PhD Position for the Project: Are We Too Concerned About Misinformation?

PhD Position for the Project: Are We Too Concerned About Misinformation?

Published Deadline Location
26 Apr 20 May Amsterdam

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Job description

Are you interested in the role that misinformation plays in people’s understanding of their information environment? Do you want to know more about how people form perceptions about the threat of being misinformed? Then apply for this PhD project!

We are looking for an ambitious PhD Researcher for the four-year project “Are we too concerned about misinformation? Exploring how public opinion, political communication, and (social) media contribute to (dis)proportional risk perceptions of misinformation”. The PhD Candidate is embedded in the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) and is part of the Political Communication and Journalism Program Group. You will be working together with Linda Bos, Michael Hameleers, and Toni van der Meer.

What are you going to do
Misinformation and disinformation are widely seen as big societal threats, both in the Netherlands and beyond. These threats call for more research and for new solutions to make citizens and societal groups more resilient against mis- and disinformation. This is why the Department of Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam has launched a new initiative focusing on the causes, content, consequences, and counterstrategies against mis- and disinformation in our digital society.

This PhD project is part of this initiative and will specifically address how people form risk perceptions regarding misinformation that are potentially incorrect. In the battle against misinformation, we are frequently warned for being misled by false information. Accordingly, audiences perceive misinformation as an omnipresent threat and report difficulties in distinguishing fake from real news. However, recent empirical research highlights that misinformation comprises only a very small proportion of people’s news diets. Thus, audiences’ perceptions of the threat of misinformation might, at times, be disproportionate to the risk of being deceived or misinformed. The main aim of this PhD project is to explore the causes of the discrepancy between perceived misinformation salience on the one hand and the low observed misinformation exposure on the other hand. We aim to map (i) the signals on which citizens base their potential worries for misinformation, (ii) threat frames used in political elite communication, journalism, and on social media, and (iii) how more accurate misinformation perceptions can be stimulated.

Methods used in the project range from (computational) content analysis to focus groups. The PhD Candidate will write a paper-based dissertation and strive to publish the results of individual sub-studies in important journals in the field of communication science.

Tasks include:
  • completing an English-language PhD dissertation consisting of research articles within the appointment period;
  • conducting qualitative focus groups;
  • conducting a quantitative (computational) content analysis;
  • conducting an Experience Sampling Method;
  • conducting data analysis;
  • presenting the work at national and international conferences;
  • spending 10% of your time on teaching-related tasks.

What do we require
You have:
  • a (research) master’s degree in Communication Science or in another discipline relevant to the project, such as Political Science, Sociology, or (Social) Psychology;
  • candidates with another (research) master’s degree may apply but should motivate why their experience suffices for this project;
  • experience with quantitative and/or qualitative research methods;
  • an excellent spoken and written command of English (as you will write an English-language dissertation and present at international conferences);
  • the motivation to work in an interdisciplinary team.

You are:
  • passionate about research, particularly related to political communication;
  • interested in working in an interdisciplinary team;
  • open to feedback;
  • committed to open science;
  • able to work independently;
  • eager to learn and to develop new skills;
  • organized, flexible and have attention to detail.

Our offer
The planned starting date for this project is September 1, 2024. The position concerns temporary employment of 1.0 fte (38 hours per week) for a maximum term of 4 years. The initial employment is for one year. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended by a maximum of 3 years, which should result in the conferral of a doctorate.

We will put together a curriculum which will also include the opportunity to attend training courses and both national and international events. The position includes teaching duties (approximately 10%). For this position the PhD Candidate (Promovendus) profile applies.

Your salary will be €2,770 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €3,539 in the final year, based on full-time employment and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.

The UvA offers excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.

What else do we offer
  • a position in which initiative and input are highly valued
  • an enthusiastic and warm team that is open to new colleagues
  • an inspiring academic and international working environment in the heart of Amsterdam.

About the faculty
The Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) is the research institute for the Communication Science Department in the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Amsterdam.

A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization. The social and behavioral sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.

To work at the University of Amsterdam is to work in a discerning, independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterized by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society. Here you can read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

Job application
The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 20 May 2024. You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications bundled in one .pdf should include:
  • a curriculum vitae
  • a letter of motivation
  • an English writing sample showcasing individually conducted empirical research (e.g., a master thesis or other recent individual essay)

The bundled document in PDF must be uploaded under the mandatory field CV*.

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

No agencies please.

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University of Amsterdam (UvA)


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 12911


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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