Call for Abstracts: Digital Methods in Action: Use, Challenges and Prospects

(Deadline: 31.05.2021)

Dear Colleagues,

We hereby invite you to submit an abstract for the session “Digital Methods in Action: Use, Challenges and Prospects”, organized by Gabriel Faimau and Jannis Hergesell (Botswana and Germany) at the Online-Conference “1st International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Spatial Methods” (SMUS Conference) and “1st RC33 Regional Conference – Africa: Botswana” in cooperation with ESA RN21 “Quantitative Methods” 23 – 26.09.2021, organised and hosted online by the University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana. The deadline for submission is 31.05.2021. Please find details on the session, the conference and the submission process below.

Kind Regards,
Gabriel Faimau (University of Botswana, Botswana) and Nina Baur (TU Berlin, Germany) (Conference Organizers)

Session “Digital Methods in Action: Use, Challenges and Prospects

Session Organizers: Gabriel Faimau and Jannis Hergesell (Botswana and Germany)

The emergence of digital methods has presented various ways of studying and understanding digital phenomena in general as well as online and internet-related research in particular. This includes studies of online archived objects, online spatial analysis, social media and social networking, online network mapping, and various online social, political, economic and cultural references. Internet and online environment researchers have lately focused on addressing the following issues: How digital methods provide tools to respond to the challenge of Big Data on the one hand and how digital methods provide a base for what scholars call “online groundedness” in order to examine various socio-political change and cultural conditions shaped by online dynamics and constellations on the other? These digital methods widen the scope of researchers and change research practices and subjects fundamentally. However, this also raises “classical” questions of empirical social research: How are sampling strategies, data collection and methodological procedures changing? Do conventional quality criteria need to be adapted or supplemented? This session provides a unique platform to reflect on practical use of digital methods in various research fields and map out frameworks for exploring new possibilities for online social science research as well as encourage critical discussions on recent trends in the field of digital methods. We invite papers that address ways of doing and using digital methods, including but not limited to:Internet research and methodological innovation: Digital methods of social media research. Digital methods in studies of online political discourses and participation. Ethics and questions of digital research. Practical use and challenges of doing digital research and methods. Mixing methods in researching digital landscape. Insights from dealing with Big Data. Techniques and challenges of online data collection. Interdisciplinary cooperation between technical and social sciences on digital methods. Enhancement of “established” research designs by digital methods. Online participatory action research.

Submission of Papers

All sessions have to comply with the conference organization rules (see below). If you want to present a paper, please submit your abstract via the official conference website: until 31.05.2021. You will be informed by 31.07.2021, if your proposed paper has been accepted for presentation at the conference. For further information, please see the conference website or contact the session organizers, Gabriel Faimau and Jannis Hergesell (; Jannis.hergesell@tu-

About the Conference

The “Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability” (GCSMUS) together with the Research Committee on “Logic and Methodology in Sociology” (RC33) of the “International Sociology Association” (ISA) and the Research Network “Quantitative Methods” (RN21) of the European Sociology Association” (ESA) will organize a “1st International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Spatial Methods” (“SMUS Conference”) which will at the same time be the “1st RC33 Regional Conference – Africa: Botswana” from Thursday 23.09 – Sunday 26.09.2021, hosted by the University of Botswana in Gaborone, Botswana. Given the current challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference will convene entirely online. The conference aims at promoting a global dialogue on methods and should attract methodologists from all over the world and all social and spatial sciences (e.g. area studies, architecture, communication studies, educational sciences, geography, historical sciences, humanities, landscape planning, philosophy, psychology, sociology, urban design, urban planning, traffic planning and environmental planning). Thus, the conference will enable scholars to get in contact with methodologists from various disciplines all over the world and to deepen discussions with researchers from various methodological angles. Scholars of all social and spatial sciences and other scholars who are interested in methodological discussions are invited to submit a paper to any sessions of the conference. All papers have to address a methodological problem.

Please find more information on the above institutions on the following websites:

  • ‒  “Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability” (GCSMUS): and
  • ‒  ISA RC33:
  • ‒  ESA RN21:
  • ‒  University of Botswana in Gaborone:

If you are interested in getting further information on the conference and other GCSMUS activities, please subscribe to the GCSMUS newsletter by registering via the following website:

Rules for Session Organization (According to GCSMUS Objectives and RC 33 Statutes)

  1. There will be no conference fees.
  2. The conference language is English. All papers therefore need to be presented in English.
  3. All sessions have to be international: Each session should have speakers from at least two countries (exceptions will need good reasons).
  4. Each paper must contain a methodological problem (any area, qualitative or quantitative).
  5. There will be several calls for abstracts via the GCSMUS, RC33 and RN21 Newsletters. To begin with, session organizers can prepare a call for abstracts on their own initiative, then at a different time, there will be a common call for abstracts, and session organizers can ask anybody to submit a paper.
  1. GCSMUS, RC33 and RN21 members may distribute these calls via other channels. GCSMUS members and session organizers are expected to actively advertise their session in their respective scientific communities.
  2. Speakers can only have one talk per session. This also applies for joint papers. It will not be possible for A and B to present at the same time one paper as B and A during the same session. This would just extend the time allocated to these speakers.
  3. Session organizers may present a paper in their own session.
  4. Sessions will have a length of 90 minutes with a maximum of 4 papers or a length of 120 minutes with a maximum of 6 papers. Session organizers can invite as many speakers as they like. The number of sessions depends on the number of papers submitted to each session. E.g. if 12 good papers are submitted to a session, there will be two sessions with a length of 90 minutes each with 6 papers in each session.
  5. Papers may only be rejected for the conference if they do not present a methodological problem (as stated above), are not in English or are somehow considered by session organizers as not being appropriate or relevant for the conference. Session organizers may ask authors to revise and resubmit their paper so that it fits these requirements. If session organizers do not wish to consider a paper submitted to their session, they should inform the author and forward the paper to the local organizing team who will find a session where the paper fits for presentation.
  6. Papers directly addressed to the conference organising committee (and those forwarded from session organizers) will be offered to other session organizers (after proofing for quality). The session organizers will have to decide on whether or not the paper can be included in their session(s). If the session organizers think that the paper does not fit into their session(s), the papers should be sent back to the conference organizing committee as soon as possible so that the committee can offer the papers to another session organizer.