Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Exploring digital methods & the affective experiences of museum visitors: an affective practice and critical data studies view on the use of electrodermal activity data in social research

Hoare, Jessica 2021. Exploring digital methods & the affective experiences of museum visitors: an affective practice and critical data studies view on the use of electrodermal activity data in social research. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
Item availability restricted.

[thumbnail of PhD Thesis]
PDF (PhD Thesis) - Accepted Post-Print Version
Download (2MB) | Preview
[thumbnail of Cardiff University Electronic Publication Form] PDF (Cardiff University Electronic Publication Form) - Supplemental Material
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (126kB)


This thesis addresses the challenges of researching affect and emotion. It wrangles with the debates and definitions that accompany these terms and adopts an affective practice approach informed by Margaret Wetherell's work. The thesis extends this approach by considering the role of digital technologies in affect research. It asks what technologies might offer the researcher, specifically in developing the tools currently available to understand museum affective visitor experience. The thesis draws on critical data studies to provide a necessary and critical investigation of technologies that monitor physiological response and questions whether such technology reveals the affective relationships enacted between museums and their visitors. It had three formal aims. First, to understand the embodied and social organisation of emotion and affect. Second, to engage with the debates and methodological approaches that are associated with these pervasive concepts. And third, explore the value of using wearable physiological monitoring in such a study. These aims were addressed via two comparative case studies and engagement with primary self-report and physiological data, collected in Summer 2019. These cases studies were: Snakes, National Museum Cardiff’s summer exhibition in 2019 and Museum ExplorAR, an Augmented Reality (AR), trilingual, self-led mobile experience providing visitors with an immersive experience of the museum’s permanent exhibitions. An analysis of physiological and self-report survey data is presented. The results are discussed within the context of Wetherell’s theory of affective practices and Leach’s cognitive tools model (Wetherell, 2012; Leach, 2009). The thesis validates the cognitive tools model and the visitors’ use of its associated practices to relay their affective experience. Second, the thesis interrogates links between such practices and physiological response. It examines the value of electrodermal data in understanding visitor emotion and subjects this data to analysis at group and individual levels. Based on the study’s evidence and informed by its critical approach to data, methodological and ethical caveats for physiological data are established. The result is a comprehensive interdisciplinary thesis that explores visitors’ affective processes and the value of electrodermal activity data.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 25 October 2021
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2021 01:29

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics