Cyber-elections 2015 – a big data study on the agenda around the Finnish Parliamentary Elections 2015

The research project analyzes the use of the digital media and agenda setting processes in the Finnish parliamentary elections in 2015. The study builds on political science and communication studies by combining normalization hypothesis with agenda building research.

The theoretical starting point is the normalization hypothesis formulated within political studies. This hypothesis suggests that the practices in online media will be formed and transformed by the practices in offline media. In this project, the question of normalization is combined with the theorizing about agenda setting and agenda building, as we ask who defines the digital agenda around the elections. Is the agenda normalized in traditional media, social media or in voting advice applications?

Our approach is strongly interdisciplinary. Computational social science and big data methods are conjoined with online ethnography to produce scientific knowledge of the online public sphere and human behavior. Our aim is to shed light to the ways different news and conversations topics are formed in and between different types of media.  Simultaneously our aim is to lay foundations for new approaches to conduct cross-disciplinary big data studies in the future.

The project partners are Digital Content Communities group at HIIT, Aalto and the Communication Research Center at University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Science. The project is funded by Helsingin Sanomat Foundation. The project is led by Senior Research Scientist Marko Turpeinen (HIIT) and Director Mikko VIlli (CRC).

The project runs from 1.1.2015 to 31.3.2016.