• About the Konstanz Center for Data and Methods (CDM)

    Working with diverse data sets, advanced quantitative and computational methods lies at the heart of contemporary social science. At the Konstanz Center for Data and Methods we focus on developing, distributing, and teaching core competencies to address this challenge following a problem-driven approach: The choice of which data to collect or method to apply has to meet the demands of a given real-world problem or derive from theory-driven considerations. This pluralistic approach to data collection and analysis is reflected both in our research and teaching.

  • Context-driven attitude formation

    With colleagues at the University of Mannheim, we examined the difference between supporting free trade in the abstract and supporting specific trade agreements. Our analysis shows that in order to understand public support or opposition toward specific trade agreements, we have to move away from models using a fixed set of explanatory variables toward models that are more flexible and reactive to public discourse. Models traditionally used to understand preferences for or against international integration in the abstract might thus tell us little about support or opposition toward specific instances of these measures once they are politicized and subjects of public discourse. The study was published in Review of International Political Economy.

  • Journal of Information Technology & Politics

    Political Communication on Twitter

    Together with colleagues at the University of Leeds, Trinity College Dublin and ETH Zürich we studied political communication on Twitter surrounding the Duma and presidential elections in Russia in 2011-12. Our analysis shows that pro-government users employed a variety of communication strategies to shift the political discourse and marginalise oppositional voices on Twitter. This demonstrates how authorities can disempower regime critics and successfully manipulate public opinion on social media. 

  • Effects of Membership Referenda in Political Parties

    Together with colleagues at the University of Mannheim and in collaboration with the CDU Berlin, we examined the effects of a salient membership referendum on party members. Our analysis shows that the referendum had secondary effects that went beyond the referendum’s primary goal of delivering an informal opinion poll to the party leadership. Involvement in intraparty decision-making promotes beliefs and behaviors among the rank and file that are relevant to uphold a vivid and empowering party life. The study was published in Party Politics.

  • Political Research Quarterly

    Estimated Dynamics of Voting Propensity

    Susumu Shikano and Bernhard Kittel (Univ. of Vienna) tested two different adaptive learning models of voter turnout (BDT and Fowler) by using data from laboratory experiments. In the figure, gray tone corresponds to the posterior density of voting propensity of all subjects in the time course, white lines represent mean propensities of individual subjects. The paper was published in Political Research Quarterly.

  • Statistics in Society

    Effect of Strategic Voting on Election Results

    Assessments of whether strategic voting made a difference to the outcome of an election have long been hampered by the scarcity of district-level data. In this paper, we develop a method to estimate constituency-level strategic vote transfers from national election surveys. The figure illustrates the estimated volume of switching, as a proportion of the party vote, between Labour and LibDems by constituency at the British General Elections 2001.

  • Policy & Internet

    Political Participation through E-Petitions

    In this paper, we analyzed the usage behavior of online petitioners on the German Bundestag’s e-petition platform. We found evidence that the platform is dominated by a very small number of high-volume petitions and that these high-volume petitions have a delayed boosting effect on the base activity in the petition system. We furthermore present a typology of users, showing that although highly active “new lobbyists” and “hit-and-run activists” exist, one- or two-time petitioners have the largest impact.


New Article in International Journal on Digital Libraries

The article "Automated Identification of Media Bias in News Articles: An Interdisciplinary Literature Review" co-authored by Felix Hamborg, Karsten Donnay and Bela Gipp reviews the state-of-the-art in the automated study of bias in news media articles bringing together the latest insights from research in both social and computer science.

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New Article in Behavior Research Methods

The article "The Rippling Dynamics of Valenced Messages in Naturalistic Youth Chat" co-authored by Seth Frey, Karsten Donnay, Dirk Helbing, Robert Sumner and Maarten Bos performs a quasi-experimental analysis of hundreds of millions of chat room messages between young people. This allowed us to reconstruct how—and on what timeline—the valence of one message affects the valence of subsequent messages by others.

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