Program Course Social Media Theory and Data in Journalism and Political Communication

In an earlier post I announced my new and upcoming course Social Media Theory and Data in Journalism and Political Communication in the Radboud Summer School. This current post presents the general schedule of the course. In short, the morning sessions focus on theories about social media in political communication and journalism. The afternoon sessions are hands-on sessions  on data collection, and data analysis. The afternoon sessions will particularly focus on what you can and can not do with social media data, although I do think you can do a lot more that you might think initially. You will also perform analysis yourself. The main tool will for social media analysis will be R. Why? In short, it’s free, flexible, has specific packages for social media data, works on Windows, Apple and Linux computers and in the cloud (if you want to). There are many more advantages and of course some disadvantages (there’s no perfect software package). I am working on a blog-post about R as a tool for analysis, so stay alert for a new post.

Regarding the afternoon hands-on sessions, I already have several English language social media data sets available for empirical analysis. These are tweet data, profile data as well as social network data.

DAY 1 (AUGUST 1, 2016)

  • Kick-off meeting of the course


  • Introduction to social media, theory and data
  • Presentation of student’s project interests

DAY 2 (AUGUST 2, 2016)

  • Approaches to studying social media data in journalism and political communication


  • The collection of social media data: API’s and software tools
  • Empirical descriptions and visualization of social media data
  • Approaches to longitudinal analysis of social media data

DAY 3 (AUGUST 3, 2016)

  • Social media content analysis: theory and methods
  • Content analysis: political and news issues, sentiment analysis


  • Different approaches to analyzing social media content data
  • Analyzing social media content

DAY 4 (AUGUST 4, 2016)

  • Social network analysis on social media data
  • Different approaches to networks on social media: social relations, hyperlinks, retweets and texts


  • Analyzing social networks and communication networks on social media

DAY 5 (AUGUST 5, 2016)

  • Advanced approaches to analyzing social media data
  • Setting the agenda for social media research in journalism and political communication


  • Student presentations
  • Reflection

Further general information about the Radboud Summer School can be found here.

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Maurice Vergeer

I am Maurice Vergeer, working at Communication Science department of the Radboud University Nijmegen, in the Netherlands.