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Published on March 11th, 2015

For this project, the Center for Media Engagement and the National Institute for Civil Discourse conducted six focus groups across the country with the goal of better understanding how and why people currently use online spaces to access and interact with politics, news, and one another. Teams also hoped to uncover ideas for how to create more effective online spaces for political involvement and discussion.

Consistently across the focus groups, participants said they preferred in-person discussions about politics rather than those that take place online, and voiced concern that political discussion might lead to conflict. Participants also agreed that engaging in discussions with people who have differing opinions is worthwhile, but they are often reluctant to do so.

Using information gathered from the focus groups, CME and NICD will next team up for an experiment on how to create more effective online spaces for political involvement and discussion.

Researchers

  • Cynthia Peacock

    Cynthia Peacock
    Faculty Research Associate

    Cynthia Peacock (PhD, University of Texas at Austin) is an Assistant Professor in the Communication Studies department at the University of Alabama. She is interested in political communication and news 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 political discussions.