentina D'Auria (University of Salerno, Italy)
Copyright: 2022
Pages: 18
Source title: Handbook of Research on Advanced Research Methodologies for a Digital Society
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Gabriella Punziano (University of Naples Federico II, Italy) and Angela Delli Paoli (University of Salerno, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8473-6.ch003


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The digital society is a research object that still lacks a clear and shared definition, as it is always in progressive and whirling transformation. From a methodological point of view, digital society is then a fruitful ground for experimentation and innovation. However, the unceasing flourishing of online social practices and the innovative ways to frame into data the online activities of individuals make the knowledge drawn from the web always uncertain, revisable, and at high risk of obsolescence. Social research tried to face the challenges posed by the digital society first by adapting the established social research methods to the new digital environments and then creating new ones. Neither approach has been able to define which are the most valid and reliable methodological tools to study the digital society, nor to draw a shared vision that would allow social research to advance. This chapter discusses the challenges and opportunities that the digital society poses to social research methodology and reflects on the need for new epistemological and methodological positions.

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