Social media and the social sciences: methods and tools for academic research

Social media as a research tool has gained in popularity in recent years. Those new to the field may wish to know about the key methodologies and tools that can be used for the analysis of data. This post will provide a round-up of popular methods and tools for the analysis of social media data.

Although there will be a number of ways to build custom scripts for the analysis of data; it remains that pre-existing tools remain popular for social science scholars as it removes the need for development skills. Twitter remains the most utilised platform and will be the focus of this post.

New event for 2019! Social Media & Digital Humanities: Methods/Approaches For Social Scientists

As a wrote in my 2015 LSE Impact blog post:

  • Sentiment analysis works well with social media data, as posts may be  consistent in length
  • Time series analysis is normally used when examining posts overtime to see when a peak of social media posts may occur
  • Network analysis is used to visualize the connections between people and to better understand the structure of the conversation.
  • Machine learning methods may work well with social media data because of the volume of tweets
  • Qualitative analysis methods  (such as thematic and content analysis) are rare for social media research, however, they can often offer up more depth than quantitative methods.

Read more here 

In terms of popular tools for the analysis of social media data a list of popular tools is populated below:

An overview of tools for 2019

Tool OS Download and/or access from Platforms*
Audiense Web-based https://buy.audiense.com/trial/new Twitter
Chorus (free) Windows (Desktop advisable) http://chorusanalytics.co.uk/chorus/request_download.php Twitter
COSMOS Project (free) Windows
MAC OS X
http://socialdatalab.net/software Twitter
Echosec Web-based https://www.echosec.net Instagram
Twitter
Foursquare
Panoramio
AIS Shipping
Sina Weibo
Flickr
YouTube
VK
Followthehashtag Web-based http://www.followthehashtag.com Twitter
Mozdeh Windows (Desktop advisable) http://mozdeh.wlv.ac.uk/installation.html Twitter
Netlytic Web-based https://netlytic.org Twitter
Facebook
YouTube
Instagram
RSS Feed
NodeXL Windows http://nodexl.codeplex.com Twitter
YouTube
Flicker
NVivo Windows and MAC http://www.qsrinternational.com/product Twitter
Ability to import
SocioViz Web-based http://socioviz.net Twitter
Trendsmap Web-based https://www.trendsmap.com Twitter
Twitonomy Web-based http://www.twitonomy.com Twitter
Twitter Arching Google Spreadsheet (TAGS) Web-based https://tags.hawksey.info Twitter
Visibrain Web-based http://www.visibrain.com Twitter
Webometric Analyst Windows http://lexiurl.wlv.ac.uk Twitter (with image extraction capabilities)
YouTube
Flickr
Mendeley
Other web resources

The tools above can be used in a manner to conduct academic research that many may believe that is not possible! Consequently I am running a 1 day intensive training event teaching the above skills and techniques on May 17th in London (online attendance will be made possible). Information provided below:

NEW EVENT!

Social Media & Digital Humanities: Social Network Analysis Using NodeXLSocial Media and Digital Humanities: Methods and Approaches For Social Scientists and Digital Marketing Professionals

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This event will introduce the importance of social media research and provide an overview of NodeXL Pro for the analysis of social media data.

NodeXL provides easy access to social media network data streams, advanced network metrics, and text and sentiment analysis, and powerful report generation with just a few clicks.

It will be led by an expert in the area, Dr Wasim Ahmed who has taught Undergraduate, Masters, and PhD level courses on social media data analytics.

 

Learn tips and tricks for downloading and analysing social media data for your project!

No previous knowledge required.

Online attendance possible!

Register here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/social-media-digital-humanities-social-network-analysis-using-nodexl-tickets-59532362900

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