Masterclass with David Williamson Shaffer: Quantitative Ethnography

Date: Tuesday February 26, 2019
Time: 10:00-17:00
Place: ACE-Lab-  SDU, Campus Odense
Registration: Was before Monday 18, 2019
ECTS: 1,5 with readings and short presentation 


Masterclass with David Williamson Shaffer: Quantitative Ethnography



David Williamson Shaffer is Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Learning Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Obel Foundation Professor of Learning Analytics, Aalborg University. His masterclass is for PhD Students working with qualitative and/or quantitative ethnography: Big data, statistics, interviews, video recordings, observation studies, questionnaires etc. The masterclass will focus on the integration of quantitative and qualitative methods and empirical work. David will do a talk about his work and experience in the field, and there will be a data session and a workshop where you can present and discuss your approach, data (if you have any), ethnographic methods and your thinking about integrating quantitative and qualitative approaches. During the workshop and data session there will be group work in small groups paired with senior researchers and afterwards there will be a shared discussion across the groups.


The seminar is open to PhD-students from all relevant backgrounds, for example philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, arts and humanities, health sciences and the social sciences. Participants in the masterclass will have to send a 1-2 pages description of their research projects, and a short description of either (a) the data they are bringing to the class or (b) a short description about their idea regarding a potential research design for their data collection to Line Maria Simonsen (, when registering for the class.


For those who already have big data sets and want to get a head start on organizing their data for the master class can contact Sara Tabatabai ( from David’s Lab. This is entirely optional, of course, but a good chance to get a little more out of the master class.

The deadline for sending in materials is also before monday 18th of February 2019. There is a maximum of 8 participants in the masterclass.


Preliminary program:

  • 10.00-12.00: David Williamson Shaffer: Quantitative Ethnography: Merging qualitative and quantitative analyses in Big Data.
  • 12.00-13.00: Lunch
  • 13.00-14.45: Working and discussion data in small groups
  • 14.45-15.15: Coffee break
  • 15.15-17.00: Shared and joint discussions across the participants, seniors and David


Recommended readings:

a. The first chapter in Quantitative Ethnography (available here: -- there's a link to a sample chapter, which is the first chapter of the book.


b. Shaffer, D.W. (2018). Transforming big data into meaningful insights: Introducing quantitative ethnography. Scientia.


c. Shaffer, D.W. (2018). Epistemic network analysis: Understanding learning by using big data for thick description. Fischer, F., Hmelo-Silver, C. E., Goldman, S. R., & Reimann, P. (Eds.) International Handbook of the Learning Sciences, 520-531. New York: Routledge.


d. Shaffer, D.W. (In Press). Big data for thick description of deep learning. In K. Millis, D. Long, J. Magliano, & K. Weimer (Eds.), Deep learning: Multi-disciplinary approaches. NY, NY: Routledge.