Three Days of Communication
Staff and students of the Laboratory of Sociology in Education and Science presented their papers at the GESIS Computational Social Science Winter Symposium, which took place at the beginning of December in Cologne.
Denis Bulygin spoke about his work on the adaptation of players in online games. He has already reported at CHI Play in London on the methodology of this research, and now presented the results of the projects. Dasha Kharkina presented her paper on political polarization on Vkontakte social media. She described how news communities fall into categories of state supporters or opposition, and how political views of Russians are organized in online media. Viktor Karepin studied student migration flows between post-Soviet countries.
Dasha Kharkina shared her impressons of the trip: ‘At this conference, I met a lot of very interesting people and was lucky enough to be able to share opinions with them on various professional topics. For example, Taha Yasseri from Oxford Internet Institute presented a paper on a musical topic and we had a lot to discuss with each other. We spoke about the difficulties in collecting data and discussed the opportunities for developing the project contents.’
In addition to the main part of the conference with presentations and posters, the programme included various workshops for the symposium participants. HSE students attended one such workshop, Combining Manual and Computational Text and Content Analysis, which was conducted by Cornelius Puschmann, researcher at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society in Berlin. The workshop discussed the opportunities of combining various approaches in the analysis of text documents.
Five second-year undergraduate students of the Department of Sociology took part in the conference. They asked questions, met conference participants, and discussed their student projects in an informal environment. The poster session was particularly convenient for these tasks, and gave the young sociologists the chance to meet various researchers. For example, Irina Krylova talked to Christof Wolf, president of the GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences about urban studies.
Student Maria Sergeeva about the trip: ‘At first, it was very difficult to leave my comfort zone and start talking to people, especially when you know that they are successful scholars. But after some time, you understand that everyone around is eager to talk, and, surprisingly, has a positive attitude towards undergraduate students. I was lucky to talk to Stefano Ugliano, a master’s student at the University of Bonn in Germany. He was very kind and agreed to stay in touch with us during one of our future projects on gamification, and also said that the number of interested people from Russia was inspiring and that he had started to think about visiting St. Petersburg’.
As a bonus, the students visited Utrecht in Holland, where they were welcomed by Ineke Maas, head of the master’s programme on Sociology and social research at Utrecht University.
Prepared by Marusya Sergeeva and Denis Bulygin