The course aims to provide students with the theoretical and methodological tools needed to autonomously conduct qualitative and quantitative empirical research based on digital data. Big Data and digital methods will, on the one hand, be problematized through theoretical reflections on the datafication of contemporary societies; on the other hand, they will be introduced as central methodological approaches in today's social and marketing research. During the course each aspect of the digital inquiry will be covered step by step: research design, data collection and cleaning, analysis, interpretation and visualization of the results. Students will be guided through a hands-on approach to the use of different techniques (digital ethnography, network analysis, qualitative and quantitative text analysis) and analysis tools, also thanks to intensive exercise sessions. This training course will end with the realization and presentation by students of digital surveys on research topics introduced in class.
Expected learning outcomes
Students are expected to become competent in crafting original research on digital platforms. Three main skill sets sould be mastered by students: 1) theoretical competence, 2) methodological competence, 3) technical competence. For the first skillset students should be familiar with current theoretical expertise on digital platforms, including digital methods based approaches as well as politcal economy ones. For the second skill set students are expected to become proficient with an array of different research methods, such as: quantitative analysis (eg sentiment analysis, influencer detection), ethnographic analysis, network analysis. It is expected that students will be more familiar with one specific aspect but working knowledge of all will be required. For the third skill set students are expected to became proficient in the technical tools needed to finalize research for digital platforms: including data mining and data analysis for python, as well as third party data analysis tools.
Lesson period: First trimester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)