case study on social media websites
Throughout the semester, you will work on an independent research project related to the topics discussed in the course. In the first half of the semester, you will do a case study of an example of the media we’re discussing (for example, a website, a social media platform, a handheld device, an online show, etc.), and write a midterm paper on it. The paper should be 5-7 pages, double-spaced, in 11 or 12 font (New Times Roman). There are a few general options for how to do the research for this case study:
User Interviews. Track down some users (say between 5 and 10) of a website, a platform, a device, a type of web-based content, etc. These could be friends, relatives, or classmates. Interview them about how and why they use it. What social needs or gratifications does it serve?
Content Analysis. Examine a website, online show, etc., closely, and analyze it. What is its social agenda: to entertain, to convince, to promote? What kinds of messages is it sending? What kinds of social or political meanings are being conveyed and how?
Participant Observation. Observe how users actually use the thing in question. For example, watch how your friends use their mobile phones and take notes, or analyze your friends’ Instagram photos and the comments they post. What does their behavior tell you about the social meaning of the website, etc.?
Archival Research. Find data on the ownership of a website, or how it is managed or run. Find articles discussing its founding, its history, its professional culture, or its organization.
Some Combination of the Above