The Way Forward, or Just Another Tool in the Toolbox?

Social media and what it means for conflict researchers

Authored by: Thomas Zeitzoff

Routledge Handbook of Civil Wars

Print publication date:  February  2014
Online publication date:  February  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415622585
eBook ISBN: 9780203105962
Adobe ISBN: 9781136255786


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When you give everyone a voice and give people power, the system usually ends up in a really good place.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

Twitter provides us with a wonderful platform to discuss/confront societal problems. We trend Justin Bieber instead.

Lauren Leto, comedian
Political scientists have long griped about the poor quality and quantity of data available to them in comparison to the hard sciences and economics, with its rich history of time-series. Even within the discipline there remains a relative pecking order and jealousy, with scholars of American politics enjoying comparatively better data than scholars of comparative politics or international relations. 1 It can be argued that better data quality is both correlated with quantitative sophistication of the subfield and theoretical advancement (again from a quantitative perspective), with American politics at the top of the pecking order and international relations/ conflict researchers middling and towards the bottom.

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