Marijn Koolen - Speaker

Digital tool criticism is a recent and important discussion in Digital Humanities research. We define digital tool criticism as the reflection on the role of digital tools in the research methodology and the evaluation of the suitability of a given digital tool for a specific research goal. The aim is to understand the impact of any limitation of the tool on the specific goal, not to improve a tool’s performance. That is, ensuring as a scholar to be aware of the impact of a tool on research design, methods, interpretations and outcomes. Our goal with developing digital tool criticism as a method is to help scholars better understand how research methods, tools and activities shape our interpretations. Based on our experiences with two hands-on workshops on digital tool criticism, we find that reflection on using digital tools and data in all phases of the research process is key.
Reflection urges scholars to consider digital data and tools as part of the overall research goals and design, and interdependent with other elements of research design, namely research questions and methods. As scholars go through their research process, assumptions on the research design and the connection between tools, data and questions are constantly challenged, forcing updates in the design and the interpretation of data and question.
25 Oct 2018

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