Digital Asian Studies

How to Conduct Asian Studies during the Pandemic?

Fieldwork at distance
Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash

Travel restrictions caused by the pandemic have forced scholars in Asian studies, as also in other disciplines, to redefine their methods of data gathering. In order to help students and researchers in Asian Studies to find alternative ways of collecting data, the Finnish University Network for Asian Studies provides here a list of relevant resources. The page is updated continuously.

Emphasis is put on digital research methods. They not only enable researchers to collect digital data at a distance, but they also provide tools for computer-assisted analysis of big data. Given the exponentially expanding amount of digital data, knowledge of these methods opens up possibilities for new approaches in research.

The Asia Network has also developed online teaching materials about online ethnographic methods and computer assisted methods to help students and scholars to redesign their data collection methods. The materials are available for students and staff members at the member universities of the Network.



    1. Webinar recording: Digital China Research in Social Sciences –

On November 19, 2021, CHERN and the Finnish University Network for Asian Studies organized a Webinar on Digital China Research in Social Sciences. This webinar serves as an introduction to the use of digital methods in Chinese Studies. The first presentation discusses a number of key issues that need to be considered when planning a digital project. The second session introduces often-used data science methods. This webinar was arranged with funding from Joel Toivola Foundation.

Ask a Question that Can Be Answered: Reflections on Doing Digital Social Research
Associate Professor Jun Liu, Department of Communication, University of Copenhagen

Researching Social Unrest in China: a Data Science Toolkit
Professor Christian Göbel, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Vienna

Contents with timestamps available here.

2. Publication: Computational Approaches to Studies on Contemporary China; A Brief Overview 
Author: Hui Zhao, CEAS Insights 2/2021

The paper provides an overview of selected studies to demonstrate how computational methods help us scrutinize Chinese society in new ways. The paper was written with financial support from the Joel Toivola Foundation.


Fieldwork at a distance


Blum S D (2020)
Fieldwork from Afar. Anthropology News website, September 10, 2020

Jowett A (2020)
Carrying out qualitative research under lockdown – Practical and ethical considerations. LSE Impact Blog

Sato J (2020)
Research at a Distance: Area Studies in the Post-Pandemic Era. International Journal of Asian Studies, 17, 105–108

Wood EJ, Rogers D, Sivaramakrishnan K and Almeling R (2020)
Resuming Field Research in Pandemic Times. items. Insights from the Social Sciences

Resource collections

Lupton D (editor) (2020)
Doing fieldwork in a pandemic. Crowd-sourced document

Samuels F (editor)
Tips for collecting primary data in a Covid-19 era. Live repository. ODI Toolkits


Digital research methods


Breaking Methods Webinar Series
Hosted by the Vitalities Lab, UNSW Sydney and the Australian Research Council Centre for Automated Decision-Making + Society

Doing Digital Scholarship. Social sciences
“Doing Digital Scholarship offers a self-guided introduction to digital scholarship, designed for digital novices. It allows you to dip a toe into a very large field of practice.”

Introduction to Digital Humanities.  Free online course. Harvard University
“Develop skills in digital research and visualization techniques across subjects and fields within the humanities.”

Digital Scholarship Service – Tools. The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

LSE Digital Ethnography Collective Reading List. Shared document

Methods Lab – Resources

UK Data Service. Youtube videos about data-mining techniques and much more
For example: Webinar. Becoming a computational social scientist

Resources on digital research methods in Asian studies

Schneider, Florian (2015)
Searching for “Digital Asia” in its Networks: Where the Spatial Turn Meets the Digital Turn.
Asiascape: Digital Asia, 2(1-2), 57-92.

Chinese studies

Digital China
“Developing new digital methods for the study of China’s past and present.  A list of digital things related to the field of Chinese studies curated by Kwok-leong Tang, the Digital China Fellow of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. “

Journal of Chinese History. Special issue: Digital Humanities

Ng Wai Foong (2019)
Beginner’s Guide to Sentiment Analysis for Simplified Chinese using SnowNLP. Medium

⇒Articles in which digital methods have been used

Ying Wang, Heng Li, Zezhou Wu (2019)
Attitude of the Chinese public toward off-site construction: A text mining study.
Journal of Cleaner Production, 20 November

Fucheng You et al (2018)
Design of Data Mining of WeChat Public Platform Based on Python.
J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 1069 012017

Jing Zeng,  Chung-hong Chan, Mike S. Schäfer  (2020)
Contested Chinese Dreams of AI? Public discourse about Artificial intelligence on WeChat and People’s Daily Online.
Information, Communication & Society, Ahead-Of-Print, 1-22

Japanese studies

Digital Humanities Japan wiki.
” This site is a guide to digital resources related to Japan, including but not limited to online databases, datasets, tutorials, syllabi, and other digital work.”
Contains for example: Publications on Japan-related Digital Studies

Korean studies

Cha, J (2018)
Digital Korean studies: recent advances and new frontiers
Digital Library Perspectives, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 227-244.

South Asian studies

South Asian Studies: Digital Humanities for SAS. Princeton University Library