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The Internet presents a unique opportunity for people to engage in political discourse. Online forums, blogs, news organizations’ comment sections, and social networking sites are just a few of the places that the American public can participate in discussion about public affairs. Yet much online conversation falls short of the deliberative ideals of civil, well-reasoned conversations among respected discussants.

For this project, we have partnered with the National Institute for Civil Discourse to research how to improve online discourse. We began by reviewing academic research on creating civil online spaces. In the coming months, we will conduct a series of focus groups to understand people’s thoughts about discussing politics online.

Researchers

  • Cynthia Peacock

    Cynthia Peacock
    Faculty Research Associate

    Cynthia Peacock (PhD, University of Texas at Austin) will be starting in fall 2016 as an Assistant Professor in the Communication Studies department at the University of Alabama. She is interested in political communication and news and social media use. Her most recent research investigates the contexts in which people express and avoid expressing their political opinions, and the ways in which diverse opinion expression and disagreement take place in politically homogeneous and heterogeneous groups.