Data-Driven Debate for Digital Societies

PhD open call 2022

The current pandemic and global warming crises have emphasized the need for contemporary democratic societies to be able to engage in data-informed public debates. Contemporary societies collect increasing amounts of data to allow policy makers to make informed decisions. However, current technologies lack ways for different stakeholders to take part in these decisions on similar terms.

This PhD aims to contribute visualization technologies that enable people to partake in data-based discussions, with the aim to improve democratic processes rather than pave the way for technocracy. Doing so, we build on prior work on collaborative and social visualization to identify shortcomings when considered in the context of argumentation and disagreement.

During the project, we will study technologies in societal use, and we will create novel technologies that support in-person and online data debate. To create a rich understanding of the phenomena that might be involved in data debates, we will first conduct studies in our lab that construct close-to natural situations where participants engage in in-person data discussions based on data visualizations. We will also study how people use existing tools to participate in online data discussions in parallel to our lab-based efforts and compare the insight from our two approaches. We plan to use our study insights to identify promising directions for designing new visualization techniques and technologies for online, interactive, data-based discussions and will explore possibilities for evaluating these in lab studies and studies that offer higher degrees of external validity.

Start date: 1 September 2022
Proposed supervisors: Luca Rossi, Søren Knudsen
Contact: Søren Knudsen,
Research Group: Human-Centered Data Science

If successful, the position is fully financed by ITU.

More information…