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.
Our guiding approach on this course is that 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.
The intellectual structure for the course is based on qualitative multi-methods within digital media. There are three 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 is qualitative text analysis of social media analysis, including the qualitative analysis of Facebook and Twitter for selected case studies. This is useful for an analysis of small scale social interaction using these platforms as a means of digital communication. The third 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 three social science methods are connected to key concepts of media industries and professional practices, media and social relations, and critical social optics.
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.
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.