Why this book?

This book evolves from two different traditions: computer science and social research - the building blocks for computational social sciences. It integrates these two disciplines to introduce the fundamental tools and approaches available through the different types of computational social science methods.

  • The blended approach used in this book reflects my teaching and situates computational methods in social research, providing both ideas on research design and hands-on tools to implement such research.
  • It covers both top-level research design and more detailed approaches on how to implement and conduct research using computational methods.
  • By exploring some key traditions in computer science, it helps readers to understand computational approaches and problems from a social science perspective.


What is in this book?

The book consists of eleven chapters. Together they explore aspects such as:

  • Situate computational social science research to fully appreciate its interdisciplinary nature, and understand the core challenges and benefits that computational methods provide for social sciences.
  • Understand how computational processes work through improving their computational thinking. They need a short introduction to programming to help "translate" a research problem into an algorithm, and to understand how algorithms work.
  • Gain familiarity with different method ‘families’ (data science, network analysis, simulation models, constructive work) to help understand the range of application domains and possibilities of computational methods.


When can read it?


We are releasing parts of the book for everyone to read, comment and provide feedback. We hope to make the book as good as possible and we need your help with it. Chapters we currently seek comments are:
  • Situating Computational Social Science
  • Programming and computational thinking
  • Algorithmic data analysis
  • Network analysis
  • Simulations and complex systems
  • Constructing interactive systems
  • Data structures
  • Best practices for software development
  • Research ethics adn Computational Social Science
  • Validity, reliability and computational social sciences
  • Integrating Computational Methods in a Social Science Research
Review book now


Matti Nelimarkka

Matti Nelimarkka (PhD, computer science; MSSc, political science) teaches programming for social scientists at the Centre for Social Data Science, University of Helsinki. He has over ten years of experience in teaching programming to students. Currently, his courses include

Beyond active teaching, Dr. Nelimarkka conducts research in the intersections of computer science and social science. Today, he focuses on applying digital and computational methods to social sciences, exploring data science practices and pushing forward more politology in human-computer interaction. His research is published in venues like New Media & SocietyACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems and ACM CSCW Conference on Computer Supported Collaborational Work. He also works as an in-house scientists at Futurice, a Finnish software consultancy.