Researching digital communication and learning within social networking environments

Institute of Educacion – University of London. PhD Studentship – ESRC National Centre for Research Methods Node . Three-year PhD Studentship (full-time) commencing October 2011
Joint supervisors: Dr Neil Selwyn and Prof. Carey Jewitt (London Knowledge Lab)

Project details: 
We are seeking applicants for an ESRC three-year PhD studentship. The studentship is linked to the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) node on ‘Multimodal Methods for Researching Digital Data and Digital Environments’. The studentship will be based in the London Knowledge Lab at the Institute of Education in central London, and will commence in October 2011. 
 
The broad research focus of the studentship is in the area outlined below but the student will have the opportunity to contribute to the design and shape the direction of their study within this area. We are seeking applicants with a good 2:1 or 1st class undergraduate degree and a Masters degree in social science or relevant discipline. The studentship includes the standard research council stipend and covers tuition fees. Applicants must meet ESRC eligibility criteria.
 
The PhD studentship will examine the topic of ‘methodological issues of researching communication and learning within social networking sites’. Through a series of case-study projects, the studentship will explore the applicability of different research designs and methods that provide more detailed, sophisticated and rich understandings of how people engage with social networking environments, and the role of social networks as both ‘living technologies’ and ‘learning technologies’. 
 
In keeping with the multimodal and digital focus of the node, particular attention will be paid to the range of visual, audio and textual data that exist in social networking environments, as well as the challenges of researching people’s ‘polymedial’ engagements with technologies (i.e. the tendency to use – and be ‘present’ in – different media concurrently). It is expected that the doctoral project will therefore contribute to the development of some/all of the thematic strands that cut across the node, i.e.: representation and transcription; physicality and embodiment; time and space; naturally-occurring digital data; and/or mixed methods.