AMLife Seminar Qualifying Digital Data for Media and Audience Research
13th and 14th December 2021, hybrid seminar, DCA, Roskilde University (DK)
With talks by Lev Manovich (City University of New York, USA) and Simon Lindgren (Umeå University, Sweden)
The research group Audiences & Mediated Life is pleased to invite contributions for a hybrid seminar that seeks to qualify digital data and computational tools for the study of media and audiences.
The aim of the seminar is to identify the challenges and opportunities of using digital data for media and audience researchers. The move towards digital methods has brought a host of new tools to the media and audience researcher, such as co-occurrence analysis, network analysis or sentiment analysis, that consider digital data as ‘big data’, aka. data of high volume, velocity and variety (Kitchin, 2014).
These digital data can potentially allow different and novel understandings of media and their audiences (Zeller, 2014), but can also be somewhat descriptive, a-theoretical and taken out of context. As Manovich (2011) reminds us, we should be wary of taking digital data as transparent representations of what people think and do. This can be illustrated by Kormelink & Meijer (2018), who showed how measures of clicks are poor indicators of interest for news. From an audience perspective, theoretical frameworks to make sense of digital data do exist, such as the “small act of engagement” or SAE framework (Picone et al., 2019), but consider only the qualitative dimension of these data. Hybrid “data theory” (Lindgren, 2020) is therefore called for.
Qualifying, in the context of this seminar, suggests two related meanings. First, it is an invitation for the rationales and principles of qualitative research to enrich the study of digital data via computational methods. Second, it suggests that digital data needs better qualification to be suited to the work of media and audience researchers. Hence, this seminar aims to answer two questions:
- How can qualitative research inform and qualify digital data for the purpose of media and audience research?
- How can digital data obtained via computational tools contribute to the work of the qualitative researcher?
We welcome contributions in the form of cases study, method experimentation, re-use of existing empirical material, theoretical reflection, literature review, etc. that make explicit the continuity, points of rupture and development that ‘big’ digital data have with existing theories, methodologies, fieldwork or data regarding a definite question or area of interest in media and audience research.
Programme and deadlines
The two-day seminar takes place on December 13th and 14th 2021 at Roskilde University, Denmark, but also partly online via Zoom. This CFP invites contributors to present at the seminar either in person or via Zoom by sending an abstract of 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than November 15th. Notice of acceptance will be provided shortly thereafter. On the second day, a ‘data walk’, entitled “Doing reception analysis with digital data” and aimed at media and audience researchers, is organized for on-site participants only. Participation at the seminar is free, whether on site or remotely, but places to the data walk are limited.
The seminar will be associated with the preparation of a journal special issue on the same theme. Participants to the seminar will be considered for inclusion in the special issue, but this does not imply a final invitation to publish. An announcement concerning the special issue will be made at the seminar.
Monday Dec 13th
11:00 to 12:15 Talk by Lev Manovich (hybrid)
12:15 to 13:15 Lunch (on site only)
13:15 to 14:45 Paper session 1 (hybrid)
14:45 to 15:15 Break
15:15 to 16:45 Paper session 2 (hybrid)
Tuesday Dec 14th
10:00 to 11:15 Talk by Simon Lindgren (hybrid)
11:15 to 11:30 Break
11:30 to 13:00 Paper session 3 (hybrid)
13:00 to 14:00 Lunch (on site only)
14:00 to 17:00 Data walk (on site only)
17:00 to 17:15 Goodbye (on site only)