Recent Projects

  • Translocal Networks: Public Sphere in the Social Web (01/2018 – 12/2021)
    Funding: German Research Foundation (DFG)
    Staff: Daniela Stoltenberg, M.A.

    The research project is part of the Collaborative Research Center 1265 "Re-Figuration of Spaces" (Coordinating university: TU Berlin). The center investigates changes in experience and constitution of space in light of processes of globalization and digitalization. In this framework, our project examines the spatiality of the “Twitterspheres” in the cities of Berlin and Jerusalem. Asking how virtual urban spaces are constituted through networked communication, we investigate communicative relations among Twitter users, their spatial locations, and the topics they talk about. The study also examines how individual users synthesize global and local, virtual and real, public and private references, and explores the subjective experiences of space involved.

    Methods: Our design includes two separate investigative steps, targeting the societal and subjective level, respectively. On a societal level, we investigate the digital public spheres of Berlin and Jerusalem from a macro perspective. To this end, we collect Twitter network data und analyze it employing network analysis, geo-coding methods, and text mining. On the subjective level, we collect ego networks of active Twitter users and survey them on their experience of space using a mobile experience sampling approach.
  • Research Training Group 1712/2 "Trust and Communication in a Digitized World" (04/2012 – 03/2021)
    Funding: German Research Foundation (DFG)
    WWU Münster, Germany

    The research training group examines how trust can be developed and maintained under the conditions of new forms of communication. Digitized means of communication change the structure and sustainability of trust because firstly, familiar face-to-face communication is replaced by digitized interactions, secondly, virtual social and office networks emerge and finally, because new forms of relationships between the public, organisations and individuals develop. The postgraduate programme analyses the consequences of these processes for the establishment of trust relationships by the example of four prototypical areas: media, economy, science and sports.

Completed Research Projects

  • Working Group "Computational Social Science: Theories, Methodology & Research Ethics" (2018)
    Funding: CAIS – Center for Advanced Internet Studies, Bochum, Germany

    With the increasing digitalization of our contemporary societies, «Computational Social Science» (CSS) has become an established field of research over the last couple of years. As a subarea of social science, CSS focuses on computational methods – such as network analysis, text and data mining as well as computer simulation – to examine social phenomena and processes. Due to technological change, these methods have become more and more relevant as they enable to systematically analyze massive digital datasets.
    Nevertheless, these methods also imply serious challenges for social science methodology, data analysis and research ethics. Especially because of their novelty and their potentials to expand the visibility of social processes, CSS should be an explicit subject of critical and reflected dispute within the social science discipline itself. This relates both to the question of to what extent a specific CSS methodology is needed (including specific quality criteria of scientific research and research ethical guidelines) as well as the reflection of the relation between CSS and social science theories (as there have been common criticisms on theoretical shortcomings).
    The question of theoretical framing and interfaces is virulent, also from a content-related perspective: digital data as well as computational methods are an outcome of mediatized social actions on an individual and social level; they need to be interpreted in applying social science theories. Besides the methodological reflection of the new toolkit for social science analyses that CSS offers new analysis repertoire, a fundamental challenge therefore consists in theoretically consolidating CSS as an integrative science.
  • Young Scholars Network: Temporal dynamics and process models in media effects research (2013-2016)
    Funding: German Research Foundation (DFG)

    The network of young scholars – funded by the German National Science Foundation (DFG) – collected and discussed concepts and methods of studying temporal dynamics and processes in media effects research. Six selected longitudinal methods were discussed in-depth: physiological measurements, real-time-response, computer simulations, diary methods, dynamic network analysis, and matching. The similarities and differences between these methods were identified and documented with regard to their concepts of time and processes. In this context, Dr. Annie Waldherr and Dr. Martin Wettstein (University of Zurich) contributed expertise on agent-based simulation methods. The network was coordinated by Prof. Dr. Jens Vogelgesang (University of Hohenheim) and Prof. Dr. Michael Scharkow (Zeppelin University).
  • Wissenschaftliche Scientific Analysis of Citizen and Online Dialogs on the Quality of Life in Germany (2015-2016)
    Funding: Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Germany

    In 2015, the Federal Government initiated more than 200 citizen dialogues on well-being in Germany. Furthermore, citizens could share their ideas on the quality of life in Germany on an online platform or send a postcard. For the scientific analysis of approximately 200 written event records, 2500 online answers and 4500 postcards, a team from the FU Berlin headed by Prof. Dr. Barbara Pfetsch and Dr. Annie Waldherr worked closely together with the company CID GmbH. Team members were Peter Miltner, Sophia Ostner, Lars-Ole Müller and Daniela Stoltenberg. The analysis included qualitative and quantitative content analyses using the text-mining software Topic Analyst (CID GmbH). The results were documented in a scientific report and were included in the report of the Federal Government (2016) on the quality of life in Germany.
  • Dissertation project: Dynamics of innovation discourses

    Aim of the study was to examine the dynamics of media coverage of new technologies and to contribute to their explanation. In particular, the conditions of the upswing of topics were explored. In this context, the dynamic interactions of events, topics, actors and frames were of specific interest. An agent-based computer model was developed that was able to simulate typical issue-attention cycles by the interactions of social actors and media actors within a virtual media system. The model and its assumptions were empirically examined based on empirical data on the topics "navigation systems" and "RFID" in the German press.