News — Snurb, 6 September 2011
PhD Opportunities in Social Media Analysis at QUT

It’s that time of the year again: we are now calling for expressions of interest from prospective students interested in doing their PhD research with us in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia.

Regular readers of this blog will have a pretty good idea of the range of topics we’re interested in, but here’s a quick overview anyway:

  • Social media analytics: we’re interested in any projects exploring the use of social media from mixed-methods qualitative and quantitative perspectives. Students interested in this work should have a background in media, communication, or cultural studies and/or social sciences, computer sciences, and informatics; we particularly invite students who are able to engage in further methodological development either by building on the work we’ve already done in this field or by developing new tools and methods using different approaches and technologies. Also, while our primary focus in recent research has been on Twitter and blogs, this does not mean that other social media spaces are out of bounds for your work.

  • Social media in times of crisis: the role of social media during natural disasters and other acute events has been a particular focus of our recent work, and we are encouraging applications from prospective students looking to investigate these questions further. This may include research into the use of social media by end users and emergency organisations during natural disasters; the role of social media during the recent popular uprisings in the Middle East or the riots in the UK; the impact of social media coverage and discussion of breaking news on professional journalism; or other related topics – please make your own suggestions.
  • Social media in the wider media ecology: how do social media interweave with other old and new media forms? We are interested in PhD projects which pursue innovative methodologies to examine and track the flow of information between different media forms and platforms, and which thereby manage to develop a more comprehensive picture of the overall media ecology (in Australia or elsewhere; comparative studies are also welcome). This may build in part on the data about the structure of the Australian blogo- and Twitterspheres which we have already collected, or explore entirely new avenues for research into the changing role of social media in public communication.


A step-by-step guide to the PhD applications process at QUT is located here: In the first place, though, please contact Axel ( and Jean ( to discuss your project idea with us. The QUT applications deadline for PhD projects starting in 2012 is 14 October 2011; please note that you will also need to provide supporting documentation about your academic track record, English language abilities, and other background information. QUT also offers a range of scholarships for domestic and international students; while we cannot guarantee that you will be awarded a scholarship, quality PhD projects do stand a good chance of receiving funding support. For further information about PhD research at QUT, please see

As a PhD student with us, you will be based within the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries ( for the remainder of the CCI’s lifetime. The CCI was established in 2005 to focus research and development on the role the creative industries and their contributing disciplines make to a more dynamic and inclusive innovation system and society. With core support from the Australian Research Council from 2005-13, it is acknowledged as a global leader in this emerging field. It is a broadly-based, cross-disciplinary, internationally-focused centre embracing both fundamental theoretical, and highly applied, research in media, cultural and communication studies, law, education, economics and business and information technology, addressing key problems and opportunities arising for Australia, the Asian region, and more broadly in the world, from innovation in and through the creative economy.

The Centre plays a significant role in theoretical and strategic debates with academic, policy, and industry interlocutors, as well as working extensively on new empirical and technical methodologies, including, for example, the creation of new statistical approaches to measuring the creative economy, business intelligence services for creative enterprise, and ethnographic action research.

About the Author

Dr Axel Bruns leads the QUT Social Media Research Group. He is an ARC Future Fellow and Professor in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. Bruns is the author of Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond: From Production to Produsage (2008) and Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production (2005), and a co-editor of Twitter and Society, A Companion to New Media Dynamics and Uses of Blogs (2006). He is a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation. His research Website is at, and he tweets as @snurb_dot_info.

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