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Tyrone Curtis
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Methods Summer Programme
London School of Economics
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London WC2A 2AE

Email: summer.methods@lse.ac.uk|
Tel: +44 (0)20 3199 5379

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Research Methods for the Online World


Dates: to be confirmed

*The 2015 tuition fees will be provided on the website soon*

Teaching Faculty
Dr Giuseppe A. Veltri (Leicester)

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 (organic data) can be extracted from social media and online sources. Particular emphasis will be given to ‘big data’, social networks, opinion mining and sentiment analysis.

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 coding process using a widely used software for computer assisted qualitative analysis;
  • the ability to assess the use of online media data as cultural indicators using quantitative data;
  • 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 structure of a network and its measurement in the context of social media data.

A good understanding of basic statistics (descriptive and inferential), and 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 analyse 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.

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

Main Text
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. 

Gephi, T-Lab, Nvivo, Ucinet and online tools such as etcML.

Dr Giuseppe A. Veltri|

Giuseppe Alessandro Veltri holds a BA in Psychology of Communication from the University of Siena, an MSc in Social Research Methods from the Methodology Institute of the London School of Economics (LSE) and a PhD in Social Psychology from the LSE. He is currently a Lecturer at the University of Leicester, and has previously been a lecturer at University of East Anglia and a scientific fellow at the European Commission JRC Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS). Before joining the IPTS, he was a research associate at the Institut Jean Nicod (Ecole Normale Supérieure) in Paris. He has taught extensively in the fields of methodology of social research and social psychology of communication.