Empowering Undergraduate Research in the Social Sciences with Twitter

Upskilling Humanities Students with Data Science Fundamentals

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Empowering Undergraduate Research in the Social Sciences with Twitter

Upskilling Humanities Students with Data Science Fundamentals

Challenge

Researchers in the social sciences heavily depend on data collection and analysis. However, educators around the world struggle to integrate technology into courses due to the lack of time, training, and resources.

"Students struggle with the idea of learning to code because it seems more complicated than it is." - Daniel Kim, Bit Project founder

Solution

Bit Project empowers undergraduate research in the social sciences by giving students hands-on experiences with Twitter's API. In order to equip students with a good foundation in data science, we built an open-source Bootcamp with Twitter engineers designed to mentor students with no coding background and learn about data visualization and other data science principles.

Analyzing data is a crucial part of the social sciences, and learning to apply coding skills and concepts (such as Python code and APIs) enhances understanding of the social sciences. Students who are interested in the intersection of technology and social sciences greatly benefit from projects that teach coding fundamentals. Empowering research in the social sciences using a social media platform like Twitter encourages learners to apply their skills beyond the workshops. With these lessons from Bit Project, social sciences students can learn how to apply these new programming skills to their future work in the field, harnessing the power of data science to further their academic or personal interests.

Results & Future Plans

In this project, students learned to collect data using APIs and Tweepy, as well as learn new Python code. For example, they learned to call the search endpoint of the Twitter API through the Python library Tweepy. They could then construct a plot of the data that they collected. With the help of APIs, students were able to draw accurate conclusions from their data. Students honed crucial skills such as coding language as well as emphasize critical thinking and effective communication.

Moving forward, Bit Project will be integrating data science into social science courses in community colleges.