HSSH Newsletter 1/​​​​​​2022

Catalyst Grant funding decisions and open positions.
  1. Brown Bag Seminar with Maar­ten Bijls­ma: Causal De­com­pos­i­tion of Pop­u­la­tion Health Dif­fer­ences Us­ing the G-For­mula 25.1.
  2. Friday Coffee by HSSH and CSDS
  3. Open Positions for Three Postdoctoral Researchers DL 16.2.
  4. New Project Planners
  5. Catalyst grant 2022 application period has ended
  6. Samples from last year’s Catalyst Grant projects

1) Brown Bag Seminar with Maar­ten Bijls­ma: Causal De­com­pos­i­tion of Pop­u­la­tion Health Dif­fer­ences Us­ing the G-For­mula 25.1.

The Methodological Unit of HSSH launches a new weekly event, Brown Bag Seminar, to highlight novel methodological approaches in humanities and social sciences.

According to a researcher at the Methodological Unit, Matti Pohjonen, the idea of the meetings “is to introduce methodological innovations and cutting-edge research in various disciplines in an easily accessible manner and have an interdisciplinary discussion in an easy-going atmosphere over lunch.”

Every Tuesday at 12.15. The next meeting features Maarten Bijlsma, who talks about causal de­com­pos­i­tion of pop­u­la­tion health dif­fer­ences us­ing the g-for­mula.

Bring your own lunch, we bring fresh methodological topics!

Read more about the event here!

2) Friday Coffee by HSSH and CSDS

Need help with data science? Want to speak about research approaches and methodological choices? Hitting some issues with actually implementing research methods? Would you like to discuss your topic of research with someone? Feeling curious about dataficationdigitalisationmachine learningAI, computational methodsstatistical modelling, automated analysis of text, images or other qualitative data analysis or some other methodological topics?

Wel­come to the Fri­day Cof­fee by HSSH and CSDS every Fri­day from 14:00 to 15:00, start­ing from 21.1.2022

We are happy to meet you – so far in Zoom.

You are warmly welcome without a prior notice, but in case you have some questions in mind, it is worthwhile to fill this registration form. Please do it a few days before you join us so we can try to have suitable experts present.

You can find more information and Zoom link here.

3) Open Positions for Three Postdoctoral Researchers DL 16.2.

The Helsinki Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities invites applications for three postdoctoral researchers to join the Datafication of Society and SSH research initiative.

We are looking for applicants for a full-time, fixed-term period of 2.5 years (starting March 2022, or as agreed).

The Datafication Initiative brings together researchers from social sciences, humanities, law, education and computer sciences to advance frameworks and understanding of datafication both as 1) a process that shapes social infrastructures and as 2) an evolving context for social sciences and humanities that opens new methodological opportunities, epistemological questions and demands for critical reflection.

In this broad field of multidisciplinary research, we are looking for candidates to contribute to the scientific understanding of

  • Competing and contested epistemic communities in datafied societies 
  • Sound data-centric research practices in the humanities and social sciences

Deadline for applications is February 16, 2022.

Read more about the positions here.

4) New Project Planners

The Methodological Unit of HSSH has recruited three new project planners to provide support in the implementation of different types of materials and methods. Visajaani Salonen, Pentti Henttonen and Juho Pääkkönen will start their service at HSSH during 2022 (more information at the website soon) as they become available from their earlier commitments.

5) Catalyst grant 2022 application period has ended

The Catalyst Grant funding for HSSH research groups achieved great popularity with 62 applications submitted. The projects cover a wide range of subjects from social and economic themes to epidemiology and human interaction. Most of the applicants employ methods from sociology, social and educational sciences, linguistics or economics. Multi- and interdisciplinarity are also common features. Funding is used mainly to acquire equipment, hire researchers and assistants, as well as cover seminar and travel expenses.

Warm thanks to all applicants and congratulations to the funded projects!

Please see the list principal investigators of the funded projects below.

  • Ahmed Kazimuddin
  • Bastubacka Johan
  • Cowley Benjamin Ultan
  • Einiö Elina
  • Eloranta Jari
  • Gasche Malte
  • Halko Marja-Liisa
  • Hallamaa Jaana
  • Hannula Markku
  • HeinonenTuuli
  • Hiippala Tuomo
  • Hotulainen Risto
  • Junttila Santeri
  • Katsui Hisayo
  • Kauhanen Tuukka
  • Kärki Kaisa
  • Laaksonen Salla-Maaria
  • Lahelma Antti
  • Lappi Otto
  • Lipponen Jukka
  • Lüpke Friederike
  • Mäntynen Anne
  • Palander-Collin Minna
  • Pettersson Katarina
  • Sorjonen Marja-Leena
  • Säntti Janne
  • Tervaniemi Mari
  • Varfolomeeva Anna
  • Wernick Alina

6) Samples from Last Year’s Catalyst Grant Projects

Lost tapes -project

In 1958 Kettil Bruun, a sociologist and an internationally prominent researcher on alcohol policy, recorded for his groundbreaking PhD thesis 30 hours of conversations of 15 groups of 4 men each from the same work place in Helsinki, invited to eat and drink in a restaurant.

In the 1980’s professor, Klaus Mäkelä believed that the tapes would still be invaluable material for research from the perspective of language and interaction. He handed them over to Professor Auli Hakulinen. They were seminal in the birth of Finnish conversation analytic research. But still not all of the material were digitized then.

Only last year it was noticed that large parts of the material were only on the tapes from the 1950’s, recorded with reel-to-reel tape recorders. With the help of the HSSH grant, the tapes were digitized and thus saved for later research. 

Professor Marja-Leena Sorjonen: “It is exceptional to have access to so old material of spontaneous natural conversation, also internationally. The tapes provide a unique possibility to study interactional practices and language in 1950’s by groups of blue-collar men talking about their work and everyday life. They also provide e.g. a way to see moment-by-moment collaborative construction of attitudes to alcohol drinking at that time, when the men solve problems that Bruun had given them to solve in the course of the evening. In general, the recordings open up a range of possibilities for different types of research and for interdisciplinary research.”

The material will be in archived in Language Bank.

Law and Art

Law and Art –project was designed as series of two workshops. Main task, according to the research plan, was to organize the workshops, include HSSH researchers in the work and gather experiences on collective knowledge production during workshops. The goals were twofold: 1) to develop new methodologies for law and art, and to “play with law”; 2) use comics as communication.

Sessions took place on the topic of “Predictive Policing – a solution to increase security” and “Data is Neutral”. Comic based on 1st session will be a 9-frame comic. Comic based on 2nd session will consist of approximately 2*5 frames, partly picturing the actual session as “meta story”. On each session, around 15 participants took part in Law and Art.

Jenni Hakkarainen: “The funding made it possible for us to carry out the Law and Art project quickly with low amount of bureaucracy. In effect, this meant that we were able to continue the experiment commenced last spring about the intersection of the study of justice and technology, and that of art. The willingness of HSSH to fund experimental projects is a great thing!”

We were most successful in reaching goals in engaging new researchers, playing with law and collective knowledge production and establishing practical processes for our project, which will continue during Spring 2022.

Eyes in the wild - mobile eye-tracking research of social interaction in natural situations

Eye movement research has enjoyed long-standing scholarly attention. However, in real-world settings and during group interaction eye movement research is in its infancy, although rapidly expanding. Methodological guidance has been mostly limited to highly technical commentaries on mobile eye-tracking as a research tool.

Until recent years, a major challenge in moving into research in natural settings has been the lack of affordable and reliable equipment for mobile eye tracking. More fundamentally, the advanced methods for data preprocessing and analysis developed for laboratory settings often do not work in open research arrangements. As a result, gaze coding demands a lot of time and is also error prone.

In his previous project, MathTrack, Hannula and his research team have used multiple eye-tracking devices for studying teacher and student attention in mathematics class when students engage in collaborative problem solving. This project has been perhaps the first to study gaze of multiple collaborative persons in a natural environment.

While the apparatus and software used in MathTrack perform on the level of the best commercial mobile eyetrackers, they are not polished for user friendliness. The grant from HSSH would be used for properly documenting the software and (pseudo)code developed for data processing and analysis in the MathTrack project so that these solutions could be easily used by other researchers both in the HSSH and more widely.

Markku Hannula: ”With the funding, we have purchased two next-generation eye-tracking devices and held a workshop with two other research groups working with eye tracking.”

As the MathTrack project funding is now over, the proper documentation (with video instructions) of how to use the device and how to process data would allow the devices to be used in other projects. To make the device more accessible to other projects, Hannula and his team will organize a workshop for HSSH researchers on how to use the device.

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