Postdoctoral researcher in ERC EXPO on Exposure to Dissimilar Views, Polarization, Misinformation
Are you an expert in quantitative and computational social science research? Do you specialise in political science or political communication, with the …
- Nieuwe Achtergracht, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
- Vast contract
- Uren per week:
- 30 - 38 uur
- € 3637 - € 4978 per maand
Are you an expert in quantitative and computational social science research? Do you specialise in political science or political communication, with the interest in exposure to dissimilar political views, polarization, and misinformation?
Within the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, we have a Postdoc vacancy as part of the ERC Starting Grant entitled 'Citizens exposed to dissimilar views in the media: investigating backfire effects' directed by Prof. Magdalena Wojcieszak. The vacancy will be linked to the Personalized Communication Project and the Digital Communication Methods Lab, part of the RPA project Communication, directed by Prof. Claes de Vreese.
This project combines panel surveys on systematic samples in three countries (U.S., Netherlands, and Poland) with online behavioural trace data (i.e. actual online exposure among the same participants). We also rely on innovative experimental designs combined with the collection of online behavioural trace data. We use these data to examine communication effects on polarization, beliefs in misinformation, attitude extremity, among other outcomes. We explore questions such as: Under what conditions does exposure to like-minded versus politically dissimilar views increase versus attenuate affective and attitude polarization? What are the individual-level, meso-level, and system-level factors that condition these effects? Does incentivized exposure to extreme partisan sites make people endorse misinformation? What are the cognitive, attitudinal, and behavioural outcomes of political disagreement in interpersonal and online networks? Among other questions of importance to the current polarized climate.
In the second part of the project, the focus will be on the effects of exposure to (the coverage of) mis- and dis-information and/or the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in curating and moderating political online discussions (e.g., internet users’ perceptions of AI, the effects of AI intervention, among others).
What will you do?
The project entails analysing communication effects on political attitudes, cognitions, and behaviors using computational methods and advanced quantitative analyses.
- build and/or fine-tune scrapers and parsers to study online trace data;
- train and implement machine learning classifiers to study large text corpora;
- organize and maintain databases with both trace and survey data;
- design and program surveys, as well as monitor their distribution and execution;
- use statistical models to test hypotheses using large amounts of data;
- write papers to be submitted to high-impact international conferences and journals;
- write journalistic pieces to increase the visibility of the findings and work;
- present findings in international high-impact conferences and academic gatherings.
- a research interest in the topic of the project, particularly in polarization, misinformation, or AI/conversational-algorithms;
- a PhD in communication science, political science, information science, data science or any other field relevant to the substantive and methodological interests of the project. Candidates who are due to submit their dissertation manuscript in 2020 are welcome to apply;
- proven expertise in quantitative research methods (e.g., survey and experimental data analysis using advanced multivariate models);
- strong computational skills: years of experience working in R, python, and any other programming languages;
- expertise in designing, executing and analyzing complex research designs that combine self-reports (experiments/surveys) with digital trace data (e.g., tracking data);
- knowledge of - and proven experience with - collecting and analyzing online tracking data and online content;
- the willingness and commitment to work in a small, multi-disciplinary team;
- experience answering relevant social science questions using such computation skills;
- good written and spoken English skills;
- experience analysing survey and/or experimental data and visualizing the results;
- a track-record of publications on international journals on at least some of the substantive and/or methodological areas of interest to the project.
- a good communicator and an excellent organizer;
- proactive, reliable and independent;
- an energetic team player.
The position concerns a temporary contract for approx. 24 months of either 30 hours per week (0.80 FTE contract), or 32 hours per week (0.85 FTE contract), depending on the candidate’s preference . The possibility of complementing the positions with 0.2 and 0.15 FTE by teaching or working at other projects within the Department of Communication Science is negotiable. Salary depends on past education and relevant work experience, with a minimum salary of €3,637 and a maximum salary of €4,978 gross per month based on a full-time contract for a 38-hour working week (in keeping with scale 11 , as per the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary employee benefits, including a generous holiday scheme and year-end bonus. Because we value your continued personal development and professionalisation, we also offer excellent opportunities for study and development.
What else can we offer you?
The opportunity to be part of a high-impact ERC-funded research project that uses state-of-the art data and methods (i.e. online trace data and deep machine learning models) to address crucial societal issues (i.e. polarization, misinformation, boundaries of artificial intelligences, etc.). We also offer you the opportunity to present work in top academic conferences, increase your professional network, and submit work to top academic journals.
Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:
- Magdalena Wojcieszak, Professor of Communication, University of California Davis, Associate researcher (ERC SG PI), University of Amsterdam
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