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Pew Research Center Research Associate to Discuss How Global Legislators Use Twitter

By Maddie Bunting |

On Thursday, March 4, the University of California, Riverside (UCR) School of Public Policy will host a talk by Kat Devlin, a Research Associate of the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, about the Center’s recent work using computational social science and social media to evaluate what lawmakers around the world think about current international affairs.

Devlin will discuss the Center’s method of using the Twitter API to ascertain this audience’s views in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about issues, attitudes, and trends shaping the world. The Center conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research, without taking policy positions. The Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder.

Devlin specializes in international public opinion and quantitative research methods. 

Those interested in attending can register for the online event via Zoom.

“Social media has become a key element of political discourse in many countries, allowing legislators to express their opinions, share information and connect with constituents online,” Devlin said. “Twitter is one prominent platform that enables this exchange, and many national leaders – both domestically and outside the U.S. – tweet regularly. To better understand how elected officials publicly framed the role of the United States and the two major presidential candidates around the U.S. election, Pew Research Center collected and analyzed the content of more than 200,000 tweets from legislators in the key American ally nations of Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.”

UCR public policy major Vivek Kakar said, “As a young student of public policy, I have grown up with social media as a sort of delta of opinions from all over the world made accessible in one or two nifty applications. It is exciting to see the work of the Pew Research Center in harnessing this marketplace of opinions to better inform policy researchers and writers in their work of providing solutions to the world’s challenges.”

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Since 2014, the UCR School of Public Policy Seminar Series has been bringing policy makers, practitioners, and researchers to campus to talk about various policy issues facing the region and beyond. During the shelter-in-place order for California, all events are being held online. For more information about the series, visit spp.ucr.edu/events.