Virtual Society?

the social science of electronic technologies


Dr David Morrison

Dr David Morrison
Institute of Communication Studies
University of Leeds
Leeds LS2 9JT
+44 (0)113 233 5805


David Morrison (A virtual ethnography of the dynamics of social change in relation to new technology) is Research Director of the Institute of Communications Studies at the University of Leeds. His interests include the history of mass communications research, along with the history of the institutionalisation of knowledge. He has written extensively on news gatherers, the production of news and public response to news, especially in times of war. See Journalists at War: The Dynamics of News Reporting During the Falklands Conflict (with H. Tumber, Sage, 1988) and Television and the Gulf War. (Academia Research Monograph, John Libbey, 1992).

David specialises in audience research, especially in the area of reactions to visual imagery of violence. He frequently conducts national surveys of public attitudes to a variety of social issues. He is currently engaged on an ESRC grant studying the reportage of racial issues. In addition to the examination of usage of technology for the ESRC Virtual Society? Programme, he is conducting a large scale panel study of the adoption of new technology funded by research money from various industry sources.

He has a particular interest in developing new methodology and has recently advanced focus group research by creating 'video editing groups'. This technique allows the respondent to focus more closely on stimuli than possible in traditional focus groups. His most recent book, The Search for a Method: Focus Groups and the Development of Mass communications Research (John Libbey Media/ULP, 1998), traces the development of focus group research. The book examines the rise of empirical quantification within sociology, focusing in particular on Paul Lazarsfeld from his early days in Vienna to his collaboration in America with Robert Merton. The study draws on interviews conducted with Lazarsfeld, his personal papers, interviews with other key scholars both in America and Vienna as well as archive documents. Special attention is given to Lazarsfeld's relationship with Theodor Adorno and is used as the basis for an examination of key issues in the production of knowledge.

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