Quantitative Ethnography: Human Science in the Age of Big Data

David Williamson Shaffer, Professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison

David Williamson Shaffer, University of Wisconsin-Madison

David Williamson Shaffer, University of Wisconsin-Madison

In this talk, David Williamson Shaffer looks at the transformation of the social sciences in the age of Big Data through the lens of Quantitative Ethnography, an approach to analyzing human behavior that integrates data-mining, discourse analysis, social interactionism, cognition, learning science, statistics, and ethnography to produce new and innovative ways of thinking that go beyond the old dichotomy of qualitative and quantitative methods and past simple mixtures of methods in thinking about data and data analysis. 

"This [approach] manages to achieve the impossible: integrating ethnographic and statistical methodologies without compromising the integrity of either."

-- ADAM LEFSTEIN, Associate Professor of Education, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

David Williamson Shaffer is the Sears Bascom Professor of Learning Analytics and the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Learning Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Data Philosopher at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. His M.S. and Ph.D. are from the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and before coming to the University of Wisconsin, he was a teacher, teacher-trainer, curriculum developer, and game designer. Professor Shaffer’s current work focuses on merging statistical and qualitative methods to construct fair models of complex and collaborative human activity. He has authored more than 250 publications with over 100 co-authors, including How Computer Games Help Children Learn and Quantitative Ethnography.

Full profile: Williamson Shaffer, David - Educational Psychology (wisc.edu)

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Published Aug. 23, 2022 4:24 PM - Last modified Aug. 24, 2022 4:31 PM