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Measuring online deliberation in local politics: An empirical analysis of the 2011 Zurich city debate


Klinger, Ulrike; Russmann, Uta (2014). Measuring online deliberation in local politics: An empirical analysis of the 2011 Zurich city debate. International Journal of E-Politics, 5(1):61-77.

Abstract

Administrations increasingly use the internet to improve citizens' participation in political processes. While research on online political communication and e-democracy is growing, we still have little empirical evidence on the quality of online participation and deliberation processes. This paper focuses on an online local deliberation process, the 2011 Zurich City Debate, and seeks to investigate the specific quality of such online public communication. By building an index of a quality of understanding (IQU), the authors analyse 1.991 postings that participants have contributed in five thematic debates on local political issues. Five indicators were defined: statement of reasons, proposals for solutions, respect, doubts, and reciprocity. The authors conclude that participants have respectfully voiced opinions, that in two fora half of the postings were reciprocal, i.e. people exchanged views and commented on each other. However, the data gives the impression of a polite and reciprocal debate, but without much argumentation, propositions or doubts.

Abstract

Administrations increasingly use the internet to improve citizens' participation in political processes. While research on online political communication and e-democracy is growing, we still have little empirical evidence on the quality of online participation and deliberation processes. This paper focuses on an online local deliberation process, the 2011 Zurich City Debate, and seeks to investigate the specific quality of such online public communication. By building an index of a quality of understanding (IQU), the authors analyse 1.991 postings that participants have contributed in five thematic debates on local political issues. Five indicators were defined: statement of reasons, proposals for solutions, respect, doubts, and reciprocity. The authors conclude that participants have respectfully voiced opinions, that in two fora half of the postings were reciprocal, i.e. people exchanged views and commented on each other. However, the data gives the impression of a polite and reciprocal debate, but without much argumentation, propositions or doubts.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:30 Dec 2014 14:17
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 09:16
Publisher:I G I Global
ISSN:1947-9131
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.4018/ijep.2014010104

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