Social Media Influencer Stories

Undergraduate Research Scholarship project 2020

Department of English Language and Linguistics

Project academic: Dr Ruth Page

Project summary

This project investigates the Instagram stories used by 10 British Social Media Influencers as part of their online interactions with their audience.  A key aspect of the social media influencer’s success in persuading the audience to engage with them is the extent to which they are considered to be ‘relatable’.

The aim of the project is to analyse how the characteristics of ‘relatability’ are constructed through the verbal, visual and aural aspects of the videos and images used in Instagram stories and from that design a set of experiments to test how far these aspects of relatability affect the audience’s perception of the influencer and the products or campaigns they promote. The project will be used as an illustrative case study in a new undergraduate module, Professional Research Skills for Linguists.

What you will do 

  • Transcribe the verbal, visual and aural features of a dataset of Instagram stories using software.
  • Help test and refine the design of an experiment to test the perception of relatability.
  • Design a seminar activity based on the project for use in the new undergraduate module, Professional Research Skills for Linguists.

Skills required

  • Ability to transcribe audio visual data accurately
  • Knowledge of research methods used in linguistics
  • Ability to communicate clearly in writing
  • Good interpersonal skills

How will the project benefit you? 

  • The scholarship holder will develop advanced skills in using software (ELAN) to transcribe and analyse multimodal data;
  • The opportunity to collaborate in the design of research tasks (experiments), will be useful preparation for the empirical research that a student might undertake in their final year projects (including the dissertation);
  • The knowledge of how the interactions of social media influencer affect audiences will be useful knowledge to any student considering a career in marketing or in further research related to online media.
  • Designing a seminar activity based on the research will allow the scholarship holder to apply research in a teaching context and will be useful to any student considering a career in education.

Where now?


Professional Services