WP5 – Deliberation Online

WP5: Prospects for participatory deliberation using digital technologies

Key research questions:

How can we best analyse public discourses online and in social media feeds, identify bias and fake news?

What is the role of reason and emotion in argumentation online?

Can we develop good digital tools for analysing such sources? And what use can we expect of these?

Our research aim is to unveil and analyse the explicit and/or implicit structure of argumentation in polarised discourses in social media concerning the uses (and abuses) of science in public debate.

This means that we are going to:

  1. Develop an ‘argument extractor’ as a set of tools and methods for extracting and analysing causal statements and other forms of argumentation from social media and, more generally, online textual data on science-based topics of current public debate.
  2. Using discourse analytic tools (e.g., the Penepole text analytical platform) to study the role of emotions, compared to logical reasoning and polarisation strategies in driving discourses within digital media, particularly in the context of the rise of populism in political debate.
  3. Lead online surveys with embedded experiments using contrastive vignettes and discrete choice procedures to (i) assess the impact of fake news and pseudoscience and the perception of bias in media content and (ii) interventions to counter such effects.
  4. Using a ‘big data’ analysis of social media contributors to identify social categories absent from debating knowledge society issues, followed up by conducting depth interviews in 6 EU member states to explore the drivers behind the absence of participation in social media and digital deliberative platforms. 

Leader: Giuseppe Veltri