Yimei Zhu

Contact information

Dr Yimei Zhu

Lecturer in Digital Media

School of Media, Communication and Sociology
University of Leicester
Room 0.01B Bankfield House,
132 New Walk
Leicester, LE1 7JA

Tel: 0116 2525486

Email: yz411@le.ac.uk
Twitter: @yimeizhu
Blog: http://yimeizhueresearch.wordpress.com


Personal details

PhD Sociology, University of Manchester, MA Sociology, University of Manchester,

MA Film Studies, University of Reading

My PhD was funded by School of Social Sciences (3-year studentship, £ 51,768), University of Manchester. It applied mixed-methods of a large scale survey with primary data and qualitative interviews. It investigated the influence of science policy on scholarly communication and academics’ attitudes and practice towards open science and the use of social media.

Career experience

I am a lecturer in Digital Media in School of Media, Communication and Sociology, University of Leicester. I teach and support a range of modules in relation to media and communication theories and research methods with a focus on social media and big data. Before taking up the lectureship, I worked as a research associate with Dr Giuseppe A. Veltri on social identity change under the socio-economic crisis within European societies for University of Leicester. Previously I worked as a post-doc research associate for Mitchell Centre for Social Network Analysis, University of Manchester. I have taught over a wide range of Sociology and quantitative & qualitative research methods courses to UG and PGT students as well as supervising students’ projects. I also conducted consultant work on Chinese social media Weibo for Durham University and Aston University.


I have extensive experience using survey methods and quantitative analysis and I am interested in developing innovative research methods to collect online data. I have a broad research interests studying new media from sociological perspective—how new technology changed the way people think and behave (attitudes and experiences). My research interests include science communication, health communication, social capital and digital participation, trust and online communities, higher education branding on social media. I am currently working on two research projects: 1). UK universities’ participation and interaction with Chinese students on Weibo and WeChat, funded by School of Media, Communication & Sociology Research Support of £1,997; 2). How senior citizens use social media to obtain health information in China, funded by College of Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities of £4,978.



Journal article

Zhu, Y., & Purdam, K. (2017). Social media, science communication and the academic super user in the United Kingdom. First Monday, 22(11).  Online at http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/7866/6560


Zhu, Y. (2017) Who support open access publishing? Gender, discipline, seniority and other factors associated with academics’ OA practice. Scientometrics, 111(2), 557-579.



Zhu, Y. & Procter, R. (2015). Use of blogs, Twitter and Facebook by UK PhD students for scholarly communication. Observatorio (OBS*) Journal, Vol 9, no2, p. 029-046. http://obs.obercom.pt/index.php/obs/article/view/842


Book Chapter

Zhu, Y. (2016) ‘Academics’ active and passive use of YouTube for research and leisure’ in Antonella Esposito (ed.) Research 2.0 and the Impact of Digital Technologies on Scholarly Inquiry. IGI Global. http://www.igi-global.com/book/research-impact-digital-technologies-scholarly/150396


Conference Proceedings

Zhu, Y. (2014) ‘Seeking and sharing research information on social media: A 2013 survey of scholarly communication' in Rospigliosi, Asher & Greener, Sue (ed.) Proceedings of European Conference on Social Media ECSM 2014, 10-11 July 2014, University of Brighton. Brighton: Academic Conferences & Publishing International, p. 705-712. https://www.escholar.manchester.ac.uk/item/?pid=uk-ac-man-scw:229261


Teaching and Supervision

I have taught and contributed to:

MS7060 Sociology of New Media (semester 1)

MS7400 Media Research Methods (semester 1)

MS7004 Media and Communication Research Methods (semester 1)

MS7047 Introduction to Advertising and Media (semester 1)

MS7042 Research Methods for the Online World (semester 2)

MS7306 Advertising Research Methods (semester 2)

MS7043 Digital Media and everyday life (semester 2)

MS7085 Making the Web (semester 2)

MS7015 Media and Communication Research Methods II (semester 2)


I supervise Undergraduate, Postgraduate and PhD students on their dissertations/thesis.

I welcome PhD proposals in the areas of health communication, science communication and the study of Weibo and WeChat use from sociological perspectives. I also welcome research proposal on social media use in higher education. I specifically welcome applicant with strong quantitative/survey research skills.

I am particularly interested in supervising PhD projects in

1)    The use of internet technology in health communication in relation to digital divide and fake news.

2)    The association between the use of social media and users’ social capital & cultural capital.

3)    Trust and online/offline community (e.g. online dating, hospitality network, Airbnb, Meetup.com)


Professional activities

Associate Fellow of the British Higher Education Academy

Member of International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR)


Research grants and awards

2018 College of Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities Research Development Fund £4,978

2017 International Office Seed Fund—Use Chinese social media £2000

2017 School of Media, Communication & Sociology Research Support Fund. £1,997

2013 The Higher Education Academy Fund—Changing the Learning Landscape: embed new technology and social media in teaching and learning. £ 500


Academic Service for School of Media, Communication and Sociology

Study abroad coordinator

English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU) Lead


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Contact Details

School of Media, Communication and Sociology

Campus based courses
E: mcs-enquiries@le.ac.uk
T: +44(0)116 252 3863

Distance Learning Courses
E: css-dl@le.ac.uk
T: 0116 252 3755

Research degrees (campus-based and distance learning courses)
T: +44(0)116 252 2785
E: MCS-Research@le.ac.uk

University of Leicester
Bankfield House
132 New Walk
United Kingdom

University of Leicester
107-111 Princess Road East
United Kingdom


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