Research

My main research interest is about how digital technologies shape our daily life, and communication in particular. This broad interest covers many topics and touches different fields, within and outside the social sciences.

This interest began with my Master, when back in 2003 I decided that I wanted to explore the idea of becoming “addicted” to the mobile phone. I presented my dissertation in 2006, entitled “24 Hours without the Mobile Phone: A McLuhanian approach to mobile phone use in contemporary society”, arguing that when deprived of this device, what people miss the most is the permanent contact with their significant others. My first book “The Mobile Phone and Daily Life”presented part of the results in 2008.

My PhD project set out to understand how brands could communicate more successfully in contemporary society. The research started in 2008 and my dissertation, “New New Media, Brand New Brands: Communicating corporate brands in the contemporary cognitive-semiotic context”was presented in 2012. Part of the theoretical framework of my dissertation was published in 2014 under the title “Living in the Digital Society”.

Currently, I am working on my post-doctoral project, which is about multi-screening practices and motivations, and also attention distribution between different screened-media. This project is hosted by my own research center – Research Centre for Communication and Culture – and also by the Center for Internet Studies and Digital Life at the University of Navarra (Pamplona, Spain).

Interests

  • Communication and Digital Technologies
  • Mobile Communication
  • Young Children and Digital Technologies
  • Social Media, Communication, Branding and Storytelling
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Public Relations, Social Media and Crisis Communication

Research Projects

  • hAPPy kids

    hAPPy kids

    The favorite digital device of young children is the tablet. Parents monitor screen-time but sometimes overlook content. Which apps are beneficial for children? How can parents ensure the children's safety? Can the industry be persuaded to follow ethical guidelines for producing positive content?

    Com este trabalho pretendemos (i) conhecer como é feita a utilização de tecnologias digitais por famílias com crianças até 8 anos, nos seus lares, (ii) quais as aplicações móveis utilizadas pelas crianças, e (iii) compreender o papel das famílias nas suas escolhas e práticas.

    O estudo foi dividido em três fases: na primeira será distribuído um questionário a famílias com filhos até 8 anos de idade, através de redes sociais, plataformas de comunicação, entre outras; na segunda fase serão entrevistadas famílias com crianças até 8 anos; na terceira serão entrevistados especialistas; e na quarta construíremos uma plataforma de avaliação de aplicações “positivas”.

    Presentemente estamos a analisar em profundidade os dados das entrevistas e questionários.

    Mais info em: https://happykidsunit.wixsite.com/happykids

  • ``Multi-screening, Communication and Cognition``

    ``Multi-screening, Communication and Cognition``

    What are the main practices with more than one screened-media and what are the motivations behind them?

    The main goal of this project is to identify emergent multi-screening (i.e. the simultaneous use of two screened devices) practices and to explore their implications on cognition, behavior and society. Within a communication sciences theoretical framework that articulates Media Ecology, Audience Research and Mediatization Theory, this project uses an online survey, ethnography, focus group and experimental research with eyetracking to explore the cognitive changes, the behavioral shaping and the social impact of multi-screening. How is attention being drawn and retained, what activities are users performing in each of the devices, or how is multi-screening taking part in the ongoing mediatization process are some of the questions to address. Our research not only contributes to better understanding an emergent and relevant phenomenon, but also, and above all, is helpful for users to become more aware and thus optimize the role played by portable screened-media in their daily lives.

    Host Institutions:
    Research Centre for Communication and Culture, Catholic University of Portugal
    Center for Internet Studies and Digital Life, Navarra University
    Partially funded by FCT – Foundation for Science and Technology

  • ``Young Children (0-8) and Digital Technologies`` and COST Action DigiLitEY

    ``Young Children (0-8) and Digital Technologies`` and COST Action DigiLitEY

    How are very young children using digital media and how do these technologies change the family dynamics in the home?

    This is a study coordinated by the Joint Research Centre from the European Commission that aims to explore the engagement of children under 8 years old and their families with digital technologies, in the household. More specifically, our research questions explore the dynamics between children and parents, and also between uses and perceptions, in order to identify digital activities and practices, and also the benefits and risks associated to them.

    The Portuguese national report, co-authored by me and Rita Brito is part of a wider European-scale pilot study, that in 2015 involved 18 countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, The Netherlands, United Kingdom). In each country, the sample included 10 families with children with 6 or 7 years old, attending the 1st or 2nd year of Primary School, and that used at least one digital device at least once a week. The methodology is qualitative, including interviews to both the parents and the children, and activities performed during the interviews. Also, observation and data collection through photographs were important data sources.

    Besides working on this project, I am also a member of COST Action 1410 – The digital literacy and multimodal practices of young children (DigiLitEY).

  • COST Action eRead and ``Digital Reading Experiences``

    COST Action eRead and ``Digital Reading Experiences``

    How does the reading experience change when we read on digital devices?

    This research topic includes different projects developing within COST action 1404 – Evolution of reading in the age of digitization (eRead). Currently, I am working on two projects: an European-scale overview of surveys on digital reading as a preliminary stage for designing a new survey; and a qualitative project on digital reading experiences.

    The “Portuguese Team” working on these projects also includes André Casado and Inês Teixeira-Botelho.

  • CEDAR - Consortium on Emerging Directions in Audience Research

    CEDAR - Consortium on Emerging Directions in Audience Research

    How has the Audience Research field evolved in the past decade and what can we expect in the future?

    Bringing together academics from 13 European countries and stakeholders from the European Broadcasting Union (EU level) and Creative Skill set (UK level), the new, international consortium CEDAR proposes to enhance knowledge in Communication Studies and related fields in the Humanities and Social Sciences. It will (1) map key emerging trends in the practices of media audiences in a networked and globalised world and (2) use established tools of foresight analysis to draw out a cross. disciplinary research agenda for the study of audiences in 2030. CEDAR will be the first attempted foresight-analysis exercise on audiences and also the first research consortium in the field comprising early-career academics. CEDAR will build knowledge and also capacities of an entire generation of academics, while facilitating the exchange of knowledge across disciplinary, conceptual and inter-sector boundaries.

  • ``The Temperature of Brands``

    ``The Temperature of Brands``

    Can the work of Marshall McLuhan be useful for branding?

    This is actually an unfinished research project, resulting from my PhD investigation. I am currently working on a book, both for the academia and practitioners, that will present the concept of “brand temperature” and a deriving model for managing brands, in particular their digital presence, finding the right balance between attention and engagement.

  • Social Media, Reputational Crisis and Metaphors

    Social Media, Reputational Crisis and Metaphors

    What role do social media play in reputational crisis? What are the best metaphors to describe it?

    This project aims to conduct an exhaustive literature review on social media and reputational crisis in order to identify relevant metaphors for explaining the different roles that social media may play when it comes to reputational crisis. I am working on this project with José Gabriel Andrade.

  • Creative Playshop

    Creative Playshop

    Can the work of Marshall McLuhan be useful for fostering creativity and promoting innovation?

    Drawing on the work of Marshall McLuhan and on its application to management suggested by Mark Federman and Derrick de Kerckhove, I have developed a method for fostering creativity and promoting innovation within a group dynamic. This method is particularly useful for strategic thinking and communication concepts.

    The next step will be to test this method in Communication and Marketing Agencies.

  • ComuniMedia

    ComuniMedia

    Smartphones and m-internet in Portugal

    This is an FCT-funded (Foundation for Science and Technology) research project at the Research Center in Applied Communication, Culture and New Technologies (CICANT) from Lusófona University of Humanities and Technology, that I worked on from 2011 to 2014. The project has already presented results on m-internet and smartphones adoption in Portugal, including both users and industry perspectives. The project also included the development of an app, a mobile community for Higher Education students. The goal was to observe its impact on relationships and social capital. One of the most interesting findings is that the activities performed online vary if the access is fixed or mobile, and the degree of satisfaction and participation of each activity are the main variables to consider. More info.

  • Civic Movements against Austerity

    Civic Movements against Austerity

    What role have the social media played in the Portuguese civic movements against austerity?

    This is a small research project shared with my colleague José Gabriel Andrade. We conducted ethnographic research and in-depth interviews on the articulation of mass media and social media both by journalists and activists during the civic movements against austerity in Portugal ‘Geração à Rasca’ (2011) and ‘Que se Lixe a Troika!’ (2012). We have already presented our results in some communications and also have some publications. We concluded that although social media are used for publicizing and mobilizing, mass media are still the main source that people go to for credible and updated information.