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date: 26 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes the analyses and results for the ESRC Domain of Data and Representation, guided by the question: “How do we live with and trust the algorithms and data analysis used to shape key features of our lives?” It provides an initial overview of major insights from the literature review and analysis, the Delphi surveys, and workshop discussions about the relevant concepts of data and representation in a digital age. It then focuses on technology, development, and organizations but later emphasizes data issues and, less frequently, policy, information, communication, technology, and research. Fourteen main topics emerged: global and urban culture, governance, Twitter and politics, cybercrime, Google, law and hate speech, big data, science and methods, health, gender, consumer services, ethics and impact, mobile, and social media. The chapter provides brief summaries of publications dealing with three key issues emerging from these topics: data methods, data sources, ethics and impact, and data representation and other domains. The analyses also highlight theory, methods, and approaches in the literature, showing predominantly inductive work, emphasizing reviews, commentary, or secondary data. The main theoretical sources were by far sociology, then psychology and communications and media. The plurality of articles involving research used case studies and various data collection methods. Finally, the chapter discusses future research and scoping questions (e.g., with social impacts; privacy and surveillance; citizens/everyday life; and open data/algorithm transparency/accountability) and research challenges (methods; social theory and social questions; access to data; data literacy; education;, ethics; inequality/exclusion/inclusion/divides; and interdisciplinarity).

Keywords: data analysis, data methods, data representation, data sources, ESRC Review, ethics

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