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Making Use of Digital Research (Online Distance Learning) (PgCert)

Course Description

Programme description

This programme is aimed at researchers and professionals who commission, coordinate and use digital research in business, policy-making and the third sector, including digital marketing and analytical services officers.

This programme comprises a suite of courses that together provide the critical understanding and skills needed to make best use of digital research findings, with a particular focus on social media research, web 2.0 data and their synergies with publicly available administrative datasets.

These skills include:

understanding the production and consumption of automatic measures of user/citizen/customer feedback online
making best use of evidence from digital data analysis to inform business and policy decision-making
organising interdisciplinary strategies for digital research groups
identifying and accessing relevant expertise to undertake digital research for business and policy
anticipating future evolution and potential use of the digital research service market
Based on the latest research into the social and economic influences on how digital research is being developed and used, this PgCert is designed both for novices and for more experienced professionals who need to maintain a critical appreciation of the fast-moving field of digital research.

Online learning

This programme is available as a part-time online offering to allow professionals to study while working.

Programme structure

The programme is designed as a carefully thought-through progression from practical skills to a more critical understanding, through a comprehensive overview of available applications of digital research.


Managing Digital Influence
Technologies of Civic Participation
Understanding Data Visualization
The Use and Evolution of Digital Data Analysis and Collection Tools
The Social Shaping of Digital Research
Engaging with Digital Research

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this PgCert will be able to:

assess evidence deriving from monitoring digitally derived internet data, recognizing its strengths and limitations in comparison to other ways of apprehending customer and citizen needs
understand the work-practices of information professionals in digital research
critically discuss the current context and the future evolution of digital research
appreciate the practical benefits and limitations of digital data for organizational decision-making and policy-making
make best use of the results of digital data analytics for service design, marketing, institutional reputation management and policy-making
assess the relevance and value of projects at the forefront of digital research
manage and coordinate an interdisciplinary digital research team where social scientists, computer scientists and domain experts work together
identify, access and commission on-line data analytics tools and services appropriate to their needs
understand when and how to procure social media data analytics services and how to combine them with their existing knowledge practice

Career opportunities

This programme is aimed at creating career opportunities in the commercial sector (such as user experience consultants, industry analysts).

By offering a critical overview of digital research applications in different fields (user analytics, influence marketing and institutional reputation management), it will introduce you to careers in marketing and design as well as policy making.

Visit the Making Use of Digital Research (Online Distance Learning) (PgCert) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Normally a minimum of a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in social sciences. Given the applied nature of the programme, professional experience may compensate for lower than normal academic entry requirements at the discretion of the Programme Director. Applicants with a degree in business studies or social and political sciences may be accepted, subject to appraisal by the Programme Director and the completion of recommended pre-sessional reading.

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Recipient: University of Edinburgh
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