🖥✨ Setting up a research browser

How to set up a research browser for digital methods research.

Research browsers are often used in digital methods projects in order to gather materials from the web, search engines and platforms while mitigating personalisation effects.

As Richard Rogers writes in Doing Digital Methods (London: SAGE, 2019):

By installing a separate instance of a browser (such as Firefox) as a ‘research browser’, the researcher prepares a clean slate, free of cookies and other engine entanglements such as history and preferences.

📃 Steps

The following steps are for setting up a research browser on a laptop or desktop (not a mobile or tablet device).

The main idea of these steps is to create a fresh profile and disable and minimise any preferences related to tracking and personalisation.

⚠️ Note: You should make sure and use only this browser profile for research and do not attempt to sign into any websites or social media services.

1. Download

Depending on your browser and operating system, there may be slight differences between the steps below and what you see on your screen.

2. Create new profile

At this point a new browser should open up! 🎉

3. Set browser preferences

4. Install DMI tools Firefox extension

🔗 Other links, readings and resources

🐙 Inspiration, acknowledgments and contributors

This recipe documents longstanding practice of the Digital Methods Initiative (DMI) as mentioned in the readings above. It draws on documentation and teaching materials from the DMI, DensityDesign Lab and the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London.