Workshop: Introduction to Online Surveys

We are excited to announce the Methods Lab’s first workshop of the year, “Introduction to Online Surveys“, which will take place on Thursday, February 22. This workshop will be conducted both at the Weizenbaum Institute and online, and is open to Weizenbaum Institute members as well as external participants. Led by members of the Methods Lab, Martin Emmer, Christian Strippel, and Roland Toth, the workshop will focus on the use of online surveys in the context of social science research, providing participants with a theoretical foundation as well as a hands-on guide. We will cover aspects such as the logic and design of online surveys, how to work with access panel providers, and demonstrate how to effectively set up an online survey using the versatile survey tool LimeSurvey. Crucial topics such as ethics and data protection will also be discussed.

For detailed information about the workshop, please visit our program page. We look forward to your participation!

Workshop: Interdisciplinarity in Action: Methods for Fruitful Teamwork (October 4, 2023)

We are excited to announce our upcoming workshop, “Interdisciplinarity in Action: Methods for Fruitful Teamwork,” scheduled for Wednesday, October 4, at the Weizenbaum Institute. Led by Silvio Suckow and Sara Saba (both WI), this intensive one-day workshop provides practical tools and knowledge for enhancing teamwork and interdisciplinary collaboration. The workshop offers diverse perspectives and actionable advice for structuring interdisciplinary teams and their work, hands-on practice of various team-building methods, and an input presentation by an external speaker. It is open to anyone interested in interdisciplinary research, whether leading or collaborating on such projects. Please note that spots are limited and allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. A slightly modified online version of the course will be offered separately.

For more details about the workshop, visit our program page. We look forward to seeing you there!

Launch of the Weizenbaum Panel Data Explorer

We are very excited to announce the launch of the Weizenbaum Panel Data Explorer, an interactive website developed by Methods Lab member Roland Toth. The Data Explorer allows you to browse and analyze survey results from the annual survey conducted by the Weizenbaum Panel on media use, political participation, civic norms, and more. In the spirit of open science, it not only presents research data, but also in an easy-to-use manner.

The Weizenbaum Panel aims to shed light on the complex relationship between the digital realm and political engagement. By examining phenomena such as hate speech and fake news, as well as the active commitment to a democratic culture of debate, the telephone survey offers invaluable insights into the ever-evolving dynamics of citizen participation in Germany.

With the launch of Data Explorer, you can explore this comprehensive dataset and gain a deeper understanding of Germany’s social and political landscape. The platform offers six categories: social media platform use, political attitudes, civic norms, political participation, and online civic intervention. Each category presents a unique perspective, allowing you to examine specific aspects of Germany’s social and political fabric.

The Weizenbaum Panel Data Explorer interface

To begin your exploration, simply select a category that piques your interest. Within each category, you will find a selection of questions to delve into. Whether you want to gauge the political news media consumption of the German public, analyze trends in the use of video platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, or find out how often people discuss political issues at work, or with friends and family, the Data Explorer will assist you in this endeavor.

For a nuanced understanding of how different groups within the population engage in social and political activities, you can group the data output by selecting the demographic factors gender, age, level of education, or residence. Moreover, to enhance your experience and facilitate data sharing, you can download any graph in .png format. Each graph includes the question, answering options, and grouping, providing a comprehensive visual representation of the desired data.

A graph downloaded in .png format

The Weizenbaum Data Explorer was developed in Python/Jupyterhub and deployed using Voilà, which are all open-source. It is hosted on Weizenbaum Institute servers, which ensures adequate data protection. This is not the case for typical solutions such as using R Shiny and the deployment platform shinyapps.io. The Data Explorer will be expanded continuously – for example, the fourth wave of the Weizenbaum Panel will be integrated soon.

Whether you’re a researcher, journalist, student, or simply someone curious about Germany’s social and political landscape, the Weizenbaum Panel Data Explorer equips you with the tools to visualize data effortlessly. Happy exploring!

Workshop recap: Web Scraping and API-based Data Collection

Lion Wedel gives an introduction to Web-Scraping (Photo: Roland Toth)

On March 2nd, the Methods Lab hosted its first-ever workshop titled “Web Scraping and API-based Data Collection”. The workshop explored various techniques for accessing and gathering data from platforms using APIs and web scraping. Speakers included Florian Primig (FU Berlin), Steffen Lepa (TU Berlin), Felix Gaisbauer (WI), and Leon Wendel (WI). The event received an overwhelmingly positive response, with many people attending both in person and remotely. The workshop generated plenty of discussions and concluded with a Q&A session.

We at the Methods Lab were very happy to see so many faces there. We would like to thank all our presenters and participants for contributing with their curiosity, knowledge, and presence and in helping us create such a successful first event. Looking forward to organizing more workshops in the future on emerging methodologies in the realm of digital research!