MediaLaB, a project founded at the Department of Political Science of the University of Pisa, is primarily aimed at in-depth exploration of topics related to communication, new media, and social networks.
MediaLaB plays an important role in coordinating these research projects, contributing significantly to the field.
Furthermore, MediaLaB establishes collaborations and agreements with public and private institutions, involving experts in the field, students, and trainees.
With its multidisciplinary essence, MediaLaB welcomes the participation of a diverse array of scholars and researchers.
Some of our research partners are:
- Istituto di Informatica e Telematica del CNR of Pisa.
- Osservatorio sulla Comunicazione Politica e Pubblica at the Department of Political Studies of the University of Torino.
- CoLing Lab at the Department of Philology, Literature and Linguistics of the University of Pisa.
MediaLaB is also part of the project Policom.online that studies political communication on social media platforms and interactions between politicians, media, parties and citizens on political campaigns, specifically during the 2018 elections of the Italian Parliament.
The extensive quantity of available data and its varying degrees of public accessibility present new challenges for social and political research.
For researchers, managing and processing this data is a significant challenge. Equally important are the methods and methodologies that enable the interrogation of this so-called ‘Big Data’ to transform it into a source of knowledge.
To produce scientifically valid knowledge, analytical processes and methods of investigation must be grounded in a solid theoretical framework and subjected to discussion within the scientific community.
Moreover, the increasing complexity of Big Data requires specific knowledge and capabilities from diverse and seemingly disparate research fields. Complexity and multidisciplinary approaches are key to studying social processes through Big Data, which evolves in tandem with the growing intricacy of social organizations and their characteristics.
These considerations represent the epistemological perspective and the common starting ground of the MediaLaB and its researchers.
MediaLaB’s scope is to study the relationship between communication, social sciences, new media, and social networks through specific research projects, aiming to deepen our understanding of these domains using specialized Big Data methods and methodologies. To succeed in this objective, MediaLaB gathers different scientific approaches and experiences, building a scientific language and common practices that allow the analysis of political and social phenomena from a multidisciplinary and elaborate perspective.
Furthermore, MediaLaB intends to be a meeting point for researchers with various capabilities and experiences carrying out two important functions: incubator of ideas; and coordination between researchers.
Research themes and topics include (but are not limited to):
- Social Media Populism (how populism evolved and spread through social media from a communicative point of view);
- Social Media Habits (how political communication actors – e.g. journalists, politicians, citizens – behave and adopt social media, and how communication practices evolved in a hybrid communicative environment);
- Online Campaigning (how “new” media shape political communication during election campaign and how main actors deal with it);
- Online Social Networking (how different actors interact in online environments, and which are the attention, influence, and participation dynamics);
- Visual Political Communication (how political communication actors use and exploit visual communication in online environment according to different goals);
- Social Media Management for research and non-profit institutes (how to communicate research and its results through social media to several audiences).