Academic Year 2022/2023

  • Docente: Alice Mattoni
  • Credits: 8
  • SSD: SPS/08
  • Language: Italian
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Media, Public and Corporate Communication (cod. 5703)

Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide a basic understanding of qualitative methods for analyzing the broad world of digital media and related social phenomena in public, corporate, political and/or journalistic communication. At the end of the course, students will be able to: (1) design research related to social phenomena related to the world of digital media; (2) discuss the different paradigms of qualitative research in the context of digital media; (3) use the most important qualitative methods for collecting data related to digital media and related social phenomena; (4) use the most important qualitative methods for analyzing data related to digital media and related social phenomena; (5) choose the most appropriate qualitative methods for data collection and analysis depending on the research question and one's case study; (6) present one's research, the methods used, and the results obtained in a written text that is coherent and communicatively effective.

Course contents

The course is divided into three parts.

The first part (Week 1 - Week 3) addresses general topics related to qualitative research, with a focus on qualitative research on and with digital media.

The second part (Week 4 - Week 5) considers some of the main methods for collecting qualitative data on and with digital media.

Finally, the third part (Week 6 - Week 10) focuses on how we can analyze the data we collect, presenting both traditional qualitative analysis methods applied to the study of digital media and qualitative analysis methods designed specifically for the analysis of digital media and related artifacts.

More specifically, the course covers the following topics:*


Week 1
- Research design
- Research paradigms

Week 2
- Puzzles and research questions
- Formulating research questions

Week 3
- Ethics of research with/on digital media
- Exercise: formulating research questions


Week 4
- Doing research with/on digital media
- Collecting documents and artifacts

Week 5
- Participant observation
- Qualitative interviewing

Week 6
- Focus groups
- Exercise: collecting data for research


Week 7
- Basic techniques for analyzing qualitative data

Week 8
- Discourse analysis
- Frame analysis and visual analysis

Week 9
- Narrative analysis and thematic analysis

Week 10
- Using the MAXQDA software - Part I
- Using the MAXQDA software - Part II

Week 11
- Exercise: analyzing data for research
- Present the results of your research

* Lecture topics may be changed as the course progresses, including depending on the number of students taking the course and their research interests.


The bibliography for the course consists of book chapters and scholarly articles in English that will be made available to students on the Virtual platform.

Teaching methods

The course includes lectures, group discussions and in-class exercises.

Assessment methods

The course includes the following assessment methods, each of which will make up the final grade with a different weight:

- In-class exercises (30% of the final grade)
- Written term paper (30% of the final grade)
- Oral final exam (40% of the final grade)

The final oral examination may be taken only after the final paper has been handed in.

Each of the assessment methods adopted will be explained in more detail by the lecturer on the first day of class.

Teaching tools

Power Point presentations and the Virtuale platform

Office hours

See the website of Alice Mattoni