Big Data, Big Questions, proposals due 12/09/13, conference 3/27-28/14

full name / name of organization: 
University of Utah, Department of Communication
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Big Data, Big Questions:
Partnering Methodological Approaches to Utilize Large Data Sets

Graduate Student Conference
March 27-28, 2014
With Big Data THATcamp on March 29
University of Utah (Salt Lake City)

Keynote presentation by Dr. Joseph Cappella
Gerald R. Miller Professor of Communication
Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

Thirty billion content items were added to Facebook last month. Google’s book digitization project has made it possible to quickly search for patterns in more than 500 billion published words. The CDC’s FluView report analyzes over a million data points every week. From unbounded social networking to the “Internet of Things,” the digital traces of human life on earth currently double every two years. But far from just the accumulation of petabytes of binary strings, “Big Data” also connotes cultural, technological, and scholarly trends that Communication scholars cannot ignore.

The Communication Department at the University of Utah is hosting a graduate student conference March 27 – 28, 2014, designed to offer emerging scholars the opportunity to present their work to respondents who are currently engaged in research utilizing large data sets and who will provide guidance and mentoring during a three hour seminar focusing on an area of communication scholarship: Media, Health Communication, Environmental Communication, Organizational Communication, Critical/Cultural Studies, and Science Communication.

Interested graduate students should submit a structured abstract of no more than 750 words that includes the following:
• Project overview including research questions
• Methods and data utilized to date
• Explanation of how the project could be strengthened or expanded by using or addressing a larger data set (i.e., additional research questions that could be investigated, increased significance of the research, ability to collaborate across disciplinary borders, etc.)

Note that proposals may but are not required to identify specific data sets or data mining techniques that the researcher would like to utilize. There are no methodological restrictions, but the project must clearly be able to benefit from greater insight into the use of large data sets (but with no specific size restriction on what constitutes “big data”). The conference welcomes both projects that would use large data as a source of information for analysis and those that would critically examine research practices surrounding large data.

Please send abstracts as an email attachment in a standard format to by midnight on December 9, 2013. No identifying information should be included with the abstract; however, the accompanying email message should include your name, institution, department of study and status in program (e.g., second year MA student, ABD, etc.), mailing and email addresses, and (optional) the seminar you would like to be considered for (Media, Health Communication, Environmental Communication, Organizational Communication, Critical/Cultural Studies, or Science Communication).

If accepted, full papers must be submitted by February 1, 2014. Revised papers may be considered for a future publication derived from the conference. There are no registration fees for the conference.

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