Using YouTube Data for Social Science Research


YouTube is the largest and most popular video platform on the internet, containing a wide range of content, spanning from current political and societal issues to popular culture or niche hobbies.The activities of the producers and consumers of this content generate large amounts of data. These data are also of interest for social scientists and can, e.g, be used to study content production, reception, and user interactions. However, accessing and working with these data, especially in a reproducible and scalable fashion, can be challenging. The aim of this chapter is to introduce social scientists to YouTube data and highlight their potentials, while also making researchers aware of the practical, methodological, ethical, and legal challenges associated with accessing and working with these data and providing some suggestions on how those can be addressed. After introducing the key features of YouTube and how it has been studied by social scientists so far, we discuss the kinds of data YouTube provides as well as computational methods and tools for accessing and processing YouTube data with a focus on using the YouTube API.

Research Handbook on Digital Sociology