UK Data Service Data Impact Fellows: Claudia Zucca

We are delighted to announce Claudia Zucca as one of our UK Data Service Data Impact Fellows. Claudia is a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher working on the VOTEADVICE project, in collaboration with the University of Exeter, Kieskompas Amsterdam and Koç University Istanbul, discusses how online political information processing can affect political behaviour. Claudia introduces her research and her approach to impact.

In an episode of Black Mirror, the famous TV series, Waldo is a cartoon that hosts a TV show to provide political information. Waldo’s sarcastic political comments end up influencing, in an extreme and dangerous way, the voting preferences of the citizens in the UK, with the catastrophic outcome typical of a dystopian novel.

The reality is less simplistic than that, and people do not believe every word said by a blue bear on the TV. However, it’s a fact that citizens’ voting behaviour has been systematically influenced by mass media in several different ways.

black mirror

Several scholars in media studies and political behaviour addressed these kinds of research questions. However, a specific focus on the effect of the information acquired through the use of the Internet on the voting behaviour is missing in the literature. Therefore, my current research proposes a novel theoretical framework to examine online political information processing and assess how it affects political behaviour and attitudes. I am specifically addressing the UK by looking at the influence of the acquisition of information through the Internet for shifts in voting choice and turnout.

I am Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher and a third year PhD student at the University of Exeter. My background is in politics, media studies and quantitative methodologies. I hold undergraduate degrees from the University of Bologna (Italy) and postgraduate degrees from the Kingston University in London and the LUISS Guido Carli in Rome. I’ve been also spending some time at the University College Cork and at the Central European University in Budapest. Moreover, I’ve been working with the industrial partner of the VOTEADVICE project, Kieskompas, in Amsterdam for a while.

I love political methodology and I have a strong passion for quantitative analysis that makes me appreciate very much the possibilities of having access to the extremely valuable data sets made available by the UK Data Service.

My major interest concerns the British Election Study datasets, that I combine with data collected through the use of voting advice applications (collected with the VOTEDVICE team) in order to shed light on the patterns of behaviour of British citizens in the 2015 General Election through the use of Latent Class Analysis and Multinomial Regression Analysis.  I will be also running an online experiment that will provide more data to test my research hypotheses.

The reason why I chose to be a researcher is that I believe in learning and in teaching as a means to improve our life as individuals and as members of the society as a whole.  I believe in identifying questions and in finding answers, and in exchanging opinions.

In a certain way I see this blog and this opportunity offered by the UK Data Service as a large symposium where I have the privilege to suggest topic for discussion, trying to focus people’s attention on topics that can benefit from collective work and brain storming.

That’s my idea of impact: a big community of people that discuss interesting research ideas and find common solutions to make progress in social sciences. I hope that my posts in this blog in the next two years will involve some like-minded people in interesting exchange of opinions, ideas and solutions.

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