Ways of Being in a Digital Age: A Systematic Review

Project: Research council

Project Details


The ESRC has identified a number of potential questions for future work that the scoping review will need to be cognisant of, add to, develop and validate. The team has separated these into seven major foci for the review:
1. Citizenship and politics
2. Communities and identities
3. Communication and relationships
4. Health and wellbeing
5. Economy and sustainability
6. Data and representation
7. Governance and security
In each of these areas the review will explore:
* Use of theory - in particular the review will consider how theories are used both deductively to set up empirical work and/or to provide explanation and conclusions from inductive work. Some key questions around theory will include: How is the digital socially and technically conceptualised? Which theories are predominant in which domains of work? What new theory has been developed, and/or is 'old theory' adequate to the task of explaining the social impacts and use of the digital? To what extent is digital research theoretically or empirically driven? Which concepts and key themes cluster and link regardless of theoretical or empirical approach? Can a new 'theoretical framework' for understanding the digital be generated, and is this needed? To what extent have interdisciplinary approaches modified or developed theory?
* Use of methods - in particular the review will document the range of methods, types of data and research contexts in the examined literature. Some key questions that the review will address include: Which methods predominate in which domains of work? Does the availability of large volumes of digital data change how the digital is studied and/or the approaches taken to the social in a digital world? Are certain methods intrinsically linked to certain domains or theories? How are methods tied to the social contexts around digital research? Have interdisciplinary approaches modified or prioritised in methods in the study of the digital?
The project will explore these questions for each domain through an established approach to systematic reviewing that the ICC has used for prior and ongoing review work. This approach will involve:
* Delphi reviews of expert opinion for each domain
* Systematic review of a combined citation-led and random sampling of the literature
* Dissemination with stakeholder engagement.
Effective start/end date1/08/1631/10/17

Collaborative partners

  • University of Bath (lead)
  • University of Liverpool
  • Newcastle University
  • Brunel University
  • University of Sussex
  • University of Warwick
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Aberdeen


  • Economic and Social Research Council


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