This seminar introduces students to research on the impact of digitalization on politics in preparation for the research seminar Digital Democracy in the summer term. It will focus in particular on three research areas: changes in individual political behavior and means of political participation as a consequence of digitalization, the impact of these changes on political processes, and the implications this has for policy. The seminar will cover conceptual readings on these topics but also new methodological approaches that enable this kind of research, critically discussing their strengths and limitations. This seminar is the first part of a two-semester course cycle establishing a sound conceptual as well as methodological foundation for the research seminar in the summer term.
Research Designs for Studying Digital Media and Politics
This applied methods seminar aims to familiarize students with state-of- the-art approaches for the study of digital media and politics. The emphasis of the seminar is on the research design processes introducing common research designs on and with digital media data both conceptually and practically. Students will, in particular, devise and implement their own designs throughout the course linking their technical skills with how they are applied in current research. Specific techniques are introduced and reviewed where appropriate, including their strengths and limitations, but the emphasis is on study design more broadly. The seminar is therefore ideally suited for those already familiar with computational social science or data science techniques looking to learn how these can be best leveraged in a research setting.
Capstone Course “National dominant narratives in Switzerland and their impact on overall political discourse”
The project aims to measure dominant national political narratives in Switzerland and how they affect political processes. This entails, first, systematically validating the existing (quantitative) measurement of narratives and potentially further improving the current methodology if needed. Second, analyze and interpret the existing narratives using a mixed-methods approach. This includes, in particular, discussing their impact on broader political discourses, processes and policies as well as electoral outcomes in Switzerland. The capstone project supports and complements the ongoing work of the Society for the Common Good (SCG) / Pro Futuris on Swiss national political narratives. You will be able to directly build on existing work that has already been done, first validating and, as needed, extending the automated approach for narrative extraction. And then together with the team at the Society for the Common Good work with the extracted narratives, their interpretation etc. The specific tasks (outlined in more detail under below) were developed together with Andreas Müller at SCG and his team to complement their ongoing work.