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National Cancer Institute

The Use of Digital Trace Data to Examine Scientific Teams

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Anderson L, Kieliszewski C. The Use of Digital Trace Data to Examine Scientific Teams. Oral presentation at 2017 SciTS Conference. Clearwater Beach, FL. Jun 13, 2017. New Technologies and Evaluation Approaches.

Discovery, the gaining of new insight or understanding, often is an important objective and achievement for scientific teams. Our research goal is to develop metrics that allow us to identify and measure the pace of discovery through the analysis of the digital trace data created by scientific teams. Our hypothesis is that the analysis of digital trace data from the direct and indirect products of scientific work practices provides insight into team activity and the emergence of discovery (Figure 1). Digital trace data sources include transcribed meeting conversations, written communication and social exchanges, tools and technology usage logs, and shared artifacts such as papers and presentations. We use multiple methods in our studies to analyze the digital trace data from the direct work of science teams including: trace ethnography of meeting transcripts and computing system logs; social networking analysis of communication channels such as email or Slack; and textual and thematic analyses of structured and unstructured text within project artifacts, with a focus on vocabulary and changes in topics. Our findings include varying patterns of social interaction and conversation across project phases, emergence of new vocabulary around discovery events, and observable changes in computer application usage related to discovery activity. Results of the analytical output can benefit the scientific teams by providing reflective feedback to enhance and augment their understanding of their collective activity. These approaches provide methods to gather empirical data of science teams as they work, and could be used to augment the science of team science evaluation methods.



Type of Publication:

Oral presentation


scits 2017 conference, presentation, digital, digital trace data, scientific teams

Addresses these goal(s):

  • Learn about the field of team science: history, theory and concepts

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Resource created by Jane Hwang on 10/3/2017 5:22:49 PM.

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