Call For Papers – Digital Media Methods
Australia and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA), Newcastle Australia, 5-8 July, 2016.
Scraping the Political, Economical and Social: The state of digital methods for media and communication research
Media and communication researchers have embraced the computational and digitisation turns (Rogers, 2014), which have notably seen the multidisciplinary inclusion of computer science with the humanities. From early methods that some argued over-claimed their impact, towards contemporary approaches that have been nuanced and improved by researchers and specialists, digital media methods are now a collection of ‘how to’ tools to research social, economical and political sites. Globally, multiple researchers and institutions have developed cutting edge technologies that enable a large proportion of media and communication researchers to interrogate existing research sites in new ways. Additionally, these digital media methods have enabled researchers to find new research environments through data repositories, big data, digital media platforms, and social media, for example. Our interest in digital data will increase further as we see new cultural practices emerge through activities associated with drones, autonomous automobiles, sensors, and the internet of things.
There remains a significant gap, however, in our current media and communication methodologies and the current research technology. While we are able to identify conversations of public concern and how they inform ‘issues’ (Burgess & Matamoros, 2016), there remains the problem of how to integrate cultural context (humour, geography, history, etc.) into our understanding of large social media data sets. Further, the increasing shift away from text-based communication towards visual methods, i.e. Instagram, instigates a methodological conundrum (Highfield and Leaver, 2016). Finally, while the efforts of Wills (2016), Fordyce et al. (2016), Bruns et al. (2016) and Dowd (2016) advance our understanding of ontologies and typographies of social media data, further work needs to be undertaken to standardise our collection and analysis methods of digital media. Collectively, these issues present problems in data gathering techniques, research design, university ethics and access for digital media research methods.
We are seeking contributions from scholars for a ‘progression session’ at the 2016 Australia and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) that can address one or many of the following:
- What are the cutting edge examples of digital media methods in media and communication research?
- How can we integrate cultural contexts into the broad computational approach of digital platform research?
- How can we as media and communication researchers access digital media tools for our own projects?
- How should we approach ontologies and/or typologies for digital media research?
- How do we negotiate these emerging research areas with our university ethics boards?
Contributions from this panel will form the basis for a collected edition on digital media research methods.
Please send your 400 word abstract to Jonathon Hutchinson at firstname.lastname@example.org before 26 February, 2016.