About this Wiki: Issue Mapping Online
Issue Mapping Online offers a set of digital techniques for the detection, analysis and visualisation of topical affairs. An approach that goes back many decades and some would say centuries, issue mapping tools are used to answer questions like ‘is this topic an issue?’, ‘who are its actors?’ ‘what are resonant terms in this issue area?’ ‘where are the issues happening (in which media, which countries, which platforms)?’ To this end, issue mapping deploys techniques of network, textual and visual analysis, mostly online though by no means exclusively.
Digital networked media and content offer special opportunities for analysing and visualising issue dynamics for a variety of reasons: because of the wealth of issue traces accessible online; because of the dynamic features of these media; and its possibilities of data visualisation. These medium-specific features of online content are currently being investigated in social and cultural research with the aim of developing new research methods (digital methods
, live methods
, post-social methods
, plastic methods
). Issue Mapping is specifically concerned with the application of online techniques, methods and content for the analysis of current affairs.
On this wiki you can find tools, case studies, recipes of online issue mapping developed over the last years by a variety of groups and initiatives including Goldsmiths Sociology
, The Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP
), the Digital Methods Intiative
(University of Amsterdam), Mapping Controversies
(Sciences Po Media Lab
and others), and the govcom.org foundation
(Amsterdam) and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies
at the University of Warwick.
About The Project: Issue Mapping in/as Participatory Research
This Issue Mapping Wiki has been developed as a part of a research project
funded by the ESRC Digital Social Research Programme
, with the aim of making available a range of guidelines and applications
for the online location, analysis and visualisation of issues. It is designed as a work in progress
and seeks to bring together and explicate methodological strategies for issue mapping online. The Wiki builds on a number of platforms for controversy analysis that have come online in recent years : Issuecrawler
and Mapping Controversies
. These platforms open up a distinctive approach to digital social research insofar as they enable forms of 'real-time' or ‘live’ research
: the online analysis of dynamic content. Issue mapping also offers a participatory approach
to social research, as it combines computing techniques with social methods and the design of visual outputs, and is developed for specific organisational and activist contexts.
The Issue Mapping project aims to further develop issue mapping as a forms of participatory research, by enabling exchange among these diverse users and developers of issue mapping. It includes issue mapping recipes
which provide a an introduction to available research strategies and the tools and techniques they rely on, and issue mapping tactics
which inform different recipes and can function as elements in them. To develop these further, the project will host two workshops in the Summer of 2012, which will bring together existing and new users and developers of issue mapping from different backgrounds: social research, creative computing, issue advocacy, and visual design. The participation of each of these groups we think is crucial to explicate and develop the contribution of issue mapping to methodological innovation in digital social research. Building on previous workshops
, these workshops will explore specific questions of issue mapping: What research needs does and can issue mapping fulfil? How does issue mapping re-organise the division of roles between analysis, technique, methods, and data? What visualisation tactics are relevant and effective for issue mapping?
The project is led by Dr Noortje Marres
. Dr Carolin Gerlitz
works on the project as a researcher.