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Team of Digitized Public Spheres

About Us

Our main research interest is in analyzing the structures and dynamics of communication in public spheres under the conditions of digitalization and datafication. We study how public issues emerge, from which perspectives they are publicly debated and interpreted, and how these processes have changed with new media. A special focus is on the areas of political communication as well as science communication.

We are particularly interested in analyzing and understanding the emergence of dynamic macrophenomena of public spheres such as waves of public attention, public opinion and social protests. We study these phenomena in the framework of complexity research by adopting and adapting innovative computational methods (such as network analysis, text and data mining as well as agent-based modeling and simulation) and combining them with conventional methods of empirical research.

  • Staff

    Waldherr, Annie, Jun.-Prof. Dr. +49 251 83-23000 E-Mail
    Stoltenberg, Daniela, M.A. +49 30 838 63424 E-Mail
    Freiling, Isabelle, M.A. +49 251 83-23684 E-Mail
    Klinger, Kira

  • Projects

    Translocal Networks: Public Sphere in the Social Web

    The research project is part of the Collaborative Research Center 1265 “Re-Figuration of Spaces” (Coordinating university: TU Berlin). The center investigates changes in experience and constitution of space in light of processes of globalization and digitalization. In this framework, our project examines the spatiality of the “Twitterspheres” in the cities of Berlin and Jerusalem. Asking how virtual urban spaces are constituted through networked communication, we investigate communicative relations among Twitter users, their spatial locations, and the topics they talk about.

    Research Training Group 1712/2 “Trust and Communication in a Digitized World”

    The research training group examines how trust can be developed and maintained under the conditions of new forms of communication. Digitized means of communication change the structure and sustainability of trust because firstly, familiar face-to-face communication is replaced by digitized interactions, secondly, virtual social and office networks emerge and finally, because new forms of relationships between the public, organisations and individuals develop. The postgraduate programme analyses the consequences of these processes for the establishment of trust relationships by the example of four prototypical areas: media, economy, science and sports.

    Working Group "Computational Social Science: Theories, Methodology & Research Ethics"

    With the increasing digitalization of our contemporary societies, «Computational Social Science» (CSS) has become an established field of research over the last couple of years. As a subarea of social science, CSS focuses on computational methods – such as network analysis, text and data mining as well as computer simulation – to examine social phenomena and processes. Due to technological change, these methods have become more and more relevant as they enable to systematically analyze massive digital datasets.

  • Awards

    Annie Waldherr

    Honors

    Top Paper Award - Computational Methods Interest Group, International Communication Association (ICA)
    Best Paper Award of the German National Communication Association 2018 (1st rank) for the best German journal publication in communications in 2017 - German Communication Association (DGPuK)

    Daniela Stoltenberg

    Honors

    Top Paper Award - Computational Methods Interest Group, International Communication Association (ICA)
    Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellowship - The German Communication Association (DGPuK)
    Award for an Outstanding Master's Degree - Institute for Media and Communication Studies

    Isabelle Freiling

    Honors

    Fulbright Fellow for 2019-2020 - German-American Fulbright Commission
  • Latest Publications

    • Stoltenberg, Daniela; Maier, Daniel; Waldherr, Annie. (). Community detection in civil society online networks: Theoretical guide and empirical assessment. Social Networks, 59, 120-133. doi: 10.1016/j.socnet.2019.07.001.
    • Hilbert M, Barnett G, Blumenstock J, Contractor N, Diesner J, Frey S, González-Bailón S, Lamberson PJ, Pan J, Peng T-Q, Shen C, Smaldino PE, van Atteveldt W, Waldherr A, Zhan J. (). Computational communication science: A methodological catalyzer for a maturing discipline. International Journal of Communication, 13, 3912–3934.
    • Waldherr A, Geise S, Katzenbach C. (). Because technology matters: Theorizing interdependencies in computational communication science with actor–network theory. International Journal of Communication, 13, 3955–3975.
    • Waldherr A, Wettstein M. (). Bridging the gaps: Using agent-based modeling to reconcile data and theory in computational communication science. International Journal of Communication, 13, 3976–3999.
    • Waldherr A. (). Messinstrumente und Sinnkonstruktionen: Methoden als Antreiber und Taktgeber der Kommunikationswissenschaft. Medien & Zeit, 34(1), 40-47.
    • Waldherr, Annie; Wehden, Lars-Ole; Stoltenberg, Daniela; Miltner, Peter; Ostner Sophia; Pfetsch, Barbara. (). Induktive Kategorienbildung in der Inhaltsanalyse: Kombination automatischer und manueller Verfahren. FQS: Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung, 20(1). doi: 10.17169/fqs-20.1.3058.
    • Strippel C., Bock A., Katzenbach C., Mahrt M., Merten L., Nuernbergk C., Pentzold C. & Waldherr A (Hrsg.). (). Themenheft "Theoretische und methodische Antworten der Kommunikationswissenschaft auf Herausforderungen der Digitalisierung".
    • Schmid-Petri H, Adam S, Reber U, Häussler T, Maier D., Miltner P., Pfetsch B., Waldherr A. (). Homophily and prestige: An assessment of their relative strength to explain link formation in the online climate change debate. Social Networks, 55, 47-54. doi: 10.1016/j.socnet.2018.05.001.
    • Maier D., Waldherr A., Miltner P., Wiedemann G., Niekler A., Keinert A., Pfetsch B., Heyer G., Reber U., Häussler T., Schmid-Petri H. & Adam S. (). Applying LDA topic modeling in communication research: Toward a valid and reliable methodology. Communication Methods and Measures, 12(2-3), 93-118. doi: 10.1080/19312458.2018.1430754.
    • Waldherr A. (). Modelling issue-attention dynamics in a hybrid media system. In Vasterman P. (Ed.), From media hype to Twitter storm: News explosions and their impact on issues, crises, and public opinion (p. 291-311). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
    • Maier D., Waldherr A., Miltner P., Jähnichen P., Pfetsch B. (). Exploring issues in a networked public sphere: Combining hyperlink network analysis and topic modeling. Social Science Computer Review, 36, 3-20. doi: 10.1177/0894439317690337.
    • Strippel C., Bock A., Katzenbach C., Mahrt M., Merten L., Nuernbergk C., Pentzold C., Puschmann C., Waldherr A. (). Die Zukunft der Kommunikationswissenschaft ist schon da, sie ist nur ungleich verteilt: Eine Kollektivreplik auf Beiträge im „Forum“ (Publizistik, Heft 3 und 4, 2016). Publizistik, 63(1). doi: 10.1007/s11616-017-0398-5.
    • Waldherr A., Maier D., Miltner P., Günther E. (). Big data, big noise: The challenge of finding issue networks on the Web. Social Science Computer Review, 35, 427-443. doi: 10.1177/0894439316643050.
    • Waldherr, Annie. (). Öffentlichkeit als komplexes System: Theoretisches Konzept und methodische Konsequenzen. Medien & Kommunikationswissenschaft, 65(3), 534-549. doi: 10.5771/1615-634X-2017-3-534.
    • Waldherr A., Wijermans, N. (). Modelling the role of social media at street protests. In Jager W., Verbrugge R., Flache A., de Roo G., Hoogduin L., Hemelrijk C. (Eds.), Advances in Social Simulation 2015. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol. 528 (p. 445-449). Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-47253-9_41.

    Latest Publications

    • Maier, Daniel; Niekler, Andreas; Wiedemann, Gregor; Stoltenberg, Daniela. (). How document sampling and vocabulary pruning affect the results of topic models. Computational Communication Research, 2(2). [Accepted]
    • Stoltenberg, Daniela; Maier, Daniel; Waldherr, Annie. (). Community detection in civil society online networks: Theoretical guide and empirical assessment. Social Networks, 59, 120-133. doi: 10.1016/j.socnet.2019.07.001.
    • Waldherr, Annie; Wehden, Lars-Ole; Stoltenberg, Daniela; Miltner, Peter; Ostner Sophia; Pfetsch, Barbara. (). Induktive Kategorienbildung in der Inhaltsanalyse: Kombination automatischer und manueller Verfahren. FQS: Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung, 20(1). doi: 10.17169/fqs-20.1.3058.
    • Stoltenberg, Daniela; Maier, Daniel. (). Descriptive Methods for Investigating Dynamics in Online Networks. In Müller, Philipp; Geiß, Stefan; Schemer, Christian; Naab, Teresa K.; Peter, Christina (Eds.), Dynamische Prozesse der öffentlichen Kommunikation. Methodische Herausforderungen (p. 144-173). Köln: Herbert von Halem.

    Latest Publications

    • Scheufele, D. A., Krause, N. M., Freiling, I., Brossard, D. (). How Not to Lose the COVID-19 Communication War. Issues in Science and Technology, ..
    • Krause N. M., Freiling I., Beets B., Brossard D. (). Fact-Checking as Risk Communication: The Multi-Layered Risk of Misinformation in Times of COVID-19. Journal of Risk Research, .. doi: 10.1080/13669877.2020.1756385.
    • Freiling, Isabelle. (). Detecting misinformation in online social networks: A think-aloud study on user strategies. Studies in Communication and Media, 8(4), 471-496. doi: 10.5771/2192-4007-2019-4-471.
  • Talks

    • Maier, Daniel; Baden, Christian; Stoltenberg, Daniela; de Vries, Maya; Waldherr, Annie (): ‘Assessing Strategies for Topic Modeling of Multilingual Text Collections in Communication Research’. 70th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), Gold Coast, Australia, .
    • Kligler-Vilenchik, Neta; de Vries, Maya; Maier, Daniel; Stoltenberg, Daniela (): ‘Twitter Networks of Voter (De)Mobilization in the 2018 Municipal Elections in Jerusalem: A Mixed-Methods Analysis’. European Symposium Series on Societal Challenges in Computational Social Science (EuroCSS), Zurich, Switzerland, .
    • Waldherr, Annie (): ‘Introduction into agent-based modeling with NetLogo’. International Summer School “Social Media as a Digital Agora for Political Arguments, Opinions, and Ideas?”, Duisburg, .
    • Pfetsch, Barbara; Maier, Daniel; Stoltenberg, Daniela; Waldherr, Annie; Kligler-Vilenchik, Neta; de Vries, Maya (): ‘How local is the digital public sphere on Twitter? A comparison between Jerusalem and Berlin’. 69th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), Washington DC, United States, .
    • Waldherr, Annie; Geise, Stephanie; Mahrt, Merja; Katzenbach, Christian; Nürnbergk, Christian (): ‘Towards a stronger theoretical grounding of computational communication science: A review of tried and tested social theories’. 69th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), Washington, DC, .
    • Stoltenberg, Daniela (): ‘The Role of Spatialized Inequality in Shaping Political Discourse in Social Media Urban Public Spheres’. 69th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), Doctoral Pre-Conference, Political Communication Division, Washington DC, United States, .
    • Maier, Daniel; Stoltenberg, Daniela; Waldherr, Annie; Pfetsch, Barbara (): „TweetX: An R-shiny web application for exploring collections of tweets“. 64. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft (DGPuK), WWU Münster, Münster, Deutschland, .
    • Stoltenberg, Daniela (): „Integrated Neighborhood(s)? Local Representation and Interconnectedness in Urban Public Spheres on Social Media“. 64. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft (DGPuK), WWU Münster, Münster, Deutschland, .
    • Waldherr, Annie (): ‘’. 64. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft (DGPuK), Sonderfenster Kommunikationsgeschichte, Münster, .
    • Waldherr A (): ‘Computational social science’. Colloquium of the Center for Nonlinear Science, University of Muenster, .
    • Waldherr, Annie; Stoltenberg, Daniela; Maier, Daniel; Pfetsch, Barbara. (): ‘’. Invited Seminar, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, .
    • Maier, Daniel; Stoltenberg, Daniela; Pfetsch, Barbara; Waldherr, Annie (): ‘Translocal networks in urban Twitter spheres: A case study from Berlin’. Re-Figuration of Spaces: Mediatization, Mobility, Globalization and Social Dislocation. First International Conference of the SFB 1265, Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany, .
    • Kligler-Vilenchik, Neta; de Vries, Maja; Pfetsch, Barbara; Waldherr, Annie (): ‘Co-constructing space in urban public spheres: Twitter use in Jerusalem’. 8th Eurasian Peace Science Conference, Jerusalem, Israel, .
    • Waldherr, Annie (): ‘’. “Digital Traces Workshop”, Bremen, Germany, .
    • Waldherr, Annie; Stoltenberg, Daniela; Maier, Daniel; Pfetsch, Barbara (): ‘Translocalization of public spheres in a digitized world’. 7th Conference of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA), Lugano, Switzerland, .
    • Waldherr, Annie (): „“. Jahrestagung der DGPuK-Fachgruppe „Soziologie der Medienkommunikation“, Rostock, Germany, .
    • Waldherr, Annie (): „“. Vitznauer Gespräche, Vitznau, Schweiz, .
    • Hilbert, Martin; Barnett, George; Blumenstock, Joshua; Diesner, Jana; Frey, Seth; Lamberson, PJ; Shen, Cuihua; Smaldino, Paul; Waldherr, Annie; Zhan, Jingewn; Zhu, Jonathan (): ‘Computational communication science: A methodological catalyzer for a maturing discipline’. 68th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), Prague, .
    • Waldherr, Annie; Guo, Lei (): ‘Wave of opportunity: Frame networks of political challengers and news media during a food scandal’. 68th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), Prague, .
    • Stoltenberg, Daniela; Maier, Daniel; Waldherr, Annie (): ‘Community detection in online networks of civil society: Theoretical guide and empirical assessment’. 68th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), Prague, Czech Republic, .
    • Waldherr, Annie; Bachl, Marko (): ‘The contingencies of silent majorities: Revisiting the spiral of silence with agent-based modeling’. 68th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), Prague, .
    • Maier, Daniel; Stoltenberg, Daniela (): ‘Tracing Twitter’. IRS Spring Academy 2018. Investigating Space(s): Current Theoretical and Methodological Approaches, Institut für Raumbezogene Sozialforschung (IRS), Erkner, Deutschland, .
    • Geise S, Waldherr A (): „“. Preconference „Neue Theorien (in) der Kommunikationswissenschaft“ im Rahmen der DGPuK-Jahrestagung, Mannheim, .
    • Waldherr, Annie (): ‘’. 24th Systems Science Colloquium, University of Osnabrück, Germany, .
    • Waldherr, Annie (): „“. Studientag der Ludwig-Windthorst-Stiftung, Münster, Germany, .
    • Waldherr, Annie; Stoltenberg, Daniela; Maier, Daniel; Pfetsch, Barbara (): „Translocalization of Public Spheres in a Digitalized Word: A Theoretical Discussion“. Jahrestagung der DGPuK-Fachgruppe Digitale Kommunikation, Hochschule Macromedia, Stuttgart, Deutschland, .
    • Waldherr, Annie (): ‘’. Hans-Bredow-Institute for Media Research, Hamburg, Germany, .
    • Waldherr, Annie; Schmid-Petri, Hannah (): ‘Authority, hub, or broker: Structural roles of gatekeeping in online issue networks’. 67th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, San Diego, CA, USA, .
    • Maier, Daniel; Waldherr, Annie; Miltner, Peter; Wiedemann, Gregor; Niekler, Andreas; Heyer, Gerhard; Keinert, Alexa; Pfetsch, Barbara; Häussler, Thomas; Reber, Ueli; Schmid-Petri, Hannah; Adam, Silke (): ‘Applying LDA topic modeling in communication research: Towards a valid and reliable methodology’. 67th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), San Diego, CA, .
    • Schmid-Petri, Hannah; Häussler, Thomas; Adam, Silke; Reber, Ueli; Maier, Daniel; Miltner, Peter; Pfetsch, Barbara; Waldherr, Annie (): ‘Homophily versus prestige: Adding topics to the explanation of link formation on the Web’. 67th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), Sand Diego, CA, .
    • Pfetsch Barbara; Maier, Daniel; Miltner, Peter; Waldherr, Annie (): ‘’. 67th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), San Diego, CA, .
    • Waldherr, Annie (): „Networks and issue dynamics in digital public spheres: An agent-based simulation experiment“. Jahrestagung der DGPuK, Düsseldorf, Germany, .