Understanding media use in an age of big data

Project Details

Lead Supervisor: Prof Helen Kennedy (University of Sheffield)
Other Supervisors: Dr Mark Taylor (University of Sheffield)
Contact Email: h.kennedy@sheffield.ac.uk
Partners: University of Sheffield
External Partners: Dubit Ltd

Start Date: October 2018

Deadline for applications  8th June 2018

*Please note that due to data access restrictions, this project is only available to Home or EU students*

In our current big data age, media content, platforms, devices and apps are proliferating at great speed. In this context, media use is undergoing rapid change, and so too are methods for understanding how people use media and engage with media content. Audiences find media content in novel ways, and they follow their preferred media across diverse platforms, producing data about their individual media use patterns and behaviours as they do so. These by-product data exist alongside other data about media use, gathered via conventional methods such as surveys, focus groups and interviews. How to bring these data together to produce novel and robust understanding of cross-platform media use now and in the future is a challenge for media companies and for media researchers alike, not least because the data and related methods have limitations and raise issues relating to privacy and ethics. This PhD project addresses this challenge, by exploring how to understand media use in an age of big data and the methods for doing so.

Dubit (http://www.dubitlimited.com/), a strategy, research and development company focused on digital media and content for children, is an external partner on the project. Dubit produces ‘Dubit Trends,’ unique reports on children’s media usage based on large-scale global datasets. These datasets will form the starting point of this project. The precise details of the PhD will be agreed with the successful applicant and Dubit upon commencement of the project.

This is a 4-year PhD which incorporates an MSc in Data Analytics. It is an excellent opportunity to develop research methods, data analysis and critical thinking skills while carrying out research with real-world applications.

The deadline for applications is 8th June 2018. Interviews will take place before the end of June.

Reference number SH22

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