Contemporary changes in digital media have created many opportunities for research of a kind not possible before as a huge quantity of information is now published online in the form of blogs, Twitter posts, YouTube videos and discussions on Social Network Sites (SNS) such as Facebook. Effectively exploiting the data comes with many challenges and to gather and process online content on a large scale requires an approach drawing on subject and technical expertise from a range of different disciplines including media and communication studies, internet studies and information and computer science. This book helps researchers to overcome these challenges by providing practical research methods for those using social media data in their research. By concentrating on individual social media ‘objects’, it encourages readers to explore a range of different objects to study.
In three sections, the book gives guidance on:
· Designing your research question
· Ethical considerations in online research
· Collecting and storing data
· Studying institutions, users, networks and links
· Analysing comments and sentiment
· Studying #(hash) tags
· Analysing images
This book will be an invaluable guide for all students and researchers using social media data in their research. We will use the website to blog book updates as well as keeping up to date with the latest methodological developments once the book has been published. In our tool section we will highlight some of most widely used software and tools for researching social media, offering critical reviews and easy to follow user tips.