Netherlands, Nijmegen

Social Media Theory and Data in Journalism and Political Communication

when 1 August 2016 - 5 August 2016
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 ECTS
fee EUR 495

Social media (such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Plurk, Renren) are important new digital platforms for online social networking and microblogging to discuss all kinds of issues (serious and trivial).

A subdivision of social media research concerns how regular people (citizens), political actors (politicians, organisations) and media professionals (journalists) use social media to share opinions about issues, create online communities and use social media strategically to inform or to win over people, e.g., to vote for them. In this course you will learn how to look at this social media data to understand how journalists, politicians, and citizens use social media. The course has three main parts: (a) creating social media theories, (b) creating theories about online journalism and political communication, and (c) methods of data collection and analysis of social media.

Creating social media theories will look at the specifics of social media design and how this affects online communication and networks. This theme is applicable to all kinds of social media and connected digital media. Subsequently we will look at creating social media theories for journalism and political communication using traditional and new approaches to create social media theories such as agenda setting research and networked journalism. Furthermore, we will discuss and use methods of collection and analysing social media data. The empirical and hands-on part will focus on understanding the structure of social media data (e.g., networks based on social connections but also sharing activities), the dynamics of social media data (e.g., change across time of social media activity) and the actual content of social media (i.e., expressed opinions).

In the morning programme the main focus will be theory, although methods will be a part of those sessions. In the afternoon we will have hands-on meetings on how to collect social media data, how to develop measurements instruments and analysing social media in terms of structure and content.

Course leader

Dr. M.R.M. Vergeer
Assistant professor
Department of Communication Science
Radboud University

Target group

This course is intended for students interested in journalism and political communication with affinity for quantitative research. It is intended for those that want to develop as empirical researchers of social media data.

Course aim

After this course you will be able to:
- Assess whether social media data is suitable to answer specific research questions.
- Collect social media data using the API method.
- Perform social media data analysis (e.g., network analysis, content analysis).

Fee info

EUR 495: The course fee includes the registration fee, course materials, access to library and IT facilities, coffee/tea, lunch, and a number of social activities.

10% discount for early bird applicants. The early bird deadline is 1 April 2016.
15% discount for students and PhD candidates from Radboud University and partner universities.
EUR 195: Housing (optional)