Today I had the opportunity of lecturing via Skype to a group of Master’s students from the University of Kansas about digital media research. The invitation came from Dr Mugur Geana, sales Associate Professor of Strategic Communication; Director, geriatrician Center for Excellence in Health Communication to Underserved Populations at the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
This is a topic that is of high interest to me and very related to the work that I do both in the classroom and in research. I haven’t covered the topic though for at least a year and, as expected, a lot of the things have changed. Compared to my talk on New Media Research given to a similar group from KU in 2009 and to other groups last year, more than a half of the tools used to collect or access Twitter data and analytics were not available anymore.
Instead of focusing on platform specific tools, this lecture focused more on scenarios of research and presented tools and platforms where data could be accessed, collected or visualized. The last prezi slide also includes a list of resources to check further.
Here are some points beyond the tools and their uses:
- Any research project needs clear research questions, a strong methodology and a consistent system of collecting/reporting data.
- Any research project should endevour to capture a part of the internet. Considerations of access to data, archival methods, privacy and ethics should guide the research design and reporting.
- A mix of tools (and search terms/queries) should be used to triangulate results.
- Pilot studies are highly recommended as they would enable researchers to refine their research design.