Tools and Resources

IMG_0554This is an ongoing list of various tools that I’ve come across. It’s not comprehensive but it might help if you’re looking for new approaches, resources, and supports for your research.

Digital Methods Tools

The Digital Methods Initiative (DMI) at the University of Amsterdam has a suite of tools for tracking hyperlinks, analyzing Facebook groups and networks, examining Instagram images and follower networks, etc. They provide a range of tools for collecting web and social media data as well as data cleaning and analysis. Also, check out DMI Director Richard Rogers’ book “Digital Methods” and the DMI’s summer and winter schools to develop digital methods skills.

The Social Media Lab at Ryerson University has a range of ‘apps’ for data collection and analysis, including a social network analysis and text analysis program ‘Netlytic’. They have also compiled a Social Media Research Toolkit with links to open source tools around the web.

SocialMediaLab – an R coding package providing tools for collecting and constructing networks from social media data. Created by Timothy Graham and Robert Ackland.

For lots of data to sink your teeth into, visit the Berkman Center for Internet & Society’s Net Data Directory. It is a “free, publicly accessible database of information on different sources of data about the Internet.”

For assorted tools of a digital kind, try DiRT – the Digital Research Tools Directory. It provides a listing of digital tools for different stages of the research process.

Data Analysis

MAXQDA – the latest version of this qualitative and mixed methods data analysis software is da bomb. With drag and drop coding, the ability to code videos and photos, and easy ways to retrieve and analyse coded segments, I’ve really enjoying this program. You can even code with emoji. Check out the reduced price student license options.

Dedoose – This is a ‘software as service’ platform that allows you to upload data, code, and analyse qualitative data all online for a monthly subscription price.  What stood out most was their incredible customer service – they offered me nearly immediate responses to user troubles. I sent an e-mail about an issue I was having and they fixed the code, updated the program, and helped me remedy the problem all within a couple of hours.

Tableau – This is a data analysis program that lets you query and visualize quantitative data. I’ve only used Tableau Desktop, which is pretty sleek and much more intuitive than Excel for making graphs and charts. This program can be used to look at big datasets, such as Twitter data and works on a Mac or a PC. Check out the 1-year free license for students.

Inqscribe – a solid program for transcribing audio and video recordings and subtitling videos. Also has student pricing.

f5 – An excellent program to help with the transcription of digital audio and video files.

Social Network Analysis 

Gephi – A very sleek, intuitive and easy-to-use tool for network metrics and visualizations.

NodeXL (see also this page) – an add-on for Microsoft Excel that allows you to enter network data, calculate network metrics, and produce network graphs. It has built-in formulas for basic metrics, makes it easy to import data and also use other Excel features to analyse it. It includes features to automatically collect data from Twitter and other social media.


Sublime Text – I really like this coding application. It’s sleek, colour-coded, allows you to run code within the application instead of having to switch to Terminal, and it’s got a very good autocomplete function.

Beautiful Soup – I haven’t used this much yet but it’s supposed to be an excellent parsing package.

PIP – This was the first python package that I downloaded. It works really well to easily download and install packages from the Internet and worked better for me than ‘easy install’.

Knowledge and Teaching Resources

Social Media Collective – Focus on understanding the social and cultural dynamics that underpin social media technologies.

Data & Society – Research institute focused on social and cultural issues arising from data-centric technological development.

Datactive – A research project and collective exploring the politics of big data.

AI Now Institute – Research on the social implications of artificial intelligence.

Culture Digitally – Scholarly blog about cultural production and information technologies.

Creative Publics Lab – Brings students and organizations together to work on issues using digital media.

The Selfie Course – Readings, activities, and discussions for studying selfies.

WishCrys Syllabi, Teaching Guides, and Resources – Includes topics such as popular culture, emoji, and selfies.

Pokémon Go Syllabus – Relevant readings on mobile technologies, gaming, and technology.

Thesis Whisperer – A blog with advice and strategies for completing a thesis (and graduate life in general).

Staying Organized

Mendeley – A reference management program that connects with your text processor to help you import citations and bibliographies into your documents. It’s free, easy to use, provides cloud storage of pdfs. Highlighting and note-taking can be easily done in Mendeley.

Evernote – I’m still discovering features of this app but I’ve found it essential for archiving webpages.

Google Calendar – Essential for the busy student.

Dropbox – So much cloud storage and so easy to share with others. Students get a lot of bonus space.

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