A working paper on measuring deliberation…

…can now be downloaded from the “Papers” section of this blog. I decided to upload the paper which I prepared for our research seminar in its original form.

I wrote about the gist of it in the previous post: drawing on existing attempts to operationalize online deliberation, I developed a coding scheme measuring the reciprocity of conversation, the heterogeneity of the expressed views, the argumentativeness of the discussion, its external and internal openness, and its reflexive results or effects.

One important consideration which is only implied in the paper, but not spelt out explicitly, is that the kind of research I’m doing here is evaluative. It applies particular normative standards – based largely on Habermas’ theory complex – to empirical data. It does not stop at describing what kind of conversations are taking place online on social news websites, but it also tries to establish whether or not they meet certain normative criteria.

This is tough; certainly tougher than I expected; but gives me clear directions on how to go on.

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