Doing Social Media Analysis with Free Tools



A Digital Sociology Study Group Event

28 April 2017, 10:00-13:00
Leeds Beckett University, UK

Analysing Data from Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and Smartphones

Social media are now a central part of many people’s lives. When we send messages, comment, upload photographs and make connections with others we are creating new kinds of networks. This creates vast amounts of data which hide valuable insights. This workshop will introduce a range of free tools which can help you to collect and analyse these data. It will also help you to tackle the even thornier issue of how to interpret these data as a sociologist.

We will engage in hands-on workshop activities on data-driven digital methods and their research applications in relation to people’s lives.The aim is to introduce critical engagement with the digital tools as well as the application of these tools to research questions. The workshops will be conceptually grounded in the problems of public communication and privacy, digital media production and consumption, and the ethical issues associated with big/social data and digital methods in the context of digital media environments.

Outline of the event

Tools to be introduced will enable researchers to collect data from Smartphones; Twitter; Youtube; Facebook as well as visualise and export the data for publication without any programming skills required.

Asking questions regarding every decision in these processes is a necessary component of thinking sociologically while archiving, visualising and interpreting the data being collected.

We will work through four main themes:

  • Social Media Data Collection
  • Social Media Data Analysis
  • Visualisation and Presentation
  • Ethics of Mapping Social Media

Convened by Dr Steven McDermott who lectures on contemporary developments in media and communications at the University of the Arts London.

Booking Open

BSA Member: £5
Student: £7
Non-Member: £10

Book now!

Donald Trump World 2017

Decided to quickly create an interactive map of Donald Trump’s affiliations with various organisations. Inspired by data and an article from Buzzfeed. [] . Just click on the image… or download the pdf version trumpworld2017.

Donald Trump World 2017

Each [node] represents a connection between a person and an organization (e.g., The Trump Organization Inc. and Donald J. Trump), a person and another person (e.g., Donald J. Trump and Linda McMahon), or two organizations (e.g., Bedford Hills Corp. and Seven Springs LLC).

Critically engaging with social media research tools

critically-engaging-with-social-media-research-tools powerpoint slides for the presentation at
#NSMNSS / SRA event: An introduction to tools for social media research


TAGS – available here – by Martin Hawksey. Contains useful instructions and videos to help setting it up.

I have also created a step by step set-up guide for TAGS V6 –!ApdJKDPeE0fSmgo6z6yDln43Kb7X

The only concern is that Twitter now requires you to not only have a Twitter account but also have installed their app on your phone and provide them with your phone number and verify it. So it’s “Free”!

Just provide us with your entire identity and all the data that goes with it.

YOURTWAPPERKEEPER – available here –

It has been seriously undermined by changes to Twitters rules and regulations and its creator John O’Brien III seems to have sold it to Hootsuite and left it at that. It may now be in contravention of Twitter’s Terms of Services.

DMI-TCAT available here –

The Digital Methods Initiative Twitter Capture and Analysis Toolset (DMI-TCAT) allows the  retrieval and collection of  tweets from Twitter and to analyze them in various ways.

Please check for further information and installation instructions.

This software is highly recommended – it also has a version that can access Youtube –

GEPHIavailable here –

It can now be used to collect Twitter data – and operates on Windows and Apple operating systems – just be very careful with java updates and incompatible versions of iOS.

TROPES – available here –

Designed for Information Science, Market Research, Sociological Analysis and Scientific studies, Tropes is a Natural Language Processing and Semantic Classification software that guarantees pertinence and quality in Text Analysis.

LEXIMANCER – available here

Leximancer is computer software that conducts quantitative content analysis using a machine learning technique. It learns what the main concepts are in a text and how they relate to each other. It conducts a thematic analysis and a relational (or semantic) analysis of the textual data.


#NSMNSS / SRA event: An introduction to tools for social media research



£115 for non-members, £95 for SRA members

Following the success of March’s #SoMeEthics conference, the SRA and #NSMNSS are teaming up with 8 expert speakers to present a one-day session on tools for social media research.

The event aims to introduce, in a practical way, some of the things that are possible with social media research. It is aimed at social researchers who want to find out more about what this new methodology can offer, or social media researchers interested in seeing what other tools/techniques are out there.

Our speakers will introduce a mix of (mostly) free-to-use tools, demonstrating with real examples how they can be used in the analysis of a range of social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, and Flickr. They will cover both quantitative and qualitative social media analysis techniques, including the analysis of both text and image data, network analysis, geographical analysis, and more.

Full Programmepdf file

Press the ‘Register‘ button for more information and to book your place

Steven McDermott
, University of the Arts London

Critically Engaging with Social Media Research Tools


Wasim Ahmed, University of Sheffield

Introduction to NodeXL


Luke Sloan, Social Data Science Lab, Cardiff University

Democratising Access to Social Media Data – the Collaborative Online Social Media ObServatory (COSMOS)


Gillian Mooney, University of Leeds

– Using Facebook as a Research Tool


Phillip Brooker, University of Bath

Doing Social Media Analytics with Chorus


Sarah Lewthwaite, NCRM University of Southampton

Developing inclusive and accessible digital methods: engaging critically with your digital toolbox


Yeran Sun, Urban Big Data Centre, University of Glasgow

– How to use R and QGIS to find out tourism hotspots in cities


Francesco D’Orazio, Pulsar

– Mapping the visual dna of a brand on social media


Registration from 9.30am

Tea/coffee and a sandwich lunch is included

Choose an Option:
Not SRA member (£115.00)
SRA member (£95.00)

Start Time: 10:00 am
End Time: 5:00 pm

Date: October 11, 2016

Friends House
173-177 Euston Road
Map and Directions

 To Register…

Iraq Inquiry Report – #Chilcot – A Thematic Analysis

war (Hits: 1313)

Dr ElBaradei told Mr Blair that: “Any war would risk radicalising the region. It should be UN-controlled.” 

Extract from meeting in 2003 – Meetings with Dr Blix and Dr ElBaradei 6 February 2003

What follows are the visualizations created using Leximancer software of the Iraq Inquiry Report (all 12 Volumes over 2 million words)and also referred to as the Chilcot Report. The Report of the Iraq Inquiry was published on Wednesday 6 July 2016. Sir John Chilcot’s public statement can be read here.

Leximancer is a computer software that conducts quantitative content analysis using a machine learning technique. It learns what the main concepts are in a text and how they relate to each other. It conducts a thematic analysis and a relational (or semantic) analysis of the textual data. Leximancer provides word frequency counts and co-occurrence counts of concepts present in the tweets. It is:

[A] Method for transforming lexical co-occurrence information from natural language into semantic patterns in an unsupervised manner. It employs two stages of co-occurrence information extraction— semantic and relational—using a different algorithm for each stage. The algorithms used are statistical, but they employ nonlinear dynamics and machine learning. (Smith and Humphreys, p. 26)

Once a concept has been identified by the machine learning process, Leximancer then creates a thesaurus of words that are associated with that concept giving the ‘concept its semantic or definitional content’.

Iraq Inquiry Report Social Network Visualisation - by Dr Steven McDermott

Iraq Inquiry Report Social Network Visualisation – by Dr Steven McDermott

How to read the Leximancer Map

A Leximancer ‘Theme’ is a group or cluster of Concepts that have some commonality or connectedness as seen from their close proximity on the Concept Map. The size of the Theme circle has no bearing as to its prevalence or importance in the text; the circles are merely boundaries. Prevalence is determined by the number of Concepts present in the Theme and this is indicated in the Thematic Report. The histogram bars in the Thematic Report are color-coded (hot – cold) to further signify the prevalence of the Theme – and this color is carried through to the Theme circle boundary color.  (Source: Link)


Thematic Summary of Iraq Inquiry Report 2016a

Thematic Summary of Iraq Inquiry Report 2016a

Thematic summary of Iraq Inquiry Report 2016 in full as pdf file.

attacks (Hits: 1458)
“Once Saddam is gone there is likely to be widespread and apparently random violence between Iraqis. Specific attacks against Coalition Forces are likely to come later (perhaps some months later) if particular individuals or groups feel they are being cut out of contracts, administration positions etc.”

Incredible Article – Social media and the social sciences: How researchers employ Big Data analytics

F7.mediumI can not recommend this article enough.

Very well written and covers the appropriate literature and software surrounding social media mining and analysis for social scientists.

I also completely agree that what is needed is a critical engagement with social media as well as other Big (Social) Data by non computer programmers, mathematicians and physicists in order to generate rich and detailed accounts of what is happening…

There is a need for critical data analysis, utilizing digital methods for capturing and analyzing social media according to platform dynamics. There is also a need for enriching data analytics with more traditional methodologies to provide thick description (Felt, 2016).

by Mylynn Felt, PhD student, Department of Communication, Media and Film, The University of Calgary,


Social media posts are full of potential for data mining and analysis. Recognizing this potential, platform providers increasingly restrict free access to such data. This shift provides new challenges for social scientists and other non-profit researchers who seek to analyze public posts with a purpose of better understanding human interaction and improving the human condition. This paper seeks to outline some of the recent changes in social media data analysis, with a focus on Twitter, specifically. Using Twitter data from a 24-hour period following The Sisters in Spirit Candlelight Vigil, sponsored by the Native Women’s Association of Canada, this article compares three free-use Twitter application programming interfaces for capturing tweets and enabling analysis. Although recent Twitter data restrictions limit free access to tweets, there are many dynamic options for social scientists to choose from in the capture and analysis of Twitter and other social media platform data. This paper calls for critical social media data analytics combined with traditional, qualitative methods to address the developing ‘data gold rush.’

Big Data & Society January-June 2016 vol. 3 no. 1