Book part:
Critical Affordance Analysis for Digital Methods: The Case of Gephi


The following chapter addresses the need for “tool criticism” approaches in research designs that build on “digital methods,” and thus medium-specific methods, using the example of network exploration and mapping software Gephi. In order to perform tool criticism as an ongoing, active and reflective, situated and systematic approach, I develop the lens of “critical affordance analysis.” Drawing from and expanding the notion of “research affordances” I explore and inquire into the “account(‑)ability” of digital methods tools, on the one hand understood as offering and generating documentation of these tools’ workings, and on the other hand, as supporting the comprehensibility of their workings. In conclusion, I advocate approaching the design of the affordances, or action possibilities, of such knowledge instruments in epistemological terms.

Download icon

Published in:

Preferred Citation
van Geenen, Daniela: Critical Affordance Analysis for Digital Methods: The Case of Gephi. In: Burkhardt, Marcus;Shnayien, Mary;Grashöfer, Katja: Explorations in Digital Cultures. Lüneburg: meson press 2020, S. 1-21. DOI:
@INCOLLECTION{van Geenen2020,
 author = {van Geenen, Daniela},
 title = {Critical Affordance Analysis for Digital Methods: The Case of Gephi},
 year = 2020,
 doi = "\url{}",
 editor = {Burkhardt, Marcus and Shnayien, Mary and Grashöfer, Katja},
 address = {Lüneburg},
 booktitle = {Explorations in Digital Cultures},
 pages = {1--21},
 publisher = {meson press},
license icon

As long as there is no further specification, the item is under the following license: Creative Commons - Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen