Twenty-five international experts attended a HBI-organized workshop this week to discuss the benefits, challenges and best practices of combining survey data with digital tracking data in social research. The main focus was on how academia can gain new insights into media use and opinion formation applying these method combinations.
Kjerstin Thorson (Michigan State University) and Magdalena Wojcieszak (University of California Davis) gave keynote speeches on the methodological challenges of capturing information-oriented online use and the impact of news use and other contacts with political issues online on opinion formation.
Research with digital trace data
Communication science research employing digital trace data (web tracking, social media data) has steadily increased in recent years. Since digital trace data also entail numerous weaknesses and challenges in addition to great potential, the combination of surveys and digital traces is emerging more and more as a promising combination.
The workshop focused on how we can use new methodological approaches in survey design, web tracking and automated content analysis to better understand the interplay between the reception of political content online and political opinion formation, and thus also the possible consequences for social cohesion. Aspects of data quality, secure data management, and open science were also discussed.
The event was organized by Lisa Merten
in collaboration of Louisa Pröschel, Wiebke Schoon and Lyle Detmering as well as Media Research Methods Lab
(Sascha Hölig, Gregor Wiedemann), the research team around the POLTRACK project
(Katrin Weller & Sebastian Stier for GESIS, Juhi Kulshrestha for the University of Konstanz, Cornelius Puschmann for the University of Bremen) as well as the Research Institute for Social Cohesion
(6 May 2022)