Spring 2021

17-397 & 17-641

Introduction to Qualitative Research:
Social Media Apps and Video Content Creation

Syllabus   |  Course Schedule  | Course Materials


Time: Monday, Wednesday 2:20p.m. – 3:40p.m.
Instructor: Daniel Klug ([email protected]

Zoom link for classes: TBA


Course Description

Short-video apps, such as TikTok, have revealed themselves to be highly accessible and increasingly ubiquitous in regards to online social interaction and are currently the most popular social media among mostly young(er) users. This course focuses on how humans as users interact with and understand social technology and how the use of social media apps is connected to and integrated into our everyday life by asking questions like: What are users’ motivations to participate in video creation and sharing on social media? What are their practices, strategies, and routines in creating short-form videos as part of digital online culture? What do they know about socio-technical aspects in using short-video apps and creating short-form video content? How does their understanding of socio-technological aspects influence their use of social media apps?

This course is designed to enable students to develop and conduct their own individual research project. For this, students will learn how to design, conduct, and analyze qualitative interviews to research socio-technical, cultural, and political perspectives of usage of and engagement with short-form videos and short-video apps, such as TikTok. The course instructor will closely mentor and supervise students’ research projects throughout the semester and will provide expertise and background in qualitative methods and social media research to guide students through the research process.

Students will have to read and discuss basic literature on social media, short-video apps, and literature on the method of conducting and analyzing qualitative interviews. Students will also have to research additional literature that is relevant to their individual research project.

The main focus of this course is to provide students with a dynamic and interactive forum to develop and discuss their research process. For this, students will have to constantly present updates on their research activities to get feedback and supervision with their project from the course instructor as well as from other students; and students will have to prepare and give constructive feedback on other students’ research process when they present in the course sessions. By the end of the semester, students will have to write a research report that includes their theoretical approach to their research, their methodological approach of collecting and analyzing data, and their results from analyzing and interpreting their data. Ideally, this report can be the basis for an academic paper submission.

Overall, the objective of the course is to teach students the steps of conducting a qualitative research project, to teach students basic knowledge of doing and analyzing qualitative interviews, and to provide students with a forum to work on and complete an individual research paper over the course of the semester.



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