Are you exceptionally interested in (computational) communication research? Is it your ambition to become a top-tier researcher?
The Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR
) is the research institute for the Communication Science
department at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
. We are seeking a PhD candidate for participation in the NEWSFLOWS
project, which is being funded by the European Research Council. The PhD track is part of the Political Communication
programme group and the Computational Communication Science Amsterdam Lab
. The candidate will work in close cooperation with the Digital Society Initative
and the Digital Communication Methods Lab
.What are you going to doThe vacancy is part of the NEWSFLOWS project. A description of the overall goals of the project is available at https://newsflows.eu. At this time, we are recruiting for the subproject "WP3: Feedback loops and beliefs". In this project, you will conduct computational communication science research using field experiments with recommender systems as well as social media bots that you have to develop.
In the first year, you will use an existing dataset with data donation data (such as browser histories) and measures of attitudes and beliefs. This will allow to get a first insights into the core relationships to be investigated in this project. In the remainder of the project, you will conduct a field experiment combined with multiple-wave survey measures. Manipulating the actual content as well as cues that indicate feedback loops, we measure change in participants' beliefs. Single exposure to one news item is most likely not able to fundamentally change beliefs unless it is a topic that one really does not care about and has no prior knowledge on; however, with some exceptions, most experiments have not focused on long-term effects. We therefore use a panel design, in which we do ask people to use a news app developed by us between survey waves. To do so, we can build on earlier work from our group, in particular an app called 3bij3 that can be further developed for this study. More information about this can be found in the work by Loecherbach and Trilling (2020) and Loecherbach et al. (2021).
Finally, you we want to develop a tool to study individual-level effects in the context of existing social-media platforms. We will build a recommender app that shares news stories from various sourceswith participants on a platform that is already widely used, such as Twitter, Instagram, or Telegram. In comparison to the first field experiment, we can thus achieve higher external and ecological validity at the expense of less freedom to set up the experiment the way we want. In the context of Twitter, such an automated
account that participants are asked to follow is sometimes called a "news bot"
or a "retweet bot". This approach will allows us to directly post messages to people's news feeds in the same way that any other account they may follow does.You will/tasks:
- conduct research as outlined above, resulting in academic publications in leading journals and cumulating in a PhD thesis;
- present your work at international conferences;
- contribute to the vibrant academic life in Amsterdam by attending workshops, meetings, and lectures;
- spend 5% of your time on teaching-related tasks.