Web Science & Political Science

Justin Murphy

http://jmrphy.net / @jmrphy

November 17, 2014

Plan

I will focus on key research areas with an eye toward promising opportunities.

  • The Web as an Independent Variable
  • The Web as a Dependent Variable
  • The Web as a Scientific Tool

The Web as an Independent Variable

In post-industrial liberal democracies:

  • Does the web affect political participation (Norris 2000; Boulianne 2009)?
  • Does the web polarize (Sunstein 2002; Messing and Westwood 2012; Barberá Forthcoming)?

In less-developed countries:

  • Does the web lead to democratic revolutions (Everybody?; Lynch 2011; Hassenpour 2011; Shirky 2009; Morozov 2011)?

The Web as a Dependent Variable

In post-industrial liberal democracies:

  • What drives web use (e.g., partisanship/homophily)?

In less-developed countries:

  • How do we explain variation in web adoption and use by states (Milner 2006; Corrales and Westhoff 2006; )?

(Aside: What structures/dynamics make the web more or less empowering/disempowering?)

The Web as a Scientific Tool

  1. Data collection

    • Large automated databases (GDELT)
    • Public opinion and ideology estimation
    • Efficient web scraping
    • A few personal examples
  2. Web-native social science

    • A new breed of political scientists
    • Reproducibility
    • Political journalism is changing tremendously

Thanks!