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The Community Data Science Collective is an interdisciplinary research group made up of faculty and students at the University of Washington Department of Communication, the Northwestern University Department of Communication Studies, the Carleton College Computer Science Department, and the Purdue University School of Communication.

CDSC members at the CDSC group retreat in September 2023 in Evanston. Check out our other group photos!


We are social scientists applying a range of quantitative and qualitative methods to the study of online communities. We seek to understand both how and why some attempts at collaborative production — like Wikipedia and Linux — build large volunteer communities and high quality work products.

Our research is particularly focused on how the design of communication and information technologies shape fundamental social outcomes with broad theoretical and practical implications — like an individual’s decision to join a community, contribute to a public good, or a group’s ability to make decisions democratically.

Our research is deeply interdisciplinary, most frequently consists of “big data” quantitative analyses, and lies at the intersection of communication, sociology, and human-computer interaction.

To learn more about the CDSC, please check out our about page (especially the links there). Prospective students should also review these materials.

Courses

In addition to research, we teach classes and run workshops. Some of that work is coordinated on this wiki. A more detailed lists of workshops and teaching material on this wiki is on our Workshops and Classes page. In this page, we only list ongoing classes and workshops.

Purdue Courses

  • [Summer 2023] Advanced Computational Communication Methods – In this class, we will investigate a number of more advanced methods or concepts not covered in the Intro to Programming and Data Science course, including SQL, computational text analysis, creating reproducible projects, and advanced visualization.
  • [Spring 2023] Quantitative Methods for Communication – This course introduces students to a range of social-scientific research methods used to investigate human communication, with a focus on research design, statistics, and statistical software. Taught by Jeremy Foote and Hazel Chiu.


University of Washington Courses


Public Data Science Workshops

Community Data Science Workshops — The Community Data Science Workshops (CDSW) are a series of workshops designed to introduce some of the basic tools of programming and analysis of data from online communities to absolute beginners. The CDSW have been held six times in Seattle between 2014 and 2020. So far, more than 100 people have volunteered their weekends to teach more than 500 people to program in Python, to build datasets from Web APIs, and to ask and answer questions using these data.

Research Resources

If you are a member of the collective, perhaps you're looking for CommunityData:Resources which includes details on email, TeX templates, documentation on our computing resources, etc.

About This Wiki

This is open to the public and hackable by all but mostly contains information that will be useful to collective members, their collaborators, people enrolled in their projects, or people interested in building off of their work. If you're interested in making a change or creating content here, generally feel empowered to Be Bold. If things don't fit, somebody who watches this wiki will be in touch.

This is mostly a normal MediaWiki although there are a few things to know:

  • There's a CAPTCHA enabled. If you create an account and then contact any collective member with the username (on or off wiki), they can turn the CAPTCHA off for you.
  • Extension:Math is installed so you can write math here. Basically you just add math by putting TeX inside <math> tags like this: <math>\frac{\sigma}{\sqrt{n}}</math> and it will write .

Research News

Follow us as @comdatasci on Twitter and @communitydata@social.coop in the Fediverse/Mastodon and subscribe to the Community Data Science Collective blog.

Recent posts from the blog include:

Let’s talk about taboo! A new paper on how taboo shapes activity on Wikipedia
Taboo subjects—such as sexuality and mental health—are as important to discuss as they are difficult to raise in conversation. Although many people turn to online resources for information on taboo subjects, censorship and low quality information are common in search results. In work that has just been published at CSCW this week, we present a …
— kaylea 2023-10-08
Join us! Call for Ph.D. Applications and Public Q&A Event
It’s Ph.D. application season and the Community Data Science Collective is recruiting! As always, we are looking for talented people to join our research group. Applying to one of the Ph.D. programs that the CDSC faculty members are affiliated with is a great way to get involved in research on communities, collaboration, and peer production. …
— Jeremy Foote http://www.jeremydfoote.com 2023-10-13
FOSSY Wrap-up Bonus – Eriol Fox on User Research
Welcome to a bonus round of our series spotlighting the excellent talks we were fortunate enough to host during the Science of Community track at FOSSY 23! Eriol Fox presented their talk, “Community lead user research and usability in Science and Research OSS: What we learned,” (due to scheduling issues, this landed in the Wildcard …
— kaylea 2023-09-14
FOSSY Wrap-Up: CDSC presents Interactive Session — Let’s Get Real: Putting Research Findings into Practice
Welcome to part 7 of a 7-part series spotlighting presentations from the Science of Community track at FOSSY 23! In this interactive session, Dr. Benjamin Mako Hill, Dr. Aaron Shaw, and Kaylea Champion hosted a series of conversations with FOSS community members about finding research, putting it to use, and building partnerships between researchers and …
— kaylea 2023-09-14
FOSSY Wrap-Up: Mariam Guizani on Rules of Engagement: Why and How Companies Participate in OSS
Welcome to part 6 of a 7-part series spotlighting the excellent talks we were fortunate enough to host during the Science of Community track at FOSSY 23! In this talk, Dr. Guizani shared her work to understand the motivation for companies to participate in open source software development, encompassing the perspective of both small and …
— kaylea 2023-09-14