Online Religious Studies: A Pilot
Bekkenkamp, Jonneke and Meij, Edgar and de Rijke, Maarten (2011) Online Religious Studies: A Pilot. pp. 1-4. In: Proceedings of the ACM WebSci'11, June 14-17 2011, Koblenz, Germany.
Data transitions have revolutionized many scienti�c disci- plines, starting with the exact sciences, then the life sciences, and now the social sciences and humanities are in the pro- cess of making the transition to becoming data intensive sciences, with descriptions through quantitative measure- ments. New analysis tools , and publicly accessible utter- ances, opinions, transactions and interactions resulting from widespread internet and social media usage facilitate new, data-intensive research methods in disciplines that have so far relied on small-scale literature and/or panel-based stud- ies . To illustrate the new possibilities, we report on a pilot carried out by a cross-disciplinary team consisting of computer scientists and researchers in religious studies. In the latter area, research is often focused on mapping out the convictions, hopes, and beliefs of groups of people, be it within certain religions or within any other group, such as those de�ned by a political party. In the pilot, religious scholars examined the core keywords in a left-wing political party in order to determine their hopes and beliefs. Rather than following their standard way-of- working, they were equipped with a search engine with an index of content crawled from discussion forums, the party's web site plus a range of online publications relating to the party and going back to 1990. In this paper we focus on lessons learned and on methodological innovations for reli- gious scholars as well as for computer scientists building the enabling technology.
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