Online / ICOSS conference room, ICOSS Building, 219 Portobello, Broomhall, Sheffield S1 4DP


18 Apr 2024


10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Digital methods for the social sciences: YouTube research

This workshop has been organised by the Digital Technologies, Communication and Artificial Intelligence (DCA) Pathway and is open to all ESRC and non-ESRC funded PhD and MA Social Research students within the WRDTP’s seven partner universities. Whilst this workshop is aimed at DCA Pathway students, PGRs from all seven interdisciplinary Pathways are welcome to attend.

The workshop will develop via three taught sessions, combining conceptual discussions and practical guidance. While practising with YouTube data, students will gain skills that can be used in most social media projects, like issue mapping, network visualisations and text analytics. Lunch will be provided for those attending face-to-face.

Session 1: Introducing digital methods
During this brief session, Dr Stefania Vicari will introduce digital methods and position them vis-a-vis qualitative and quantitative social science research.

Session 2: Investigating issue spaces on Youtube using YouTube data tools
In this session, Dr Warren Pearce will introduce students to YouTube data collection (with the YouTube Data Tools) and social network analysis (with Gephi) for studying issue spaces through hashtags. In person attendants will be able to experiment with these tools and share their work at the end of the session.

Session 3: Making sense of large corpora of YouTube comments
In this session, Prof Mike Thelwall will discuss ways to collect and study the text of comments on YouTube videos using the free social media text analytics software Mozdeh. In person attendants will be able to try the software and share their work at the end of the session.

Those attending the event online will not be able to participate in the practical tasks but will be able to independently access all the material made available for these tasks.

At the end of the event students will be able to:

  • position digital methods within social science research
  • discuss the implications of studying social media to investigate social science problems
  • discuss strengths and limitations of API-based, automated social media data collection
  • use YouTube tools and Gephi to study  YouTube issue spaces through hashtags.
  • use Mozdeh to analyse large datasets of YouTube comments
  • develop basic issue mapping, network visualisations and text analytics

Attendees should note the below:

Please read chapter 1 of Rogers, R. (2019). Doing digital methods. Sage.
If you do not have access to Rogers’ book, or if you want to learn more, you can watch: Rogers, R. (2018) Repurposing Social Media for Social Research? Five Critiques https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLmw9PS9XC8.

For Mozdeh text analysis background, please read: Thelwall, M. (2023). Word Association Thematic Analysis: Insight Discovery from the Social Web. SN Computer Science, 4(6), 827.

Use of laptops

Students attending in person will need to bring their own laptops. A Windows laptop will be needed for session 3.

Ahead of the event, they should download and install:
Gephi, available at https://gephi.org/
Mozdeh: http://mozdeh.wlv.ac.uk/ (notice that Mozdeh only works on Windows)

Students are also encouraged to familiarise themselves with:

Youtube Data Tools: https://wiki.digitalmethods.net/Dmi/ToolYouTubeDataTools

This training session will be delivered in a hybrid format.

This training session will be recorded.