Contemporary changes in digital media mean that a huge quantity of information is now routinely published online in the form of blogs, Twitter posts, YouTube videos and discussions on Social Network Sites (SNS) such as Facebook as well as in other chat rooms and forums. This has created many opportunities for research of a kind not possible before, but it also raises many challenges associated with effectively exploiting the data. The effective gathering and processing of online content on a large scale requires an approach drawing on subject and technical expertise from a range of different disciplines including media and communication studies, internet studies and information and computer science. This book is concerned with the application of research methods to address a series of important questions that currently motivate research in this area. By concentrating on individual social media 'objects', it highlights and encourages readers to explore a range of different objects to study, how to design research questions around these, consider ethics where relevant, alongside a range of quantitative and qualitative methods that could be considered.
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Professor Thelwall is head of the Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group, University of Wolverhampton, Docent at the Department of Information Studies at Abo Akademi University, and a research associate at the Oxford Internet Institute. His current research field includes identifying and analysing web phenomena using quantitative-led research methods, primarily link analysis and blog analysis, and he has pioneered an information science approach to link analysis. Mike has developed a wide range of tools for gathering and analysing web data, including hyperlink analysis, sentiment analysis and content analysis for Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, blogs and the web in general. Mike has authored 152 refereed journal articles and 2 books. He sits on five editorial boards.
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