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Video Data Analysis

Video Data Analysis
How to Use 21st Century Video in the Social Sciences

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March 2022 | 320 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Nominated for the Ludwik Fleck Prize - awarded annually to an exemplary book in Science and Technology Studies that contributes to the global STS community

Nominated for the Robert K. Merton Book Award  - this is awarded annually in recognition of an outstanding book on science, knowledge, and/or technology. 

Video data is transforming the possibilities of social science research. Whether through mobile phone footage, body-worn cameras or public video surveillance, we have access to an ever-expanding pool of data on real-life situations and interactions.

This book provides a flexible framework for working with video data and understanding what it says about social life. With examples from a range of real video research projects, the book showcases step-by-step how to analyse any kind of data, including both found and generated videos. It also includes a non-technical discussion of computer vision and its opportunities for social science research. 

With this book you will be able to:
·       Complete each step of the research process fully and efficiently, from data collection to management, analysis, and interpretation
·       Use video data in an ethical and effective way to maximise its impact
·       Utilise contemporary technology and accessible platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Tik Tok and Facebook.

This book is an ideal toolkit for researchers or postgraduate students across the social sciences working with video data as a part of their research projects. Accessible and practical, is written for qualitative and quantitative researchers, newcomers and experienced scholars.

Features include interactive activities for different skill levels and ‘what to read next’ sections to help you engage further with the research mentioned in the book. 
Part I: Novel Opportunities
Chapter 1: The Rise of Video Data in Social Science Research
A New Era

Novel Opportunities

Chapter 2: Video Data Analysis – A multidisciplinary Framework
What is Video Data Analysis?

What makes video data unique?

What are limitations of video data and VDA?

Part II: Conducting Video Data Analysis
Chapter 3: Step 1 – Theoretical Perspectives, Object of Analysis, and Analytical Lens
Choosing the theoretical perspective

Reflecting on the object of study

Selecting facets of analytical dimensions

Chapter 4: Step 2 – Ethical Considerations
What is research ethics?

Research Ethics and Video Data Analysis

Assessing a VDA Study from an Ethical Standpoint

Chapter 5: Step 3 – Data Collection and Management
Case Selection and Validity in VDA

Collecting Custom-Made Data

Collecting Ready-Made Data


Data Management

Chapter 6: Step 4 – Analyzing Video Data
Coding and concepts

Timing and sequence

Counts and quantifications

Rhythm and turn-taking

Studying Actors

Social relations and networks


Additional analytical tools

Chapter 7: Step 5 – Presentation of Findings
How was the presented data collected?

Where do you present your VDA findings?

Part III: Future Developments in VDA
Chapter 8: Video Data Analysis and Computer Vision
Computer vision in a nutshell

How can computer vision help VDA?

What are main challenges?

Chapter 9: Conclusion: The Future of Video Data in Social Science Research
Looking ahead

The Dawn of Video Data Analysis


The book is beneficial for both beginning and advanced researchers in social sciences seeking an introduction to video data analysis. It addresses issues arising at various stages of a research project, helps with conceptualization, considers important questions to think about, and provides tools for analyzing video data.

Astrid Schulz
Research Assistant at RWTH Aachen University

Video Data Analysis is the future of social science. It shows what people do, not just what they say they do. A picture is worth 1000 words, but only if you know what to look for in it. Nassauer and Legewie show how.

Randall Collins
Professor of Sociology Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania, author of Violence: A Micro-sociological Theory

Anyone from a variety of disciplines that is considering the use of video for analysis or wanting to learn more about this methodology now has a one stop resource to consider techniques and approaches. VDA frameworks, applications, limits, new directions, and more are thoughtfully presented in a comprehensive yet accessible manner for the novice and experienced researcher alike.

John McCluskey
Professor of Criminal Justice, College of Liberal Arts, Rochester Institute of Technology

VDA is the perfect place to start for someone newly interested in using video data for social science research. It offers a comprehensive repository of tools, resources, and concepts for pursuing effective video-based research.

Doron Shiffer-Sebba
Ph.D. student at University of Pennsylvania

As researchers increasingly turn to video data, there is a real need for a comprehensive repository of expertise about what to do with it.  This book fulfils this need fulsomely.  The authors are clear about their aims and coverage, advising readers to ‘take what is useful’.  For many, that will be the entire volume.

Pamela Woolner
Senior Lecturer in Education, Newcastle University

Nassauer and Legewie provide an accessible, practice-oriented guide to handling video data; a service to students and scholars who are intrigued by the abundance of videos surrounding us and want to know how to draw empirical lessons from them.

Charlie Zaharoff
Editor and Translator, M.A. in North American Studies

Video Data Analysis is a rare multidisciplinary textbook. The authors admirably integrate issues in the social sciences and the budding research field of digital visual analysis. Broad in scope yet accessible, this book provides novel and comprehensive methods for systematically analysing audiovisual recordings of complex real-life social phenomena. 

Chiao-I Tseng
Professor for multimodal linguistics at the University of Bremen

Centering thoughtful, ethical, and robust social science research, Nassauer and Legewie offer a concise methodology for engaging in Video Data Analysis. Situated within our increasingly digitized and surveilled social worlds, this book presents an essential framework for the 21stcentury study of human relation

Malika Stuerznickel
Ph.D. Student at The University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

This book is an incredibly useful source for the analysis of video material. The chapters are easy to understand and require no prior knowledge on visual research methods. I fully recommend it to students interested in engaging and innovative methodology.

Katarina Dacic
MA student at Freie Universität Berlin

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