91221 - TECNICHE QUALITATIVE PER L'ANALISI DEI SOCIAL MEDIA

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide the basic elements of qualitative methods to analyze social media. At the end of the course the student will be able to: - discuss the main qualitative techniques that can be used to analyse social media; - choose the appropriate qualitative technique according to the case study to be analysed on an empirical level; - develop his/her own qualitative analysis strategy to be applied to the specific case study to be analysed on an empirical level; - analyse social media through the main qualitative techniques studied during the course.

Course contents

The course is organized in lectures and seminars, as detailed in the following program. Lectures (16 hours in remote on MS TEAMS) aim to introduce students to the core tenets of the discipline. Seminars (12 hours) aim to provide occasions for in-depth discussions of class materials and exercises. For the seminar section of the course, students will be divided in two groups according to their preferences and according to rules concerning the current pandemic emergency: one group will do the seminar in classroom (12 hours) and another group will do the seminar remotely on MS TEAMS (12 hours), for a total of 28 hours for each student. Students are required to carefully read the assigned material before the session and - in the case of seminars - active participation through presentations of existing scholarship and case studies will also be expected. Regardless of the health-related conditions and the specific organization of the course, students will be able to follow the lessons of the entire course remotely on MS TEAMS.

In particular, the course will alternate moments of lectures, seminars and exercises in class. The lectures aim to introduce students to the main qualitative research techniques applied to the world of digital media, including social media. On the other hand, the seminar sessions will explore some critical issues related to qualitative methods applied to the digital media sphere. Finally, the classroom exercises aim to put into practice some of the techniques discussed during the course.

Week 1 - Online lessons for the whole class group

1.1 Introduction to the course

1.2 Qualitative methods for the study of digital media

Week 2 - Online lessons to the whole class group

2.1 Elements of qualitative research drawings

2.2. From scientific curiosity to research questions

Week 3 - Class Group A (online)

3.1 Seminar meeting: Before methods, ontology and methodology in qualitative research applied to digital media

3.2 Exercise: formulating research questions, developing a research design

Week 4 - Class Group B (offline, face-to-face in class)

4.1 Seminar meeting: Before methods, ontology and methodology in qualitative research applied to digital media

4.2 Exercise: formulating research questions, developing a research design

Week 5 - Online lessons to the whole class group

5.1 Participant observation, in-depth interviews and digital media

5.2 Participant observation and qualitative interview techniques

Week 6 - Class Group A (online)

6.1 Seminar meeting: Meet the algorithms, follow the big data

6.2 Exercise: observing interactions online

Week 7 - Class Group B (offline, face-to-face in class)

7.1 Seminar meeting: Meet the algorithms, follow the big data

7.2 Exercise: observing online interactions

Week 8 - Online lessons to the whole class group

8.1 Traditions of qualitative data analysis

8.2 Qualitative data analysis techniques

Week 9 - Class Group A (online)

9.1 Seminar meeting: Images, digital media and qualitative analysis

9.2 Exercise: analysing qualitative data

Week 10 - Class Group B (offline, face-to-face in class)

10.1 Seminar meeting: Images, digital media and qualitative analysis

10.2 Exercise: analysing qualitative data


More details on the practical organization of the seminar meetings and classroom exercises will be given to students during the first week. The program proposed here is subject to changes that will take into account the number of students attending the course. Any updates will be published in good time in the course catalogue.

Readings/Bibliography

Students will have to read and study a set of book chapters and academic articles distributed by the teacher before the beginning of the lessons. Although the course is delivered in Italian, many of these readings may be in English.

Teaching methods

Lectures, in-class exercises, and seminars

Assessment methods

  • Take-home examination with three open questions (40%)
  • Classroom exercises (15%)
  • Active participation through short comments/presentation of the day's readings during the seminar meetings (15%)
  • Final thesis of empirical or theoretical nature (30%)


More detailed information on classroom exercises, active participation in seminar meetings, and the final thesis will be shared in the first week.

Teaching tools

Power Point presentations, online collaboration platforms, and software for qualitative data analysis. Students will receive further information on this during the first week of class.

Office hours

See the website of Alice Mattoni