2021 DMRC Summer School

DMRC Summer School

08 – 10 February 2021 | #dmrcss21

Program information

Participants will have the opportunity to engage in a number of workshops delivered by DMRC facilitators.

Collecting qualitative data amongst hard-to-reach cohorts
In this workshop we will consider ethical and practical considerations for collecting qualitative data amongst hard-to-reach cohorts. Participants will engage in case studies based on the presenters’ own research, focusing on people who experience social isolation owing to geographic, cultural, and linguistic barriers. In breakout groups, participants will work to define challenges and devise solutions for contacting, recruiting, engaging, and following up with vulnerable people for interviews and focus groups (both face-to-face and online). By the end of the workshop, participants will have clear ideas about the kinds of questions to ask themselves when working with hard-to-reach individuals, families, organisations, and communities. Planning strategies from the outset will assist participants to provide platforms for marginalised voices to be heard in today’s fast-paced and dense digital media environment.
Dr Amber Marshall,  Aziz Abdul,
Dr Krystle Turner,
Souleymane Coulibaly
Platform Biography: An approach to studying change in social media
Once seen as niche, geeky, or merely trivial, social media platforms have become influential in every sphere of communication; but along the way their social meanings and cultures have shifted dramatically. This growth and transformation is the result of a dynamic co-evolutionary process, involving the mutual shaping of business models, technologies, user practices, and media discourses.  Drawing on Burgess and Baym’s book Twitter – A Biography (NYU Press, 2020), this workshop introduces the Platform Biography approach, models how it can be used to tell to the story of Twitter’s evolution from a mundane personal messaging service to a global mediator of politics and culture, and enables participants to explore how it can be applied to other platforms.
Prof Jean Burgess
Using theory
Theory underpins all academic research. We engage with theory when, for example, we bring a particular body of thought to bear upon a research problem; when we select a particular methodology (and its implicit theoretical assumptions) to structure our research activity; when we set out to test, develop, and/or challenge a particular theoretical viewpoint; and when we derive a theoretical argument from data, evidence, and examples.  Engaging with theory can be a means of tackling some of the most significant social, economic, and technological problems in society. It can also be a means of demonstrating the relevance of your research to a wide audience. However, theory can also be one of the most challenging, intimidating, and time-consuming aspects of doing research. It can be impenetrable, alienating, and difficult to write about.
In this workshop, a panel of researchers from each of the DMRC research programs will speak about the theoretical questions, problems, and/or challenges that inform their research. In the second half of the workshop, participants will workshop their own theoretical questions, problems, and/or challenges in groups, led by the panellists. You will come away from this workshop with a stronger sense of why theory matters to your research, as well as strategies for engaging with theory in your work.
Dr Benjamin Nicoll
Digital discourse studies
In this workshop, we will cover a mixed-methods research pipeline to tackle some of the issues facing discourse analysts and qualitative researchers investigating social media platforms. This pipeline will allow us to move from the big picture to the deep and rich picture. We will start with identifying discourses, publics, and communities using quantitative approaches, and will then move to analysing the discursive, material, agential, and structural aspects of the data, without necessarily assuming a hierarchical relationship among them. Some key considerations and limitations in doing discourse theoretical studies on social media data will be covered, including ‘where to look’, how to deal with the sheer volume of data, finding the ‘right’ datasets, accounting for the affordances and materialities of the platform, etc.
Dr Ehsan Dehghan
“So what’s the point?” Making normative claims about the future of digital tech
This session will help you contribute to ongoing debates about the regulation of technology companies and internet infrastructure. It addresses a set of key concerns that humanities and social science scholars often face in extrapolating recommendations from rigorous empirical research. It will help you situate your work in the context of the major trends and fault lines in global internet governance debates, including private platform governance, state regulation, and multistakeholder systems. Together, we will examine the role of researchers in contributing to efforts to ensure that the digital technologies that influence our societies are made more just and fair – and what that might mean.
Prof Nicolas Suzor
Using CrowdTangle data
CrowdTangle has emerged as one of the key sources of data on public posting activities on Facebook; it now also explicitly offers access to academic researchers. This workshop provides an introduction to the data available from CrowdTangle, and to how such data can be used in scholarly research. Working hands-on with CrowdTangle, the workshop introduces its functions; we will also work with data exported from CrowdTangle in the data analytics software Tableau to analyse and visualise patterns of communication.
Prof Axel Bruns
Collecting data from the web
This workshop will introduce you to the underlying structure of the world wide web to enable you to flexibly collect your own research data from web pages, and give you hands-on experience with web scraping.  No prior knowledge of coding or the mechanics of the internet is required.
You will learn the core concepts of how the internet works, what HTTP is, and how to identify the structural location of your desired data within a web page. You will explore the basics of web scraping using Python, and you will have an awareness of other methods and techniques you can explore. After completing this workshop, you will have a deeper understanding of the technical processes of the web, and a new tool in your toolbox for moving data off of the internet and onto your own computer in a manner that is as systematic and reproducible as possible.
Ashwin Nagappa, Betsy Alpert, Jane Tan, Prof Patrik Wikström

Scholarship engaging government
This session will feature a panel of scholars with experience working with government in various capacities and will discuss how to secure such opportunities and offer advice regarding doing such work.
Prof Amanda Lotz
Speed Mentoring Session
HDR Presentations 


QUT, KG Campus (in person event only)


There is no fee to attend DMRCSS21

How to apply


The Summer School is open to advanced PhD candidates, and early career researchers who received their PhD within the past three years. Simply complete the application form by 23 December 2020. If you are unable to access the form, please write to us at dmrc@qut.edu.au. Applications will be assessed by the DMRCSS21 organisers and participants will be selected based on a combination of: likely benefit of participating, research quality and alignment, and principles of diversity and inclusion. (preference will be given to applications from south east Queensland.)