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OBME 2120 - Processing Knowledge : building, refining and analyzing research corpora in social sciences

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English

Voir les plans de cours et bibliographies

Pre-requisite

None.

Course Description

This course is based on the idea that one needs to understand the social nature of research, the forms knowledge takes to be true, to actually produce his/her first piece of research. Rooted in the tradition of sociology of scientific knowledge and STS, the seminar will provide to the students all the theories, methods and free tools needed to analyze the products of science and conduct their own social sciences research. By opening a dialogue with sources taken as a research object, the goal is not to produce a plain bibliography, but to build a quality research corpus, analyzed through both up-to-date qualitative and quantitative methods. This course expects to broaden minds and to teach useful skills, working on thematics that will be collectively defined to meet the students' interests.

Teachers

TARI, Thomas (Doctorant en sociologie des Sciences, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallé)

Pedagogical format

The course is divided in 5 main units of 2 sessions each. The first session is constituted of a short conceptual lesson, a methodological and texts discussions and a tool tutorial. For the second session of each unit, the groups of students working on a same subject will produce a small report based on their corpus production, transformation and analysis, report that will be discussed in a “mentoring” class.

Course validation

3-4 collective methodological reports of 5 to 10 pages (20-25% each): 75-80% Peer review evaluation by the other members of the group: 20-25%

Workload

Moderate: no final exam or paper, but a continuous workload is expected

Required reading

  • Bowker, G.C., Star, S.L., 2000. “The Case of Race Classification and Reclassification under Apartheid”, in: Sorting Things Out - Classification & Its Consequences. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp. 195–225
  • Collins, H.M., 1975. “The Seven Sexes: A Study in the Sociology of a Phenomenon, or the Replication of Experiments in Physics”. Sociology 9, 205–224
  • Daston, L.J., Galison, P., 2010. Objectivity. Zone Books, New York
  • Latour, B., 1999. “Circulating Reference: Sampling the Soil in the Amazon Forest”, in: Pandora's Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, pp. 24–79
  • Porter, T.M., 1995. Trust in Numbers. Princeton University Press, Princeton

Plans de cours et bibliographies

Session 1 // General introduction

Session 2 – 3 //On the social nature of research work
References:

  • Collins, H.M., 1975. “The Seven Sexes: A Study in the Sociology of a Phenomenon, or the Replication of Experiments in Physics”. Sociology 9, 205–224.
  • Pontille, D., Torny, D., 2014. “From Manuscript Evaluation to Article Valuation: The Changing Technologies of Journal Peer Review”. Human Studies 38, 57–79.

Methods: collective definition of the thematics studied through the semester, constitution of the working groups. Each student will be able, if he/she so wishes, to focus on a specific sub-subject, even more precisely delineated.
Session 4 – 5 //On objectivity: the forms knowledge takes to be true
References:

  • Daston, L.J., Galison, P., 2010. Objectivity. Zone Books, New York.
  • Proctor, R., Schiebinger, L., 2008. “Agnotology: A Missing Term to Describe the Cultural Production of Ignorance (and Its Study)”, in: Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance. Stanford University Press, Stanford, pp. 1–33.
  • Shapin, S., Schaffer, S., 1985. Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Methods: finding sources in scientific databases and building coherent corpora, extracting their data
Tools: Scopus, Google Scholar and other scientific literature platforms // bibliographic tools such as Zotero
Session 6 – 7 //On categorization, classification and boundaries
References:

  • Becker, H.S., 1998. Tricks of the Trade: How to Think about Your Research While You’re Doing It. University Of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  • Bowker, G.C., Star, S.L., 2000. “The Case of Race Classification and Reclassification under Apartheid”, in: Sorting Things Out - Classification & Its Consequences. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp. 195–225.

Methods: cleaning, refining and tagging your data to build relevant categorizations
Tools: tagging in Zotero and spreadsheets // faceting and refining a corpus with OpenRefine
Session 8 – 9 //On materiality, infrastructures and references
References:

  • Becker, H.S., 1982. Art Worlds. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles.
  • Latour, B., 1999. “Circulating Reference: Sampling the Soil in the Amazon Forest”, in: Pandora’s Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, pp. 24–79.
  • Bowker, G.C., 2000. “Biodiversity Datadiversity”. Social Studies of Science 30, 643–683.

Methods: building and visualizing scientometrical and lexicometrical networks
Tools: scientometrics using Table2Net and Manylines // lexical analysis with CorTexT Manager
Session 10 – 11 //On quantification and its politics
References:

  • Desrosières, A., 2002. The Politics of Large Numbers - A History of Statistical Reasoning. Harvard University Press, Cambridge.
  • Martin, A., Lynch, M., 2009. “Counting Things and People: The Practices and Politics of Counting”. Social Problems 56, 243–266.
  • Porter, T.M., 1995. Trust in Numbers. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Methods: producing and analyzing useful statistics from your corpus
Tools: pilot tables in spreadsheets // processing a csv file through Python programming (introduction only)
Session 12 // Final discussion of the projects

Biographical Information

Thomas Tari is a sociologist of science. He is now working in Sciences Po médialab, within the research and pedagogy project Forccast...