DR ANDREW BELL, SHEFFIELD METHODS INSTITUTE ‘Using Google Trends to see Changes in Society over Time’

Queen’s girls became social scientists when they conducted their own research into the many weird and wonderful behaviour patterns revealed by people’s Google searches.

The session was led by the University of Sheffield’s Dr Andrew Bell who is an expert in using statistical methods to uncover what people across the country are doing and thinking. 

“There has never been a time when so much data is available to us as now,” said Dr Bell, who runs degrees in Quantitative and Applied Social Sciences.

“We can either choose to ignore this data or evaluate it and really understand it.  We can then go on to make an informed decision based on the data we have."

Students were shown a bewildering array of information based on people’s Google searches. There were interesting correlations between terms such as ‘bacon’ and ‘hangover’.  There were also revealing searches done around election time about the different political parties.

Girls were then encouraged to use the Google Trends website to conduct their own searches on what people have been inputting into the search engine.  They went on to find interesting data about topics ranging from popular music to gun crime to avocados.

Post date: 15th January 2018