Monitoring Electoral Democracy (MEDem)

Funded by: Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF)
Duration: January 2022 – June 2024
PI: Hajo Boomgaarden
Collaboration: Jakob-Moritz Eberl • Olga Eisele

MEDem – Monitoring Electoral Democracy is a proposed research infrastructure of national and comparative projects, providing an integrating framework for existing and potentially new projects that until now study and monitor European Electoral Democracies in a less coordinated, comprehensive and comparative manner. To support this endeavour, MEDem seeks to submit an application to be included in the ESFRI Roadmap in 2023. The MEDem Core Team is located at Vienna University, led by Hajo Boomgaarden (PI) and Sylvia Kritzinger (PI) of the Department of Government.

Transparent Automated Content Moderation (TACo)

Funded by: Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWTF)
Duration: September 2021 – August 2025
PI: Sophie Lecheler • Allan Hanbury (Co-PI, Vienna University of Technology)
Collaboration: Anna Maria Planitzer

Citizen Science Engagement of Refugees

Funded by: Austrian Science Fund (FWF – Der Wissenschaftsfonds)
Duration: August 2021 – July 2023
PI: Jörg Matthes
Collaboration: Phelia Weiß • Melanie Saumer

Political Influencing on Social Media in the German Federal Election 2021

Funded by: The Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia
Duration: September – December 2021
PI: Jörg Matthes • Alice Binder (Co-PI)
Collaboration: Julia Jeutter • Bettina Kern • Hannah Kickert • Thomas Kirchmair • Sophie-Catherine Schröter

The Future of Democracy in the Digital Era

Funded by: Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWTF)
Duration: August – December 2021
PI: Hajo Boomgaarden
Collaboration: Laura Assenbaum • Nikita Kvir • Andrea Stockinger

YouCount – Empowering Youth and Cocreating Social Innovations and Policymaking Through Youth-Focused Citizen Social Science

Funded by: European Union • Horizon 2020 Program for Research and Innovation
Duration: February 2021 – January 2024
Co-PI: Jörg Matthes
Collaboration: Isabelle Freiling

In Europe, and globally, substantial numbers of young people are at risk of social exclusion, and there is therefore a pressing need to develop more knowledge and innovation to create more inclusive and youth-friendly societies. Citizen social science might contribute to these needs, but the actual outcomes of citizen social science and its innovative potential is uncertain. YOUCOUNT will therefore, through cocreative youth citizen social science (Y-CSS) including youths in the age of 15-29 years as citizen scientists, produce new knowledge of positive drivers for social inclusion of youth at risk of exclusion, and cocreate innovations and policymaking. Moreover, to provide evidence of the actual outcomes of Y-CSS through hands on citizen science activities.

NORFACE Scientific Program Coordination: Democratic Governance in a Turbulent Age

Funded by: NORFACE
Duration: February 2021 – May 2024
PI / Scientific Program Coordinator: Sophie Lecheler
Collaboration: Jana Laura Egelhofer

Within the transnational ERA-NET cofund research program "Democratic Governance in a Turbulent Age", a total of 14 projects receive funding.Sophie Lecheler as Scientific Program Coordinator will have the exciting task of bringing the various research teams together to work synergistically, but also to communicate activities, results and successes of the projects and programme to the academic and non-academic community and to promote capacity-building and networking in the programme.

Data-Driven Politics and Communication (DATADRIVEN)

Funded by: NORFACEAustrian Science Fund (FWF – Der Wissenschaftsfonds)
Duration: December 2020 – November 2023
PI: Sophie Lecheler • Co-PI: Jörg Matthes
Collaboration: Sophie Minihold • Selina Noetzel

This is the age of Big Data. From the moment we open our eyes in the morning, until we fall asleep at night, our actions are recorded on mobile phone apps, websites, customer loyalty cards, and through our social media interactions. This data is used to develop algorithms that are subsequently used by private and political organisations to predict our attitudes, feelings, and behavior. We study the impact of this change in both political and mediated communication. For example, in this project we study the intended and unintended consequences of data-driven election campaigns across Europe.

Immersive Journalism – The Future of News?

Funded by: Anniversary Fund of the Austrian Central Bank (OeNB)
Duration: March 2020 – August 2022
PI: Sophie Lecheler • Loes Aaldering
Collaboration: Hannah Greber • Yael de Haan • Sanne Kruikemeier
Status: Completed

Immersive journalistic production describes the use of digital technology to create new forms of journalistic storytelling, for example, through Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality. We study the impact of immersive journalistic production on news quality and diversity, as well as the possible emotional backfire effects of immersive technologies.

Incivility in Politics and Media

Funded by: Facebook Research: Content Governance Grant
Duration: 2020 – 2021
PI: Sophie Lecheler
Collaboration: Jana Laura Egelhofer • Ming Boyer
Status: Completed

Politics without conflict does not exist. In this sense, exchanges and debates – even heated ones – are essential for democracy, and social media can play a fundamental catalyst role. Yet, political disagreements often have a darker and nefarious side. More often than not, political discussions – especially on social media – are far from the deliberative ideal of a "good conflict", where the engaged parties listen to each other, reasonably justify their positions, show mutual respect, and are willing to re-evaluate and eventually revise their initial preference. Quite contrary to the ideal of mutual respect, conflict in political communication today is increasingly perceived as "uncivil", "nasty", "mean", "outrageous", "filthy", or "rude" – in a word: "toxic". In a number of research studies, we study the character and consequences of uncivil political talk in mediated democracies.

Sourcing and Verification in Digital Political Journalism

Funded by: Taskforce for Applied Research (SIA/NOW)
Duration: –
PI: Sophie Lecheler
Status: Completed

Digitalization has changed how journalists produce news. By means of qualitative and quantitative research techniques with both journalists and citizens, we observe how exactly journalists today use online tools, for example to verify information and find reliable sources. We also study innovation in journalism, such as immersive journalism, virtual reality reporting, and augmented reality in journalism.

Migration-Related Risks Caused by Misconceptions of Opportunities and Requirement (MIRROR)

Funded by: European Union • Horizon 2020 Program for Research and Innovation
Duration: June 2019 – May 2022
Co-PI: Hajo Boomgaarden
Collaboration: Jakob-Moritz Eberl • Maria Gruber
Status: Completed

The three-year project "Migration-Related Risks caused by misconceptions of Opportunities and Requirement (MIRROR)", funded by the European Horizon 2020 Program for Research and Innovation, started on June 1, 2019 with the overarching aim of developing a methodology for a comprehensive inter-media analysis of refugees' perceptions of the European Union, for the uncovering of discrepancies between perceptions and reality, and the raising of awareness of the impact of possible (mis-)perceptions about Europe.The project is carried out by a consortium of 14 European institutions led by Leibniz Universität Hannover (total funding: five million euros). Hajo Boomgaarden is the research leader of a working group. Together with Jakob-Moritz Eberl he will deal with questions on the role of media and communication before, during and after refugees' flight. Furthermore, there will be a special focus on how refugees perceive the European Union and what knowledge they have about legal immigration possibilities, asylum laws and border controls and from where they get this information.

Tango on a Tightrope: An Investigation of Media-Politics Dynamics in Austrian EU Crisis Management

Funded by: Anniversary Fund of the Austrian Central Bank (OeNB)
Duration: 2019 – 2022
PI: Hajo Boomgaarden
Collaboration: Olga Eisele
Status: Completed

On the occasion of the Austrian EU Presidency, the project "Tango on a Tightrope: An Investigation of Media-Politics Dynamics in Austrian EU Crisis Management" deals with the interaction of media and politics in Austria during the last ten years – a period characterised by ongoing crises of the European Union. Based on the concept of mediatisation, this media-politics "tango" will be explored relying on agenda-setting and framing approaches, as well as insights from crisis management research. We analyse press releases of "crisis managers" (executives) as well as a wide range of media content (national and regional daily newspapers, TV) with automated content analysis.

Social Media and Political Engagement: Mechanisms and Contingencies

Funded by: Austrian Science Fund (FWF – Der Wissenschaftsfonds)
Duration: June 2018 – May 2022
PI: Jörg Matthes
Collaboration: Andreas Nanz • Anja Stevic
Status: Completed

The increasing use of social media has spurred hopes that social media may have the power to increase political participation, even among those who used to tune out of the political world. Research findings in the field indeed suggest a positive relationship between social media use and various forms of political participation, such as protesting and political expression. However, there is a lack of theorizing about the precise psychological processes behind this relationship. Hence, we still don't know why and under which circumstances social media may increase participation. One problem is that research in the field is dominated by cross-sectional surveys, which measure social media use and participation for only one point in time. Long-term analyses and experimental studies, which are better suited to explain psychological mechanisms and causal effects, are yet a scarce phenomenon. Drawing on the Social Media Political Participation Model, this project aims at filling this pressing research gap.

Role of European Mobility and its Impacts in Narratives, Debates and EU Reforms (REMINDER)

Funded by: European Union • Horizon 2020 Program for Research and Innovation
Duration: January 2017 – December 2019
Co-PI: Hajo Boomgaarden
Collaboration: Jakob-Moritz Eberl • Tobias Heidenreich
Status: Completed

The overarching goal of the project was to understand the economic, social, institutional and policy factors that have shaped the impacts of free movement and public debates about it. It aimed to help European policymakers develop policy responses that inspire public trust, ensure the fairness and sustainability of free movement, and maintain inclusive policies that reduce inequalities across the continent.

Kommunikationsmuster der Radikalisierung

Funded by: Jubiläumsfonds der Stadt Wien für die ÖAW
Duration: December 2017 – December 2019
PI: Jürgen Grimm
Collaboration: Bettina Paur • Paul Majdzadeh-Ameli • Gerhard Backfried • Regina Außerwöger
Status: Completed

The Political Participation Observer. A Citizen Science Tool for Tracking Political Participation

Funded by: Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research of the Republic of Austria
Program: Citizen Science
Duration: March 2017 – December 2018
PI: Jörg Matthes
Collaboration: Alice Binder • Raffael Heiss
Status: Completed

In this project, citizen scientists collected and documented all political participation offers and possibilities in their day-to-day environment and shared this information on an online project platform. The aim was to provide a comprehensive overview of the participation culture in Austria.

FacePolitics: Social Media and Participatory Politics for Adolescents

Funded by: Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research of the Republic of Austria
Program: Sparkling Science
Duration: October 2014 – June 2017
PI: Jörg Matthes
Collaboration: Raffael Heiss • Desirée Schmuck
Status: Completed

With respect to the future of modern democracy the question is how young citizens can be reached by politics. Studies show that social networks such as Facebook may contribute to the political participation behavior of young adults. Against this background, this research project examined how Austrian politicians communicate with young voters via Facebook.

Young Adults' Political Experience Sampling (YAPES)

Funded by: Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research of the Republic of Austria
Program: Young Citizen Science
Duration: December 2014 – September 2017
PI: Jörg Matthes
Collaboration: Desirée Schmuck • Raffael Heiss
Status: Completed

Designed as a Citizen Science project, YAPES investigated how adolescents experience politics in their everyday lives.

Austrian National Election Study (AUTNES): The Media Side

Funded by: Austrian Science Fund (FWF – Der Wissenschaftsfonds)
Duration: 2013 – 2016
PI: Hajo Boomgaarden • Klaus Schönbach
Collaboration: Katharina Kleinen-von Königslöw • Ramona Vonbun-Feldbauer • Jakob-Moritz Eberl
Status: Completed

The AUTNES media analysis project investigated reporting by the mass media during the Austrian National Council elections in 2013. The AUTNES sub-project "The supply side" was reviewing how the communication efforts of political parties and candidates were portrayed in the media, whilst "The demand side" supplied data on media usage and its effects among voters.