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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Researching Digital Life (PGSP11469)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis postgraduate seminar is a core course, taught in conjunction with Concepts and Issues in Digital Society. The course explores the fundamentals of researching digital social life through a close examination of research case studies. Students are introduced to the fundamentals of asking and answering a research question, research design, methodology, and the unique research ethics that digital sociological work poses.
Course description This class will explore the fundamentals of researching digital social life through a close examination of research case studies. As such, the course will introduce students to the fundamentals of asking and answering a research question, research design, methodology, and the unique research ethics that digital sociological work poses. This course will ask to students to become familiar with digital platforms (such as Facebook and Twitter.) Tutorials on working with Twitter as a research tool, digital images, content analysis, and visualization will be offered. A stand-alone, independent tutorial on NVivo will also be offered in tandem with this course. While students will not conduct original digital research in this course, they will critically analyze and evaluate a digital research project, including a critical analysis of the research tools involved in the project. Coding and programming skills are not required for this course nor will they be taught in the class.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  26
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) All students will be assessed through the writing of two essays, to be agreed with the Convenor.«br /»
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The first essay (1,000 words) will require students to critically reflect on and propose a methodological resolution to an ethical dilemma in digital research. The second essay will be an individual research proposal essay (3,000 words), which will require to students to develop a research question.«br /»
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Feedback This field should be used to describe the assessment and feedback strategies used on the course, along with their indicative pattern and schedule of feedback.
Students will received detailed feedback on their essays, as well as feedback from the dissertation supervisor.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Construct a sociologically informed research question, using appropriate evidence about digital social relations.
  2. Critically analyze the research strategies used in digital scholarly work.
  3. Demonstrate a critical sociological understanding of how to engage in research in areas such as digital labour, digital health, or digital culture.
  4. Critically grasp the value of mixed-methods (digital and żanalogueż) analysis for understanding the emerging nature of digital social life.
Reading List
- Daniels, J., Gregory, K., and McMillan Cottom, T. 2016. Digital Sociologies. Bristol: Policy
- Orton-Johnson, K. & Prior, N. 2013. Digital Sociology: Critical Perspectives. London: Palgrave.
- Communication Research and Practiceż, Volume 2, Issue One (comprehensive volume on digital research methods)
- Lupton, D. 2014. Digital Sociology. London: Taylor and Francis.
- Hine, C. 2015. Ethnography for the Internet. London: Bloomsbury
- Markham, A. 1998. Life Online: Researching Real Experience in Virtual Space. AltaMira Press.
- Baym, N. 2013. Personal Connections in the Digital Age. London: Polity Press.
- Ed. Rambukkana, N. 2015. Hashtag Publics: The Power and Politics of Discursive Networks. New York: Peter Laing Publishing.

Research Guides:
- Dicks, B. 2011. Digital Qualitative Methods. London: Sage Publications.
- Halfpenny, P. & Proctor, R. 2015. Innovations in Digital Research Methods. London: Sage Publications.
- Hewson, C. et al. 2015. Internet Research Methods. London: Sage Publications.
- Rogers, R. 2013. Digital Methods. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
- Snee, H. et al. 2015. Digital Methods for Social Science. London: Palgrave Macmillan
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will gain directly transferrable research, writing, and communication skills. They will also gain the ability to work in interdisciplinary setting and to work in groups. They will gain experience in a range of digital platforms, such as Wordpress, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc, experience that is directly transferable to employment in social media analysis, marketing, digital research, and platform design.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Kate Orton-Johnson
Tel: (0131 6)51 1230
Course secretaryMr Joe Burrell
Tel: (0131 6) 51 3892
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