Interdisciplinary Project: Automated Measurement of Individual Use of Digital Media



Financial support:

Freie Universität Berlin (E-Club)


Sep 01, 2015 — Feb 28, 2016

When collecting data about the individual use of digital and mobile media conventional social science methods such as interviewing, observing or media diaries are limited. Use situations on the internet are complex and diverse. Therefore, a systematic and detailed monitoring by innovative data collection methods and combinations of methods is necessary. Especially automated collection methods, such as log-file-analyses, seems useful. Nevertheless, such methods are not often used in empirical research and automated measurements to collect personal user data on media use are not advanced in social science.

The aim of this interdisciplinary project is to find out which steps are necessary to develop an architecture of software solutions that enable automated, accurate, valid, transparent, less reactive and cheap measurement of usage data of digital media like smartphone applications or internet services. For that, a cooperation of communication and computer science is necessary: On one hand the expertise of computer science is needed to develop the required software architecture, on the other hand it needs social science expertise to the empirical use of media research.

For that reason, the working group Software Engineering from the Institute of Computer Science (Prechelt) and the Division Media Use Research from the Institute for Media and Communication Studies (Emmer) have joined together for an interdisciplinary cooperation project.