One of the dangers of writing about innovative digital research is that, by definition, the field is subject to ongoing transformations. The pace of technological change is such that both digital social life and digital tools will have developed since the research reported in this collection was conducted. Questions arise as to whether these developments are innovative if they remain on the margins, or whether this occurs only when they have been more widely adopted. Researcher from Trilateral Research worked with other editors of this volume to take a broad approach to innovation by considering how the ‘mainstream’ — by which they mean established social science research — is being supplemented and extended by digital methods. As such, this collection focused on two core points of innovation: the existing social science methodological repertoire and the conceptual mainstream or established social science issues and concerns.