Analyzing digital politics: Challenges and experiments in a dual perspective

03/14/2019
by   Géraldine Castel, et al.
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Social networks have become in the last decade central to political life. However, to those interested in analysing the communication strategies of parties and candidates at election time, the introduction of the Internet into the political sphere has proved a mixed blessing. Indeed, while retrieving, consulting, and archiving original documents pertaining to a specific campaign have become easier, faster, and achievable on a larger scale, thus opening up a promising El Dorado for research in this area, studying online campaigns has also inevitably introduced new technical, methodological and legal challenges which have turned out to be increasingly complex for academics in the humanities and social sciences to solve on their own.This paper therefore proposes to provide feedback on experience and experimental validation from a multidisciplinary project called POLIWEB devoted to the comparative analysis of political campaigns on social media in the run up to the 2014 elections to the European Parliament in France and in the United Kingdom. Together with observations from a humanities' perspective on issues related to such a project, this paper also presents experimental results concerning three of the data collection life cycle phases: collection, cleaning, and storage. The outcome is a data collection ready to be analysed for various purposes meant to address the political science topic under consideration.

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