26.07.2021 | DSC Seed Grant

DSC funds interdisciplinary research project on media usage

The project uses data science methods to explores how young climate activists engage with social media.

The DSC Seed Grant was awarded for the sixth time, this time to the interdisciplinary research team of Prof. Dr. Cornelius Puschmann, Prof. Dr. Andreas Breiter, Patrick Zerrer and Dr. Philipp Krieter. They will conduct a pilot study on the digital media usage behavior of young climate activists of the Fridays for Future (FFF) movement.

As part of the study, the participants install an app, which continuously records the media usage on their smartphone. The participants (N=100) represent the supporters of the FFF movement in terms of age, gender and income. A data-saving sceen tracking app records the usage behavior. The methodological goal of the is to combine a minimally invasive intrusion into privacy with a data collection that has scientific value and to test it in practice.

A key aspect of the project is the combination of traditional methods of empirical social research with novel data science methods. The establishment of the tracking approach as a way of measuring actual media use represents a methodological innovation at the interface of computer science and communication science. The methodological weaknesses of the tracking approach (e.g. a lack of knowledge of the reasons that motivate certain usage patterns) are overcome by applying a mixed-method design. This involves the combination of different methodological approaches (tracking, online questionnaire, automated content analysis and scraping) to gain more detailed insights into the participant’s behavior. This approach will provide a better understanding of the connection between media use and political action, for example, whether the reception of news on social media mobilizes participation in protests. Data science methods are not only used during data collection but also for data analysis, for example by using text mining methods and innovative statistical approaches.

Funding recipients:
Prof. Dr. Cornelius Puschmann (Faculty 9 – Cultural studies, ZeMKI – Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research)
Prof. Dr. Andreas Breiter (Faculty 3 – Mathematics and Computer Science, Ifib – Institute for Information Management Bremen, ZeMKI – Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research)
Patrick Zerrer (Faculty 9 – Cultural studies, ZeMKI – Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research)
Dr. Philipp Krieter (Ifib – Institute for Information Management Bremen)

Funding period:
1st October 2021 till 30th September 2022

Author: Katharina Soemer
If you have any questions regarding the DSC Seed Grant, feel free to contact me.

Dr. Lena Steinmann
DSC Coordinator
+49 (421) 218 - 63941

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