Big Data in Communication Research: A contextual turn? – An IAMCR pre-conference

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Date and time

Friday 8 July 2022: | 09:00 – 17:00 Beijing time (UTC+8)|


Recent advances in communication studies have seen much greater attention paid to the development, appropriation, and reflection on computational methods for analyzing large and heterogeneous data. Despite its considerable contributions, big data analytics has been criticized for the lack of contextual consideration for a long time. In other words, scholarships with computational methods may suffer from the pitfall of not unpacking, recognizing, and theorizing the richness of associated contextual elements in (big) data. This preconference aims to address such issues by advancing a context-aware approach in computational methods and by articulating an interrogation of contextual elements in using computational methods. A context-aware approach in computational methods is particularly valuable to IAMCR as a worldwide professional organization in the field of media and communication research, as this approach recognizes a reality where people communicate in diverse ways against different contexts.

To acknowledge and explicate such context-bound ways plays a crucial role to explain variation in communication practices and networks, and to appreciate the plurality of communicative phenomena across the globe.

We thereby invite original and rigorous contributions and reflections based on big data and contextual analysis. We hope to engage with opportunities and challenges of advancing context-aware approaches in computational methods. The submissions can be theoretical or based on empirical studies, but would also include innovative suggestions to overcome research challenges like the lack of contextual consideration.


A hybrid conference at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) in Suzhou and online.

Submission and deadlines 

1 April 2022: Submit individual paper abstracts or panel proposals to iamcr.compmeth [at]

An individual paper abstract should be between 200 and 300 English words, stating the title, argument, theoretical framework, and, where applicable, methodology and results. Please also attach a 100-word bibliography for each author to the abstract.

Panel proposals should consist of individual abstracts for each paper combinined with a panel rationale (no more than 500 words).  The abstract of each paper shall be no more than 300 words, plus a 100-word bibliography for each author.

20 April 2022: notification of acceptance.

Information on registration and the programme will be communicated to all participants in due time.

For inquiries, please email:  iamcr.compmeth [at]

Participation and registration

Participation is open to all interested people - on-site for China-based participants and online for international speakers and audiences. Registration is free, with funding for some local participants provided by XJTLU. Further information on registration, funding, and the programme will be communicated to all participants in due time.

A limited number of travel grants may be available for participants based in mainland China.


English will be the event's working language.

Convenors and organisers

  • Jun Liu, the Center for Tracking and Society and Department of Communication, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. 
  • Xianwen Kuang, Department of Media and Communication, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China. IAMCR Beijing 2022 Local Organizing Committee Member and IAMCR member. 
  • Simon Schweighofer, Department of Media & Communication, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China.

In collaboration with Cuihua (Cindy) Shen, Department of Communication, University of California, Davis, & Chair, Computational Methods Division, the International Communication Association. 

With the support of the Computational Methods Division of the International Communication Association and the Independent Research Fund Denmark Sapere Aude Research Leaders Project (1055-00011B).

Contact email

iamcr.compmeth [at]

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