Researching Language and Social Media : A Student Guide book cover
2nd Edition

Researching Language and Social Media
A Student Guide

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after February 28, 2022
ISBN 9780367640088
February 28, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
256 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Researching Language and Social Media: A Student Guide introduces the linguistic frameworks currently used to analyse language found in social media contexts. This highly accessible guidebook outlines the practical steps and ethical guidelines entailed when gathering linguistic data from social media sites and platforms.

In this new edition, the authors update the range of social media interactions used as examples and draw attention to important developments such as ‘fake news’ and new areas of debate such as hate speech. Expanding the geographical and multilingual aspects, this edition also includes examples from Asia and the Arabic-speaking world. With updated methods that help students study the language of social media from a multimodal perspective, the recent up-take in image sharing, video-chat and graphicons will also be addressed. Each chapter begins with a clear summary of the topics covered and also suggests sources for further reading to supplement the initial discussion and case studies.

This timely book is an essential guide for students of English language and linguistics, media and communication studies.

Table of Contents


List of Figures


1. What is Social Media?

2. What might a Linguist Say about Social Media?

3. What does it mean to Research?

4. What are Internet Research Ethics?

5. Analysing Discourse: Qualitative Approaches

6. What are Ethnographic Approaches?

7. Carrying Out a Study of Language Practices in Social Media?

8. Collecting Social Media Materials for Quantitative Projects

9. Working with Social Media Data: Quantitative Perspectives


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Ruth Page is a Reader at the University of Birmingham in the Department of English Language and Linguistics. She has written several books including Stories and Social Media (Routledge, 2012) and Narratives Online: Shared Stories and Social Media (Cambridge University Press, 2018). She is editor of New Perspectives on Narrative and Multimodality (Routledge, 2010); co-editor of Museum Thresholds: The Design and Media of Arrival (Routledge, 2018).

David Barton is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University, UK. His research interests include rethinking the nature of literacy. His major publications include Language Online (Routledge, 2013) and Literacy: An Introduction to the Ecology of Written Language (Blackwell, 1994 [2007]).

Carmen Lee is Associate Professor in the Department of English at Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include digital discourse and literacies, multilingualism, and more recently verbal aggression online. Her major publications include Language Online (2013, with David Barton) and Multilingualism Online (2017).

Johann Wolfgang Unger is a Lecturer in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University, UK. His publications include The Discursive Construction of the Scots Language (John Benjamins, 2013) and chapters in the most recent editions of Methods of Critical Discourse Studies (Sage, 2016) and Qualitative Research (Sage, 2021). His most recent publication is ‘Digitally mediated discourse analysis’ in Researching Discourse (Routledge, 2020).

Michele Zappavigna is Associate Professor in the School of Arts and Media at the University of New South Wales. Her recent books include Searchable Talk: Hashtags and Social Media Metadiscourse (Bloomsbury, 2018), Discourse of Twitter and Social Media (Bloomsbury, 2012). Co-authored books include Discourse and Diversionary Justice (Palgrave, 2018), Modelling Paralanguage Using Systemic Functional Semiotics (Bloomsbury, 2021) and Affiliation and Systemic Functional Linguistics: Negotiating Community (Equinox, forthcoming).


Written by some of the foremost researchers and experienced teachers in the field this thoroughly revised edition includes new forms of digital communication and cultures as well as emergent methods of research while continuing to provide a highly accessible resource to those studying and researching language and social media.

Richard Fitzgerald, University of Macau, China

Recently updated to include an even broader array of platforms and topics, this latest edition of Researching Language and Social Media: A Student Guide addresses key methodological considerations in studying language in digital contexts. Essential reading for students – and more experienced scholars – interested in researching language online.  

Camilla Vásquez, University of South Florida, USA