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Researching Digital Life

Researching Digital Life
Orientations, Methods and Practice

March 2024 | 328 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

We now live in a world where all aspects of everyday life are thoroughly mediated by digital technologies. Making sense of digital life is accordingly an essential undertaking for social science and humanities scholars.

This multidisciplinary book provides an essential guide to researching digital life:

  • Orienting readers with respect to methodologies, research design, and research ethics.
  • Detailing key research methods, including interviews, surveys, ethnographies, walking methodologies, arts-based and participatory approaches, historical analysis, data visualisation, mapping and data analytics.
  • Demonstrating these methods in action in real-world studies that have investigated apps and interfaces, social and locative media, mobilities, smart cities, and digital labour and work.
The authors provide:
• Non-Eurocentric perspectives and case studies from diverse disciplines 
• Annotated further reading to help you situate your research alongside existing research in your field 
• An outline of future directions for researching digital life.

Accessible in style and richly illustrated, the chapters provide a wealth of key insights and practical information to ensure research projects are successfully planned and implemented.

Methodologies, Ontologies and Epistemologies
Research Design and Implementation
Research Ethics
Methods and Approaches
Interviews, Surveys, Observation and (Auto)Ethnography
Walking Methodologies, Walkthroughs and Audits
Arts-Based Methods
Participatory Methods
Historical Methods
Data Visualisation and Mapping
Data Analytics
Methods in Action
Apps and Interfaces
Social and Locative Media
Smart Cities
Digital Labour
Final thoughts

“The pervasive digital mediation of everyday life presents unique epistemological, methodological, ethical, and practical challenges for social science researchers. This text offers researchers a thorough and greatly-needed critical review of these issues, along with vital guidance for undertaking studies of digital life.”

Sarah Elwood
University of Washington

“This book represents a pivotal moment in digital social research. By exploring a comprehensive range of questions, methods and means of data generation and analysis, it captures the present and future of social research. Thoughtful, thorough and reflexive, the text insightfully details how to make sense of our digital lives.” 

David Beer
University of York

“Researching Digital Life is essential reading for anyone interested in investigating and understanding how the digital has become part of our lives. This excellent book offers an incredibly accessible and comprehensive guide to digital methods, and by introducing approaches from the social sciences, arts and computational sciences alongside each other it also delivers the interdisciplinary vision of digital research that all researchers will benefit from."

Sarah Pink
Monash University

Contemporary, straight forward read for dissertation students

Ms Paula Hearsum
School of Arts and Media, Brighton University
March 18, 2024

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