The new universe of private data is reshaping social science research in some ways that are still poorly understood.
How does (and, ultimately, should) the production and distribution of knowledge change under digital conditions? Parameters is intended to showcase wide-ranging, even conflicting perspectives on this issue, amplifying voices of scholars and researchers, teachers and publishers, librarians and archivists, as they reflect on how their work changes—and doesn’t change—even as the modes through which knowledge is collected, shared, analyzed, and interpreted continue to be informed and influenced by computational methods, platforms, and tools.
While the impact of technology on social science research—from online archives to advanced tools for analysis—is undeniable, there remains an imperative for scholarship to, in turn, reflect on and influence the development of new tools, methods, and innovations. In an age of data collection and surveillance, increased inequality as well as racial and ethnic tension, such rapidly shifting social dynamics and their attendant ethical dilemmas require the keen insights from social science to better understand the impact of such challenges as one means of strengthening democratic agency.