Horizon CDT Research Highlights

Research Highlights

Meta-Meme: a responsible researcher's tool for the analysis of Internet Memes

  Giovanni Schiazza (2020 cohort)

I'm Giovanni Schiazza, a PhD researcher at the University of Nottingham with the Horizon CDT. I have a BA in Politics and International Relations and an MSc in Political Psychology. Before the PhD, my research revolved around understanding the impacts of Internet Memes on political knowledge and piloting a meme engagement scale to explore its structure in relation to individual differences.

My PhD research focuses on responsibly developing a tool to support internet meme researchers from a diverse range of disciplines and backgrounds. The literature on tools for the analysis of memes is increasing (for an overview see Beskow et al., 2020) suggesting that a fully automated analysis of IMs can be performed. Different machine learning techniques have been employed, on different types of memes and media formats. There is yet to emerge a tool for the analysis of internet memes that reflects the needs of different researchers. One of the main problems in Internet Meme (IM) research is the lack of systematic tools and frameworks that researchers can use to analyse IMs. To address this gap in the literature, this PhD proposes to create a tool (Meta-Meme) for analysis that combines statistical techniques with machine learning. Meta-Meme helps researchers establish a conventional way to start the analysis based on aggregate IM data.

To ensure the value and responsibility of the tool, I employ a Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) approach to conducting science and research.
As part of RRI research, I am inviting meme experts and researchers to take part in workshops and interviews to responsibly co-create notions, concepts, and opinions on memes that will directly inform the design of the tool.

By co-producing the tool's building blocks with the interested communities, we ensure that Meta-Meme is accessible to a diverse range of researchers with different backgrounds, research approaches, and understandings of memes.

The co-production workshops will run between May and August 2024, and interviews will be available throughout 2024. 

Delphi methodology will be employed during the co-production efforts to structure, collect and ensure fairness when sharing opinions and understandings of internet memes. Workshops or interviews employ Delphi methodology which involves expert selection, anonymity, generation, aggregation and evaluation of participant statements and ratings. 

The findings of the PhD will help develop the proof of concept of the tool, as well as serving as an RRI case study from which to draw guidelines for other researchers wishing to employ RRI in their research and innovation processes. 

Sounds interesting? Want to help? Don't like this? 

Tell us!

Head over to my website to partecipate!