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date: 21 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter introduces a theoretical and analytical framework that allows the field of communication to adapt to the research challenges of the digital age. In this framework, we use the term ‘networked communication’ to refer to the ability to leverage digital trace data to advance theoretical and empirical research goals. In particular, new data resources and computational tools allow us to improve our understanding of the causes and consequences of communication, spanning levels of analyses that go from the individual to the group and, from there, to organizations, collectives, and societies. The approach we propose here lies at the confluence of network science and computational social science, and it has many different applications as illustrated by the thirty-two chapters that form the Handbook. At the heart of this approach is the principle that we need to embrace the complex and dynamic nature of communication processes. We can only theorize about thoses processes by bringing new empirical light and methodoloigical sophistication to the old questions about the nature, determinants, and outcomes of human communication in an increasingly interconnected environment.

Keywords: Interdisciplinary research, computational social science, network science, digital data, online communication, networked communication

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