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Researching Digital Life - SOC00027M

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  • Department: Sociology
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. David Beer
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

What are the social science approaches to and challenges of studying digital life in contemporary societies? The module proposes a reflective and empirical approach to the tools and possibilities of doing social sciences research around Social and Digital Media.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

This module introduces you to a number of ways in which digital technologies can be explored as sites for social research. You will explore the main ways in which sociological research has been carried out in and around social media platforms and the way it has impacted how we understand the social world. The module will provide you with tools to understand different forms of research in social media as well as critically evaluate its methods and results. The module will invite you to a critical reflection on the ethical dimensions of digital platforms and do research on them.

Module learning outcomes

At the end of this module students will be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate research through digital media in a variety of contexts and settings.

  2. Develop relevant sociological research questions around social media.

  3. Create social media research projects that consider appropriate methods and ethical implications.

  4. Critically evaluate data, findings, and discourses about digital media in a number of contexts, from academic environments to popular media.

  5. Analyse and differentiate the ways in which digital research understands the world.


Task Length % of module mark
Methodological and ethical reflection
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Reflective and Analytical essays
N/A 100

Module feedback

For formative work - presentation- students will receive written or verbal feedback on how to improve their skills in areas that will contribute towards their summative assessment. The formative assessment provides practice for the summative portfolio task which is in line with MLO particularly 1-5.

For summative work - ethical and methodological reflection on a dissertation plan - students will receive an overall mark and grading according to clearly defined criteria for assessing their knowledge, skills and abilities in line with 1-5. They will also receive written feedback showing areas in which they have done well and those areas in which they need to improve that will contribute to their progress.

Indicative reading

Hooley, T., Wellens, Jane and Marriott, John. (2012). What is Online Research? : Using the Internet for Social Science Research. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Sloan, L., & Quan-Haase, Anabel editor. (2017). The SAGE handbook of social media research methods / edited by Luke Sloan, Anabel Quan-Haase. (1st ed.). Los Angeles: Los Angeles : SAGE.

Sujon, Z. (2021). The social media age / Zoetanya Sujon. London ; Thousand Oaks, California : SAGE Publications Ltd.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.