Qualitative methods PhD course. Vienna. Late June. Join me!

Annette Markham

May 22, 2016

This summer, I’ve been appointed the Lazarsfeld Guest Professor at University of Vienna’s Department of Communication. Here, I’ll teach a week long intensive PhD course entitled Qualitative Methods: Flexible methods and adaptive stances for studying complexity in the digital era

Relevant Dates: June 28-July 2 (Tuesday-Saturday). To register for the course, visit the official website. Deadline June 12! For more information for participants outside the EU, contact me.

Description, objectives, and format of the course:

This course introduces PhD participants to contemporary approaches and methods associated with qualitative research of networked or digital culture; to provide a conceptual framework for building contextual ethics into qualitative research methods; to practice innovative techniques for analyzing visual, text, and multimedia material associated with Web 2.0 or social media communication environments.

Digital contexts can be considered most broadly as social contexts in which digital technologies are implicated or present as mediating factors in social interaction. In such contexts, the material, the technical, and the social overlap and interweave in flows of mediated, global social networks, which makes it difficult to identify research objects or find straightforward means of analyzing social interactions and cultural meanings. This course addresses the centrality of methodological decision-making as a part of ethically grounded, context-sensitive research conduct. It reviews various epistemological approaches to consider ways that traditional qualitative methods might be more flexibly and creatively adapted to grapple with the natural complexity of digital culture contexts.

In addition to having conceptual discussions, participants will engage in a series of analytical exercises to explore the general practices of mixing methods. These exercises are designed to develop a flexible approach, in appreciation of the fact that one’s lens and methods can shift over the course of a project as one delves more deeply into the data or as the research questions become more specified. Participants will discuss the goals of reflexivity in this process and the power of flexible adaptation in developing richer understandings of the entangled, networked characteristics of digital culture.

Tentative reading list will be finalized by June 5

June 28: General Logics for Qualitative Inquiry of Communication in a digital era: Rethinking vocabulary, practice, and mindset 

Mol, A., & Law, J. (2002 ). Complexities: An introduction. In Law, J. & Mol, A. (Eds). Complexities: Social studies of knowledge practices (1-22).  Duke University Press.

Markham, A. (forthcoming). Ethnography in a digital internet era: From object to flows, description to intervention. In Denzin, N., & Lincoln, Y. (Eds.). Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. London: Sage.

Markham, A. (2013). Remix Cultures, Remix Methods: Reframing qualitative inquiry for social media contexts. In Denzin, N., & Giardina, M. (Eds.). Global dimensions of qualitative inquiry (pp. 63-81). Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.

Bakhtin, M. (1986). The problem of speech genres. In C. Emerson and M.  Holquist (Eds.). Speech genres and other late essays (trans. Vern McGee). Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. PDF Here

Geertz, C. (1973). Thick description: toward an interpretive theory of culture (from his book The interpretation of cultures: selected essays (pp. 3-30). New-York: Basic Books.). In Lincoln, Y. S., & Denzin, N. K. (Eds.). Turning points in qualitative research (pp. 143-159). Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira.

Weick, K. (1969). The social psychology of organizing. Chapters 4, 5, ad 6.

(general approaches underlying this day include symbolic interactionism, pragmatism, grounded theory, systems theory)

June 29: Finding a focus in complexity without oversimplification 

van Dijck, J. (2013). Cultures of Connectivity: A critical history of social media. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Read chapter 2

Clarke, A. (2003). Situational Analyses: Grounded Theory Mapping After the Postmodern Turn. Symbolic Interaction, 26(4), 553- 576.

Markham, A. N. & Lindgren, S. (2014). From object to flow: Network sensibilities, symbolic interactionism, and social media. Studies in Symbolic Interactionism, 43, 7-41.

(to earlier approaches, this day emphasizes actor network theory, political economic perspectives, network theory, and feminist theories of science)

June 30: Creating, generating, and then studying ‘the field’: A multi-sensory project

 Ellingson, L. (2013). Are you serious? Playing, performing, and producing an academic self.  In Denzin, N., & Giardina, M. (Eds.).  Global Dimensions of Qualitative Inquiry (pp. 195-209). Willow Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.

Tiidenberg, K. (tba)

Pink, S. (2007) ‘Walking with Video’ in Visual Studies 22(3): 240-252

(to earlier approaches, this day adds sensory ethnography, visual ethnography, mixed methods, bricolage, semiotics (only a bit))

July 1: Reflexivity and the Ethics of data collection, analysis, and representation

Markham, A. N. (2009). How can qualitative researchers produce work that is meaningful across time, space, and culture? In Markham, A. N., & Baym, N. K. (Eds.). Internet inquiry: Conversations aboutmethod (pp. 131-155). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Available from: http://markham.internetinquiry.org/writing/global.pdf

Markham, A. N., & Buchanan, E. (2015). Ethical considerations in digital research contexts. In Wright, J. (Ed.). Encyclopedia for Social & Behavioral Sciences (pp. 606-613). Elsiver Press.

Markham, A. (2012). Fabrication as ethical practice: Qualitative inquiry in ambiguous internet contexts. Information, Communication, & Society, DOI:10.1080/1369118X.2011.641993

(to earlier approaches, this day adds phronesis or casuistic (case-based) ethics, virtue ethics (only obliquely), qualitative research criteria)

July 2: Topic to be determined later, based on participants

(readings may be added here)


  1. this sounds very interesting. however, the official website registration seems to be designed for students of Vienna university. is there any other way for international students to register for the workshop?

  2. I am very much interested in learning this methodology but I am serving in International Islamic University Islamabad, Pakistan. How is it possible for me to attend this course.

  3. Hi!

    I tried applying for the course but it seems that I need a user ID, which I don’t have, I don’t even know what kind of ID is required. Is it possible for PhD students not enrolled in studies at Vienna University to take the course?

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