Links to SAGE readings have been provided, non-SAGE readings are suggested and you may be able to find these via your university’s library.
An overview of approaches (mostly quantitative, but some qualitative) for analyzing social media content is:
There is a growing literature on using digital methods for data generation – this is mostly describing the practical issues thrown up by novel sources. If you want examples of how other researchers have thought through their methodological choices and overcome practical challenges, the following papers may be useful to look at: Apart from Shepherd et al., these papers do not report much by way of findings, or particularly novel approaches to analysis per se, but do describe the steps needed to use digital technologies to collect or generate data. Caplan et al is on one digital media site not well-utilized in research – comment threads on Reddit. Reddit is a social news site, on which the content is 'up' and 'down' voted constantly by users, and which contains a number of sub communities. Both the content of the comments and their popularity can be analysed.
Reisner, S. L., Randazzo, R. K., White Hughto, J. M., Peitzmeier, S., DuBois, L. Z., Pardee, D. J. and Potter, J. (2017) ‘Sensitive health topics with underserved patient populations: Methodological considerations for online focus group discussions’, Qualitative Health Research, 1049732317705355.
Ferrante, J. M., Friedman, A., Shaw, E. K., Howard, J., Cohen, D. J. and Shahidi, L. (2016) ‘Lessons learned designing and using an online discussion forum for care coordinators in primary care’, Qualitative Health Research, 26(13): 1851–61.
Shepherd, A., Sanders, C., Doyle, M. and Shaw, J. (2015) ‘Using social media for support and feedback by mental health service users: thematic analysis of a twitter conversation’, BMC Psychiatry, 15(1): 29.