HFMK03402U FM, Module 5/Module 4: Big data, small data - The complementary sources of audience and user studies in the digital media environment

Volume 2016/2017

Master in Film- and Media Studies,

2016-curriculum (Module 5) + 2013-curriculum (Module 4)


Big data – the bit trails that users leave behind on digital platforms – has received much public as well as scholarly attention in recent years: big data have become a central source of insight into what users do with media in everyday life. At the same time, other forms of evidence – surveys, focus groups, offline and online observation, etc. – remain key to both basic and applied research about the digital media environment. This course focuses on the complementarity of big and small data in audience and user studies.


The course has three main elements. First, we consider the changing technological conditions of doing audience and user studies in the first place, reviewing recent theories and studies of communication in digital as well as analog media. Second, we compare and contrast different methodological approaches to current media, including the distinction between data that are ‘found’ and ‘made’: researchers ‘find’ evidence of Facebook use patterns online, and they ‘make’ additional data offline about the experience of being a Facebook user through telephone surveys or in-depth interviews. Third, we examine selected cases of media use, based on participants’ interests and exam projects. All participants will be expected to make presentations of their projects in class, and to engage in critical, constructive discussions in workshops with other participants.

Learning Outcome

Master in Film and Media Studies 2016-curriculum:
Module 5: Audience and User studies: HFMK03401E

Master in Film and Media Studies 2013-curriculum:
Module 4: Audience and User studies: HFMK03071E


Required readings

Jensen, Klaus Bruhn (Ed.) (2012). A Handbook of Media and Communication Research:

Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies (2nd ed.). London, New York: Routledge.

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger & Kenneth Cukier (2013). Big Data: A Revolution That

Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


Seminars and workshops
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 42
  • Course Preparation
  • 367,5
  • Total
  • 409,5
Type of assessment
The exam will be conducted in English or Danish
Criteria for exam assesment