FM, Research Design and Empirical Methods - Seminar B: Digital Media, Networks and Society: in/visibility and attention

Course content

Digital media create ample opportunities for making things and people visible in competitive attention economies or through state and commercial surveillance. At the same time, these technologies often seem invisible or their inner workings impenetrable to us, if we pay attention to them at all. This seminar focuses on how to empirically analyse the many contemporary issues of such in/visibility and attention and the challenges that come with studying them in digital media ecologies. The course will equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to design, conduct and report on their own empirical project, as well as to critically reflect on research ethics and on their own position as researchers. While we draw on both qualitative and quantitative research, we do not expect or teach advanced statistical skills – instead, we will focus on data literacy and skills for critically assessing, for example, big data studies. Some of the more conventional research designs and methods are included (e.g., content analysis, experiment, eye tracking, comparative research), combined with more recent and, in some cases, digital methods. This includes digital ethnography to study ‘black-boxed’ algorithms and datawalking to examine the supposedly ‘invisible’ digital infrastructures or the sensors and devices that make up Copenhagen as a smart city (we will go on such a walk to see how it can be done). Overall, the seminar sessions range from methodological reflections and explorations of possible research designs for the investigation of in/visibility and attention to discussing and practicing different data collection and analysis methods. We will also include sessions focused on how to write a methods section and to prepare for the exam paper.


Master in Film and Media Studies, 2019-curriculum

Learning outcome

At the examination, the student is able to demonstrate:


Knowledge and understanding of:

  • the application of qualitative and quantitative empirical research methods to answer a given research question.
  • the theoretical bases underpinning different qualitative and quantitative methods, their respective explanatory efficacy, and how they are embedded in different research traditions.
  • mixed-method strategies, including the use of digital IT tools, their complex interaction, and how they may be applied to different film and media research questions.


Skills to:

  • formulate a research question and develop a complex, theoretical research design that necessitates the application of several empirical methods.
  • use different tools to collect and analyse different types and amounts of data and reflect critically on the tools used and the results achieved.
  • present a research design and argue for the selected methods in both written and spoken forms.


Competencies to:

  • select and combine the right methodological and theoretical tools to address a research question.
  • assess the chosen strategy and the applicability and validity of the research in relation to specific functions and contexts.

plan, conduct and present the results of empirical research based on film and media theory and methodology.


Lectures, seminars, in-class participation, presentations, group work, home assignments. In the first half of the semester, the course covers the fundamental stages in research designs. Here, lecturers and seminars supplement each other. In the second half of the semester, the teaching is primarily done as seminars, where students work on their own research projects in groups.

The joint seminars rely on a textbook on research designs and empirical methods. The seminar tracks use academic texts within the particular field that the seminar focuses on. Teaching and readings are predominantly in English.

The course presupposes basic knowledge of qualitative and quantitative methods in film- and media research. If a student is not familiar with the methods beforehand, it is expected that the student acquires
knowledge of these methods on their own during the semester.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Links to Curriculums:

Master in Film and Media Studies, 2019-curriculum:



Exams are conducted in English

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 367,5
  • English
  • 409,5


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

Study Board of Media, Cognition and Communication
Contracting department
  • Department of Media, Cognition and Communication
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinators
  • Franziska Marquart   (2-686f426a776f306d7730666d)
  • Olivier Driessens   (7-7673707d706c79476f7c7435727c356b72)

Franziska Marquart/Olivier Driessens

Saved on the 26-04-2021

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