Operational analysis: A method for observing and analyzing digital media operations
Peer reviewed, Journal article
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionNew Media & Society. 2021, 1-22. 10.1177/1461444821998645
Interventional digital media applications such as robotic surgery, remote-controlled vehicles or wearable tracking devices pose a challenge to media research methodologically as well as conceptually. How do we go about analyzing operational media, where human and non-human agencies intertwine in seemingly inscrutable ways? This article introduces the method of operational analysis to systematically observe and critically analyze such situated, interventional and multilayered entanglements. Against the background of ongoing efforts to develop operational models for understanding digital media, the method of operational analysis conceptually ascribes to media technologies a real efficacy by approaching them as adaptive mediators. As an operational middle-range approach, it allows to integrate theoretical discussions with considerations of the situatedness, directedness, and task-orientation of operational media. The article presents an analytical toolbox for observing and analyzing digital media operations while simultaneously testing it on a particular application in robotic radiosurgery.