International Course on Digital Media Research - SIMM34

7,5 Credits

Digital Media Research offers a broad approach to the qualitative methods that are useful to critical analysis of digital environments.

Photo: Fredrik Schoug

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 methods we focus on in the craft of digital media research. The first method includes production studies, specifically the method of production interviews. 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. This method is useful for studying selected samples of digital texts and representations in a range of content, from mobile media to You Tube videos. The third method includes digital ethnography, specifically looking at routines, mobilities and socialities. This method is useful for in depth, focused research of digital media events, social movements, or specific audience, user and consumer social media practices. These three methods are connected to key concepts of media industries and professional practices, systemic and symbolic power within digital media environments, and everyday routines of digital ethnography practices.

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.

Student Endorsements for Digital Media Research

Hario Priambodho (Indonesian postgraduate student)

‘Based on my first year of studying at Lund University, Digital Media Research was one of my favourite courses that I took. The topic of the course is highly relevant to the nature of today’s media landscape. Having worked as a media professional dealing with digital environments on a daily basis prior to pursuing postgraduate studies, numerous concepts and ideas were immediately relatable - such as the role of producers or the power of images. It has allowed me to enrich my knowledge and reflect back on previous experiences from a different perspective that I’ve never thought of before.

As this is primarily a methods course, it has also extended my personal toolkit in conducting meaningful research for the future. The course ensured that I’m proficient in the craft of digital media research from all appropriate angles, from the importance of reflexivity, purposeful application of methods, to ethical research. These valuable intangibles, among many other important takeaways, were planted into my train of thought seamlessly and unobtrusively, hence creating a lasting impression that will no doubt stay with me for the rest of my academic career.

Furthermore, a lot of positives can be said about the quality of instruction in this course. The instructors were clearly proficient in creating a course structure that’s cohesive with concrete learning outcomes. At the start there seemed a lot of work, but by the end of the course everything fell into place and made sense. And I believe that's what anyone could expect from a great and meaningful course.’

Deborah Martini (Brazilian postgraduate student)

‘The Digital Media Research course moves away from the strictly theoretical and into a hands-on approach to methods. The course leaders are tremendously experienced and are able to provide the students with concrete examples through their research and guide us to have a better understanding of how to use the selected methods. The course also provides a safe space for actually conducting research using the studied methods, giving the students invaluable experience that will undoubtedly assist in future research. 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.’

Magnus Johansson (Swedish postgraduate student)

Digital Media Research is a comprehensive course, offering two main methods in it’s teachings, aesthetic analysis and production interviews. It provides more specialist methods, focused on researching digital media. This is a focus that I personally experience as often overlooked, but the course managed to provide great insight into these methods. A main point of the course was also emphasizing the benefits of doing multi-methods research, combining methods in a single project.
The main course leaders, Annette Hill and Tobias Olsson, both provide their own perspective on the methods, constructing valuable sources of experience for the students to draw on. Centered on the practical, the final part of the course offers students to apply the methods in a project, but not before offering a stable foundation of theory in the first half, which personally made me feel confident in applying the methods in the group project. Being short but comprehensive, the time invested in the course did supply me with great tools when looking at digital material through a number of different angles. It is a clear and pragmatically centered course, which, for me, made the methods easy to assimilate, but challenging and rewarding to apply in reality.

Alicia Gant (American postgraduate student)

‘I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to explore qualitative methods that are useful when undergoing digital media research. I found the course challenging, yet clear and concise with its structure and outcomes. At the completion of the course, I developed a keen interest in semiotic analysis - something that was completely knew to me!
As the course concerns digital media research, I was able to see how the methods taught would be useful not only in future research but when working within a range media fields. Additionally, many of the readings required involved social cultural topics, such as power, and having these concepts intertwined with the methods kept things very interesting.’

Anteneh T. Lemma (Ethiopian postgraduate student)

‘This course helped me have a comprehensive understanding of digital media by conducting a quality empirical research. The research methods which focus on producers and contents feed quite well into the audience research course and enable students to have a holistic understanding of media content from its production to the circulation and reception.
The group works in the course helped me understand how the diverse digital media contents can be analyzed using various research methods. The complexities of the digital media technology and the differences in culture and context has also been discussed using digital ethnography as an alternative method.  In addition to providing multiple research methods to study the producers and contents of the digital media, the course also provides conceptual tools such as form and power to analyze contents and how they are influenced and shaped by different levels and forms of power relations. 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.’

Lestarini Saraswati Hapsoro (Indonesian postgraduate student)

‘The course offers a good introductory insight into qualitative research methods used within the digital media environment. It focuses on the practical side of research, where we look into a number of empirical case studies in class that are combined with critical social and cultural theories. Lively class discussions are highly encouraged. Towards the end, the course allows us to thoroughly reflect on our knowledge of multimethod research after applying them to an actual research project.’

Austen Shilstone (American postgraduate student)

‘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.

Christine Sandal (Swedish postgraduate student)

‘Digital Media Research is a hands on methods course in which we practiced research in seminars interwoven with the lectures and in one bigger group project. We did methods instead of just reading about them. The group work was supervised in a very helpful way and the feedback after the presentation was a really valuable evaluation of the project. 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.
The course was rounded off by an essay in which we individually were given the opportunity to reflect upon the group work and on the methods used more theoretically. I can highly recommend this course if you are interested in trying aesthetic analysis and/ or production interviews connected to digital media.’


Contact Information

Annette Hill

Media and Communication StudiesDepartment of Communication and Media


Phone +46 (0)46 222 88 80

Room SOL:A212

Tobias Olsson

Media and Communication Studies
Department of Communication and Media


Phone +46 (0)46 222 88 64

Room SOL:A136a