digital methods and digital media research - central european university 2011 & 2012

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I have taught workshops on digital media in various universities, including the Central European University and the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. My lectures are hands-on research-oriented workshops. Topics covered in my digital research methods sessions include

  • Translating "traditional" methods for the web, focusing on virtual methods such as online asynchronous interviewing and online ethnography)
  • Investigating the "natively digital", that is to say objects, relationships and interactions which do not exist in the same form outside cyberspace (think for example of the hyperlink, the tweet, the thread, the tag). How can we We will learn how to develop good research questions to approach these objects?
  • Analyzing issue networks: co-link analysis, exploring issue networks with the software Issuecrawler to map issue networks online, and reflect on the extent to which the “online” might help us to understand the “offline”.
  • Researching social networking sites, as mines of demographics and social data (on, e.g., self-representation, friendships, preferences and cultural tastes, and knowledge-sharing) available to researchers. How can we scrape, map and make sense of social networking sites’ databases? We also consider ethical questions connected to studying social networks users and practices.
  • Networked content and open data, that is to say content produced and make available online through a variety of nodes. Examples of networked content are the collaborative platforms known as wikis. Open data refers to the idea that data such as government and public administration data should be made available to the community. What are the challenges and opportunities that arise from these digital objects and “big data”?
  • The mixed methods approach, also known as “fusion methodology”, includes a combination of technical interrogation, field investigation, data analysis, and geopolitical contextual research. We see it in action in the framework of the OpenNet Initiative, investigating global internet filtering and censorship.

Sometimes, digital methods are explicitely connected to the study of digital media. For example, in 2012 I taught a course on digital media researchat the Central European University:

Digital Media Research
This workshop provides an introduction into research in an age of digital media. It will introduce students to the ways in which we can study digital media as well as the ways in which we can use digital technologies for other research purposes. Highlighting emerging research problems in light of changing digital media technologies and covering a range of research methods available to us, this workshop will allow students to explore their interactions with traditional and new media technologies.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this course students will

  • Be able to critically reflect on how we can research media and use digital media technologies for our research
  • Gain an understanding of key developments in the field of digital media technologies
  • Engage with methodological challenges in social science research
  • Be able to design a research project exploring “digitally native objects”
  • Learn about software for research purposes
  • Enhance their abilities to design, plan and carry out a research project, and to present and discuss ideas in a clear, effective and engaging way.