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Tyrone Curtis
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Methods Summer Programme
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ME113: Research Methods for the Online World

Methods

This module offers a unique overview of research methods developed to analyse online media and data. We will discuss both methods to research about and through the Internet. We will explore the rationale by which useful information can be extracted from social media and online sources. Particular emphasis will be given to native techniques for digital media such as opinion and social media mining, online communication and social networks, and "big data" analytics.

This course may be of interest to:

  • researchers and scholars with a social science background interested in online research;
  • professionals interested in carrying out or interpreting consumer and market research online; and
  • NGOs activists interested in using online data to study and promote social change.

Course Benefits
On completion of the course, participants will have:

  • a firm grasp of the similarities and differences between conducting online research and offline research;
  • the ability to assess the use of online media data using quantitative data for social science inspired research;
  • an understanding of opinion mining and its core principles and techniques; 
  • the ability to combine qualitative and quantitative methods - mixed methods - to analyse online media data; and 
  • an understanding of the basic concepts of networks and their role and measurement in the context of social media data.

Prerequisites
A good understanding of basic statistics (descriptive and inferential), and a basic familiarity with the principles of social scientific research and its methods.

The module aims at providing an understanding of the main research methods that are specific to online media data and to analysing social and communication processes. This module offers a unique overview of research methods developed to analyse media and online data with an emphasis on ’big data’ sources such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. The module presents an overview of cutting edge qualitative and quantitative methods developed to carry out online social research with an emphasis on the latter. Starting from qualitative methods, participants will be introduced to an array of quantitative online methods. Web surveys, online experiments, and in particular recent social data and opinion mining techniques and social network analysis will be deployed as means to analyse cultural, social and political phenomena. Such techniques have a wide range of applications in social scientific research as well as in business intelligence.

This course is aimed at postgraduate students interested in conducting social research online and to professionals who want to understand how online data can be used as an alternative to or in combination with traditional consumer research methods.

A combination of lectures and seminars will provide both the theoretical underpinnings of each methodology and a practical hands-on session in which participants can familiarise themselves with some of the tools used in this kind of research.

Teaching Schedule
This course will consist of five two-hour lectures each morning and five two-hour classes each afternoon.

Assessment
A multiple-choice test administered in a one-hour exam session.

Main Text
Ackland, R. (2013) Web social science: Concepts, data and tools for social scientists in the digital age. London: SAGE Publications.
Rogers, R. (2013) Digital methods. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
Fielding, N., Lee, R. M., & Blank, G. (2008). The SAGE handbook of online research methods. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications. 
Scott, J., & Carrington, P. J. (2011). SAGE handbook of social network analysis. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications. 

Software
Gephi, T-Lab, Nvivo, UCINET, DMI-CAT, Issue Crawler, and more.

"I thought the course was excellent and provided a really useful overview. I felt it was pitched at the right level and there was a nice balance of theory, examples and application."
2014 participant on Research Methods for the Online World

"An interesting course, which provided plenty of helpful ideas and skills that I intend to pursue further in my work."
2014 participant on Research Methods for the Online World

"I thought the course was excellent and provided a really useful overview. I felt it was pitched at the right level and there was a nice balance of theory, examples and application."
2014 participant on Research Methods for the Online World

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Course details


Dates
To be confirmed

Format
Lectures, practical classes

Assessment
1-hour examination (optional)

Location
New Academic Building, LSE

Teaching faculty
Dr Giuseppe A. Veltri
|
University of Leicester
Visiting Research Fellow at LSE's Department of Management

Tuition fees
Student rate: £935
Academic staff/charity rate: £1,250
Professional rate: £1,575



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