Inaugural Lectures FSS 2018

In the past semesters two new professors started their work at our faculty. In order to give all students and staff the opportunity to have a closer look at the new faces and to get a first insight into their research, they will introduce themselves and their main areas of work in an inaugural lecture.

Prof. Dr. Jochen Gebauer
Heisenberg-Professorship for Comparative Cultural Social and Personality Psychology

"Das Selbstkonzept: Semantik, Valenz, Bias"

, 16.05.2018, 5:15 pm in A5, 6 Room B144

To the website of Prof. Dr. Jochen Gebauer.

Prof. Annelies Blom, Ph.D.
Professorship of Methods of Empirical Social Research, especially Internet Panel Surveys

"Data Collection and Data Analytics in a Digital World"

, 23.05.2018, 5:15 pm in A5, 6 Room B144

Since 2003, when I started my career in a small social survey agency in London, the research landscape has changed dramatically, augmenting and enriching, but also complicating and confusing the empirical toolbox of social researchers. In 2003, the first round of the European Social Survey (ESS) had just been fielded and the Survey of Health Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) was still on the drawing board. Both studies have since immensely influenced the social data collection and analysis landscape presenting rigorously-collected comprehensive cross-national data to social scientists free of charge. Today, it is difficult to imagine ever having conducted research without these or similar data sources. However, when we consider ESS, SHARE and their likes today, they can feel archaic to us.

Ubiquitous are now much faster, more flexible and exciting data sources. Commercial online survey providers promise fast and cheap access to people’s attitudes and behavior, and claim general population representativeness. Twitter, Facebook and Xbox data are explored by political scientists, economists and sociologists alike, in the hope of gaining insights into voting behavior, economic risk taking or social isolation.

At the same time, our analytical tools have expanded under the umbrella of the new field of data science. We are now able to implement algorithms that are so complex that the human brain fails to understand what they are doing, but which allow us to predict with great precision how people will act. The recent Cambridge Analytica / Facebook scandal has shown us the ethical dangers of such analytics, but also its potential power.

My talk will reflect on changes in the research landscape of recent years and shed some light on the opportunities for and limitations of data collection and data analytics in a digital world.

To the website of Prof. Annelies Blom, Ph.D.