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Data Insights for Policy Makers & Citizens

Team: Ulf Roßegger, Dr. Benjamin Zapilko, Kai Leidner
Leader: Peter Mutschke, Dr. Benjamin Zapilko
Scientific unit: Knowledge Technologies for the Social Sciences


The research project Sense4us examines digital possibilities (ICT = information and communication technologies) to use information on the Internet for forming political will and to support the policy-making process. In the center of investigation stands a specially developed web tool(box) for search and analysis of Linked Open Data and social media content which can be integrated into the broad range of information available to policy- and decision-makers and by this supporting them in their decisions.

The compiled data like statistical and survey data may be relevant to investigate political projects, e.g. the development of renewable energies. By analysing Twitter opinions, arguments or the sentiment in relation to a particular keyword or hashtag can be extracted and used to identify political discussion flows. Another component of the toolbox is to simulate various factors which could influence political decision-making processes. By displaying individual factors like estimated costs for the construction of a wind farm in relation to the reduction of CO2 emissions in Germany, proportions can be compared and adjusted to facilitate an estimation by a policy-maker.

GESIS is in charge of work package 2 - Requirements, feedback and evaluation. Herewith, an analysis of the needs will be carried out covering all potential end users at the three administrative levels: (1) EU, (2) UK, Germany and (3) the German local level. The actual need will be analysed by qualitative and quantitative methods and is correlated based on the technical possibilities in the Sense4us-project.

By offering real time data and prototypes of the toolbox, decision-makers are enabled to test these new communication and information technologies and get an insight into the possibilities. As the end-users are highly encouraged to give feedback, requirements are detected precisely and the web tool can be continuously improved.

The implementation and evaluation of politically relevant and everyday use cases is enabled through regular cooperation with the German Bundestag and the State Parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia. The objective is to possibly conduct a technology transfer and to receive precise feedback on the usage of the search and analysis possibilities of Linked Open Data, Social Media and simulation techniques.

In work package 4 - Semantic Search & Consolidation of Linked Open Data - GESIS is involved in the analysis of the (Linked) Open Data landscape and in the scenarios based transforming of the data. Thereby, the data gain a higher visibility through  various linking options and can be found and compared by end users more easily.


01.10.2013 - 31.12.2016

Sponsored by


  • University of Southampton (UK)
  • The Open University (UK)
  • University Koblenz-Landau (Germany)
  • Government To You (Belgium)
  • Hansard Society (UK)
  • University Stockholm (Sweden)


  • <link http: miriam publication fernandezeswc2014.pdf _blank>Using Social Media To Inform Policy Making: To whom are we listening?
    Miriam Fernandez, Timo Wandhoefer, Beccy Allen, Amparo Elisabeth Cano, Harith Alani