DIGIPOLS focuses on the intersection of digital technologies and politics. Its mission is to provide a research environment for pursuing cutting-edge, theory-driven empirical research for advancing the study of how digital technologies are impacting our institutions of governance and how politics shapes the development of these technologies.
As an inter-departmental entity, DIGIPOLS pursues an interdisciplinary approach that brings together social scientists and computer scientists conducting complementary research in areas related to DIGIPOLS thematic interests. The lab’s researchers are brought together in the DIGIPOLS Forum, which meets regularly to exchange ideas, discuss best practices and offer strategic input to the four DIGIPOLS research clusters.
Applied political communication
Political communication is concerned with how information is exchanged between political actors, from politicians and governments to civil society and citizens, and the role played by intermediary actors, such as the news media, in this transmission. The communication linkages are multi-faceted and increasingly digitalized. This cluster is focused on ‘applied’ aspects of political communication that involve experimentation, such as lab experiments and field experiments. Most of the ongoing research is associated with the pioneering work of DIGIPOLS researchers on Voting Advice Applications
Media and Social Media Monitoring
This research area is mainly centred on the development of data collection platforms that track particular domains of interest. Work has been conducted on building real-time data collection during election campaigns, for the evaluation of the communication of policy by the EU, as well as monitoring the latter’s linguistic communication practices.
Public Opinion & Argument Mining
This research area is concerned with developing techniques and tools for the analysis of public opinion. It includes both traditional forms of public opinion, such as surveys, and more recent big data approaches to opinion mining. A complementary area of research is focused on argument mining, which draws inspiration from computational linguistics.
The Forum is an umbrella organization that periodically brings together DIGIPOLS researchers. The Forum keeps researchers abreast of the state-of-the-art and serves as a venue for the exchange of ideas. Crucially, the Forum provides strategic input and guidance to DIGIPOLS more specialized research clusters. It is also responsible for organizing DIGIPOLS events.