Project

SOFTWARE FOR CROSS-MEDIA PRACTICES AND DIGITAL TRACES RESEARCH: The development of a media diary and a sorting app

Goal: The aim of the project is the further development of a media diary app (MeTag) and a sorting / Q-sort app (MeSort) for cross-media research. For this purpose, the project is working with a co-creation approach that involves various researchers and users of the app in the development.

For further information see http://www.mesoftware.org.

Date: 1 September 2018

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Andreas Hepp
added a research item
Ziel dieses Artikels ist es, die Diskussion um Forschungssoftware in der Kommunikations- und Medienwissenschaft methodisch zu kontextualisieren. Das Kernargument dabei ist, dass wir uns „jenseits“ des Computational Turns der Kommunikations- und Medienwissenschaft befinden, sowohl im Hinblick auf ihren Gegenstand (die meisten Medien sind zu digitalen Medien geworden) als auch im Hinblick auf Theorien (die zunehmend das Digitale fokussieren) und Methoden (die ebenfalls verstärkt digital und computerbasiert sind). Man kann sich mit den Herausforderungen und Chancen des Einsatzes von Forschungssoftware nur dann angemessen auseinandersetzen, wenn man ihre Etablierung als Teil dieser generellen Veränderung der Kommunikations- und Medienwissenschaft begreift. Um dies zu verdeutlichen, wird ausgehend von der Reflexion des Wandels der Kommunikations- und Medienwissenschaft zunächst der Stellenwert digital basierter Methoden diskutiert. Im Mittelpunkt steht dabei die Entwicklung von virtuellen Methoden, digitalen Methoden und computerbasierten Methoden hin zu Mehrmethodendesigns digitaler Kommunikationsforschung. Auf dieser Grundlage wird dann die Rolle von eigenentwickelter Forschungssoftware diskutiert und diese in Bezug gesetzt zu Softwareanwendungen für die Forschung, Infrastruktursoftware und -diensten sowie Standardsoftware und -anwendungen, die für Forschungszwecke „umgenutzt“ werden. Hierüber zeigen sich Chancen und Herausforderungen von Forschungssoftware im Hinblick auf Softwarekompetenz, Interdisziplinarität und Nachhaltigkeit. Diese Rahmung dient dazu, die verschiedenen Aufsätze dieses Themenhefts einzuordnen, um damit das neue Thema „Forschungssoftware“ einer möglichst breiten Leserschaft zugänglich zu machen.
Andreas Hepp
added an update
The journal M&K has published a thematic issue on research software in media and communication studies, co-edited by us (open access, in German):
 
Andreas Hepp
added a research item
Ziel dieses Artikels ist es, die Diskussion um Forschungssoftware in der Kommunikations- und Medienwissenschaft methodisch zu kontextualisieren. Das Kernargument dabei ist, dass wir uns „jenseits“ des Computational Turns der Kommunikations- und Medienwis- senschaft befinden, sowohl im Hinblick auf ihren Gegenstand (die meisten Medien sind zu digitalen Medien geworden) als auch im Hinblick auf Theorien (die zunehmend das Digitale fokussieren) und Methoden (die ebenfalls verstärkt digital und computerbasiert sind). Man kann sich mit den Herausforderungen und Chancen des Einsatzes von For- schungssoftware nur dann angemessen auseinandersetzen, wenn man ihre Etablierung als Teil dieser generellen Veränderung der Kommunikations- und Medienwissenschaft begreift. Um dies zu verdeutlichen, wird ausgehend von der Reflexion des Wandels der Kommunikations- und Medienwissenschaft zunächst der Stellenwert digital basierter Methoden diskutiert. Im Mittelpunkt steht dabei die Entwicklung von virtuellen Me- thoden, digitalen Methoden und computerbasierten Methoden hin zu Mehrmethoden- designs digitaler Kommunikationsforschung. Auf dieser Grundlage wird dann die Rolle von eigenentwickelter Forschungssoftware diskutiert und diese in Bezug gesetzt zu Soft- wareanwendungen für die Forschung, Infrastruktursoftware und ‐diensten sowie Stan- dardsoftware und ‐anwendungen, die für Forschungszwecke „umgenutzt“ werden. Hier- über zeigen sich Chancen und Herausforderungen von Forschungssoftware im Hinblick auf Softwarekompetenz, Interdisziplinarität und Nachhaltigkeit. Diese Rahmung dient dazu, die verschiedenen Aufsätze dieses Themenhefts einzuordnen, um damit das neue Thema „Forschungssoftware“ einer möglichst breiten Leserschaft zugänglich zu machen.
Florian Hohmann
added an update
Am 03. Februar 2021 werden wir im Rahmen des ZeMKI-Forschungskolloquiums (16:15 Uhr bis 17:45 Uhr) den aktuellen Stand von MeSort und MeTag präsentieren und vor allem praktisch zeigen, wie man beide Programme in Forschung und Lehre einsetzen kann. Im Anschluss an unsere Präsentation steht dann auch noch Zeit zur Klärung von Fragen oder anderen Anregungen zur Verfügung.
Wenn Sie daran interessiert sind, können Sie einfach via Zoom am Forschungskolloqium teilnehmen, es ist öffentlich zugänglich. Der entsprechende Zoom-Link lautet:
Wir würden uns über Ihr Erscheinen freuen.
 
Florian Hohmann
added an update
Software development is never finished, and we are also busy with implementing new functions and improving the performance of MeTag and MeSort. Our latest efforts were directed towards better enabling research in the socially distanced time of Covid-19 and at the same time introducing more flexibility to the software. You can find the latest versions of MeTag and MeSort on our website https://mesoftware.org/.
There you will also find new flyers in English (https://mesoftware.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Flyer_MeSoftware_en.pdf) and in German (https://mesoftware.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Flyer_Meoftware_de.pdf). Feel free to share them and try out the software for yourself.
 
Florian Hohmann
added an update
With our current state of development of having a stable and working version of each of our software applications, we created a central website that's functioning as a hub for all our project outcomes. Here you can find access to MeTag and MeSort as well as manuals for both programs, files for translations and more tutorial material in the future. To find all this, please visit https://mesoftware.org/
 
Florian Hohmann
added 2 research items
The purpose of MeTag Analyze and the accompanying MeTag smartphone app is to provide researchers with a tool to collect and analyse media diaries. The data collection takes place via the above mentioned MeTag app on the participants’ smartphones. The data analysis is done via a web-based back-end app called MeTag Analyze which at the same time functions to start and end data collection projects. This manuel refers to version 1.0.3 of the MeTag app and version 1.0 of MeTag Analyze and is work in progress, which means that it will becontinuously updated as MeTag is developed.
The purpose of MeSort is to provide researchers with a versatile digital tool to conduct various kinds of sorting methods. At the current state of development, it supports a highly editable sorting scheme we call circle sort, which is often used for researching media repertoires. This sorting is usually done as a part of qualitative interviews, but also suitable for all kinds of sorting tasks. This manual refers to version 1.1 of MeSort and is a work in progress, which means that it will be continuously updated as MeSort is developed.
Andreas Hepp
added 2 research items
A consequence of living in a media-saturated world is that we inevitably leave behind digital traces of our media use. In this introduction to the International Journal of Communication's thematic section, we argue for a need to put those digital traces in context. As a starting point, we outline our basic understanding of digital traces, generally defining them as numerically produced correlations of disparate kinds of data that are generated by our practices in a media environment characterized by digitalization. On this basis, we distinguish three contextual facets that are of relevance when considering digital traces: first, the context of the scientific discourse in which research on digital traces is positioned; second, the context of the methods being applied to researching them; and third, the aforementioned context of the empirical field. With reference to the articles in this thematic section, this introduction argues that, in a single study, all three contextual facets interact as the scientific discourse relates to the methods being used, which in turn relates to the entire field of research. Digital Traces as a Phenomenon Whatever we do, wherever we are, by living in a media-saturated social world we leave behind footprints of our media use that compile an archive of "digital traces." To some degree we do this consciously; when we upload photographs to or write comments on the timelines of digital platforms, we leave an enduring imprint of our presence there. On the other hand, however, we are often unaware of the process as an (unintended) side effect of our media-related practices. This can be the case, for example, when using a search engine, when reading newspapers online, or when posting on Facebook or Andreas Hepp: andreas.hepp@uni-bremen.de Andreas Breiter: abreiter@uni-bremen.de Thomas
Network is a concept that in essence describes the linkages between different entities.In media and com- munication research, these entities typically are human beings. The analysis of human social networks and the role of media for building up the social relations of these networks has a long tradition, which goes back to the origins of empirical media and communication research. This long-term history corresponds with social sciences in general, where since the 1950s “network” became a more and more established concept to describe social relations, typically referring back to Alfred R. Radcliffe-Brown’s (1940) theorizing of social structure. However, with the spread of the global infrastructure of the Internet,“network” became a far more common concept. Whole books were written about the idea that society as such can be described as a “network society”. From this point of view, “network” became a very general metaphor for describing the linkages of various forms of human (and non-human) connectivity.
Andreas Hepp
added an update
In these times of COVID-19 and social distancing, researching media use, media repertories and data practices is not an easy task. The same applies to the teaching of empirical methods in this area.
Against this background, we would like to bring to your attention the free media diary (MeTag) and sorting software (MeSort) that we developed as part of a research project. Using it for scientific research and teaching is totally free of charge. 
  • MeTag allows you to set up research projects via our backend system MeTag Analyze, a browser application, and collect media diaries via a smartphone app on your participants’ phones. 
  • MeSort is a web app for sorting tasks with interviewees so that you are able to collect information about the media and other devices they use. 
Both applications are open source and free to use right now. You can find more information on our website http://www.mesoftware.org including detailed documentation and our contact details.
Feel free to have a look, use the software and tell us what you think.
 
Andreas Hepp
added 3 research items
[Online available at http://www.participations.org/Volume%209/Issue%202/contents.htm] This article proposes the concept of media repertoires as an instrument to overcome two challenges for research on media use: On the one hand it stresses the fact that individual patterns of media use include a composition of different media and that the way how the components of these repertoires are interrelated is a key to understanding people’s media use. On the other hand it provides a conceptual framework that allows integrating quantitative and qualitative empirical work and thus overcoming the gap between large scale quantitative research on media use and small scale qualitative research on the subjective meaning of particular practices. This is demonstrated by a project on patterns of media use in Germany that combined a quantitative and qualitative part. Findings show how this kind of approach can provide a rich basis for understanding today’s media related practices.
Methodenkombinationen stehen auf der Liste der Qualitätsempfehlungen für die empirische Forschung ganz oben und gelten als Königsweg der Datenerhebung. Sie sollen instrumentenspezifische Verzerrungen ausgleichen, Perspektiven ergänzen und vertiefen sowie eine verlässlichere Überprüfung von Theorien bzw. Hypothesen sichern (vgl. Kromrey 2002, 524). In der qualitativ orientierten Forschung ist in diesem Zusammenhang auch die Rede von ‚Triangulation’ – einer Kombination von Methoden entweder innerhalb der qualitativen Methoden oder zwischen qualitativen und quantitativen Methoden (vgl. Flick 2008, 2003).
With a focus on elderly people this article puts forward a concept of media generation as a thickening of one or more age groups of people who in their media appropriation share a specific experience space of mediatization and subsequently, based on their personal media biographies, develop a shared self-image as a media generation. Such a conceptualisation grasps media generation as a process. It operates with the central aspects of media relatedness, media-generational specifics of appropriation, and self-positioning. This offers an understanding of elderly people after retirement as members of a mass-media media generation. As the qualitative empirical analysis presented in this article demonstrates, members of this mass-media media generation define themselves in contrast to younger media generations.
Andreas Hepp
added an update
Fo more information about the project see the project's webpage: https://www.kommunikative-figurationen.de/en/projects/research-software/
 
Andreas Hepp
added a project goal
The aim of the project is the further development of a media diary app (MeTag) and a sorting / Q-sort app (MeSort) for cross-media research. For this purpose, the project is working with a co-creation approach that involves various researchers and users of the app in the development.
For further information see http://www.mesoftware.org.