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Utrecht Data School


Research Internship: Investigating social media metrics in politics and public management

-this internship is located at University of Duisburg-Essen; working language: German and English-

Data appear to be everywhere: as many processes of everyday life currently produce data, from cell phones over shopping transactions to online media. Wherever an electronic process of information processing is involved, data are generated; data which are available for analysis. Simply through using the popular social media platforms data are generated that represent all user activities. These data are available for market research, targeted advertising or academic research and also for criminal investigation. Through using social media metrics, public administrations and police increasingly rely on novel forms of sentiment analysis, polling and even identifying multipliers for their communication. Through revisiting their own data, many public administrations are already very far progressed in developing novel approaches to urban planning, lowering the threshold for civic participation and increasing the efficiency of public administration.

This research project maps the use of social media metrics in public management and policing in Nordrhein-Westfalen.

As co-founder and principal investigator of the Utrecht Data School, Mirko Tobias Schäfer witnessed this transformation through a number of research projects with among others the Netherlands National Police, the City of Utrecht or the State Department for Infrastructure and Environment. For this research project he investigates the state of datafication and the use of social media metrics in public management and police in Nordrhein-Westfalen.

For supporting this research project, we are looking for a research assistant for the duration of three months (April-June) with an opportunity for two additional months. Activities include the scheduling of interviews, literature research, documentation of research process and coordinating communication between the host institution (NRW School of Governance) and the home institution (Utrecht Data School). There is also a opportunity for the research assistant to co-publish and to participate in the joint-activities of NRW School of Governance and Utrecht Data School.

The candidate is an ambitious (graduate) student of media/communication studies, political sciences or sociology. Excellent organisation and research skills, as well as proficient communication in English and German (written and spoken word) are required. Preferably, the candidate is familiar with the political landscape and public administration of NRW. Knowledge about social media metrics, data scraping and data analysis (e.g. Gephi) would be ideal but are not required.

The Research Assistant becomes part of the Utrecht Data School team and is compensated with the standard internship compensation fee of 350 EUR/month (gross).

Please send your application (CV and letter of motivation) to office@mtschaefer.net (no later than 25.3.2016)


Utrecht Data School
The Utrecht Data School is a research and teaching platform training students in data analysis and conducting commissioned research projects for external partners <www.dataschool.nl>

Mirko Tobias Schäfer is Assistant Professor for New Media & Digital Culture at the University of Utrecht and director of the Utrecht Data School. In 2016 he is Mercator Research Fellow at NRW School of Governance. <www.mtschaefer.net>

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