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Research software

  • MedTAG & MedSORT

    ZeMKI Research Software

The ZeMKI is also concerned with software development to support research on media use and practice. At the moment, the focus lies on further developing two mobile apps and web-based tools for collecting and analysing data on cross-media practice and their digital traces: the media diary app MedTag and the media sorting app MedSort. Both applications exist as prototypes, are tested in various research projects and in the case of MedTag include a web-based interface to analyse the data collected by them.



MedTag is a software system for collecting, analyzing and visualizing data of semi-standardized media diaries.

The MedTag App facilitates the digital documentation of media use via smartphone. MedTag Analyze is a browser-based platform for interrelating and analysing diary data in detail. In this way MedTag Analyze allows for a graphical visualization of media appropriation and its context over time.

The very principle of media diaries is to capture and make comprehensible the variety of media use in a given period of time. Thus, participants are asked to observe as well as document their personal practices of media appropriation. In addition to basic data referring to when which type of media are being used, also spatial, social or contentual information may be of relevance. After the process of collection, data can be processed and visualized. As a result, a visualization of processes of media appropriation over time discloses patterns of communicative networking.


MedSort offers a graphical interface for the digital design, conduct and data management of Q method sorting studies. The app is optimized for tablet PCs running on Android. MedSort is based on qResearch, an informatics student BA project at the University of Bremen ( It combines classical standardized Q method with several forms of qualitative data.


Key features of MedSort are the intuitive handling of items through the research participant and the sorting of visual items like photographs or other pictures (see Figure). In terms of quantitative Q-sorting techniques, MedSort offers customizable sorting pyramids and items as well as options for pre- and post-sorting survey questions. Data can easily be merged and exported for statistical analysis with tools like SPSS or PQMethod. Qualitative data include audio recordings, notes, as well as detailed logging information on the each single sorting process. Altogether, those features allow for an in-depth analysis not only of the sorting results but also the meaning creation which has taken place during the sorting process.

    As an digital alternative to paper-based media diaries, the MedTag App can be installed on smartphones running on iOS or Android. One major advantage is the lifeworld-related manner of data collection. Among others, participants do have the option to immediately document their mobile appropriation of media.

    The intuitive design of the MedTag App offers two main functions: creating a new entry and going back to an exiting entry for changes.

    After the password protected login a new entry first asks for temporal specifications (date as well as start and end of interaction). To determine the media used, a multistate heuristic via a drop-down menu is provided. Information on places and partners of interaction are also pre-structured, details on content can be entered in a text box. After saving the entry, the dataset is synchronized with the server.

    MedTag Analyze is a platform for manually digitizing paper-based media diaries as well as for the import of data from the MedTag App. It is browser-based and thus independent from operating systems.

    MedTag Analyze features a flexible user management in terms of creating projects and manipulating data. Media types and further entities can be defined openly. The major analytical step is to connect single instances of media use to certain entities. Media types as well as entities can be put together in groups. The core of MedTag Analyze is a graph, representing the media-entity-correlation over time. Visual features such as time intervals or colors can be adjusted in order to detect specific patterns of media appropriation in everyday life.

    MedTag App for iOS (menu in German).

    MedTag App for Android (menu in German).









    Relevant Publications

    Thereby, MedTag is conceptualized as one aspect of qualitative network analysis, as outlined in the following publications:

    • Hasebrink, U. / Hepp, A. (2017): How to research cross-media practices? Investigating media repertoires and media ensembles. In: Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, First published date: April-07-2017, doi:10.1177/1354856517700384.
    • Hepp, Andreas/Roitsch, Cindy/Berg, Matthias (2017): Kontextualisierte Kommunikationsnetzwerkanalyse: Qualitative Netzwerkanalyse in der Kommunikations- und Medienforschung am Beispiel der mediatisierten Vergemeinschaftungshorizonte junger Menschen. In: Hollstein, Betina/Straus, Florian (Hsg.): Qualitative Netzwerkanalyse: Konzepte, Methoden, Anwendungen. 2. Auflage. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, in print.
    • Hepp, Andreas/Roitsch, Cindy/Berg, Matthias (2016): Investigating communication networks contextually: Qualitative network analysis as cross-media research. In: MedieKultur 32(60), 87-106.
    • Hepp, Andreas/Berg, Matthias/Roitsch, Cindy (2014): Mediatisierte Welten der Vergemeinschaftung: Kommunikative Vernetzung und das Gemeinschaftsleben junger Menschen. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.
    • Berg, Matthias/Düvel, Caroline (2012): Qualitative media diaries: An instrument for doing research from a mobile media ethnographic perspective. In: Interactions: Studies in Communication & Culture, 3 (1), S. 71-89.
    • Hepp, Andreas (2011a): Netzwerke, Kultur und Medientechnologie: Möglichkeiten einer kontextualisierten Netzkulturforschung. In: Hartmann, Maren/Wimmer, Jeffrey (Hrsg.): Digitale Medientechnologien. Wiesba-den: VS, S. 53-74.34.
    • Hepp, Andreas (2011b): Kommunikationsnetzwerke und kulturelle Verdichtungen: Theoretische und metho-dologische Überlegungen. In: Fuhse, Jan/Stegbauer, Christian (Hrsg.): Kultur und mediale Kommunikation in sozialen Netzwerken. Wiesbaden: VS, S. 13-29.
    • Hepp, Andreas/Berg, Matthias/Roitsch, Cindy (2011c): Mono-thematic and multi-thematic horizons of mediatized communitization: patterns of communicative networking and mediated belonging. In: Studies in Communication and Media, 1 (2), S. 3-34.

    Relevante Publikationen