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Digital Media Research - SIMM34

7.5 credits

Digital media research methods matter to a critical study of digital environments. The course focuses on combining empirical qualitative research with critical social and cultural theories in order to emphasise how the digital media researcher uses, adapts and critically reflects on methods and concepts to research problems or questions.

Overview

Analyzing social media and social activism

This course offers a broad introduction to digital media research methods, emphasising the significance of reliable, valid and situated research in a critical study of digital environments. These environments include a wide range of contexts from business, public service and non commercial spaces, the architecture and content of participatory cultures, social media and social activism, and digital socialities. The course focuses on combining empirical qualitative research with critical social and cultural theories in order to emphasise how the digital media researcher uses, adapts and critically reflects on methods and concepts to research problems or questions.

In the words of the course co-ordinators

"Digital Media Research offers a broad approach to the qualitative methods that are useful to critical analysis of digital environments. We offer a range of perspectives and methods on how to understand and critically analyse digital media production, content and everyday practices. This course offers an introduction to digital media research methods, emphasising the significance of reliable, valid and situated research in a critical study of digital environments. These environments include a wide range of contexts from business, public service and non commercial spaces, the architecture and content of participatory cultures, social media and social activism, and digital socialities."

Multi-Methods in Digital Media

The intellectual structure for the course is based on qualitative multi-methods within digital media. There are two specific methods we focus on in the craft of digital media research. The first method includes production studies, specifically the method of production interviews within the context of the architecture of digital media production. This method is useful for institutional analysis of professionals, amateurs and practitioners where one to one interviews are necessary for understanding inside a digital production culture. The second method includes aesthetics and communicative form of digital media content, specifically visual images, and the embedding of images in the digital environment. Visual methodology is useful for studying selected samples of digital texts and representations in a range of content, from mobile media to You Tube videos. These two social science methods are connected to key concepts of media industries and professional practices, and critical social optics. 

Course design

We offer a perspective on the methods that is pragmatic and experiential, constructing the act of doing research as a valuable resource to draw on in this course. The knowledge you will gain from this course is practical, and in the final part of the course you will apply a selection of specialist methods in a group project. The foundation of theories and concepts that you learn in the first half of the course will build confidence in designing a project and applying the specialist methods in a real world case study. This is a short, intensive course that gives you the methods toolkit for designing and conducting research on digital media environments.

Target group

Our course is aimed at a diverse range of international postgraduate students who wish to study digital media research methods for the purposes of conducting empirical research for masters theses, and also for professional skills in digital media methods for careers beyond postgraduate education. 

- Course designer and former coordinator Professor Annette Hill

Online course platform

This course uses Canvas as the online course platform. The course platform will be opened one week before the course begins to all students who were accepted. Here you will be able to access literature, assignments, announcements, as well as participate in discussions and communicate with teachers. 

Schedule

The course schedule can be found under the course information on the right. Please note that the final version of the schedule will be made available four weeks before the course begins, and changes may occur until that point. A more detailed schedule will be available on the course platform on Canvas.

Student comments

"Digital Media Research was a great opportunity for hands-on methods practice. You learn from lecturers with professional, real life experience and you get to work together with your classmates in producing genuine research using new methods." 
Austen Shilstone (American postgraduate student)

"We practiced research in seminars interwoven with the lectures and in one bigger group project. We did methods instead of just reading about them. I think we all learned a lot by doing the project as a group work, because of all the discussions and different interpretations which naturally arose." 
- Christine Sandal (Swedish postgraduate student)

"I most definitely recommend this course to anyone who is interested in the many possibilities that digital media research provides and wants to roll up their sleeves and put methods to practice." 
- Deborah Martini (Brazilian postgraduate student)

"As we all go further to the age of deep ‘mediatization’ and ‘mediation’, this course will help me be critical and more reflexive in the way I use, watch and engage with digital media in its multiple forms." 
- Anteneh T. Lemma (Ethiopian postgraduate student)