ESRC review: Communication and relationships

Simeon J. Yates, Rich Ling, Laura Robinson, Catherine Brooks, Adam Joinson, Monica Whitty, Elinor Carmi

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


This chapter explores the outcomes of the literature review and expert Delphi review process for the communication and relationships domain. The initial scoping question-How are our relationships being shaped and sustained in and between various domains, including family and work?-was considered too broad. So we instead focus on five categories and associated questions articulated by the Delphi process, concerning digital literacies, norms and values, platform affordances, quality of relationships and communication, and relationship management. The most frequent topics emerging from the literature analysis included friends, media, pair, group, adolescent, phone, communication, relationship, time, and medium. Over time the most frequent topic pairs shifted from focusing on relationships, pair/tie/link, communication, medium, and work, to more specific media such as Facebook and related terms such as user, network, and friend. Three main themes emerged from the literature analysis: social media platforms, young people and adolescents, and social network analysis; each is illustrated through brief examples from the literature. This literature emphasized inductive approaches, with two-thirds being discursive reviews, largely from psychology, sociology, and communication and media disciplines, with research methods spread across these reviews, surveys, and interviews. Of the five Delphi categories, digital literacies, and quality of relationships and communication, were rated as the most important.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Digital Technology and Society
EditorsS. J. Yeates, R. E. Rice
Place of PublicationNew York, U. S. A.
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9780190932596
ISBN (Print)‎9780190932596
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2020


  • Delphi reviews
  • ESRC review
  • Facebook
  • Friendships
  • Relationship formation
  • Relationship management
  • Social media
  • Social network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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